Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman
As promised, here is the Bashir Moghul photo tour (of Minneapolis properties only, unfortunately. I don't have the ability to get over to Indiana or track down vacant parcels in northern Wisconsin). One thing at least, is different than previous photo tours, such as of Gregge Johnson's, Paul Koenig (pronounced Kay-neg) of Pamiko, Mahmood Khan's, or Danna D III's properties: I have at times put a disclaimer at the start so as not to be overly critical.
That disclaimer said something like, "to be fair, we don't know if so-and-so made these slummy repairs or bought the property in that condition." Well I've had it with that nicety and I no longer care. If you, as a slumlord, bought a property and it was already in a slummy condition, then when you do nothing to abate the slumminess, it continues to harm my neighborhood. And we as a community will hold slumlords responsible.
The first photo above...
...is of 2942 Tyler St NE, a vacant lot owned by Moghul. He seems to buy quite a few vacant lots, and then almost forget he owns them. That is about the only explanation I can come up with for why he can't pay the minimal property taxes on the land.
(The post listing Moghul's Minneapolis properties was sorted by what neighborhood each property was in, and this post will show photos in the same order.)
2516 Lowry Avenue is the second photo, and was also the childhood home of one of NoMi's newest residents.
And here is 816 Park Ave...
Up next is 3347 Fremont Ave N.
3550 Girard Ave N is the first really slummy-looking house we get to. Phone books and other debris are littered throughout the front yard. That's been reported to 311.
And what's this? Looks like another Neapolitan House!
This is 318 27th Ave N.
623 26th Ave N looks okay, but has had problem tenants in the past...the kind of tenants that would assault their landlord, apparently. You can look at the other structures on this post and see crappy windows, but this is perhaps the first property where the such ugliness is glaringly obvious.
At 2110 Lyndale Ave N, take a look at the windows on the second floor (clicking on the photograph enlarges the image on a separate page). What do you do when the window you have doesn't fit the opening? Use plywood to fill the gaps. We'll see plenty more of this, unfortunately. Also, in the second photo, it sure looks like pre-existing windows were just covered up.
More or less across the street, we have 2131 Lyndale Ave N. Residents have reported seeing drug dealing coming and going from this property. While things have been getting better, the 2000-2200 blocks of Lyndale are a rough spot - right up there with Hawthorn (sic) Crossings as the last bastions of drug dealing in the Hawthorne neighborhood. Bashir isn't helping the community or himself by renting to these no-accounts.
And how many different ways can you count that Bashir has bastardized windows at this property?
2514 Emerson Avenue N continues Bashir's habit of slummifying windows with plywood.
2617 Dupont Ave N is one of the nicest-looking houses Bashir owns. Well, as long as you ignore the second-story windows, that is.
What in God's name is going on with 2915 3rd St N? I've got to think that extension on the second floor wasn't there originally. Anyone who knows more about the history of housing construction, correct me if I'm wrong. I'm NOT wrong, however, in pointing out that the windows once again look like crap.
We get a break from visually painful windows at 2950 Bryant Ave N, but only because this is a vacant lot.
2124 Bryant Ave N is next.
The windows at 1547 22nd Ave N are the housing equivalent of lipstick on a pig. You've got crappy windows and plywood that's not even painted, surrounded by shutters with horse-and-buggy decals.
Here's 2646 Penn Ave N.
And 3027 Penn Ave N, right next to a new community garden. It would sure be nice if Moghul would lose this property to tax forfeiture and then the garden could be even bigger.
3114 Upton Ave N is a tiny little house. I'm trying to figure out how the basketball hoop got all the way up in the tree.
3200 2nd St N is right next to the Lowry bridge. There are no house numbers visible on this property. That violation has been reported to 311 as well.
Here's another vacant lot at 3248 6th St N.
3318 6th St N is another property missing house numbers. Thank goodness for 311.
It's hard to believe that 2532 Bloomington Ave S actually qualifies as a duplex.
704-706 Penn Ave N has a lot going on. First, the doors don't match or even come close to looking like there's an architectural theme (other than slumminess). Second, carpeting has been left out in the front yard. That brings our 311 tally to four calls. Then there's just about every kind of window problem you want to imagine. Finally, what in the world is going on with the garage? This is a duplex, and the garage is clearly big enough for two cars, perhaps three. Yet there's only room for one car to enter and exit. Call me jaded, but I'd bet a steak and a Manhattan at Good Sports Bar and Grill that illegal activity is or has been taking place in a garage like this.
1500 Irving Ave N is right next door to a Dream Home (1504 Irving Ave N, currently owned by GF Properties. I just KNOW I've seen that name before. What I wouldn't give to be able to search city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County properties BY OWNER NAME to see if GF is up to anything). But 1500 Irving appears to have the lone window that has survived Bashir's renovations. Also, it's listed as a duplex, but I'd bet another steak dinner that it's functioning as a 3-4 unit property.
1900 5th St N was a tricky one to find. Throughout much of NoMi, 4th St just skips over to 6th St, making me think this might be some mythical, nonexistent intersection. But it's there, just behind Taco Bell and Wendy's. And the lot is--ahem--LITTERALLY covered with trash. That's 311 call number five. Anyone who wants to hold Bashir accountable here, just take a gander at this property whenever you're at Taco Bell or Wendy's and call in the debris that is sure to accumulate. It's got to be a real pain owning property in an area where so much litter piles up. On the other hand, it's primo real estate and I'm sure Moghul bought it in hopes that one of the few fast food franchises we DON'T have on Broadway would give him a hefty sum. If he's going to make money off of this land, then he should do the work of keeping it clean on a regular basis.
The city's website indicates that 2301 5th Ave S is a duplex, but as far as I can tell, there's nothing but vacant land where a duplex should be.
1917 1st Ave S is another vacant lot with back taxes.
3814 Fremont Ave N is our third vacant lot in a row.
4206 Colfax Ave N is one of Moghul's nicer properties as well.
So is 1831 Morgan Ave N.
Finally, at 1934 Oliver, we have our second Bashir property next to a Dream Home. This Dream Home, 1938 Oliver Ave N, is owned by Njeri Enterprises. At Bashir's property each door had a notice posted about unlawful occupancy, and poor attempts to remove them had been made. Either the place is still illegally occupied, or Moghul can't be bothered with the simple task of applying some elbow grease to make this place even a little bit nicer. How would you like to come home every day to a sign on your door about unlawful occupancy?
For old times' sake, here's a Pamiko rail.
Like the initial list of properties, this photo tour leaves me wanting more. I am certain that we have not fully documented properties owned by the Moghuls either in the metro area or elsewhere.
I am also VERY interested in knowing what criteria specifically is being used to bring the rental license at 2030 Willow Ave N up for revocation. If Moghul is behind on property taxes and loses ONE license because of that, well then the same conditions still exist in regards to every single other rental license he may have in the city of Minneapolis. Bashir Moghul should be forced to bring all of his taxes current or face revocation of all his Minneapolis rental licenses.
Finally, I have to wonder why Moghul and so many other slumlords seem to have the worst possible windows on their properties. Oh, I know that once they get around to replacing windows they'll just put the cheapest ones in. After all, their tenants will pay utilities, so why should it matter if the windows are energy-efficient?
But why even bother with the windows at all? Leaving an existing window alone is still less expensive than putting in a newer one. I'm told there are grant programs through either the city or federal government and even non-owner-occupants can qualify for assistance with their windows. Does anyone have details about that program specifically? It's bad enough when our tax dollars have to go towards cleaning up the aftermath of what the Koenigs and Khans and Moghuls leave us. But it would appear as if our taxes are first ENABLING such slumminess.
The problem is not just slumlords, it's a system that isn't stringent enough that allows them to exist in the first place.