At Tuesday night's Council meering there is an agenda item that caught my attention because it is being introduced by newly elected Councilman Jonathan Meltz, How, I wondered, would a new Councilman be the one to introduce this item, or why, given that based on the history of this property, this was something that should be introduced by the Village Manager.
This prompted me to go look at the Agenda Packet to see what backup material accompanied this discussion item, and I found this email from Village Attorney Richard Sarafan to Village Manager Tom Benton.
THE VILLAGE BY THE BAY
THE DALTON HOUSE - A PROPERTY THAT RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CODE ENFORCEMENT PRACTICES IN THE VILLAGE
MAY 15, 2017
A CRESPOGRAM SPECIAL SERIES
The fact that the portion of how much money the Village would get from the old judgement was either left blank, or whited out, as well as several of the comments made by Sarafan in the email, including the one I've highlighted in BLUE that I will get to below, prompted me to send him a public records request, for all of the correspondence he had had with anyone regarding this property.
His first answer is one that I don't think a lot of folks in the Village understand when it comes to what it means to have a part-time Village Attorney who works for a private law firm.
Even though we have a contract with Richard Sarafan for him to represent the Village as the Village Attorney, he farms out a lot of the job of being the Village Attorney to other lawyers in his firm, which as Sarafan points out in the first sentence of his response to me, means that he's not doing the work, but someone else is, and consequently in this instance he claimed to have no first hand knowledge of the correspondence I was asking for. (I will be addressing the whole issue of Mr. Sarafan role as a part-time Village Attorney and his billing practices at some point in the near future.)
I sent Sarafan another request for all the communications, and this is what I got.
The correspondence reflected what Sarafan had told Village the Council at the April 4th Council meeting when he first raised the possible sale of this property.
The questions that came to mind when I read Sarafan's various statements were ones that I think are also questions that concern a number of residents, and they all focus on policies behind Code Enforcement in the Village.
More than any other topic, the activities of Code Enforcement has been the number one issue that people cited when I've asked them what they think is the number one problem at Village Hall.
The first thing that struck me regarding the deteriorating condition and situation regarding this particular house was Richard Sarafan's comment to the Council, that, "many years ago, a default judgement was obtained for $120,000 and with interest, it had grown to approximately $140,000."
How could a default judgement be obtained "many years ago," and then nothing done about it, and why had a previous deal fallen through "due to the Village's judgment and running fines and charges.?"
Because I only became aware of this information a few days ago, I've not been able to do the kind of research that I normallly do, but I also think, that even without any additional information something isn't necessarily right about what is going on in the Village when it comes to code enforcement practices or the resulting situations where property liens are being placed against property owners.
I would like to hear from those of you who have something to offer on these subjects, and rather than being subjected to the snipping that I now seem to evoke from some of our most sensitive and/or dipshit residents over my writings, I would encourage those of you with information to contact me privately. All conversations are private!!!!
My phone number is: 305.759.4788
My email is: email@example.com