Demos for developers

Submitted by lmcshane on Wed, 05/23/2007 - 12:35.

Statement from Brian J. Cummins

Council Representative, Cleveland City Council Ward 15

Information to-date Regarding Demolition of 2606 Riverside Avenue

Dated:  May 22nd, 2007

On Sunday morning, May 20th, 2007, the boarded-up, condemned house located at 2606 Riverside Avenue was demolished in error in what appears to be a case of a new aggressive contractor acting without full authority from the City of Cleveland’s Building and Housing Department.

That same day it was confirmed that the new owner of the property (Chuck Pigoni) was not aware of the demolition and was not contacted previously to the demo being executed.  Pigoni, purchased the property approximately one month prior. 

A representative from the demolition company/contractor, F & S Satka, when reached by phone the on Sunday (5/20/07)  stated his firm won the bid for the demo the previous Wednesday (5/16/07), and said they had all of the proper paperwork required to do the demo. Subsequently our office has received information from the Building and Housing Department that the contractor did not have what is known as a “Notice to Proceed”.

On Monday (5/21/07), our office confirmed a meeting with the Director and appropriate staff from the Building and Housing Department that will take place this Friday (5/25/07), at which time further information regarding the demolition process and policies will be discussed to confirm what happened in this specific case and what can be done to strengthen policies and procedures to ensure this type of critical error is avoided in the future.

Background on 2606 Riverside and Strategies Regarding Vacant/Abandon Properties

The property at 2606 Riverside initially came to our office’s attention in July 2006 through adjacent property owners complaints regarding allege drug and prostitution activity.  Through work with residents, and the 2nd District Police, tenants of the house were arrested and the house subsequently boarded up in September 2006.

From the months of October 2006 through March 2007, my office worked with the Old Brooklyn Development Corporation, local civic associations and Brooklyn Centre Design and Review Committee members, and developed a draft “Strategy in dealing with Vacant and Abandon structures/lots – Ward 15”.  We conducted several community meetings to explain the evolving strategy as well as asking residents and civic groups to assist in the development and implementation of the strategies (ongoing today).  Please see the enclosed working draft.

As of February 2007, 2606 Riverside was listed by my office as condemned and identified as a “potential demo” property.  As early as the week of April 2nd, my office, through email communications, related to our housing inspectors that 2606 Riverside should be taken off of our priority list for demolition.  Again, on May 2nd, 2007, our office communicated by email to inspectors and demolition staff that the house was recently purchased and the new owner had expressed intent to renovate and asked that the house be removed from the demolition process. The next day, on May 3rd we received a reply that a Building & Housing Department representative had spoken with Mr. Pigoni and our office assumed that the property was no longer in process for demolition.

Brian J. Cummins, Cleveland City Council Representative, Ward 15
216-459-8400 Office
bcummins [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org

DRAFT “Strategy in dealing with Vacant and Abandon structures/lots – Ward 15”
Photo pre-demo/board-up of 2606 Riverside.


( categories: )

See for yourself

What we are up against....


No responder to this post has pointed out that doing a demolition – or any contracting work – on Sunday is very strange.   I would be surprised if it is even legal to do a demo on a Sunday without a special work permit.  (Noise disturbance issues).  Having had a little experience in this area of work,  I would bet that this was no "error" but a conspiracy to get the building down while City Hall was closed and a stop work order could not be issued. 

Mr. Cummings may have a naive view, so he graciously called it "error".  Someone wanted this house down - maybe even the new owner - so he could get cash from the City.   If there's an angle out there, it will be played.  Especially in Cleveland.

Interesting point, Jeff

I think you may be on to something - UCI used to do things like that, back in less aware times.  
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purple assed baboons

Your image reminded me of this piece by William Burroughs from the NOVA Convention, 1978.
Took me a while to find it, but here it is:

As you listen, substitute another president for Roosevelt and reconsider conspiracy in today's terms just for fun...

About William Burroughs' writing.

I have known Chuck Pigoni

I have known Chuck Pigoni for more than 25 years and there is no better person - he has saved so many houses that were doomed in the Tremont area  -  when Chris Warren was at TWDC they worked together and they fought to save these old houses - it is sad to see the neighborhood they fought for - gone - If Chuck bought the property to rehab it - he was going to rehab it - and I believe at the last Housing committee meeting - O'Leary said the City did't make mistakes.


Ask Mr. Pigoni to speak out

Against the mystery demo that took place against the property he purchased in Brooklyn Centre. The rush to demolish it was shady and never investigated. Was he compensated? I do know that the lot was divided between the two adjacent owners. I am only speculating here, but my guess would be that the demolition figured into some future commercial use for the corner Pearl Rd. lot--conveniently located off of the I-71 exit.


Just a follow up to the news clipping I posted earlier - anybody who knows Chuck or who has ever met Chuck knows that he is one of the nicest gentlemen you will ever meet.  As far back as the early eighties, he started buying old rundown houses - and rebuilding them - mostly into low-income homes and apartments and helping to make this a "family" oriented community.  He looks out for the elderly, he has compassion for the poor - he tries to help give young people a start - he's a one of kind - and we don't see him around as much as we used to.  He truly is one of the good guys.  It's too bad TWDC doesn't have him at the helm.

Wow is this pathetic... total failures

Unfortunately, it is sorry failures such as this that lead to transformation. The city of Cleveland has made demolition of blighting properties a priority, and there are health and social reasons that is good. But that is a major change for the city, which is probably not supported by effective systems and practices. As sad as it is to lose a good property, it is such tragedy that surfaces the failures of people and systems that lead to changes that may improve outcomes in the future. This pathetic failure should lead to core changes, but that will only happen if the community holds the failures responsible. So, who and what exactly failed here?

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Good transformation out of demolition?

Norm, do you know something I don't know about how this massive push for demolition will lead to a bright transformation?  I am not seeing it.   I know you are concerned about lead and clean-up of our urban neighborhoods.  If someone/anyone can show me a brighter picture, I will endorse it. 

The short answer is people should be fired

When failures are identified, they may be addressed. In this case, those who failed should be fired and people who will do a good job should be hired - systems that failed should be fixed. It is unfortunate that itoften takes failure to drive change, but consider it took the falure of the entire American security structure and our President and his chosen failures to awake the world and especially Americans to how pathetic our partison, Republican political system had become, and that has driven change, from firing the falures to positioning the world to force change in America, including redefining the olitical system here. The falure of much in Cleveland is finally being traced back to those who failed in and for the community, from corrupt politicians and their supporters to incompetence of staff and contractors and the systems designed to protect the public from corruption and incompetence, like with the !-90 bridge and ODOT... Breuer and County Commissioners. The community is only addrressing these issue in response to failures liket those people and systems that demolished the wrong building - now they must be identified and rooted out of public service and systems redesigned to prevent such failure in the future - so, exactly who are the people - naming names - who were responsible for this and what systems failed - we need to get specific.

As for addressing real blight - not the developer-promoted BS blight of the Port Authority eminent domain  world but the irresponsible industry, citizen and government created blight of lead poisoning, among many other poor planning social disasters - will require encapsulating or removing many real public hazards, like 1,000,000s of tons of contaminated land and 10,000s of decaying structures.

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The city failed...

The city owes Mr. Pigoni...I don't know how they are going to pay...but that's not my problem.

They owe this man.  They had no permission to destroy his house.

Demolition of houses needs to be simplified.  The complicated method that's used now allowed for this to happen but the City executed.  They are responsible.

This is an agenda

See Tim's comments . Mistakes, loopholes, subverting the public process, knowing when and how to file paperwork and not file paperwork.  A toothless Design Review Board.  It's a game.  Some people know the rules and others are intentionally left in the dark or find out too late.  When you find the magic wand to make it right, please let me know.  I live with the reality and I am a mad woman.


Amen brother Jeff


Corrections from the office of the council representative of Ward 15


* The building was demolished on Saturday morning 5/19 and not Sunday

as I initially stated.

* Chuck Pigoni who I had thought was the new owner of 2606 Riverside

has not yet received title to the property. The closing of the

purchase was
    in process at the time of the demo and is being re-negotiated now

NOTE: Jeff's points are still valid.  Expect more mistakes and more corrections soon.

Update 9/6/2007


Here is a response re: the commercial building demo --



The building next to Theo’s (4252 Pearl) was demolished by the new owner (April 2007), Hal Esterwood.  The building sat vacant for many years and was previously owned by John Antonopoulos (1987) who let the building fall into serious disrepair.  Tom Collins, Commercial Manager, OBCDC had been working on code enforcement/ownership issues for this building for probably 4 or 5 years or so.  The building was ultimately condemned and the previous owner lost the building due to mounting unpaid taxes and other financial problems.  Hal Esterwood is the owner of Mr. E’s bar located in the same commercial strip. 


The building/parcel, which is outside the new South Brooklyn Historic District but inside the local Business Revitalization District is subject to design review oversight from the local Business Revitalization District (BRD).  The demo and plans for post-demo have gone through design review with the BRD.  For details in terms of Hal’s plans for the parcel please communicate directly with Tom Collins who provides staff support for the BRD.  I believe Hal’s plans are to do landscape buffering with an ornamental fence for securing the area in the evenings.  Future plans may include utilizing the space for outdoor dining, or leasing/selling the parcel for Theo’s for them to utilize it for outside dining.


In addition to this building being demolished, there was another commercial building demo’ed on State Road that was abated of asbestos and again, condemned.  My office can pull together an updated list (from what we sent out this past spring) of the vacant/abandoned and demo list (residential and commercial) and I’ll send this out to a broad distribution next week.


I want to share some info that pertains to portions of the other threads of emails but it will have to wait for another day.  Issues I want to help clarify are 1) financial tools and assistance we try to refer investors/home buyers to; 2) potential use for historic tax credits when it comes to residential properties, and a bit on collaboration/coordination re: the local Design Review Committee, BCCA, etc…







Brian J. Cummins

Council Representative

Ward 15, Cleveland City Council

4483 Broadview Road

Cleveland, Ohio 44109


216-459-8411  fax

bcummins [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org" target="_blank" ymailto="mailto:bcummins [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org" rel="nofollow">bcummins [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org

Brian J. Cummins is not so

Brian J. Cummins is not so bright, he is hanging the city out to dry.


the prosepsctive owner has no right to a property until it closes, he can get nothing from the city unless he can show that he lost something, maybe he sold his home and planned to move into the property? 


he seems to have been aware that he was purchasing a property already marked for demolishing, 

if the contractor moved without the correct paper then they are liable and to the existing owner not the prospective. 

since the city does not demolish homes the contractor does, it is the contractor that is liable for actions that are not authorized.   If that is the case, if they had authorization then it is between the seller and the owner, all realted to selling a home marked for demolishing.   To me is the same as selling a vaccant lot.  


Cummins seems to blame the department for not being able to keep track of his intentions.   He in fact should have kept track of what was happening seems as if he has no influence within the building department.  I am sure he has less now after this statement.     

A "closing" is a short process

This is getting even stranger. I've worked in real estate and a closing is a meeting where all the legal documents and funds are handled for a transaction - it is only in process as long as the meeting lasts - an hour or so. Until then, there may be contracts to purchase and sell, with lots of enforceable terms - whether there is an out for unexpected demolition is probably covered in some clause. Still, it sounds like lots of parties knew there was a transaction being negotiated so the property should have been put on hold from demolition. Why that did not happen is a failure to be addressed. Better use of information technology would certainly help - don't know what systems were involved in this mess but I'm sure they don't talk to each other. Now perhaps they will.

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Your correct it is weird,

Your correct it is weird, contracts all live within defined time lines, they call it performance.

Condemnation also has a time line all defined, it requires action I do not belive that emails from council people fit that.   It should require permits and repairs or a stay in such a case as the change of ownership.  Then permits and repairs and a new time line to perform.


I believe that communication has to occur between the owner and the building department,  and before deadlines.  Does this owner have a copy of a stay filed with the building department?  I belive that the owner at the time would need to file a stay with copy of the purchase agreement. 


A phone call to city council and then an email it all very strange.  a council peron should not have the abilty to stop the process it would be unfair and show preferential treatment, it require due dilligence to resolve condemnation. Any person could make a call and say I sold the home, it could be nothing more than an attempt to buy time.  it has to be filed and documented.    


Do any of these events constitute a crime?  How was this building deemed "condemnable?"  Could it be the Riverside house had to come down fast, because it was not really condemnable? 

Are some "buyers" asking the city to demolish, so they save themselves the cost of demolition for development or expansion purposes?  Can anyone guess which building will be next in Brooklyn Centre?

Charter one owns that land

Charter one owns that land it has 23K in mortgage on 2606 Riverside and it was purchased at a sheriff sale on March 16, 2007 by CCO Mortgage a subsidiary of charter one bank.


Criminal?  Who is this person that said he bought it?  Start with him, I would like to see his purchase agreement.  What are the dates and whose names are on it.  It would be fraud to attempt to sell a home you do not own, if he claims he bought it and did not close on it, then he more than likely signed papers on a foreclosed property.


The demolishing is between the city and the bank, the bank holds it and also 23K in mortgage that makes that land not very likely to get developed. 


Will the bank go after the 23K…I doubt it, they will sell the land for the most they can get for it. The city will not give them 23K or will any developer…no profit. 

Is there something criminal?   Who got the 23K?     

Good research

Thanks for the details on this. This whole at risk lending mess is a disaster for everyone. It is sad to realize that as bad as our economy appears on the outside, it is even more unhealthy on the inside - so much of Cleveland can't even afford Cleveland.

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2606 Riverside

  Here's the most recent accounting of the 2606 Riverside demolition--the lot was not split...but a fence divides a vacant lot between the adjacent owners.

Mr. Pigoni is being taxed a modest $4,861.00 for the demolition:


lmcshane - you are invited to join TremontTruths and share ideas, opinions, information and/or join in discussion with regard to neighborhood concerns.

Please feel free to invite other to participate as well.

Thank you


The deal

 Please see the above posts...some folks are obviously in on the eventual cash return when State Rt. 42 (Pearl Rd) and Denison Rd. gets the influx of monies need to repave and to install the fiber optic network connecting Metrohealth North and South campus. So, the deal all along has been to demolish and consolidate properties for commercial development along this route using your money.  What a surprise.

Can the PD, please look at how the Cuyahoga County Board of Revision selectively attaches liens and forgives liens on demolitions??  What contracting firms are getting the demolition contracts...that should be an easy one...just file that public records request with the City of Cleveland, and then wait and wait and wait....

Check out this address

...3821 Denison 44109--picked up from National City Bank for $10,500...see the owner's name and search the name at auditor's site...this is how it worked in Tremont...this is how our so-called leaders think redevelopment "works"....this is how they rationalize it to doing good...

Whatever happened...

To the federal investigation of corruption at all levels of government and non-governmental agencies in NEO??

I don't think that the FBI

I don't think that the FBI has gone away.

federal burea of investigation etc. is in tremont - cleveland

 federal burea of investigation etc. is in tremont - cleveland - its a smorgasborg of corruption - they love it - what do we eat next - all you can eat menu for one low price = equality

yogi and guy

Breadcrumbs and the TRUTH

You would think that we have left enough breadcrumbs around here for the FBI to find the truth. 

Lack of outrage by citizens... stupidity?

Doesn't anyone find it odd and disturbing that the head of our local FBI investigation and a reporter from the PD were the only "citizens" briefed by the FBI on what is going down with the investigation, as the only briefing I know of was at the private men only largely white Republican corporate CEO and old money type Tavern Club (and this was last year... Guy, you cut off the original date...).

Who from realNEO has ever been there... has a clue what they do?

Any of you ladies.

So the FBI warned a bunch of white CEOs in a private club that doesn't even admit women with his only public briefing on the investigation.

In a word - outrageous - of the FBI, of the Tavern Cub members, and of the Plain Dealer.

Lack of outrage by citizens... stupidity?... lead poisoning... Question of the day... you tell me?

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Old white boy club insanity

The old white boy club is killing us.  It's insane.  Norm, it's not just happening here. It's happening all over the country.  The legacy of corporate America.  But, NEO is the epicenter of the insanity.



Democracy NOW! Also posts:

See also--revelance of Jim Crow America on Bill Moyer's Journal. See also--relevance of Grace Lee Bogg's comment on self-interest:

We have devolved as human beings.

Plain Dealer should post every property in "lock down" mode with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank--and let us in on who gets dibs on these properties.

In my neighborhood--Brooklyn Centre: "Buildable lots" were not available to the folks here who submitted Neighborhood Connection grant application--a.k.a. vacant lant along banks of Cuyahoga River with good soils and historic connection to the nursery industry--west of Pearl Rd.

No--just the crummy lots. And, the folks who applied get a year-to-year lease on the lot until they prove they can manage it for five years. And, even then, time will only tell--but my guess would be that IF the neighborhood improves a la Tremont--which is the development laboratory model they like to credit to themselves--then, the lots will NOT be given, as promised to the neighbors, who applied for the lots.

I am sure that there will be many stories to tell and photo ops galore and please don't misconstrue my comment as just cynicism. I do give credit here to the folks in my neighborhood, who bother to make a difference and improve our community with gardens, despite these obstacles. I've been there from my own personal experience with a garden lot in Tremont.

But, what about the folks along Cedar in Fairfax, and in Glenville and Slavic Village, the neighborhoods slated for wholesale demolitions--Why should they even bother, when they are not given the option to buy the lots adjacent to their own homes?

Where's the justice??

Let's just focus on here and we can solve the problems

Don't worry about the rest of the world - focus on the few super shitheads here. If we get rid of them, the rest of the world will be better - we'll have done our part.

The enemy always wants to get people focused on what they can't change rather than what we may. Focus.

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Norm says to focus

 I could not agree more! Transparency is key, and lack of transparency leads to conspiracy theories and paranoia that just takes away from the efforts to bring the truth out in the open. It sorts of feeds on itself.

There are many neighborhoods and cities that are like ours. We can only examine what is around us, and if there appears to be injustice, do our best to right that injustice, and not become tied up in the fears and confusion.




Time to slay some dragons in Tremont

I'd say there is enough evidence of ill deeds in Tremont to bring forth change - other neighborhoods will require more work... although I think I have the real evil in my neighborhood just about figured out... and I'm watching trends in many other areas.

If the power structure may be toppled over corruption in Tremont, that corruption will be gone, freeing other neighborhoods of corruption - that will help all neighborhoods of the region.

Time to slay some dragons in Tremont

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FBI , please connect the dots

in the entire City of Cleveland, especially in the Tremont area.

In a meeting  I had with a

In a meeting  I had with a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Cleveland, it was explained to me that due to such heavy case loads, often times the system gets bogged down and unless you have a "smoking gun,  first hand knowledge of corrupt activities or some type of tangible evidence,"  it can take a very long time to filter through evidence (documents), records and other data" before  a full scale investigation can be opened up. 

A very large percentage of information is tips provided by the everyday citizens.  I was told that all of the information provided and/or sent in was put into a file and assigned to an investigator to research and look for the dots they need to connect before anything can be done.  I was also told that even though you don't think anything is being done, don't be discouraged and keep sending in any material /information you have whether you think it is pertinent or not.

We all know that the FBI works in mysterious ways and once they have enough sure fire proof they usually drop in unannounced with a big box truck.  They don't run off half cocked.  Sometimes it takes years for them to build  a solid case and often times there are undercover agents and sting operations before anybody has a clue.

It was also relayed to me that people should provide any information, documents, papers, names, phone number, etc., no matter how insignificant you might think it is, you never know when the "EXPERTS" can find the missing link.  It takes a lot of patience but one thing is for sure, when the FBI get you, you know you've been had.

 Anything you think might be useful the address is:

C. Frank Figliuzzi, Special Agent FBI, Cleveland Field Office, 1501 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114, or Special Agent Lisa M. Hack, same address, phone:  (216) 522-1400


FBI Agent Email Address?

Thanks for the first hand insight.

New Economy crime is electronic - does the FBI use email? Do you have an email address for the agent in charge and do they accept tips that way, or do you need to use the tip link on their website?

As a tip to the FBI, investigate why no politicians seem to use official email addresses - it seems the FBI should demand multiple email records from each politician in town, which would require getting records from google, yahoo, earthlink, etc., which is a huge task... if someone is an elected official, official business should be by official email system, and the elected official should be competent with email.

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using google

 cleveland [dot] cv [at] ic [dot] fbi [dot] gov

I am sure that they FBI would appreciate tips that are organized, and that attachments are nicely attached. They have a ton to shift through and if you want your issue to get attention, give what you are sending some attention before you send it.

thanks dwebb, I forgot to

thanks dwebb, I forgot to add the e-mail address

don't forget to put anything you send to the attention of  Special Agent Frank Figliuzzi