Thursday, October 9, 2008

Property owner: 'Is Cincinnati 200 years behind the rest of the world in the legal system?'

The owners of several buildings along the 1800 block of Race Street in Over-the-Rhine believe that the City has it out for them, and is using the condition of their buildings to violate their constitutional rights.

They have made their concerns known in a communication to Cincinnati City Council.

The husband already has been sent to jail for two months, and the wife is now facing three building code violations and criminal charges.

Both are U.S. citizens, immigrants from Taiwan and China.

"I do not want to go to jail for 18 months!!!!!!!!" the wife says. "I am desperatedly in need of help!!!!!!"

One of the buildings bringing charges was renovated in 1970, and recently passed the annual Section 8 inspection.

"My apartment is one of the building in a better condition in OTR," she says. "However, the city shut down my building and ordered that all apartment to be torn down because of the existing ceiling tile."

She also says that, because her building is historic, it is exempt from the current fire codes.

Her appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

"We applied and paid the permit application fee, however the inspector was preventing us from obtaining the permit," she says. "We can't start any work without a permit."

She also says that the City violated her, and her husband's, constitutional rights.

The case was heard in Hamilton County Municipal Court.

"The criminal charges were based on warrantless and illegal search and we filed the motion for discovery and suppress all evidence and witness, even no objection were filed from City," she says. "Our motion were ignored and my husband were not allowed to request for a jury trial nor he was allowed to say any word during the trial for his reason."

She claims that the illegal search resulted in her husband being dragged out of the building by his hair, causing a blow to the head which led to a heart attack and high blood pressure.

Television news reports regarding the incident claimed that her husband refused to clean up the building.

"We have spent lots of money in repairing and we have tons of Home Depot and Lowes and receipt that we hired the contractors and helpers to repair," she says. "But the City insist that we torn down all apartment and evict all tenants even with the apartment that passed the Section 8 annual housing code inspection."

She also claims that, when asking why the City didn't pursue the owners of a nearby building that was in much worse shape, her husband was told to "shut up and go back to China".

On a second building, the couple obtained permits in June 2007 and have been steadily doing work.

She says that the City changed the status and filed charges for no reason.

"Then thousands of building in Cincinnati with repair permits should all be filed with criminal charges not just 'us'," she says. "HUD has most of the distressed vacant buildings then president Bush should be charged since he is also the chief of all department and HUD."

The third criminal charge is for a vacant building, for which she says she has purchased a Vacant Building Maintenance License (VBML).

"We have lost so much money since City shut down the building," she says. "We both suffered from unusual stress and are in bad health and lost our job. We have borrowed lots money to repair the property and are having extreme financial difficulty."

If she is sentenced to jail, no one will be around to take care of any of the buildings.

"This kind of punishment is too cruel and the USA supposed to respect most for the human right," she says. "There is no other city or state to take owner to jail for building violation.
Freedom is so valuable however for us the is no civil human right in Cincinnati. Is Cincinnati 200 years behind the rest of the world in the legal system?"

A report from City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr is due before City Council by October 29.