Tuesday, January 15, 2013

True To Its Name, The "Hillside Hotspot" Catches Fire, Leaving 24 People Homeless...I SAY AGAIN 24 PEOPLE! ALL IN ONE DUPLEX! WTF?!

Contributed photos, blog post by John Hoff

It was the Hillside Chronicles blog which gave 1611 Hillside Ave. N. its nickname:

"The Hotspot."

Turns out the name was eerily prescient, because this morning it caught fire and burned...

KARE-11 and Star Tribune are reporting up to two dozen people, all related, have been displaced by the blaze. The reaction of the general public--both in the neighborhood and in reader comments on news stories--can be summarized as follows:


Hillside Chronicles reported the fire before any other media source, blogging at 1:55 AM and reporting emergency vehicles converging on the scene. But long before today's fire, Hillside Chronicles documented the problems associated with this specific address. To be perfectly fair, "Hillside Hotspot" was a term used to cover an area bigger than 1611 Hillside, but that specific address was considered the "epicenter" of the problem. Over and over, Hillside Chronicles documented frustrated neighbors and problems associated with the "Hotspot," but who was listening?


April 27, 2010, first mention is made of frustrated neighbors and the area is dubbed the "Hillside Hotspot." Yes, and this "naming ceremony" is what focused the random energy of the universe like sunlight in a magnifying glass and eventually caused that building to burst into flames. Good thing it wasn't dubbed the "1611 Ticking Time Bomb."

May of that same year. The Hotspot actually seems to cool off. This sometimes happens when a problem is aired in public. Word gets around and thugs get "put on notice" they are being watched. They cool it for a while. But it doesn't last forever, because that would require good citizenship and self-control.

July 4, 2010, and as you would expect on the Fourth of July, the Hotspot was heating up again. One resident, quoted therein, says 911 was being called almost every night.

July 11, 2010. A burglary in the "Hotspot." Word is a lot of stuff was happening around the Hotspot in 2011, but Hillside Chronicles didn't always have time to write.

December 16 of last month, government vehicles show up apparently trying to serve a warrant. A couple weeks later, while looking over the jail roster, Johnny Northside (that's THIS blogger) turned up jail roster information about William Donnell Alexander, who declared 1611 Hillside Ave. N. as his address. Alexander has quite a history of (alleged) forgery activities, and apparently hails from Mississippi. How refreshing. Turns out thugs make their way to our neighborhood from somewhere besides CHICAGO.

So the question obviously arises: Who is the owner responsible for this rental housing travesty at 1611 Hillside Ave. N.? Well, the owner and taxpayer is an entity called Assertive Mpls Properties, LLC, listed at the very same address. This house has had ten owners since 1997 according to online city property records, including (my personal favorite) "Lucky Maintenance, Inc."

Here, insert the obvious joke. You'll be LUCKY if you get MAINTENANCE.

But back to Assertive Mpls Properties, LLC.

Confusingly, an entity with this name appears TWICE on the Minnesota Secretary of State's website, but is clearly the same entity. There are three addresses associated with this entity, none of which are 1611 Hillside Ave. N. (Which begs the obvious question as to why the City of Minneapolis would accept 1611 Hillside Ave. N. as the address of Assertive Mpls Properties, LLC when it's NOT the address of this entity with its corporate filings?)

The addresses are as follows:

* 8400 Normandale Lake Blvd #920, Bloomington.

* PO Box 44244, Eden Prairie

* 80 South 8th St., #900, Minneapolis. A manager is listed at that address, one Robert Van Hout.

There is also an entity called Assertive Mpls-CRE Properties, LLC, which lists the same address on 80 South 8th St., #900. An entity called Assertive MN Properties, LLC also lists that address. What a fascinating corporate shell game.

The Star Tribune mentions Assertive Mpls Properties, Inc and a manager named Ken Welch who claimed only four adults were listed on the lease. Maybe there was a typo and somebody wrote "4" instead of "24?"

No, probably not.

In the wake of the fire, there has hardly been an outpouring of sympathy. The house in question was overcrowded and a source of constant troubles to the decent people in the neighborhood. The only question on people's minds is whether this incident will result in any rental licenses being revoked for Assertive Mpls Properties, LLC. Nobody with a lick of common sense believes "Assertive" didn't know there were a lot of people living at that house.

I will write later about William Donnell Alexander, who claimed the house in question was his address. Suffice to say he's some piece of work and belongs in jail.

Here's another photo of the fire.


Johnny Northside! said...

KARE 11's story mentioned a resident named Paris McGary.

Well, I can't be 100 percent sure this is the same person, but that's not a very common name. Here's the rap sheet, not all of which may represent actual convictions.

Crim/Traf Non-Mand

McGary, Paris Lord
Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown
Crim/Traf Mandatory

McGary, Paris Lord
Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown
Barnette, Toddrick S.
Crim/Traf Mandatory
Under Court Jurisdiction
Dangerous Weapons
Dangerous Weapons
Carrying a Pistol

McGary, Paris Lord
Ramsey Criminal/Traffic/Petty Suburban
Crim/Traf Mandatory
Under Court Jurisdiction
Theft-Take/Use/Transfer Movable Prop-No Consent

Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Southdale
Crim/Traf Mandatory
Under Court Jurisdiction
Theft-Take/Use/Transfer movable property without consent
Driving after suspension
Traffic Regulation - Vehicle Registration/Permit/Plates Required
Traffic Regulation - Driver Who Is Not Owner Must Later Produce Proof of Insurance If Required

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

From the comments on KARE 11

"...n our niebhors across the street who's house ken also owns says that ken is a slum lord shet met him a year ago he was looking at her house an he bought both our homes from the same bank there heat dont work n the bathroom how is she supposed 2 give her newborn baby a bath"

Well that was informative. Is this Ken the same faux-hawked hipster doofus in the news clip? Maybe he needs to spend more time working as a property manager and less time spending the Section 8 bankroll on PBRs at the 400.

Anonymous said...

Didn't we just see around 14 people (most of those children) driven from another 2 bedroom rental on Girard?

Are these residents subletting under section 8?

What about all these children?

Are they just stacked up like cordwood in one of these tiny bedrooms?

At what point does the mother realize that additional children may be impacting her ability to give a quality of life to those offspring?

At what point does the welfare department start tracking the data regarding how many welfare recipients are living under the same roof and move to address this concern?

At what point does the City start taking action against the slumlords that allow this behavior?

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

If I'm remembering this correctly, there are few, if any restrictions on the number of related people who can live in a residence. Aside from whether this is a good housing policy, it begs the question of how one determines if the occupants are indeed related.

Anonymous said...

yea dats alls we need is a buncha black crackers from down south now by way of chicago fuckin shit up fo us real niggas

Anonymous said...

Noted trouble and problems at the address since 2010? Almost daily 911 calls to the address? WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS CITY? I'm calling for the public stockade of city officials and police. I hope this family finds a nice home in Fargo, or better yet, back in Mississippi.

Geektopia said...

Jeff, but the residents ALL have to be related, right?

If even one of the residents is unrelated to the others, the max limit is 5 persons.

Johnny Northside! said...

Comment rejected which, it would be fair to summarize, wishes in colorful language that harm had come to the residents of the house during the fire in question.

Anonymous said...

Typical ghetto trash Minneapolis. What else is new? Your city SUCKS!!!!

Anonymous said...

24 people interacting next door is like a 24 hour party.

It is obvious that the "adults" in this situation can not properly supervise the "children" by evidence of the teenager throwing aerosol cans in the basement. (Although this whole story is fishy since the fire department responded twice that night).

What will social services do to make sure that these children are adequately protected when they move down the block into the next tenement rental?

Anonymous said...

you should worry about jill clark cappin yo ass soon and puttin you in yo place and quit tellin us you rejectin comments like you aint a fake ass racist bitch

Anonymous said...

"If even one of the residents is unrelated to the others, the max limit is 5 persons."

That's not the way 311 interprets it. Extended relatives are acceptable also and these people can have "house guests" that stay for "short periods".

Good luck tracking who is coming and going in these situations and thats why the City won't investigate.

Obviously, if you and your cousin are receiving aid for 9 kids in the same two bedroom apartment, someone in social services should take note. I mean, we buy them computers don't we?

Anonymous said...


HC said...

Johnny, thanks for following up on the trail of clues. You have certainly identified a number of unanswered questions. Strangely, the history of 1611 mirrors that of 1551: Absentee landlords, Challenging tenants, Substandard structure, Over occupancy, Numerous complaints, And frustrated neighbors. Randomly, the problem was solved by a housefire…

Naysayer said...

One would think, in a better world probably, that such a story would only invoke pity for those who are forced (choose?) to live in such circumstances. The comments reflecting hatred and disdain for those inflicted with the dysfunction that is a product of poverty and ignorance is hard to fathom. Some think that we live in a totalitarian state where public servants have the power to shape-up these people (slumlords included), so that their behavior and lifestyle better fits middle-class mores. Others seem to think that this should be the job of landlords instead of those on the public payroll.

I really can't decide whether letting slumlords do their thing, or spending vastly more resources on services and shelter for the homeless is the lesser of two evils. I admit that I do find it disconcerting that so many of the marginally-housed are concentrated in my neighborhood.

I echo HC's sentiment about the community service that you provide, Johnny, in trying to give us the back-story on these less-than-pretty neighborhood episodes.

Anonymous said...

They do have the power to shape those people Naysayer, it's called laws and regulations. Minneapolis residents, especially North's, should be demanding that their "public servants" do something. I do not share your more liberal view about this. It is time they find another city to destroy.

Anonymous said...


When we stop making excuses for deviant behaviors, this will be a better world.

And yes, social services does have the power to shape up both the people receiving aid and the slumlords profiting from our societies efforts to provide humanitarian support for those less fortunate than ourselves.

Naysayer said...

So, I describe such behavior, 1:07, as dis-functional, and you describe it as deviant. Because I imply attribution, it makes me a liberal, whose opinion is to subject to dismissal? What has happened to the ability to parse language?

Yes, we can pass all the laws that we want,Anonymous but effective enforcement is always a different kettle of fish. If you ask anyone on the front lines charged with the responsibility of enforcing higher standards of morality, law-abiding behavior, and more a more upright lifestyle, particularly in this part of town, they will invariably describe their their task as overwhelming and the necessary resources as very scarce.

The trouble with knee-jerk law-and-order mentality is always, it seems, that the cudgel is never quite big enough.

Anonymous said...

I was just asking a friend if he knew of Assertive Properties LLC because they own a vacant house nearby me in Hawthorne. He just pointed me in the direction of this blog post. The house nearby me is 2923 3rd St N. I can't figure out what Assertive's motivation is with this property. The Hennepin County records indicate that they got it for "a consideration of less than $500 and they purchased it Quit Claim deed from someone who owned it a long time with a satisfied mortgage. My guess is that the actual consideration for purchase was so low because they paid a shit ton of assessments and / or back taxes. But what would be the motivation to purchase a property just to let it sit and rack up assessments? It must be over 15K in assessments right now. And yet the taxes are paid. Why pay $800 and some odd dollars in taxes a year to hang onto a property that is going to have a 7K annual VBR fee? It just doesn't make sense to me. Also, the Hennepin County website indicates the property is Homesteaded. How can this be?

Johnny Northside! said...

This sounds like a job for the Hawthorne Hawkman.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

I've got a list of things to check up on. This, and a trail of breadcrumbs related to Mahmood Khan are at the top of that list.

Anonymous said...

What if those vacant and substandard homes are being classified as rentals for the purpose of the internal revenue? Do you think the IRS ever checks with the City if a rental license is present?

This way they can overstate the profits and launder a shitload of money for the cost of some tax dollars. Might even be a good place to house your crew (which accounts for the high nuisance property complaints at those addresses).