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, May 7, 2024  
9:00 AM  
Room 330 City Hall & Court House/Remote  
9:00 a.m. Hearings  
Special Tax Assessments  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 308  
EDMUND AVENUE. (File No. VB2407, Assessment No. 248806)  
(Public hearing continued to June 26, 2024)  
Continue CPH To June 26, 2024. If permits closed and CC certificate issued, reduce  
assessment from $2,616 to $1,308, otherwise approve in full.  
Joseph Drobac, owner, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: this entered the Vacant Building program  
November 3, 2022 after a fire. It started with the standard 90-day waiver. As of right  
now we’re 1.5 years into the program. Total proposed assessment of $2,616. Multiple  
open permits on the property.  
Drobac: for the first six months I had a bad insurance person, she was a contractor  
who did nothing. She released $40,000 but the estimate was $83,000. She was fired  
and she took her laptop with her so the insurance had no notes. Six or 7 months later  
they started working with Rest Pro, they went very slowly. They failed multiple  
inspections, five or six times. I went to the City office because they never opened a  
plumbing permit, I think that is still waiting. Then they stopped showing up about 8  
weeks ago and I can’t get an inspection from the bank to give them their final money  
before I can hire new contractors. They have to send the bill for the electrician, HVAC.  
It has been a horrible experience.  
Moermond: of course it has. How is it going with your insurance now?  
Drobac: we have a new representative, he’s been great. He’s been signing off on  
everything. It is just Rest Pro.  
Moermond: did you hire them right out of the gate?  
Drobac: hired them the day after the fire. They are supposed to be a big company.  
Moermond: so, they came in the day after the fire, you hired them, and it has been  
Drobac: extremely. I’m still living in my bedroom because I’m hoping they would come  
back anytime to do something. Just to pass the inspections to get paid. They  
obviously are not coming back. And I can’t get an inspection from the bank until they  
send the invoices, which they also don’t want to do.  
Moermond: I have just the Vacant Building fee today, and boy I hope things start to  
move along better.  
Drobac: as soon as the bank comes in and I can cut the final check to Rest Pro then  
everything should be done within 2 or 3 months. Structural stuff is done, we just have  
to pass the inspections.  
Moermond: I’m stuck with the situation where you went into the program November 3,  
2022, that fee goes through November 3, 2023. This fee applies for November 3, 2023  
through November 2, 2024. It is billed prospectively. We’re already six months into the  
billable year. This has a Council Public Hearing June 26. 7.5 months into the year. If  
you are done by June 21, I’ll recommend it is reduced by half. That’s the most  
generous I can be.  
Also, the date in front of Council is May 15, so I’ll ask them to continue it to June 26.  
Let us know between now and then if your insurance is covering it, otherwise we can  
make it payable over 5 years over your taxes.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 5/15/2024  
RLH TA 24-188  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 503  
FRED STREET. (File No. VB2408, Assessment No. 248807)  
Approve the assessment.  
Trib Balbhadr, owner, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: this was a Category 2 Vacant Building  
opened June 4, 2021 and closed April 2, 2024. This bill covers June 4, 2023 through  
June 3, 2024. 10 out of the 12 months. Total assessment of $5,075.  
Balbhadr: when I first purchased the property it was never disclosed it was a Category  
2. We have 3 months delay from when we submitted the offer to working with Robert  
Humphrey because I didn’t know you needed City approval.  
Yannarelly: he does the sale review.  
Balbhadr: after the sale of the property, even the title company didn’t find it was a  
Category 2.  
Moermond: when did you buy?  
Balbhadr: December 31, 2022. We had a 3-month delay with that trying to get my  
finance in line to submit to the City to get approved for the Category 2. There’s no  
return in this transaction. I had to wait over 3 months for Robert to approve because it  
was never disclosed. I had to contract a few things out for repairs, and as far as the  
deadline we did work with Robert as far as helping us extend it. There was only so  
much he could do. The biggest thing is it was never disclosed it was a Category 2  
property, otherwise I would have done my due diligence on what that entails. I took on  
more than I should, but it wasn’t disclosed. We’re talking about a major defect. That’s  
where I’m coming from.  
Moermond: what’s your ask today?  
Balbhadr: waive the fee, prorate it? Waive it since it wasn’t disclosed.  
Moermond: the TISH report does indicate it was a registered Vacant Building. The  
other thing is Robert Humphrey provided a waiver?  
Balbhadr: not a waiver, he gave us 3 months to take it off of a Category 2 Vacant  
Building for the coming year.  
Moermond: so, a waiver. He has no legal authority to do that. You benefited from him  
coloring outside the lines. I’m left holding the bag. It was in the program 10 out of 12  
months. While I understand it wasn’t disclosed, though it appears to be in the  
paperwork. Ultimately that disclosure is between the seller and buyer, the City isn’t  
party to that. You should take that argument to that arena.  
Balbhadr: I’ve tried multiple times.  
Moermond: the public sector isn’t in a position to make your books right because a  
private entity did you wrong. The Vacant Building program can’t pay for the shortfall in  
the transaction. That isn’t the way the law works. Now we are way down the line. I don’t  
have a choice besides asking the Council to ratify this. We can make it payable over  
a few number years if that will help.  
Balbhadr: I don’t have bad intentions at all. There’s other fish to fry here. This wasn’t  
an easy thing. You understand where I’m coming from and the City’s point of view. I  
truly think this outcome is ridiculous given the fact of what I had to go through. The  
title company should have caught this during their title search. No one wants to take  
liability for this. Working with Robert and everyone, great. Not an issue. But now at the  
end I have to pay another $5,000? It is a slap in the face after being bounced around  
to so many different people. You say you understand? But do you? The title company  
should have caught this. The City of St. Paul, I didn’t financially qualify, but they still  
checked the box—  
Moermond: the City didn’t sell you the house. The seller or your title company may  
have culpability. That’s between you and them. There should have been a placard on  
the property, by law. They’re there for a reason. I’m sorry you were given waivers when  
you shouldn’t have been and we could have been talking about alternative approaches  
perhaps. I’m sorry you had to wait for a phone call for 20 to 30 minutes—  
Balbhadr: you don’t have to be sarcastic. This whole outcome from start to finish, it is  
truly a horrible real estate transaction. If this is how Category 2 transactions are  
handled, you need to have a different process.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH TA 24-178  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 1087  
JESSAMINE COURT. (File No. J2408B, Assessment No. 248107)  
Delete the assessment (due to lack of documentation of conditions when crew arrived).  
Landon Taylor, owner, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: this was a boarding ordered by Matt  
Dornfeld, he sent a Summary Abatement Order December 5 to board the building. The  
work was done December 14 for a total assessment of $1,124. It was later demoed by  
the owner in February.  
Taylor: I’d like dismissal of these charges because Mr. Dornfeld didn’t look to see  
there was a demolition permit pending or granted already. There were boards and  
24-hour security on site. If he had cause to order the boarding, it was unfounded.  
When he did order it, the people who did the boarding pushed past my security and cut  
the locks on the 4-foot fence and I had to call the police to get the guy to leave. I have  
a police report. Had Mr. Dornfeld checked he would have seen there was work going on  
and no need to order the boarding.  
Yannarelly: Inspector Dornfeld’s notes indicate:  
12/07/2023:*Recheck - House remained open to trespass - missing all windows and  
doors. Junk, refuse and discarded furniture in rear. No communication from property  
owner. No demo permit on file. Building Inspector Zane was at site last week and  
confirmed there was no demo permit on file. Issued work order to board over house  
due to imminent neighborhood danger as entire house open to trespass. Photos. ~MD  
12/12/2023:*Recheck - Spoken to and texted with PO. He adamantly contests work  
order to board up house, I explained scenario and the liability, and advised him to  
appeal board up assessment. House is to be wrecked in coming days; asbestos  
issues were the holdup apparently. Definite confusion with demo permit and process,  
Building Inspector Zane went to site and confirmed that there was not a demo permit  
on file prior to me issuing board up. I attempted to contact PO but no phone number  
or email on file, and PO was unresponsive to Summary Abatement Order that was  
mailed. ~MD  
December 12 he spoke to property owner and he admittedly contested the boarding.  
Taylor: he composed the order on the fifth and post marked it the 5th and I was to  
reply by the sixth and I didn’t receive it until the 8th. There was no way to reply back in  
such a short time. The permit was granted November 23.  
Moermond: you’re saying he didn’t try to get ahold of you?  
Taylor: he didn’t. He met with myself and my mother a year earlier and spoke with me  
and gave me his card.  
Yannarelly: I fail to see whether or not there is actually a pending demo permit or not  
negates the fact that an open building is still a nuisance condition. Whether or not it is  
going to be demoed in a week or not. It is still a nuisance.  
Taylor: if there were no boards on the building it was because my workers were on  
break or it had to be left open for the abatement people to come for pests or  
asbestos. If my workers weren’t there I had security there. When the boarding guy  
came my people were right there and I have photos of the boarding guy. If you look at  
the photos from the City the ones on the north side of the building the boards are on  
the inside of the building. Those are from MY people. The gray boards are the ones  
that Rest Pro put up and he only put up like six or eight boards; not however many he  
wrote in his billing. He over-billed the City. He didn’t board it up, my guys did from the  
inside. The guy cut my lock. When my people told him not to and I had to call the  
cops to get him to leave.  
Moermond: we can definitely check to see when that demo permit application arrived. It  
doesn’t show as having been issued in November in the computer system. There could  
be a paper trail. I’ll ask that if you have that information you can share that says  
something different than what is reported, that would help me. Also, you called the  
police. I’m not finding a police report.  
Taylor: I have the officer’s number. After I texted with Mr. Dornfeld he advised me to  
call Mr. Yannarelly right after it happened. I explained to Mr. Yannarelly what the  
situation was and he told me it shouldn’t be an issue and we’d go through this appeal  
process. And now it is.  
Moermond: I need to resolve this conflicting information to the best of my ability. You  
can send in any additional materials. I’ll ask Mr. Yannarelly to pull the information. Clint  
Zane is the one who is the building trades’ inspector who manages building and demo  
permits for the Vacant Buildings in the City. We can find out more about what path  
that permit application took.  
Taylor: I thought it was coincidental that the letter was in the mail during the only time I  
had to respond.  
Moermond: that’s deemed an emergency situation. You’re saying I didn’t have time to  
get the letter and he didn’t call me. I have notes saying he did call and also put it in the  
mail. Again, conflicting testimony.  
Taylor: Mr. Dornfeld only texts me. He won’t ever speak with me personally; he never  
answers when I call. The St. Paul Police Department officer is Samantha Mancheski.  
Moermond: Joanna Zimny sent an email, and I will have her follow up with my  
recommendation. The Council Public Hearing is June 26.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH TA 24-177  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 1082  
LOEB STREET. (File No. VB2407, Assessment No. 248806)  
Reduce assessment from $5,075 to $1,750.  
Edwardo Rikprashad, owner, appeared via phone  
Moermond: I know you appealed early on and I said for Category 3’s we don’t do  
waivers. You were in the program 4.5 out of the 12-month billable year. Your  
anniversary date is October 2. I’ll recommend proration of the fee. I’ll cut it to $1,750,  
little more than 1/3 the fee.  
Rikprashad: I’m fine with that.  
Moermond: the invoice will go out before the end of the month.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH TA 24-165  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 1971  
NORTONIA AVENUE. (File No. VB2408, Assessment No. 248807)  
Reduce assessment from $5,075 to $1,750.  
Lenny Frolov, owner, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: this is a Vacant Building fee from November  
22, 2023 to November 24, 2024. In the program roughly 4 months out of the 12  
Moermond: I’m thinking I’ll go to a big more than 1/3 and recommend a $1,750  
Frolov: I’m happy with that.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH TA 24-190  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 187  
SEVENTH PLACE EAST. (File No. VB2408, Assessment No. 248807)  
Reduce assessment from $5,075 to $3,400.  
Greg Sofie, Atlas Group, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: this Vacant Building fee covers August 5,  
2023 to August 4, 2024. Within that period they got their Code Compliance certificate.  
March 5, 2024 it was closed. In the Vacant Building program 7 months out of the  
billable year. Total proposed assessment of $5,075.  
Sofie: I know we just paid about $2,600. That was probably within the last month or so.  
Wasn’t the fee like $2,000 some for the year?  
Yannarelly: that was the old fee. The new fee almost doubled.  
Sofie: wow.  
Moermond: that’s for buildings that have been in the Vacant Building program for more  
than a year. Yours is a Category 2. The fee goes up considerably when it is more than  
year. This has been in the Vacant Building program since 2008. That’s the driver  
behind that fee level.  
Sofie: we owned it, we sold it, and then repurchased it again. We always paid the fee  
because we didn’t have much of a defense against it. Once we started doing the  
remodeling, the City was being pretty cooperative with me, and telling me if it was  
completed by such a date they had the authority to waive the fee. That’s the basis of  
why I’m appealing. I don’t have specific names. They said if it was done by the end of  
the year we’ll just remove the fee. In my mind we did finish and we were ready for the  
final inspection mid-December. We did make a lot of attempts to get the City to come  
over and look at it to get the Certificate of Occupancy and Christmas is a bad time,  
lots of people out and calls weren’t returned. I’m not being critical, but I did have to try  
people to see if they even still worked with the City. When we finally did get through  
there was confusion as far as what inspections had already taken place that the City  
didn’t have record of. We were done, per what the City told us about removing the fee.  
We were done, we just couldn’t get the City to come take a look at it.  
We’re just trying to control costs. We put hundreds of thousands of dollars into this. It  
was such a visible eyesore before. We made St. Paul look so much better in my  
mind, by fixing this up. I’m hoping that’s worth something.  
Moermond: I’m hoping it is worth something to you to have a building put back together  
Sofie: won’t be in my lifetime Marcia. That was meant as humor, sorry.  
Moermond: it’s been a Vacant Building since 2008. We’re in year 16 as we talk. I  
appreciate the Department staff gave these waivers/extensions. They had no legal  
authority to do that. I am flummoxed about that situation.  
Sofie: so, Marcia, maybe they didn’t have legal authority but we did rely on it and  
taking the City at its word as to what we had to do.  
Moermond: I understood. That was to have it signed off by the end of year. It looks  
like it wasn’t.  
Sofie: but through no fault of our own Marcia.  
Moermond: I appreciate you’re arguing that, but I’m not going to go with that. I think  
you’ve been in the business long enough and tried to schedule enough inspectors to  
know this isn’t instantaneous. I get you wanted to meet the deadline. The best I can  
offer is to recommend the Council charge you for 2/3 of the year, down to $3,400. If  
someone from Department of Safety & Inspections wants to speak to what was going  
on about inspections, or you do. Those inspector’s names are on the permits. The  
initials on the waivers are the supervisors for those inspectors. I really cannot go lower  
than that recommendation.  
Sofie: I’m really at your mercy. I’m feeling very wronged by it. I relied on what the City  
told us. I wasn’t trying to call on December 30th to ask for inspections the next day. I  
was calling for weeks and weeks. I know things can’t be done the next day, but I felt  
there was ample time to get them to come take a look and therefore not having to pay  
the fee. Joe, are you with the inspection department?  
Yannarelly: I am with Department of Safety & Inspections and I see they kind of went  
out of their bounds to give you these extensions.  
Sofie: they were being cooperative and nice. Again, we relied on it.  
Yannarelly: and it didn’t get accomplished.  
Sofie: right, ok. Again, I’m saying through no fault of my own. We were in compliance.  
They were being nice, so I don’t like being critical. They didn’t say “give us a month to  
get over there to sign off”. I just assumed since we were done, there were a few weeks  
before the end of the year, and I called to try and get them over. I relied on that  
information, whether they had the power or not. It is the voice of the City saying that to  
Moermond: I’ve landed where I’m going to. Even if I took all of that at face value that’s  
two months to get inspections scheduled. I am looking at a significant lag from  
beginning to end. I’m glad the project is done. The Council may look at things  
differently, and perhaps you have more information you will want to add.  
Sofie: well, maybe I do. Let me ask you this. I was hoping for a little more cooperation  
from the City, Marcia.  
Moermond: cooperation is kind of an odd phrase but keep going.  
Sofie: what option do I have now? I just go appear to the Council and state my case  
directly to them?  
Moermond: absolute, in person, appear by phone, or submit something in writing.  
Sofie: how do I do that?  
Moermond: the letter you got has specific instructions on that, but we can follow up  
with you by email about how to do that.  
Sofie: and will I get something with your recommendation I can work off of?  
Moermond: my recommendation is to reduce the fee to $3,400 but we can restate that  
in an email too.  
Sofie: I’m going to try to prove the case that I made numerous attempts and ample  
time to get them to come over and there was confusion on their part as far as what was  
Moermond: your best contact would be to have your general contractor identify the  
inspectors. Otherwise, I’d go to management and see if they—  
Sofie: towards the end we were  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH TA 24-169  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 468  
THOMAS AVENUE. (File No. J2408B, Assessment No. 248107)  
Approve the assessment (noting it has already been paid).  
Selam Hirpo, owner, appeared via phone  
Hirpo: no one told me about this. I paid the $224. I paid yesterday.  
Moermond: we’ll leave it at that and wish you a good rest of the day.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH TA 24-195  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 575  
UNIVERSITY AVENUE WEST. (File No. VB2408, Assessment No.  
Approve the assessment.  
William Ratsamy appeared via phone  
Tiffany Ratsamy, daughter of Peter, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Tiffany Ratsamy: my father Peter is the owner of the 575 LLC, but my brother William  
is doing the bakery.  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: this commercial building entered the Vacant  
Building program August 8 of last year, after the revocation of the Certificate of  
Occupancy. The total proposed assessment of $2,616.  
William Ratsamy: what were the dates?  
Y: August 8, 2023 through August 7, 2024. 9 months into the billable year currently.  
Moermond: we’ve already done 5 months of fee waivers. What’s going on?  
William Ratsamy: we feel we shouldn’t be required to pay the fee because a majority of  
this period is because we were waiting on the City to approve the plans and permits,  
making the building vacant. We submitted our application August 1, 2023 and  
received it back finally December 1, 2023. It looks like almost 4 months of this period  
it was vacant but were also planning and designing the space. March 29 through  
November 14, I’m confused on the dates you provided.  
Tiffany Ratsamy: yes, could you clarify that? We received multiple letters, and they  
don’t correspond with the date you gave us.  
Yannarelly: it went into the program August 8, 2023.  
Moermond: we’ve had this conversation about how the ventilation system needing  
some additional information. Does that sound familiar Ms. Ratsamy?  
Tiffany Ratsamy: it’s been a while.  
Moermond: the finish line of getting out of the Vacant Building program is getting the  
Certificate of Occupancy. That’s the goal here. What is your end game? How far are  
you from getting that?  
William Ratsamy: he said we were on track to complete next month, in June.  
Moermond: I think the current years’ Vacant Building fee is going to go through with  
recommendation for approval. You have already had a 5-month waiver to get this off  
the ground. I don’t see you have any other Vacant Building fees forthcoming based on  
your schedule. I know it took a while to get out of plan review, but I also know there  
was back and forth information in that process to get more information. That is how  
that process works. Yours wasn’t a simple building, it isn’t anyone’s fault, it was just  
more complicated than average. You can of course ask for a different outcome from  
Tiffany Ratsamy: we were hoping for a complete waived fee or a discount.  
Moermond: I’m sure you were but I can’t see my way clear to do that.  
Tiffany Ratsamy: and that’s because of the Fire Certificate of Occupancy?  
Moermond: yes, and the complicating factor is there was a 5-month waiver already and  
by the time you’re out you’ll be in the program 11 out of 12 months. I’ve never  
recommended a waiver of that magnitude. The Council may see it differently, but it  
isn’t something that comes from me.  
Tiffany Ratsamy: the building has to be up to code to get the Certificate of  
Moermond: yes, permits finaled.  
Tiffany Ratsamy: if it is under construction, it can’t happen, right?  
Moermond: yes, it would still be in the Vacant Building program.  
Tiffany Ratsamy: to be honest it just sounds like the City just wants to get money. We  
weren’t trying to be negligent. We’re just trying to improve the neighborhood, but we’re  
being slapped with all these fees. It makes sense, but not, because what could we  
have done if we were under construction, you know?  
Moermond: you want me to say the City is trying to get money out of this. If that were  
the case, I wouldn’t have recommended 5-month waivers. I never do that. I recommend  
three months max. I met with you in the hall and saw my way clear to recommending  
another 60 days, from my perspective. This is the cost of running the Vacant Building  
program. I don’t know what other fees you’re talking about. Permits fees are something  
that everyone else experiences whether it is a Vacant Building or not. If I’m having a  
new water heater installed, I have to pay for the permits. That’s the nature of improving  
a property. It costs money to send out an inspector. I’m not trying to pick your pocket  
on this. I’m sorry if it feels unfair. Running the Vacant Building program isn’t free and  
the fees recover part of the cost of the program. I’m not hearing there have been any  
problems at the property, which is the fantastic. This is the average cost across all the  
buildings in the program. The Council may look at it differently, and that is your next  
stop and is totally fine. My recommendation is to approve the assessment in whole.  
Tiffany Ratsamy: thank you for your explanation about the program. I was unaware of  
Moermond: if it is helpful I can recommend the Council make it payable over a couple  
of years. You can let us know your preference.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH TA 24-192  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 198  
GRANITE STREET. (File No. VB2408, Assessment No. 248807)  
Approve the assessment.  
Gil Kiekenapp, owner, appeared  
Moermond: you’re living elsewhere now?  
Kiekenapp: yes at Lion’s Court, a senior facility.  
Staff report by Supervisor Joe Yannarelly: it entered the Vacant Building program  
November 7, 2023 after a St. Paul Police Department referral who said it met the  
criteria of a Category 2 Vacant Building. The total proposed assessment is $2,616. No  
code compliance requested as of yes.  
Moermond: what are your plans for the house?  
Kiekenapp: I’m 88 years old this year.  
Moermond: congratulations.  
Kiekenapp: good things from my mother, she lived to be 95. I get so many things in  
the mail [lists health issues] and I can’t read it. I’m on the County rolls for assistance.  
My only income is Social Security. $140/month. I don’t have a lot of money to spend. I  
was told to ask about a waiver of the fee. My plans house, the house is unlivable.  
Drains don’t work. Hole in the roof. It has never had a furnace. It has a large gas space  
heater in the dining room, which has stopped working. Once I get my antique furniture  
out it will probably be torn down.  
Moermond: sounds like it may be a candidate for that. Today’s Vacant Building fee it  
seems like your concern is about money leaving right now, as opposed to coming out  
of the house. You don’t have a lot of income; you’re living on assistance. Do not write a  
check to pay this fee. If it goes unpaid it goes onto the property taxes. You’ll have time  
to figure out the property taxes. That is less pressing than if you try to tackle it now. It  
could be the house is sold or demolished, but then it doesn’t come out of your income  
you use to take care of yourself. That’s the smarter way to go with this. Doesn’t sound  
like there’s any question of the house being livable. It does belong in the Vacant  
Building program.  
I did take the liberty of reaching out to Veteran’s Services, since you told Mai Vang  
you were having trouble getting ahold of your case workers. They are going to look  
around and see if they can be of any assistance. I can give them your information if  
that’s ok?  
Kiekenapp: that would be wonderful.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
10:00 a.m. Hearings  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 765  
EDGERTON STREET. (File No. CRT2406, Assessment No. 248205)  
Reduced from $864 to $597.  
Voicemail left at 11:28 am: this is Marcia Moermond from St. Paul City Council calling  
you about your appealed tax assessments for 765 Edgerton & 242 Maria. We’ll try  
reaching back in 10 minutes or so.  
Voicemail left at 11:53 am: this is Marcia Moermond from St. Paul City Council calling  
you again. For 765 Edgerton, the Department is requesting a decrease down to $597,  
deleting the no entry fees. The same situation with 242 Maria, no entry fees were  
assessed, which brings that assessment down to $579. The Council Public Hearing on  
this is May 15. if you want to contest the information on doing so was included in the  
notification for your Legislative Hearing.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 5/15/2024  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 242  
MARIA AVENUE. (File No. CRT2406, Assessment No. 248205)  
Reduce assessment from $757 to $579.  
Voicemail left at 11:28 am: this is Marcia Moermond from St. Paul City Council calling  
you about your appealed tax assessments for 765 Edgerton & 242 Maria. We’ll try  
reaching back in 10 minutes or so.  
Voicemail left at 11:53 am: this is Marcia Moermond from St. Paul City Council calling  
you again. For 765 Edgerton, the Department is requesting a decrease down to $597,  
deleting the no entry fees. The same situation with 242 Maria, no entry fees were  
assessed, which brings that assessment down to $579. The Council Public Hearing on  
this is May 15. if you want to contest the information on doing so was included in the  
notification for your Legislative Hearing.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 5/15/2024  
RLH TA 24-170  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 695  
OHIO STREET. (File No. 2406T, Assessment No. 249005)  
Recommendation forthcoming pending staff review of stump location.  
Daniel Witucki, owner, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Forestry Supervisor Karl Mueller: September 1, 2023 we issued orders  
for 3 trees. 25” in back yard, 17” and 14” inside front yard. All 3 infested with EAB.  
Compliance date of October 2, rechecked October 20. No work done. The contract  
was given to BJ Haines who did the work January 18, 2024 for a total assessment of  
$4,026.67. I didn’t hear from anyone about extensions or anything like that.  
Moermond: why are you appealing Mr. Witucki?  
Daniel Witucki: the first notice I got was pink posted on the building, that was the first  
I heard about the tree period. My wife tried to call around to get estimates. She spoke  
with Mr. Mueller in December. We were contracting with Matt Molinarist to remove  
them. We were going to have six trees removed total. We were under the impression  
everyone was aware we were working on it. The Arborist scheduled Xcel to drop the  
lines for 3 houses to remove the trees. He showed up December 14 with Xcel to do  
that, found out there was some problem so it was rescheduled to after the Holidays.  
Next thing I knew, these trees were gone. That’s where we’re at. The one big tree in the  
back yard, part is on the neighbor’s property from my understanding. That’s my view.  
Moermond: Ramsey County has your address as 566 Orleans. Is that right? That’s  
where the notice went.  
Daniel Witucki: that’s correct.  
Moermond: so, Parks sent their notice to the tax owner with the County. Not sure what  
happened there.  
Mueller: we did send the letter to that address. I didn’t see any returned mail. It was  
sent on or around September 1.  
Moermond: you also spoke to a contractor, what is your ask today Mr. Witucki?  
Daniel Witucki: I guess I’m not sure. I’m kind of upset we spoke with Karl in  
December. Had it scheduled to do. He was going to do six trees plus trimming for  
$6,000. That’s $1,000 a tree. The City sent me a bill for $4,000 for 3 trees. I don’t  
understand how it happened, I felt we had communication. The first I heard was the  
pink notice in October or November. Certainly, I had it scheduled to do much cheaper.  
Moermond: how does the City charge the rates it does?  
Mueller: we have two contractors and they both go out to do a bid, and I gave the  
contract to the low bid. That’s how that price came about.  
Moermond: I hear you want the assessment decreased, and I’m struggling with the  
reason to do so.  
Mueller: I don’t recall getting a call about them doing the trees. I have no record or  
recollection of that. I’ve spoken to Dan before about another property on Grand. Maybe  
last year.  
Daniel Witucki: that was for a commercial building there. My wife spoke with you. I’m  
not trying to blame, but from our perspective we did talk to you and never received any  
other communication or deadline after that. We had a guy show up with the power  
company. We thought we were all on the same page.  
Wife: it was probably more November when I spoke with you Karl, you said they do the  
timing based on the season. If it isn’t done by December it would be spring. You said  
we could hire our own arborist to do it, but you also said we would get notice before  
someone came out to do it so we had a heads up.  
Mueller: I’m sorry, I deal with a lot of properties. When I hear that, I do usually note it in  
my documentation about an extension, and I don’t have a record of that. I usually  
would do that. I don’t recall that conversation, I’m sorry.  
Daniel Witucki: we do like Karl, but somewhere some wires got crossed. I don’t feel  
like we could have been done anymore. There’s no way to take a tree like that out in 5  
days. It required the power company. It was a big deal. Part of that tree is on the  
neighbor’s property too. It would have cost me about $2,000 versus about $4,000.  
Moermond: does the stump still exist?  
Mueller: yes.  
Moermond: Mr. Mueller, when you have this type of conversation do you say the City  
reaches back about when they’d be coming. Does that mean someone will call me  
about when the crew would show up?  
Mueller: it isn’t the City’s responsibility, once the contractor gets the contract their job  
is to notify the homeowner, especially if there is a line drop, since their power would be  
interrupted. I don’t know if that happened; I can talk to them. The communication is in  
their hands. We work with them on any complications, access problems things like  
that. Typically, it is all in the contractor’s hands as far as communication.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH TA 24-171  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 300  
BROADWAY STREET. (File No. J2406P, Assessment No. 248405)  
Delete the assessment.  
Moermond: the order was blank therefore the Department is requesting this is deleted.  
So recommended.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH TA 24-193  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 315  
PIERCE STREET. (File No. 2406T, Assessment No. 249005)  
Delete the assessment.  
Moermond: the order went to the correct owner, but the tax assessment was sent to  
the wrong PIN, so the assessment is being deleted and reassessed to the correct  
address, who got the order to begin with?  
Forestry Supervisor Karl Mueller: yes. It was one number off.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH TA 24-176  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 355  
GERANIUM AVENUE EAST. (File No. J2408E, Assessment No.  
Delete the assessment.  
No one appeared  
Moermond: we had previous appeals no this with discussion that this would be deleted.  
So recommended.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH TA 24-180  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 1223  
MINNEHAHA AVENUE EAST. (File No. J2408E, Assessment No.  
Delete the assessment.  
No one appeared  
Moermond: order and work order were referencing the wrong property. 90% of the  
problem existed on one property but the order went to the other property. So  
recommend deletion, per that request from the Department.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
Special Tax Assessments-Rolls  
RLH AR 24-36  
RLH AR 24-37  
RLH AR 24-38  
RLH AR 24-39  
Ratifying the assessments for Collection of Vacant Building Registration  
fees billed during March 29 to November 14, 2023. (File No. VB2408,  
Assessment No. 248807)  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
Ratifying the assessments for Securing and/or Emergency Boarding  
services during December 2023. (File No. J2408B, Assessment No.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
Ratifying the assessments for Collection of Fire Certificate of Occupancy  
fees billed during December 21 to 22, 2023. (File No. CRT2407,  
Assessment No. 248206)  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
Ratifying the assessments for Excessive Use of Inspection or Abatement  
services billed during October 23 to November 21, 2023. (File No.  
J2408E, Assessment No. 248307)  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
RLH AR 24-40  
RLH AR 24-41  
Ratifying the assessments for Graffiti Removal services during November  
21 to December 8, 2023. (File No. J2406P, Assessment No. 248405)  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
Ratifying the assessments for Removal of Diseased and/or Dangerous  
Tree(s) services during January 2024. (File No. 2406T, Assessment No.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 6/26/2024  
11:00 a.m. Hearings  
Summary & Vehicle Abatement Orders  
Appeal of Annette Ebelhar to a Vehicle Abatement Order at 408  
Grant to July 15, 2024 for compliance with orders, noting one parking space may be  
maintained if gravel refreshed and boundaries clearly established. If expansion of  
parking area sought, must go through site plan review.  
Annette Ebelhar, owner appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Lisa Martin: we have a Vehicle Abatement Order issued for  
2 vehicles parked on an unimproved surface. Photos are attached. There is probably  
one gravel area for one vehicle in the past, by looking at stamp. Not for two.  
Ebelhar: I would agree with that. When I got the Vehicle Abatement Order I got both  
the Dodge and the Buick. The Dodge is parked on gravel. 34.08 of City Code does say  
gravel counts as a surface I can use. That’s why I’m wondering the Dodge is on the  
Vehicle Abatement Order.  
Moermond: is that your only question?  
Ebelhar: yes.  
Moermond: it was probably done because if you to were repair or replace the surface it  
would have to be with asphalt moving forward, not class 5. That doesn’t mean you can’t  
fix up preexisting gravel. You can maintain the area you have in class 5. That’s what  
I’m seeing, is you have rough edges and maybe some growth, weeds and such coming  
out so a fresh toping with clean borders would make it acceptable. That’s more a  
correction order than a Vehicle Abatement Order, but we can handle it. I agree the  
Dodge is on an ok surface, but I’d like to note it is the Buick that shouldn’t be parked  
where it is. I’d like you to get that surface squared away which would be more  
affordable option.  
Ebelhar: I can’t afford to have it paved. I could get new gravel.  
Moermond: my ask is you clean it up with additional class 5, remove the weeds,  
square up the boundaries. You’ve done a refresh or repair. I understand dollars are  
tight, it is reasonable to say you could have it done by July 15. A couple months for  
you to do it. If you want to expand to where the Buick is you’d have to go through plan  
review and talk to them about expanding the surface area.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 5/22/2024  
1:00 p.m. Hearings  
Vacant Building Registrations  
Appeal of Franchesca Vann-Wickstrom to a Vacant Building  
Registration Notice and Summary Abatement Order at 705 DAYTON  
Layover LH May 28, 2024 at 1 pm. Code Enforcement staff to reinspect to abate or  
update items on orders.  
Franchesca Vann-Wickstrom, occupant and administrator of estate, appeared  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Mitch Imbertson: we have as a one-unit property, previously  
owner occupied and not in the Fire Certificate of Occupancy program. We became  
involved after a referral from Code Enforcement, allegedly gross and unsanitary with  
multiple animals in the property (per animal control). Inspector Thurner was unable to  
get in, issued orders for access and to obtain a Fire Certificate of Occupancy. That  
was based on he was showing the listed owner to be deceased and were given the  
appellant’s name as Responsible Party for the property since the owner of record was  
no longer living there, to be legally occupied it needs a Certificate of Occupancy.  
March 21 there was a second notice sent, rescheduled to allow more time based on  
the inspector being told we were waiting for transfer of the deed. When he was back  
out on the reinspection it hadn’t been registered for a Certificate of Occupancy and  
didn’t appear to be occupied at the time, so the referral was made to the Vacant  
Building program. That was on April 1.  
Staff report by Supervisor Matt Dornfeld: I personally made it a Category 2 Vacant  
Building April 2, 2024 per that referral report. At the time of my inspection the property  
did appear to be occupied, however I didn’t make contact on my first inspection. There  
appeared to be a large dog in the window and some junk out back. I did issue a  
Summary Abatement Order for that stuff and to secure the garage since it was going  
to enter the Vacant Building program. My follow up recheck April 10, 2024 I was able  
to make contact with an occupant. I didn’t receive his name; I do have a physical  
description. There was a large dog accompanying him at the door and a cat waiting for  
me on the front steps. Definitely occupied. I advised the occupant about what was  
going on. He disagreed. Was cordial and I advised him to file this appeal. I think it  
took some time to do so. I have received a few neighborhood complaints, people are  
curious about what is going on, why it remains occupied but is in the Vacant Building  
Moermond: Theodora C Vann is the owner and now deceased?  
Vann-Wickstrom: that was my mother. She passed April 21, 2022.  
Moermond: is this property in probate? Did she have a will?  
Vann-Wickstrom: it was messy, it happened quickly after a cancer diagnosis. We  
called SMRLS, I was deemed to do everything and we were told by the lawyer we didn’t  
have to take anything to get notarized. She assumed her pension and her money would  
follow to me, so she willed the house to me. But we found out after she passed it  
doesn’t go like that. My niece had come to visit----  
Moermond: Theodora is your mom. You are the informal estate representative, unless  
we have something from Court saying you are.  
Vann-Wickstrom: I am formally as of April 2. I had my court date.  
Moermond: Marco Durell Bastian—  
Vann-Wickstrom: no. He is my niece’s husband’s little cousin. Tiffany C  
Moermond: so, he’s the cousin of her husband?  
Vann-Wickstrom: yes.  
Moermond: and her husband  
Vann-Wickstrom: Jarmel Brinkley.  
Moermond: Jordan is your daughter.  
Vann-Wickstrom: yes ma’am. Matt talked to my husband, Isaac Garland Junior, but  
he has no claim to the property.  
Moermond: tell me what is going on.  
Vann-Wickstrom: last March my sister, we’re 15 years apart, Jacqueline Vann, we did  
a transfer of death deed when my niece was up here. We just found out we needed to  
have a clearance certificate through John Rominski. For it to actually go into niece’s  
name. She was going to refinance the loan because she had a housing voucher, but  
there were only a few years left on the mortgage so we decided the ones staying there  
could live there as long as they paid the bills and took care of the property. That was  
Jacqueline Vann, Starr Antoinette Vann Jackson, and her spouse Sidney Owens. I  
found out last May they just stopped paying anything. My sister stabbed her boyfriend  
and went to jail last March. He passed away. So, my niece Starr and Sid reached out  
saying they couldn’t’ handle the bills, who could move in? At the time me and my family  
were looking to move anyway, so we moved back to 705 Dayton May of 2023.  
Everything was going fine, I was told by Starr and Sid they would move out the end of  
May, and they never did. We were going to split the bills. July of last year my niece  
Tiffany Vann had her house condemned, she has four children. They took Marco. 11  
dogs, a cat and a snake. I allowed them to move into the property because I was told  
my Tiffany she would move out within a couple of weeks. That turned into months, they  
were destroying the house, the animals are out of control, her kids were messy. I was  
going to process eviction. I spoke to my niece Imani, in the Air Force in Charleston.  
When we first had this happen, Imani reached out to Mr. Thurner, because we thought  
she was the owner. She said she was in the air force and he let it go then. Then  
suddenly two months ago I hear from him again.  
January 29 there was an incident. My daughter had just returned from NC. We just got  
home from a celebration. My daughter comes running down the stairs saying Marco is  
beating up his girlfriend. I told her to ignore them. Then we hear a big boom. There’s a  
glass door at the entry, Marco’s minor girlfriend had come back with her father and  
brother and were about to fight a bunch of people in the house. My husband and I go  
out to diffuse the situation. My husband is almost 50. We had a couple of drinks for  
our anniversary. Every time he asks the mother, brother and beat up daughter what  
happened my family just got loud trying to avoid them telling him. Finally, the little girl  
told him about Marco physically assaulting her. My family is in the entryway with me.  
My husband said Marco, you have to go. All H*ll breaks lose. My nephew kicks in the  
door. I had called the police by then. Jarvis comes in and basically assaulted my  
husband. My husband was trying to restrain him. I get Jarvis out of there. Tiffany is  
standing in the doorway, had a gun. Police finally come. That’s why there’s order for  
protections. They left all the dogs, the cat, the snake. They damaged the house. We  
went through court stuff. We were sleeping in the car, the hotel. I had to let my  
daughter stay with family so she wasn’t exposed to this. She’s been there since  
January. Cleaning up at gas stations. I haven’t been able to work. They were stealing  
my mail.  
The house is boarded now because March 21 I came home from the ER, my husband  
starts saying that Marco had climbed through the window with a knife. Jamel was  
outside orchestrating the whole thing. I’m wrestling this young man. I had to serve the  
eviction notice. I got Marco evicted effective March.  
Moermond: did he leave?  
Vann-Wickstrom: we couldn’t find him. Had an OFP put into place. Last Wednesday it  
went into effect because they couldn’t find him to serve him. March 21 when he came  
through the window while the police are there and they’re watching me wrestle this  
young man. I pulled out some of his hair. We were told we needed to leave, so my  
husband, me and our one dog. The St. Paul Police Department is standing there why  
we’re being berated by Jamel, Tiffany, Tiana, and Marco all yelling and calling me  
names. They busted every one of my mother’s windows on the first floor, and the big  
glass door going into the house. They left dog feces in every part of the yard. That’s  
cleaned up now. They trashed the house. We are still working on cleaning it. That’s  
why the windows are boarded. I haven’t been able to work since December due to my  
health. This is what is going on. They steal the mail. That’s why I wasn’t getting the  
Summary Abatement Orders, why I wasn’t responding.  
Moermond: if the windows are broken the City has to board them.  
Vann-Wickstrom: we boarded them. They are jealous because Imani Vann-Jackson,  
my niece, signed the house over to me. She doesn’t want anything to do with any of  
this anymore. IT is still going on. I have child protection on me because of this.  
Moermond: do you have with you the documents making you the representative of the  
Vann-Wickstrom: yes, I gave them when I filed the appeal.  
Moermond: I see a quit-claim deed from Imani to you.  
Vann-Wickstrom: and I just got the clearance from John Rominski to record the deed.  
Moermond: Mr. Dornfeld were you apprised of any of this?  
Dornfeld: there was a lot there Ms. Moermond. I guess I certainly sensed there was  
some stuff going on. I didn’t quite realize the magnitude.  
Moermond: what I’m concerning myself with is who is the estate rep or in control of the  
property. It is you; it is quite recent. It looks like it followed the day after it went into  
the Vacant Building program. What I know is that when the property was not  
owner-occupied, or a legal rep of the estate, the Certificate of Occupancy wanted to do  
an inspection and couldn’t get in to do that. When an inspection did occur, some  
significant violations were found.  
Imbertson: it sounds like when inspector Thurner saw it, it was right after the eviction.  
Moermond: so, we have these things identified. We have you being formally appointed  
to represent. We need to clear the orders on the conditions that did exist, whether or  
not it is owner occupied. That needs to be addressed. These seem to be violations  
that these aren’t physical issues with the building, outside of the boarded windows, the  
gross unsanitary seems to be the worst thing.  
Imbertson: I agree with that focus.  
Moermond: what’s the deal with the windows now?  
Vann-Wickstrom: my uncle is helping and I reached out to a few programs but it can’t  
be condemned and has to be in my name. I have someone coming to do an estimate  
for the ones that are completely broken.  
Moermond: I’m asking because you have to be able to be able to get out in a fire. St.  
Paul Police Department or the St. Paul Fire Department have to be able to get in. I’m  
particularly concerned about sleeping areas.  
Vann-Wickstrom: those are not boarded at all.  
Moermond: can there be a limited amount of time to deal with proper windows  
installed? Yes. But not a long leash. I’m not opposed to it being out of the Vacant  
Building program, but it seems some orders need to be cleared.  
Imbertson: if everything is in order and ultimately ends up as owner occupied the  
typical procedure would be to transfer to Code as follow up, but it doesn’t sound like  
everything is processed for that yet.  
Moermond: I think it is with the most recent documents from April 24.  
Vann-Wickstrom: we have one dog registered to this home. All the dog feces is  
cleaned up. They broke our lawnmower and everything, but we got the lawn mowed. I  
have to replace the glass in the storm window.  
Imbertson: I think it should be sent back to Code Enforcement.  
Moermond: call Lisa Martin right away tomorrow morning to get an inspection. They  
may find a life safety issue. I’m looking for a decent bill of health on this place. If there  
are remaining items I need a plan put together to address any remaining items. I  
anticipate you’ll get out of the Vacant Building program. We need an inspector to  
confirm the items making it condemnable are addressed. We’ll flag it for Ms. Martin.  
We’ll talk again May 28, you may not need to come down.  
Laid Over to the Legislative Hearings due back on 5/28/2024  
Appeal of Shai Leibovich and Carolyn Brown to a Vacant Building  
Registration Renewal Notice at 140 ISABEL AVENUE EAST.  
Waive VB to June 10, 2024.  
Shai Leibovich, BPH Homes, appeared via phone  
Carolyn Brown, property representative, appeared via phone  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Mitch Imbertson: no recent Fire Certificate of Occupancy  
involvement, it was a referral from Fire back in 2021. We ordered it vacated.  
Staff report by Supervisor Matt Dornfeld: this is a renewal notice for a Category 2  
Vacant Building, opened May 21, 2021. They have a Code Compliance and permits.  
Rehab ongoing. No recent nuisances. New fee due May 21, 2024.  
Leibovich: we applied for a new Code Compliance a few months ago, the previous one  
expired. We pulled new permits. Some should be closed. Plumbing is being inspected  
Thursday. Electrical is today. We may not be able to finish by the end of the month, I  
just would like a few more days grace and not be fined $5,000.  
Moermond: your renewal date is May 21. You’ll have your permits closed within 30 days  
of that?  
Leibovich: yes.  
Moermond: I’ll recommend a 30-day waiver, fee waived through June 10, 2024.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 5/22/2024  
1:30 p.m. Hearings  
Orders To Vacate - Fire Certificate of Occupancy  
RLH VO 24-17  
Appeal of Patricia Whitney for Luke Nilles to a Fire Certificate of  
Occupancy Revocation and Order to Vacate at 891 IGLEHART  
Grant appeal relating to units 2 and 3 lifting revocation and order to vacate, and grant  
to July 1, 2024 for reinstatement of Fire C of O for unit 1 or unit must be vacated.  
Luke Nilles, owner, appeared  
Patricia Whitney, attorney, appeared  
[Moermond gives background of appeals process]  
Staff report by Supervisor Mitch Imbertson: 3 unit residential building. Inspector  
Thurner did a renewal inspection with an appointment letter back in November 2022.  
There were a number of trips to the property to get access at first, and then  
reinspections. In June 2023 we also received a complaint in the middle of the  
inspection process that brought a few additional items to our attention. A few items  
come and go from the lists from 2022 through now. More recently we’ve been trying to  
do reinspection but been repeatedly rescheduled and cancelled due to ability to get  
into the property to do maintenance. Correspondence from Luke and one of the  
tenants who copied us, we are aware of dispute about allowing access to unit 1 for  
repairs. The Property manager intends to do the repairs and doesn’t dispute the items  
on the report, but the tenant has been complicating things by not allowing access to  
do the repairs. We’ve been trying to remove ourselves from the Civil dispute between  
tenants and landlord, though we’re aware of it because of being copied on emails from  
both sides. This came to a revocation and order to vacate due to long-term  
noncompliance. We were unable to accommodate any further extensions without a  
specific work plan or getting into the property to do the repairs. There are no items  
standing out on the report to me at this point. Standard items.  
Moermond: so orders only left on unit 1 and a couple of stray issues. Fire Pit, some  
Whitney: tenant in unit 1 is a voucher holder. It went through standard PHA inspection  
before she moved in mid-may 2023. Obviously from what transpired since she wasn’t  
happy with what she saw despite the unit passing HUD standards. Management  
provided notice of going in to do the repairs. It has gone downhill from then. I cannot  
comfortably advise my client to just give notice and go in with force based on what I’ve  
been advised on what may happen. This particular tenant has significant mental health  
concerns. They may have access to instruments of violence. I cannot counsel my  
client to give 24 hours notice to go in despite what tenant says. They have also  
expressed requested for reasonable accommodations citing a variety of disabilities  
around cleanliness of maintenance. Dust may upset or kill her. So we’ve tried to  
reasonably accommodate. She had a SMRLS attorney working on her behalf, Mr.  
Nilles was working with them to try and accommodate. Essentially the tenant felt they  
weren’t representing her interests accurately, so she fired them. Mr. Nilles has been  
trying to work with County social services people to try and get help. It has come down  
to the fact that he got an agreement she was supposed to move to a hotel we were  
paying for, for 2 nights, to do the interior corrections in the unit. That was when SMRLS  
was fired. She accepted an alternative version of that, which was she was paid the  
amount and she could find her own hotel. It was supposed to happen this past  
weekend. At the last hour she said she can’t do it. She supposedly has a live-in  
caregiver who isn’t on the lease and she refuses to identify. My client provided a  
cashier’s check for the hotel. She is now demanding more now because her alleged  
live-in caregiver won’t share a room. We have received notice from St. Paul PHA this  
week that she has exercised her right under the Violence against women act and the  
lease terminated last Saturday. That means she should have left. But again, she’s  
making demands for the second person in the alternative housing. We’ve tried to reach  
out to PHA. She hasn’t exercised any statutory rights; to us it is irrelevant. Luke has  
said multiple times if she wants to leave, its fine, just let us know. HE isn’t holding her  
to any 30-day notice requirement or anything. The most recent communications seem  
to indicate she has given a 30-day notice. There is no deadline. If you read what she  
wrong strictly one could argue she gave notice April 26 for immediate vacate, or April  
14 that may be broadly interpreted as a 30-day notice. But that isn’t necessary  
because we’ve told her she can leave whenever she would like. We want to get in. We  
can’t send someone in with a potential weapon of violence. The threats are there.  
Nilles: I would just add we’ve spent a lot of time trying to get into the unit or a situation  
where the tenant is comfortable and a willing participant in this. She’s very quick to be  
in this extreme place with demands. It is difficult. The mental health concern is the  
part that is hard to manage. Within a month of her moving in, we were there to address  
some window issues and fix some blinds. We had 3 repair people in the unit, the  
tenant was watching closely, guarding. We had a few windows in the living room and  
the door to the bedroom was closed. A repairman asked if it was a closet or bedroom,  
knowing the bedroom had a window. It was phrased in a way it was assumed he was  
asking for permission. He opened the door and she became unhinged and violent. She  
verbally assaulted the whole group. It went into the backyard and alley. It was  
dramatic. During the course of that she mentioned using her licensed ability to protect  
her property if needed. That’s been hanging over a lot of this. We’re doing this as  
politely as we can, trying not to force the issue. She genuinely feels threatened by any  
authority, especially a landlord. It has been difficult to navigate. Shortly after that we  
met 3 meetings in the unit with Public Health on behalf of the tenant. He helped  
mediate and expressed to us some of the health concerns which was helpful. We had  
constructive conversations around that, specifically the creation of dust. We  
formulated a detailed plan to fix some flooring and window issues. It was requested we  
provide organic nontoxic materials when possible for flooring and paint. We sourced  
that. it was then requested to talk to the manufacturer about a full list of ingredients,  
which we did and presented. Before that could come to a conclusion the tenant felt  
that the Public Health worker wasn’t representing her well enough, so we were back  
directly communicating with her, and never allowed to enter. Then she had an agency  
working with her son who was employed to be a PCA. They tried to get the PSA on the  
lease and coordinate some of these, she ended up throwing them and her son out of  
her life. SMRLS came into the mix last fall, Sarah Vale, I explained things to her. That  
didn’t really go anywhere. Ms. Vale ended up disappearing. Then earlier this spring I  
had another communication from Ms. Vale. I don’t know the specifics, but Sarah  
ended up stepping away and Mr. Mueller stepped in. We negotiated with Thomas at the  
tenant’s request to help her move to a new place, that in the last minute filled with  
absurd demands and didn’t trust doing them would result in the desired outcome. She  
ended up firing SMRLS altogether. Most recently we expressed to the tenant that this  
has to conclude. We have to fix this. The other people are being threatened with being  
thrown out too. That has resulted in a slight change in tone. She’s shown she isn’t the  
best at handling these things herself. As of today, she’s asking for a couple more days  
to put the pieces together to find accommodations. For the sake of the others in the  
building I’d like to give it at least another week to resolve this. Based on her rights and  
notice to vacate it could be argued she gave up possession of the unit April 26. We’d  
likely have grounds to evict right now. Even if we exercise that it would take at least a  
Whitney: at least that, and that is if things go smoothly, which I don’t foresee. I don’t  
see her change in tone as positively as she does. The tenant was given $175 a night  
for 2 nights to be out of the apartment to do the work, now that isn’t enough.  
Nilles: even giving her the payment was a victory because we tried to do it months ago.  
Then she asked for $50 for meals, $20 a day for parking, travel expenses. She has  
acknowledged the receipt of that in writing. It took us 5 months to get there.  
Moermond: what is the ask on time?  
Whitney: if I filed today, at least a month, that is memorial day. She gets 7 days to  
vacate. If she fails to vacate we have to do a writ. Sheriff’s department is 2 weeks  
behind on removing someone. Best case scenario is Mid June. If she asks for a trial,  
even longer, another 2 weeks. Judge has 3 months to write it. That’s all summer. We  
don’t want that. we want this done.  
Moermond: in the past, the Department has revoked for specific portions. I will  
recommend the Council lift the revocation on units 2 and 3 and maintain revocation on  
Unit 1. If repairs are done by July 1, the revocation is gone. If not done by then, the  
unit shall be vacated.  
Nilles: I would add that the screens and the fire pit are taken care of.  
Whitney: it would make a cleaner record for Court.  
Moermond: we’ll send this to Council May 22, and I’d love to have a note in the file  
saying as follow up the other items in the orders have been addressed.  
Imbertson: that is absolutely doable.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 5/22/2024  
2:00 p.m. Hearings  
Fire Certificates of Occupancy  
Appeal of Gloria Berg to a Fire Certificate of Occupancy Correction  
Layover to LH May 14, 2024 for further staff discussion. Recommendation forthcoming.  
Leif Johnson, Executive Director of Rhakma, appeared via phone  
Eric Lint, facilities and maintenance director, appeared via phone  
Gloria Berg, Rhakma, appeared via phone  
Staff report by Supervisor Mitch Imbertson: this is a residential R3 duplex in our Fire  
Certificate of Occupancy program. This was a renewal inspection by Inspector  
Tessman. An initial inspection was done in April, 3 items noted. Some questions  
about each of the items, item 1 on the dryer vent. The inspector noted 10 feet of  
flexible venting without UL listing for the vent. That was measured by management and  
thought length was acceptable per code. We’d need to confirm the length and see the  
UL listing for the duct in order to approve the vent. If we can confirm a UL listed vent  
installed correctly, we may be able to accept that without changes.  
Item 2, the egress door locks, the inspector said the common front and back entry  
doors had keypad locks that required a key or code to unlock. There was no way to  
exit without going through a locked door, in violation of the Fire Code. I see a proposal  
for an alternative locking arrangement. It appears to match a controlled egress door in  
the state fire code. It has provisions for R3 occupancy when a person’s clinical needs  
require containment and has a number of conditions to be allowed. One is it is only  
permitted in buildings with a full sprinkler system. So, even if the other conditions are  
met, it wouldn’t be allowed. That sprinkler system allows some level of safety for  
occupants and additional time to evacuate. It isn’t something we’d be comfortable with  
without that condition.  
For item 3, exterior wall maintenance, I would clarify the sections cited in the letter are  
standard language referring to the property maintenance code and not all sections are  
applicable to each case. We just want the part in bold repaired, exterior brick is  
coming loose and crumbling. It sounds from the proposal they will make the repairs,  
just some confusion around the way things are cited in the letter.  
Moermond: the first item up is the dryer vent. I can grant an extension but I cannot  
grant a variance from the Code because that would be a building code variance which I  
am not allowed to do. That goes to the Building Official.  
Imbertson: we can remeasure. Has anyone with Rhakma verified the UL listing and  
have documentation to provide?  
Berg: we can send it as it is available.  
Moermond: so item one checked off. That moves us to egress doors and locks.  
Berg: the fire inspection notice identified the egress doors and locks; I didn’t bring up  
as part of the grant we are looking at installing the fire sprinkler system as well.  
Moermond: I thought it indicated it hadn’t been secured, so it wasn’t definitive. So  
proposed pending financing?  
Berg: we know it has to be done either way via regulations, but as a nonprofit if we can  
get help from a grant it would greatly help us. We’re asking for an extension on that.  
Moermond: the extension would be until when?  
Berg: we should know about the grant by July 1. We are trying to get things updated  
before then. I do know the State is very far behind on approving projects. 12 weeks for  
approval, then the work done. I am not prepared for dates. Can I email that to you?  
Moermond: that doesn’t mean it is granted. Then the question is whether the current  
condition exist pending that outcome. While you address it while your financing comes  
through and contractor can address it. How significant is this in the scheme of things.  
Egress is significant.  
Berg: we need to contact the State to see how long they’re taking to even approve a  
drawing. We submitted one the beginning of April it is 12 weeks out. We’d need that  
for the sprinkler.  
Moermond: so, your request is 12 weeks?  
Berg: from the beginning of June plus time to get the work done.  
Moermond: you’re asking until October 1?  
Berg: that’s probably reasonable.  
Moermond: well, it is your ask. Tell me about last item, bricks on the exterior. It looks  
significant. The deadline in the orders was one month on all of it. What are you looking  
at in terms of the brick repair?  
Berg: can we request end of June for the bricks?  
Moermond: July 1, 2024 works for me.  
Laid Over to the Legislative Hearings due back on 5/14/2024  
3:00 p.m. Hearings  
Ratifying the Appealed Special Tax Assessment for property at 672  
RIVOLI STREET. (File No. CG2401A2, Assessment No. 240112)  
Approve the assessment.  
Voicemail left at 3:26 pm: this is Marcia Moermond from St. Paul City Council trying to  
reach Quamar Ahmed about your special tax assessment. We tried April 25 in the  
morning indicating we’ll try again now. I’m going to recommend the Council approve this  
assessment and we’ll send an email with how to testify at Council.  
Referred to the City Council due back on 5/15/2024