15 West Kellogg Blvd.  
Saint Paul, MN 55102  
City of Saint Paul  
Minutes - Final  
Legislative Hearings  
Marcia Moermond, Legislative Hearing Officer  
Mai Vang, Hearing Coordinator  
Joanna Zimny, Executive Assistant  
Tuesday, August 8, 2023  
9:00 AM  
Room 330 City Hall & Court House/Remote  
9:00 a.m. Hearings  
Remove/Repair Orders  
RLH RR 23-39  
Ordering the rehabilitation or razing and removal of the structures at 621  
BIDWELL STREET within fifteen (15) days after the September 6, 2023,  
City Council Public Hearing.  
Grant 180 days. PO to submit schedule and subcontractor bids (done and approved  
Janet Smith, Freedom Mortgage Director of FHA conveyance, appeared via phone  
Moermond: we have some materials with you, which is great. We need some additional  
information as well. We started with asking for the Performance Deposit and an  
application for Code Compliance made.  
Staff update by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: the Performance Deposit was to be posted  
by August 4, evidence of financing to do the rehab. Something was submitted tot the  
tune of $70,000. An affidavit. A work plan, so to speak, also submitted. Performance  
Deposit was processed this morning.  
Moermond: the Code Compliance inspection was done June 5. Performance Deposit  
shows today. We received a couple of pages, a project budget from the Cleanout  
People/KLS Homes. And then an estimate for plumbing from the same people. Let’s  
talk about that work plan. Mr. Zane, can you speak about your review?  
Zane: initially I got the feeling the construction bid of around $50,000, plus the  
plumbing estimate of $20,000. That wasn’t included in the construction budget. If you  
combine you end up with a $70,000 budget. I thought that may be on the low site for a  
complete rehab. That being said, I’m not 100 percent sure, the insurance estimate you  
provided looks like the affidavit number of the retained financing for the project is  
coming from the insurance company?  
Smith: yes, but if additional funds are required, we are trying to be within budget but  
we won’t leave it unfinished. We won’t leave it until things are done.  
Zane: the roof trusses have fire damage, that seemed light. Do you have bids showing  
that is the actual cost? That seems light for someone to replace those.  
Smith: we submitted the insurance EOB which includes that repair. Safeguard Property  
is managing the project for us, but if anything goes outside that budget it will be  
covered. Freedom isn’t in the business of leaving and creating a blight in the  
neighborhood. We’ll make sure everything is done per Code. Anything outside of  
budget will also be covered.  
Moermond: we’re talking about subcontractor bids being used by KLS.  
Smith: but the EOB reflects the budget, and it will be completed within that amount.  
So whether it costs more or not, it will still be completed within that amount.  
Moermond: and we’re asking for the subcontractor bids of who is doing the work.  
Smith: I don’t have an issue providing that. I thought the concern if the work would  
actually be completed within the budget.  
Moermond: that is a concern and when numbers come in and look lower than  
anticipated we ask for subcontractor bids to demonstrate how work will be done at that  
lower than anticipated amount. I see it is being done by KLS, I assume is the general  
contractor managing subs. I assume they don’t hold licenses to do all of the trades. I  
assume they hire people.  
Smith: correct.  
Moermond: in reviewing the project budget document and estimates, looking for a  
statement within the document that all of the items within the Code Compliance  
Inspection Report would be addressed. The Code Compliance items weren’t explicitly  
called out in that project budget. WE would want a statement from your contractor they  
will be doing that work. We don’t want them to get to the end and say it wasn’t in the  
budget submitted, so things were left undone. A statement saying they understand  
what the Code Compliance says and will do them. Also a schedule—  
Smith: that was in an email chain with Joanna.  
Moermond: [reads the 7-item email with no dates and trades items listed]. I cannot  
emphasize enough that this has a bad history and the neighbors want it done and sold,  
the same as you. Timelines—people watch them.  
Smith: what timeline? We’re able to start work when?  
Moermond: the first is the Council Public Hearing is September 6. The second is if you  
have your work together in 2 weeks’ time and staff and I agree we recommend Council  
grant time, we can say the permits can be greenlighted.  
I think we can handle this by email, I’ll send this to Council September 6 and if we can  
handle these items by email, you can start pulling permits once approved.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/6/2023  
Ordering the rehabilitation or razing and removal of the structures at 326  
CHARLES AVENUE within fifteen (15) days after the August 16, 2023,  
City Council Public Hearing. (Continue Public Hearing to September 13,  
Continue PH to September 13, 2023. If PD is posted by no later than September 8,  
2023 refer matter back to LH October 10, 2023 to discuss work plans and financing  
based on completed CCIR (noting this is an extension from the previous deadline).  
Derek Malone, owner, appeared via phone  
Moermond: we’re calling to follow up after our July hearing. MR. Yannarelly, where did  
we leave things.  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: Code Compliance Inspection was to be  
submitted by July 25. That was not done. The 5,000 Performance Deposit was to be  
done by August 16, not done yet.  
Moermond: so the Code Compliance applied for to get us rolling. Property  
Yannarelly: work order to secure garage and house. Tall grass and weeds.  
Moermond: not good all the way around. What is going on Mr. Malone?  
Malone: I submitted the Code Compliance Inspection in the mail, along with a check.  
They should have got it by now. I put the lock box on, the lock box number was on the  
form. I can follow up. I didn’t put tracking on the letter.  
Yannarelly: when was that?  
Malone: it was the 26th or so. I also spoke with the insurance company two days ago,  
they want a signed contract with the contractor with estimated start and finish date. As  
well as a drop-dead date. I was going to start chasing down contractors tomorrow to get  
a finalized amount to submit to insurance.  
Moermond: this Council Public Hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday, I’m asking  
for a continuance on the strength of having sent in that Code Compliance application  
and really when I ask for these I do it looking at both that and the Performance  
Deposit being taken care of. Where are you at with your ability to post that?  
Malone: I want to go through the insurance company. They owe me that money.  
Moermond: without the Code Compliance Inspection Report you can’t get final bids as  
far as the City is concerned. That needs to be underway. We’ll turn the mailboxes  
upside down here. We’ll have staff here follow up. If that isn’t found then we need you  
to square that up. I’ll ask the City Council to continue the matter for four weeks, to  
September 13. At that point I would like to see the $5,000 Performance Deposit  
posted and that will get you back into Legislative Hearing to develop work plans and so  
on. The inspection report will get you rolling to be able to do the plans. We’ll put out  
the deadline for the $5,000 so you can work with your insurance company or figure out  
how you will tackle that. That deadline is September 13. That gives us an October  
hearing to discuss the project. We would hopefully be able to finish the conversation  
then, but also understanding insurance may not be that fast of a turnaround.  
Malone: the check should have been there by now, but if they didn’t get it I can run a  
new one down and void the other check.  
Moermond: staff will follow up on that here on your behalf.  
Yannarelly: there’s a pending work order to cut the grass. You may be better spent  
using your time on that.  
Malone: I’ll have someone get on that as soon as possible.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 8/16/2023  
Ordering the rehabilitation or razing and removal of the structures at 901  
FULLER AVENUE within fifteen (15) days after the March 22, 2023, City  
Council Public Hearing. (Amend to remove only)  
Layover to LH August 22, 2023 at 9 am for further discussion and update on  
foreclosure filing & redemption period, including notification of newly identified estate  
Jessica Zeletes, attorney o/b/o Towd Point Mortgage, appeared  
Moermond: we spoke before the Council Public Hearing last Wednesday. My  
recommendation was to remove within 15 days, at that point we didn’t have any Code  
Compliance Inspection application or Performance Deposit posted. You had identified  
that morning someone who is representing the estate, which is the first time that has  
happened since we started this process in February. I know you communicated that to  
Ms. Zimny—  
Zimny: I left voicemails and sent an email, but didn’t hear anything.  
Moermond: so we have William Blonigan, probate attorney. I assume these people  
listed have claims, but your client is in first position.  
Zeletes: assuming probate is still going on. We aren’t the responsible party unless the  
homeowners step in. We’re still working on foreclosure, but now we’ve identified  
Responsible Parties under chapter 48 we have to involve them. The assignment of  
mortgage is still in process. US Bank, and then Towd point. But after the clerical error  
it was fixed and it is still in process.  
Moermond: and your folks went in and had the opportunity to make an estimate of what  
they though the rehab costs would be, and when we spoke you told me they assigned  
a number under $100,000.  
Zeletes: $60,000 to $70,000. And that may have changed considering how much real  
estate has changed in the last few months. Land value.  
Moermond: upward pressure in costs?  
Zeletes: yes. And we still haven’t seen refundability writing for the Performance  
Moermond: that will be incorporated into the resolution, when the Council adopts the  
resolution that will be in there. That’s the best I can do, they won’t vote on that until all  
the pieces are in place. So it is going to be a show me yours before I show you mine  
Zeletes: can I see the draft?  
Moermond: of course.  
Zeletes: and we should involve the homeowners?  
Moermond: I don’t know what we should expect from them. We’ve posted the house,  
sent letters. Usually putting a giant sign on it saying we’re going to knock it down  
brings people out of the woodwork. We know that one of the children, Joe, is aware of  
the proceedings and a friend who is a rehabber showed up to a couple of hearings.  
There is knowledge and the choice not to come. This guy is representing Philip Ray,  
not sure if that’s a child or not.  
Zeletes: it may be a brother. There’s also a woman on there as well.  
Moermond: can you get us in the house to do that Code Compliance Inspection?  
Zeletes: I believe so since we were in there once.  
Moermond: and we talked about asking the court for permission to do that given the  
provisions in the mortgage about not letting the property to deteriorate, certainly to the  
point of it being knocked down. It is important to do that evaluation. At the time of the  
fire Rainette Prince and her son Damon Prince-Espinoza there. She indicated she is  
the owner, with a birth date of 1974. In 2021 Tauriette Ray died in her 80’s. So it  
seems unlikely this is even a daughter, likely a granddaughter. We’ll do some more  
outreach to this attorney, and then we need to come sort of conclusion on this.  
Zeletes: I’ll get moving on drafting and filing that court order.  
Moermond: given that the representative of the estate has been identified, and other  
interested parties, if you can file for expedited foreclosure on this to move this forward  
more quickly. We haven’t expedited much at all. We’ll look for that Performance  
Deposit posted before the Thursday before it goes to Council next, and the Code  
Compliance Inspection Report we have to get it done.  
Zeletes: and the court order covers the liability we were concerned about, so.  
Moermond: without it we can’t do a rehab, the only path forward is demo.  
Zeletes: I hear you.  
Moermond: as soon as you get that filed—  
Zeletes: if we’re making progress, can I email Ms. Zimny if it is in process but we don’t  
have it yet?  
Moermond: it depends. If we have Blonigan coming, then I think no, we should talk. I  
would love it if we could get US Bank to do better than on day 13 to say ok, we’ll file  
the expedited paperwork.  
Laid Over to the Legislative Hearings due back on 8/22/2023  
Ordering the rehabilitation or razing and removal of the structures at 1082  
LOEB STREET within fifteen (15) days after the March 22, 2023, City  
Council Public Hearing. (Amend to grant 180 days)  
Grant 180 days to rehab the property.  
Edwardo Rikprashad, new owner, appeared  
Zane: I thought the bids looked good.  
Yannarelly: same here.  
Moermond: it looks good. I’ll recommend the Council give you 180 days to rehab. You  
can begin pulling permits on Thursday.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 8/9/2023  
Ordering the rehabilitation or razing and removal of the structures at 455  
ROBERT STREET SOUTH within fifteen (15) days after the August 2,  
2023, City Council Public Hearing. (Refers back to August 8, 2023  
Legislative Hearing)  
Layover to LH August 22, 2023 at 9 am to discuss marketing plan and selling of  
property with owner and continued maintenance of the site.  
Thomas Radio, attorney representing ownership, appeared  
Terek Ellaicy, director of operations for Tri-City foods, appeared  
Bob Craft, o/b/o WSCO, appeared  
Moermond: we do have a new Code Compliance Inspection Report. Mr. Zane, can you  
highlight anything in that?  
Zane: there wasn’t too much that out of the ordinary. It was an empty Burger King. I did  
notice burst fire sprinkler piping. Outside of that is general repairs and cleanup,  
depending on its new use.  
Radio: we had a contractor out there and we’re starting to process that Code  
Compliance checklist. We can’t get them done right away, but wanted to explain our  
Moermond: Mr. Zane, the burst piping is a result of frozen pipes?  
Zane: that’s what it looks like.  
Moermond: was there any evidence of people stripping or stealing things?  
Zane: I didn’t notice anything of consequence if there was. Standard maintenance  
repairs as opposed to people doing intentional damage to the building, I didn’t see  
anything like that.  
Yannarelly: since it has been fenced off, it has been maintained.  
Moermond: and you have the list, is your goal to tackle the list and put the building  
back into use as a fast food restaurant? We talked last time about marketing to  
someone who may want to use it for something else, or demo and rebuild. When I hear  
you addressing the list of 72 items, I wanted to hit reset and say is that where you’re  
at? Rehabbing to be reused?  
Ellaicy: we don’t have anything concrete. We have a letter of intent from an auto repair  
company, but this is still in negotiations. The owner didn’t give the impression it was  
imminent. I don’t know what the future use will be. It has been a couple of months and  
it wasn’t going anywhere.  
Moermond: I looked online to see if it was marketed—  
Ellaicy: I asked that as well, they said they were doing it internally. Not listed through  
an agent, someone who works internally who is responsible for selling it. That’s the  
answer I got.  
Moermond: because who you sell it to is so profoundly connected to the work that is  
going to happen.  
Ellaicy: right. I just don’t know who that will be.  
Moermond: can she participate in this conversation?  
Ellaicy: probably by phone. I don’t know her. I can email and ask. I know he wants to  
Moermond: no question that it will be sold.  
Ellaicy: every day it is a loss. There’s no doubt about that. Who we sell to and what  
price I don’t know. We just did the same thing with another property. I don’t get the  
impression there’s anything imminent. I do have an estimate for the fire sprinkler, it is  
about $7,000. We can get that fixed pretty quickly.  
Moermond: there are 72 items on the list and the Fire Certificate of Occupancy would  
be given based on the use of the space, which we don’t have defined at all. We need  
to land the plane on that. The inspection is based on its current use.  
Ellaicy: right now, my focus is keeping it safe, sanitary, and secure.  
Moermond: my focus is abating the nuisance condition by having it reoccupied with a  
Certificate of Occupancy or by demolition. If you guys want to sell it and have  
someone move into the existing building, that’s fantastic. Selling the parcel is great  
too. It could amount to the same thing. That was the case at the Burger King on west  
7th. I did go back and look at that file to look at parallel things since that had a  
number of layovers as well as part of the discussion over time. The first thing was  
stopping the significant dumping and securing the site, so a fence was put up there.  
You have a fence around the property. So that step has been taken to keep that  
nuisance from happening. The Performance Deposit, a similar thing. Early on we knew  
there were negotiations with a particular buyer, and we knew they were in a due  
diligence time period with that buyer and that the buyer was showing up at the hearings  
and the real estate folks for both the seller and buyer. Seller wanted to keep  
negotiations open in case the deal fell through. At the end it went down. We saw  
progress made and agreements going through and an understanding of the purchase  
agreement and plans. That was helpful to see progress. I wanted to say that that kind  
of thing helps the Council slow things down, to see steps being taken along the way. It  
is hard for them to put a pin in something and just wait. [long discussion about the  
sign at the west 7th Burger King]  
Ellaicy: I will try to get more information.  
Moermond: if there is a time period on that letter of intent, something with an end date.  
[long discussion about people who viewed the property and said no]  
Moermond: Mr. Radio, any questions?  
Radio: I’m happy to provide any assistance. As Tarek said we’ll be making it secure  
and sanitary and safe. It wouldn’t be economic to do all 72 items until we know the  
final user. I would suggest we get greater clarity for you on status of marketing and any  
potential deals while addressing any immediate issues. That also benefits us since it  
will show better. We’d prefer not to fix a kitchen vent if this isn’t a restaurant. Maybe  
we can report back in a month?  
Moermond: I need to have a better notion of where things are at. Right now, things feel  
shapeless. I need parameters around this. I’m looking for more concrete information  
from your real estate department on what they are doing to move this forward.  
Bob Craft o/b/o WSCO: I’d like clarification on deadlines.  
Moermond: if we have a property owned and rehabbed by the same person, I can ask  
more expeditiously because there’s no foreclosure action. In this case, it doesn’t make  
sense to give the opportunity to be rehabbed. I need to give them some opportunity to  
try to get out of this as much of their equity as they can. That isn’t an infinite time  
period, but there is some time to do that. [walks through West 7th Burger King  
deadlines again]. I’m wanting to compress this work into getting this into someone’s  
hands who will reuse the building or the site. That lies in the hands of the purchaser.  
Craft: and the fencing has an effect on the properties nearby. We’re unhappy with the  
process by which the City enforces a vacancy. These folks have shown up and never  
have answering about marketing plans and the holding company gets to carry it on  
their books as worth a million. The City needs to hold them accountable about the  
plan to sell or remove it.  
Moermond: there isn’t a bigger tool in the toolbox than this. But because of that we  
have to be circumspect in its use. I can only look at this, and just this.  
Craft: and that is what our board is recommending, removal.  
Laid Over to the Legislative Hearings due back on 8/22/2023  
Ordering the rehabilitation or razing and removal of the structures at 1213  
WOODBRIDGE STREET within fifteen (15) days after the September  
13, 2023, City Council Public Hearing.  
Layover to LH August 22, 2023 at 9 am for further discussion. PD and CCI applied for  
by no later than September 8, 2023.  
Michael Sauer, attorney o/b/o Penny Mac, appeared  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: The building is a one-story, wood frame,  
single-family dwelling with a detached two-stall garage on a lot of 3,001 square feet.  
The property was referred to Vacant Buildings due to a fire which occurred on  
December 1, 2021. The current property owner is Andrea Christine Roark, per Amanda  
and Ramsey County Property records.  
On May 18, 2023, an inspection of the building was conducted, a list of deficiencies  
which constitute a nuisance condition was developed and photographs were taken. An  
Order to Abate a Nuisance Building was posted on June 1, 2023, with a compliance  
date of July 1, 2023. As of this date, the property remains in a condition which  
comprises a nuisance as defined by the legislative code. Taxation has placed an  
estimated market value of $20,000 on the land and $189,000 on the building. Real  
estate taxes are current. The vacant building registration fees were paid by  
assessment on January 3, 2023. A Code Compliance Inspection was done on July 18,  
2022. As of August 7, 2023, the $5,000 performance deposit has not been posted.  
There have been nine Summary Abatement Notices since 2021. There have been  
seven work orders issued for: garbage/rubbish and boarding/securing. Code  
Enforcement Officers estimate the cost to repair this structure exceeds $100,000.  
The estimated cost to demolish exceeds $30,000.  
Moermond: a Code Compliance done in 2022. Anything of interest in that inspection  
Mr. Zane? It was following a fire.  
Zane: I’m just reviewing it now.  
Sauer: My client is Penny Mac Loan services, LLC but I’m also here o/b/o Mortgage  
Electronic Registration and HUD, their interest is the same as Penny Mac’s mortgage.  
So my direct client is Penny Mac, but I’m also connected to MERS and HUD. I was  
retained and discovered through these few weeks that the owner, Andrea Roark, she  
was occupying and filed a claim after the fire, that was approved. She hired Rest Pro to  
do the rehab, they’re claiming to have done 56k in the property so far, I’m trying to  
verify what work was done. I’ve been told by them the roof was completed, a lot of  
demolition. They demoed more than they were supposed to per the insurance  
company. There is a dispute between the insurance company, owner, and Rest Pro. I  
do know my client is holding insurance proceeds that are kind of pending because of  
that dispute. Rest Pro is seeking payment from my client on the work they had done.  
Trying to see what they did for 56k. the roofing should have been done according to  
them, I don’t represent them but they said that was done and permits were pulled. I  
located Ms. Roark, she moved to Nevada temporarily. She is interested in continuing  
to rehab and occupy. Because of that she is working with my client in terms of  
permissions and access to property. Normally a lender without possession it is  
difficult, this may be different in the owner and lender may work together on this one to  
align their interest. She has answered calls, but she didn’t appear today obviously. We  
have a contractor retained to give an estimate. This will be a different contractor, not  
Rest Pro. She’d like to proceed and put the Performance Deposit in place and proceed  
with the rehab. Because of that litigation with Rest pro and our new involvement with  
the process and potential limitation on access I was requesting to hold this over for 90  
days while we complete the estimate, pay the Performance Deposit and get something  
in place with the owner that gives us the right to improve the property. I do have a  
document from Rest Pro that claims to list the work that was done. I have no way to  
confirm if that work was done, and I’m questioning that. I believe they are filing a civil  
lawsuit, a mechanics lien. To the extent they can prove some work is done, we may  
compensate for some as long as it was code compliant and the roof was signed off by  
the City. It is essentially a shell right now that needs to be finished. I have invoices  
from a plumber and electrical company that claim they did electrical work, but it is a  
lot of studs. There was a new support beam put in place I have photos of.  
Zane: no building inspections done, there is a permit pulled. There is a plumbing  
permit that has expired, and electrical. They did have rough ins done. It is just over a  
year old.  
Sauer: I would agree circumstances have changed since the time of the last Code  
Compliance Inspection Report.  
Yannarelly: could they do a building only?  
Moermond: no, because the electrical was just to reconnect. It isn’t work inside the  
Sauer: it is just rough in—  
Moermond: if he did, it wasn’t under permit—  
Zane: there was one for inside work on October 27. There wasn’t a rough in on the  
interior, just an inspection on the connection to the house.  
Sauer: it is unfortunate, and then it got shut down during the dispute.  
Moermond: do you have contact info for Ms. Roark?  
Sauer: I have a phone number.  
Moermond: we’ll call her and try and get her email so we can make sure she is copied  
on the letter and follow up hearing. I’d like to include her in this conversation sooner  
than later. I don’t want to delay that conversation 3 months. I’d like to stage this  
conversation. I’m not opposed to waiting on a Council decision, but I need to see  
benchmarks. That means getting that Performance Deposit posted, a new Code  
Compliance Inspection report done by whatever date. I feel for you in terms of finding  
the money to do this.  
Sauer: at this point the goal is to get it fixed. The lender and owner are behind it. I  
have the most confidence in this one, we just need to get everyone together. On the  
side I’ll work with Rest Pro and the insurance company. That’s outside the immediate  
scope of what we’re doing, but I am doing that on the side. I don’t know we need a civil  
lawsuit going on the same time we’re trying to fix this.  
Moermond: how are you guys situated in terms of getting that Performance Deposit  
and Code Compliance Inspection applied for? This goes to Council September 13 and  
thinking I’d love to have a conversation again two weeks from now and then say the  
application for Code Compliance application and Performance Deposit posted by  
September 8. Who is maintaining the property with her in Nevada?  
Sauer: I don’t know the answer to that. I know my client is doing some things that they  
can do.  
Yannarelly: someone is cutting the grass.  
Sauer: I think my client is paying someone.  
Laid Over to the Legislative Hearings due back on 8/22/2023  
10:00 a.m. Hearings  
Making Finding on Nuisance Abatements  
RLH RR 23-42  
First Making finding on the appealed substantial abatement ordered for  
1501 CLARENCE STREET in Council File RLH RR 22-57. (Refer to  
August 8, 2023 Legislative Hearing)  
Recommendation forthcoming pending issuance of Code Compliance Certificate.  
No one appeared  
Moermond: Mr. Zane, you have a report on the percentage complete?  
Zane: 99 percent, we only have a couple of trade permits that need to be closed. The  
work appears to be done. We are just needing finals from those trades. Once those  
are approved we’re good to final the project.  
Moermond: we’ll send this to Council September 13 and put it to bed then.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/13/2023  
RLH RR 23-43  
Fourth Making finding on the appealed substantial abatement ordered for  
595 PARK STREET in Council File RLH RR 23-12. (Refer back to  
August 8, 2023 Legislative Hearing)  
Recommendation forthcoming pending issuance of Code Compliance Certificate. If  
nuisance is not abated by 9/13 CPH, will forfeit $2,000 of $10,000 PD each week until  
project completed.  
Hector Flores, contractor, appeared  
Frank Viggiano, owner, appeared  
Moermond: we had a conversation with M r. Flores a couple of weeks ago. Mr. Zane,  
any changes from two weeks ago?  
Zane: I haven’t been out there.  
Flores: we have floor and kitchen. We are waiting for the plumber. The heating people  
couldn’t’ come before the 15th. We’re just waiting on the gas meter for the furnace and  
water heater. I told HVAC contractor we need to close the permit.  
Moermond: have you been out there to do a progress?  
Zane: 80 percent on July 19th.  
Moermond: here’s my question, you told me what you have going on. Do you have a  
schedule and plan? And everyone is paid?  
Flores: no payment issues. Everyone is paid.  
Moermond: last time you said a few contractors had outstanding balances, but the  
money isn’t the problem.  
Flores: no.  
Moermond: and you verbally told me a plan.  
Flores: I forgot to type something; I asked him to help.  
Viggiano: It was too late to get it done.  
Flores: we’ll be done by the 20th. Just little things left.  
Zane: just the plumbing permit.  
Flores: yes, and he will pull that. If you want to come tomorrow or today?  
Zane: I don’t know we need another progress inspection.  
Moermond: no, we need closed permits. Right now, the Council continued your $10,000  
Performance Deposit to July 26 to get this done. We’re past that date, but not that far  
past it. We need this nailed down so it is close enough to slide on through. You’re  
saying August 20th?  
Flores: yes.  
Moermond: because of state fair and vacations this time of year, I’ll send this to  
Council September 13. If you have everything done, we don’t have to worry about  
anything. If it isn’t done, I’ll recommend $2,000 is forfeited, and layover another week.  
Then another $2,000 forfeit. We start to have consequences. That is 3 weeks past  
when you’re asking.  
Viggiano: we had the gutters put on at 575 Park.  
Zane: and Hector did confirm that.  
Viggiano: I did bring along the money we’re withholding for any problems. Almost  
$97,000. We’ve had big problems in the neighborhood with vagrants and  
confrontations. I’ve caught people with copper pipes. They’re so destructive. I’ve talked  
to local commanders. It has been a real problem the last four months. It gets worse,  
but anything you can do to help.  
Moermond: and talking to the police is the best.  
Zane: keeping it mowed and shorting your construction plan.  
Viggiano: I just wanted to mention it. We appreciate you working with us.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 9/13/2023  
1:00 p.m. Hearings  
Vacant Building Registrations  
Appeal of Taylor Swartwood to a Vacant Building Registration  
Requirement at 856 EUCLID STREET.  
Certificate of Occupancy must be reinstated with no corrections by September 30,  
2023 or property will revert to a Category 2 Vacant Building and will require a Code  
Compliance Inspection. Vacant Building fee waived through September 30, 2023.  
Taylor Swartwood, owner, appeared via phone  
Moermond: following up from last week’s hearing. We scheduled an inspection that  
was to occur this morning. I’d like to get that staff report. The most recent set of  
orders was June 27, 2023 and you were following up.  
Staff update by Supervisor Leanna Shaff: I got to the property five minutes early,  
walked around a few minutes. At 9;30 I knocked on the door, no answer, so I walked  
around a couple more minutes, then knocked again. Mr. Swartwood was a few minutes  
late and he wasn’t able to give me access. He suggested climbing through the window.  
Swartwood: they changed, the locks, yes.  
Shaff: we were unable to gain access for our scheduled appointment. I heard a smoke  
alarm beeping. Still broken glass. I can’t verify anything has been done.  
Moermond: as I understood it, you were going to swing by and make sure things were  
taken care of so we could tick off that list and make sure we were good to go.  
Swartwood: I’ve been diligently working on this, and the tenants have been thwarting  
my attempts to get in. they intimidated my handyman. Me and my 77-year-old father  
went out to fix the windows. Please allow me to execute the writ and remove them from  
the building and do the work. The stuff that needs repairs is new stuff, it isn’t even on  
the list from Thomas. I just want to get them out and make the building whole again. I  
do work in good faith and provide reasonably priced good buildings.  
Moermond: where are you at with the eviction proceeding exactly?  
Swartwood: I’m going down this afternoon to file for the writ. Then the sheriff will have  
to be scheduled after that’s processed.  
Moermond: so you’ve gone through, they’re on a court ordered payment plan, and have  
violated that?  
Swartwood: yes. I’ve given them an extra week to come to terms, so I have no choice.  
I have to remove them to get the work done.  
Moermond: Ms. Shaff saw things that weren’t called out today, you’re saying the same  
thing, she was looking at what Mr. Thomas already wrote up. She saw other things. I’m  
struggling here.  
Swartwood: I’m using all my legal remedies to try and make this right. I’m trying to  
social work this. The woman has some mental health problems. I suspect they are on  
drugs. I need them out so we can get it done. I run nice buildings, I care about my  
customers, this isn’t something I’m doing for lack of care. This is happening to me  
because I don’t have the police power to make them behave. Under normal  
circumstances they wouldn’t have changed the locks and I could get in. they have an  
attack dog in the building so even if we drilled the locks we could be harmed. They  
have us over a barrel here.  
Moermond: when will it be vacated?  
Swartwood: that’s up to the Sheriff’s office. They have to remove the people. Perhaps  
you can speak to them and make it quicker?  
Moermond: no, this is your private contract with your tenants.  
Swartwood: I didn’t mean anything untoward. I really do want to comply. I went out with  
my father yesterday and put in several hours of work re-glazing windows. I don’t have  
police powers.  
Moermond: this has been going on for months. You’ve had a lot of opportunity to deal  
with this. I’m struggling with what the right answer is.  
Swartwood: I’ve made incredible progress in impossible situation. We can do the work;  
we’re just being prevented from doing it.  
Moermond: the first appointment letter went out since last December.  
Swartwood: the Sheriff’s office can’t tell me when they will get the people out. I’m in a  
Moermond: we’ve been at this since December.  
Swartwood: I’ve been in contact with him the entire time.  
Moermond: who?  
Swartwood: with Thomas. There was a mail error in the beginning. The post office  
wasn’t delivering. He was in contact with me. We’re moving forward. I can only work  
within the limits of the law. I don’t have police powers. If I did I would remedy this  
instantly. Please see I am doing everything in my power to comply.  
Moermond: Ms. Shaff, do you recommend that Vacant Building staff make this a  
Category 2 Vacant Building?  
Shaff: absolutely given what I saw on the outside and the long-term noncompliance.  
[Swartwood talks over Ms. Shaff]  
Moermond: Mr. Swartwood, you are always given a chance to speak, please stop  
speaking over staff.  
Shaff: based on the exterior of the property and building conditions, and the long-term  
noncompliance, I definitely recommend this is a Category 2 Vacant Building.  
Swartwood: you know I was in contact with Thomas, I’ve allowed him inside and I’ve  
done the work. New work is only necessary because the tenant is a nuisance to the  
building and City in general.  
Shaff: the record speaks for itself about not being allowed access.  
Swartwood: yeah, which wasn’t true. He has work orders for the inside. We also have  
email records discussing what needed to be done. I’ve been in contact the last several  
months working hand in hand with him. I’m working in good faith with you people. All I  
need is the opportunity to remove the people so the work can be done. Please let me  
do that. I try to have affordable rentals. No one is winning in this situation. Let’s just fix  
Moermond: I will have a recommendation emailed out Friday by Joanna Zimny. I’m not  
going to make it right now.  
Swartwood: I appreciate your time. I’m sorry. I don’t want to be unkind. I’m frustrated  
because I’m being prevented from doing what I want to do.  
Moermond: thank you Mr. Swartwood.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 8/23/2023  
Appeal of Ashley DuBose to a Vacant Building Registration Renewal  
Notice at 619 MENDOTA STREET.  
Waive Vacant Building fee for 90 days (October 15, 2023).  
Ashley DuBose, property manager, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Matt Dornfeld: was made a Category 1 Vacant Building  
August 15, 2022 due to a fire. We have trade permits on file and rehab is ongoing. I  
assume we are here today to discuss the forthcoming Vacant Building fee for 2023  
through 2024.  
Moermond: tell me where you are at with the rehab?  
DuBose: I’ve been trying to keep close tabs on completion days. The general  
contractor, Rest Pro, told me we should have the property ready to rent by September  
1. I hesitate to promise that because things have been going on longer than they  
should have. I know its close. I don’t anticipate past August 31, but it is possible.  
Moermond: I’m glad to hear you are that close. That is fantastic. You went in the  
program August 15, that is your anniversary date. Today’s fee covers August 15, 2023  
through August 14, 2024. A 90-day fee waiver takes you through October 15, 2023.  
That sounds like it should do the trick, along with some cushion. [Moermond explains  
tax assessment appeal process if not done by deadline.]  
DuBose: I appreciate that. What do I do when the property is done?  
Moermond: your contractor would be reaching out to inspection. As soon as those  
happen, Department of Safety & Inspections will issue the Code Compliance  
Dornfeld: ultimately we’d like to see occupancy prior to closing the file, but if the  
permits are finalized with the understanding the house would be occupied in the  
coming weeks. If it is going to sit vacant that isn’t ideal.  
DuBose: I anticipate getting someone in by September 1 or 15.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 8/23/2023  
Appeal of Biniam Ansera to a Vacant Building Registration Requirement  
Deny the appeal and waive the VB fee for 60 days (to September 25, 2023). Property  
to remain a Cat 2 VB and requires a CCIR.  
Biniam Ansera, owner, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Ansera: I think my brother talked to Matt Dornfeld yesterday.  
Staff report by Supervisor Matt Dornfeld: was referred per an inspection done by Code  
Inspector Lisa Martin and the St. Paul Police Department on August 2, 2023. Multiple  
code violations are documented in the condemnation report. Inspector Martin and the  
St. Paul Police Department stated there was criminal activity at the property as well as  
people with outstanding warrants involved. Any door open to trespass was to be  
immediately secured by Rest Pro post inspection. That was done and Vacant Building  
placards were posted. There are some photos in the system. I did speak with the  
brother yesterday on the phone and exchanged a few texts, explained some but  
ultimately advised them to ask their questions here in this appeal.  
Moermond: why are you appealing Mr. Ansera?  
Ansera: I am appealing because I had a squatter live in my property and I couldn’t get  
them out. She is the one who caused the damage. She’s the one who caused the  
people who had warrants. That was the squatter tenant that used to live there. She  
caused the damage. She called that. it is all in the police reports. I already fixed the  
water problem. That is turned back on. I’m waiting for a City electrical inspector to  
come tell us what we need to do to get the meter permit. We need a permit to get it in.  
I’m a carpenter myself. I can slap that house back to code as soon as I’m given a  
chance. I haven’t heard nothing from no one. My electrician has called down there.  
They said there are inspectors on vacation. I know everyone’s busy. I understand the  
station, but I haven’t even had the proper amount of time to fix the mistakes or reach  
inspectors to ask a couple of questions to get it back to code. I purchased the  
property in December and I didn’t know the meter box wasn’t’ to code. He should have  
caught that. it was on a post instead of connected. I didn’t know that and that’s why the  
meter got taken out. I had a squatter, she flooded my house. Broke all my outlets and  
my pipes. She did a lot of damage because she didn’t want to leave. I have resources,  
I’m a carpenter myself. Union local 322. I can get it back to code in a flash, I just need  
the time to do it.  
Moermond: looking at the police calls to the property, you indicated there were police  
reports documenting it was the tenant causing problems. I did check in and in July  
there were calls on a couple of occasions, one July 2 that was for a  
disturbance/disorderly conduct, another July 7 for the same thing. July 8 for  
harassment. No police reports written. I understand the owner called Xcel saying the  
outlets were sparking and requesting power be shut off and face of meter removed. I  
do see that was sold in October and no TISH (truth in sale of housing) was done. I do  
understand the faucet was removed from the water meter itself so it was impossible for  
water to run into other parts of the house. That would explain the water problems.  
You put an illegal room into this property in a single-family home and rented it out. That  
is a tenant, not a squatter. That whole thing about a squatter and eviction, that isn’t  
quite the way it went. I would love to see this get fixed, don’t get me wrong. I would like  
to see you back in your home. I’d like to see it not an illegal duplex anymore. What  
you need to do would be to get a Code Compliance Inspection Report which will outline  
what the items are to bring it into minimal code compliance. That will be  
straightforward to someone in the trades such as yourself. My recommendation is yes,  
you are in the Vacant Building program as a Category 2 Vacant Building and will need  
that Code Compliance Inspection Report. Address those items before it can be  
reoccupied. I’m sorry that wasn’t what you were looking for today.  
Ansera: I have to pay the $2,500?  
Moermond: I can waive the Vacant Building fee for 60 days, which would give you the  
opportunity to have a chance. You’ll have to move fast. That takes you to September  
25, 2023.  
Ansera: so I have until September 25 to get my house back to code?  
Moermond: that’s how long the waiver is for. Realistically get that Code Compliance  
Inspection Report ordered and permits pulled, then working quickly to address those  
items and if you can’t get it done but done quickly you can ask for the future bill to be  
decreased because you got your Code Compliance certificate quickly.  
[Dornfeld explains the Code Compliance Inspection process]  
Ansera: I have to do that regardless, correct? To get back into my house?  
Moermond: yes.  
Dornfeld: yes, the full Code Compliance Inspection. You have to order that first before  
you start messing with the water meter and whatnot.  
Moermond: for email, if we send the letter to Rikki Taylor to her email again, can we  
use that again? Did you get it?  
Ansera: yes ma’am.  
Moermond: we’ll do that again.  
Ansera: yes that works. Where do I get the form?  
Moermond: we’ll email you the form when we send the follow up letter to Rikki Taylor.  
Ansera: this is a blessing in disguise. I want to get my house to code.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 8/23/2023