By Adam Swift
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers wants the city to do something about the rundown property at 585 North Shore Road, but there is little the city can do currently because of ongoing legal action.
Yourelo, Your Full Service Relocation Corporation of Boston has been the listed owner of the warehouse-style building since 2016.
“Approximately three years ago, I met with outside legal counsel and the owner of the property … and I made suggestions about this property,” said Powers. “It’s a dangerous property, we had an oil spill down there several years ago, people broke in there. I myself had trouble getting over the planks that were inside the building because many were missing.”
Powers asked the municipal services department where the building currently stands with the city.
“I want to see it torn down,” said Powers. “It’s a danger to the people down there and it’s also not a pretty building to look at for people coming through our city.”
Powers said he also wanted to know what the owners of the building owe the city in fines and back taxes.
“I want to respectfully remind the council that this matter is currently in active litigation; that means I’m very limited to what I can inform you as well as what I can answer,” said assistant city solicitor Cheryl McCormick on behalf of the department of municipal inspections. “We know that in February of 2018, the city filed a land court action for foreclosure on a tax title lien. That action is currently open and pending and is on hold.”
In October of 2019, the owner of the property filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, a federal court with a federal judge, according to McCormick. In November of 2019, the property owner filed an adversary procedure against the city in the bankruptcy court, and McCormick said that matter is closed.
“Why the long delays?” McCormick asked. “I hear you loud and clear Councillor Powers. I can tell you that this has been in active litigation for five years.”
The length of time is due to the complexity of the matters and the effect that Covid has had on the court system, which caused significant delays, she added.
“Although there are currently two pending actions in court, the action in land court is on hold, and the bankruptcy action in federal court is the primary action,” said McCormick. “There is a bankruptcy stay.”
When someone files for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect, which temporarily stops creditors and other collection agencies from making collection efforts. McCormick said that is why the city cannot force any other action at this time.
“It should be noted that the city has and continues to actively and aggressively protect its legal interest in all legal proceedings and continues to do so til today,” McCormick said. “However, it is out of the city’s hands at this time. I understand that this can be challenging for all of you given the ongoing conditions of the property, but ultimately, we must respect, be patient, and understand the court’s authority and wait for further directives from the court while we remain fierce advocates with the ultimate goal of having the property brought back into full compliance.”
Powers asked if there was anything the city could currently do about the troubling and dangerous condition of the building.
“With regards to the condition, no one wants to see the condition of the property remain, but I can tell you our hands are tied with further action pending the outcome of the bankruptcy action,” said McCormick. “The whole purpose of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that the petitioner, the debtor, would come up with an approved plan to pay its debt. It’s premature to proceed any further until we get further directive from the court.”