Court action stalls repairs

Thursday, August 10, 2006 A quit claim deed that transferred ownership of the building is in dispute. By DENISE DICK VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER BOARDMAN — Township court action aimed at repairing a Hillman Way apartment building is on hold until the building's ownership is determined. Atty. Mark S. Finamore, who represents the township, said that determination must be made by Mahoning County Probate Court. Finamore filed the complaint on the township's behalf in May seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions. It listed Children & Family Services, Butler Wick Trust Co. and Donald Snipes, all of Youngstown, as defendants. Children & Family Services and Butler Wick were guardians of William Busch, a former owner of the property, who died last month. Snipes is listed as the current property owner. Busch's obituary that ran in The Vindicator lists no known surviving relatives. Legal proceedings Township officials have said that the quit claim of the property that transferred ownership of the building from Busch to Snipes is in dispute, saying the April 2004 transfer may have occurred under fraudulent circumstances. Last year, the township issued a property maintenance code violation for the building because of high weeds and windows and door frames in disrepair. A similar violation followed last October. The township had been working with a property management company that Busch had hired to make necessary repairs. But that repair work stopped. At that time, the probate court ordered the company to stop spending Busch's money, citing the disputed property transfer, township officials have said. In the meantime, residents who live near the apartment building have attended township trustees' meetings complaining about the condition of the building. After a status conference on the township's case Wednesday, Finamore said that the township can only take action through the courts against the owner of the property. Therefore, the suit must wait until the probate court determines who the owner is. "We're on hold until Judge [Timothy] Maloney makes the decision of who that is," Finamore said. Another status conference on the case is set for October.

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