Talk about a buyer’s market.
Dean Redman has one week to find someone who will buy an empty lot, the half-paved parcel where a house he owned partially collapsed on Nov. 26. He needs to sell in order to pay the city back for the $19,000 it spent in removing the falling-down house, as well as repaying American Tax Funding for the roughly $15,000 he owes in back taxes.
He was supposed to have the money by today, but Corporation Counsel L. John Van Norden said the case would be adjourned for one week because Redman reported that he was close to a deal on the site.
“They’ve got someone who might be willing to buy it,” he said. “I don’t mind waiting — they’re trying to work it out so they can buy their way out of this.”
Redman is motivated to come up with the money because if he comes up short, Van Norden intends to ask for jail time in the code enforcement case involving the house.
Redman faces 68 counts of failing to fix the roof at 1035 Barrett St. and 13 counts of renting the building without first getting it inspected.
He argues that he didn’t know the roof was a serious danger, partly because he never got an official notice from city. Officials sent the notice to his last address of record, but he had moved a few blocks away.
City officials say he deliberately ignored the situation until the roof collapsed above his tenants’ heads. Five people, including two children, had to flee as the roof fell in a light rain last fall.
City officials had told the family to move out and posted a sign on their door saying the house was unsafe and the roof was “structurally unsound.” It ordered them to vacate, but they said they didn’t understand the legalese and thought the city was just trying to keep Redman from making rental money until he fixed the roof.
If Redman is convicted of the code violations, he faces up to $74,500 in fines, or nearly four years in jail.
Van Norden said he wouldn’t push for the jail time if Redman pays up. But he said that even if Redman hands over $34,000, the city may not drop the case.
“I may require him to pay a fine because he put people in danger,” Van Norden said. “I’m not sure how willing I am to let him skate by with making the city whole — but I haven’t made up my mind.”
Redman has said he doesn’t have the money to pay the fine on his own. He filed for bankruptcy several years ago, but never finished the procedure, he said.
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Categories: Schenectady County