Ownership established, building repairs are next

A judge ruled the property transfer void.
BOARDMAN -- Now that a judge has determined ownership of a Hillman Way apartment building, the township continues its quest to get it repaired.
Atty. Mark Finamore, representing the township, filed an amended complaint this week in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court regarding the structure.
The complaint, which lists Butler Wick Trust Co. as a defendant, says that the building has been in violation of the township's home-rule resolution since August 2005.
The township wants the violations repaired.
The township had been working, after the 2005 violation, with a property management company. William Busch, who had owned the building, hired the management company to make necessary repairs, but that work stopped.
At that time, the probate court ordered the company to stop spending Busch's money, citing a disputed property transfer.
That dispute centered on a 2004 quitclaim deed that transferred building ownership from Busch, who died last July, to Donald Snipes of Youngstown.
Children and Family Services and Butler Wick Trust Co., both of Youngstown, were guardians of Busch.
Quitclaim deed voided
Last month, Judge Timothy P. Maloney of Mahoning County Probate Court ruled the quitclaim deed void.
The judge in his ruling referred to testimony from township Detective Greg Stepuk and representatives of Butler Wick.
Stepuk interviewed Snipes on several occasions as part of an investigation ordered by Judge Maloney into the "possible financial exploitation" of Busch.
The detective questioned Snipes about the transfer of the building at 4250 Hillman Way, and Snipes said that he and Busch agreed that Snipes would buy it for 180,000.
But there was no written purchase agreement, and Snipes acknowledged that he hadn't paid Busch the money, according to the detective's testimony.
The latest court filing by the township is an attempt to get repairs made and home-rule violations remedied, township officials said.
"We're glad Judge Maloney made a decision on ownership so at least now we have a responsible party," said Darren Crivelli, township zoning inspector. "We're confident Butler Wick will make the necessary repairs if the probate court frees up the money for them to do so."
An attorney for Butler Wick couldn't be reached.

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