Sunday, April 25, 2010
Mr. Slummy Owes Some Money
Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman (with one exception noted below)
Earlier this week, Hawthorne residents had noticed renewed activity over at "Mr. Slummy's" properties - 2515 and 2519 3rd St N. At this point, there doesn't seem to be much happening at 2515 other than pushing some dirt around. Given some unresolved issues and a stop work order at the address, a 311 call was made nonetheless.
Coincidentally, at a recent social gathering among "NoMi Homies," we were theorizing where "Mr. Slummy" (real name: Mohammed Amro, doing business as Amro's Properties) got his money from. After all, the work he's done, while lacking permits and being out of zoning compliance, can't be free. So I went down to Hennepin County to do a little digging--not as much digging as shown above, but digging nonetheless.
Before we get to that, however, I realize that since winning the City Pages best local blog in 2010, we may have some new readers unfamiliar with this story. So to summarize...
...Hawthorne activists such as Dyna Sluyter were posting about Amro's half-demolition of 2515 3rd St N over Easter weekend in 2009. Connie Nompelis posted about this on her blog and she and other Hawthornites contacted me while I was on vacation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As soon as I got back, I confronted a person I believe was Mr. Amro although I didn't get his name. His work was shut down on Easter Monday, and John blogged about it here. The first picture above is from that day, and the second shot would later become a visual metaphor for Amro's precarious financial situation.
In an interesting historic twist, the first comment on that blog post was an anonymous person who coined the name "Hawthorne Hawkman." I liked the nickname so much I changed my Google profile from "The Mortgage Geek" to what you see now. In this way, Mr. Slummy and the Hawthorne Hawkman are forever intertwined.
A very extensive photo gallery of Mr. Slummy's work can be found on my personal Facebook page.
But even with an initial stop work order, Amro applied for permits and resumed his work. This work included adding six egress windows and building an addition so large that nobody really believed he would comply with the residential two-unit (R2-B) zoning for the area. Those suspicions were confirmed when, at a 2009 Heart of the City picnic, five bathtubs were seen inside the property (which was flagrantly open to trespass, making such observations rather convenient).
We got the property boarded up, though. (photo below taken by John Hoff)
Fast forward to the present day. Work has been largely stopped at 2515 3rd St N, although Amro's white pickup truck is often seen in front of 2519 3rd St N. He owns this property as well, and even though he stripped off the siding and put in ugly windows, it appears as if most everything he's done at 2519 has been up to code, with permits, and in compliance with zoning.
What he HASN'T done, however, is actually PAID some of the people who did the work. Siwek Lumber and Millwork filed a mechanic's lien against 2519 3rd St N in October of last year for the amount of $14,841.06 for unpaid work from 4/4/09 through 10/8/09. The lien is filed against the property and against Mohammed Amro as well as Amro's Properties Inc.
There is also a second lien filed by the same entity for the same reasons at 2515 3rd St N in the amount of $12,216.11. Interestingly, there is no mortgage filed against either property. Amro either purchased with cash, or in some under-the-table way in which the holder of the debt has not filed a lien against the properties. Clearly the work done at both places far exceeds $27,000. So the next question is this: did Mr. Slummy pay for that work out of pocket, or does he owe more money in ways that haven't surfaced yet?
And speaking of surfaces, there is still an unresolved issue. Amro did not remove the mounds of dirt he created when excavating. He merely pushed it around and leveled off both of his properties. The problem with that, as evidenced below, is that the house to the south has had their fence damaged. And every time it rains, dirt washes into their garden. Amro needs to remedy this issue before even more fees pile up.