DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A manager overseeing Detroit’s nuisance abatement program was himself sued under the same program last year for violating rules in fixing up a blighted property.
Leor Barak, an attorney hired in January to track progress on mandated repairs for dilapidated properties, says he disclosed the lawsuit during his interview. He says his experience makes him uniquely qualified for the $55,000-a-year post with the Detroit Land Bank Authority reports The Detroit News.
After learning of the issue, Barak says he entered into an out-of-court agreement on the rehab project.
In July of 2014, WWJ reported that The Detroit Land Bank Authority was hoping to come up with a plan on how to deal with homes it is trying to sell that are occupied, officials said.
Those living in the homes can include squatters, renters or former owners who didn’t pay their taxes.
The Land Bank began auctioning off homes online early May (2014) as part of an effort to get them fixed up and stabilize Detroit neighborhoods. It is part of a broader effort to deal with vacant and blighted Detroit properties, but eviction isn’t always a priority.
“We are brainstorming right now,” said Land Bank attorney Kevin Simowski in 2014. “We are going to be considering a lot of different options. We want to have a clear, transparent and consistent policy.”
Barak heads a four-member team that puts residents of run-down vacant properties on notice to either fix them or risk losing them. The land bank is a public authority focused on returning Detroit’s vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties to productive use.
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