“Hasta la vista, baby” Brian Patrick & Affinity…

TERMINATED…According to the PA Real Estate Commission website, Click Here.  This sleaze bag and his real estate rip-off  business are NO MORE in Pennsylvania. 

Word to the wise:

DUE DILIGENCE when hiring a property manager in PA.  Don’t take anything they say at face value – the waters are infested with sharks.   In Pottstown, where there is minimal oversight of the activities of poverty pimps and real estate agents, your ass-ets are on the line.  That goes for renters too.

Montgomery County

Brian W. Patrick, license no. RM421375, of Pottstown, Montgomery County, permanently and voluntarily surrendered his license because he co-mingled deposits, other escrows, or property of another person with the broker’s own funds or property; failed to preserve for three years following its consummation records relating to any real estate transaction; and failed to provide information requested by the Commission within a reasonable time, as the result of a formal or informal investigation. (07/15/14)  

Not to mention he was charged and found guilty of  41 counts of theft. 

Affinity Property Management and Realty, LLC, license no. RB066997, of Pottstown, Montgomery County, permanently and voluntarily surrendered its license to practice as a real estate broker in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because it co-mingled deposits, other escrows, or property of another person with the broker’s own funds or property; failed to preserve for three years following its consummation records relating to any real estate transaction; and failed to provide information requested by the Commission within a reasonable time, as the result of a formal or informal investigation. (07/15/14)

23939642_BG1
June, 2014

http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/25686805/fox29-investigates-local-property-manager-charged-with-theft

Everyday is like Halloween in the Land of Potts…

Today is Pottstown CARES day.  While volunteers make happy chatter cleaning up the streets and sidewalks in Ward I, I am appreciative.

I am also struck by the notion that it is not the people who make the messes that clean them up.

103 N. Hanover St. Pottstown.  Owner:  Rebecca Rhodes of Sunnyvale, CA

103 N. Hanover St. Pottstown. Owner: Rebecca Rhodes of Sunnyvale, CA

Yesterday, these photo’s were posted on Facebook.  They were taken by various residents who drive along the prominent, historic corridor of N. Hanover St. that leads to downtown.

This is a corridor that will likely be heavily used by visitors on their way to and from the nearby proposed Tourist District, Click Here.

Make no mistake, the proposal is exciting for Pottstown however, when we see renters continue to regurgitate their households on the streets, we know who is airing their dirty laundry in Pottstown and, that becomes the unfortunate focus.

No matter how walkable, how interesting the Tourist District will become, this kind of activity in our community is a negative attraction because it is impossible to avoid it unless, of course, you work for the borough.

We have to ask:  How well is the Housing Ordinance understood and enforced? This has been going on for at least a week, according to neighbors.   Surely borough employees have passed by, including police, did they report this to anyone? If not, why?  Why shouldn’t the various departments have each others backs ?  Working in tandem could suggest that this mess would have been caught before it escalated to this level.  Team work could have big pay offs for the borough of Pottstown.

10553443_1469864213238339_1666729413270885611_n

Since the owner lives in California the question really becomes:

Does she have a “designated responsible agent residing or working within the Borough of Pottstown” as required in the Housing ordinance? The activities of the renters suggests she does not have an agent so the 2nd question becomes, how was the owner allowed to rent the place without one?

There are no penalties for defying the ordinance by not having an agent. At minimum, isn’t it reasonable to expect the owner would be prohibited from renting without one?

The borough requires a record of the contact info for the agent so either they have one or they don’t. If there is an agent why would he/she not have been alerted to the problem right away so they could take care of it quickly?

Leading to the next question: is the property even registered with the borough and does the owner have a rental license?  Sneaky rentals carries a fine of between $250 – $1000, are we collecting that money?  If not, why?  I kinda get when poverty pimps sneak rentals into the bowels of my neighborhood because it is so badly chopped up… but this????

The disservice to the community is that so many defy the laws and ordinances in Pottstown because they get away with it. Then there is the unevenhanded-ness of enforcement that sends the wrong message too.

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Like this chair which didn’t fit through the door of a well-kept rental property in the 3rd Ward.  The renter’s son was picking it up anyway within 48 hours but the renter got a warning within 24 hours of placing the chair on the porch, despite being informed by the neighbor that it would be removed quickly.  That’s a waste of time and effort – PLEASE PLEASE focus on the problems like we see at 103 N. Hanover St.  Don’t waste our tax money on trivia.

203 Owner and Occupant Duties (page 5)
http://www.pottstown.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/128

If the owner, Rebecca Rhodes, has an agent, I’d like to know who it is so I can steer people away from doing business with him/her. Rental agents in PA are required to have real estate licenses, but many in our area should be scrutinized for their practices.

The optimal concept behind the Housing ordinance is to prevent this kind of disrespect in our community.  What’s the plan Stan?

We are the residents of Pottstown and we CARE every single day of the week.

The chair was picked up as promised and the rental is back to its lovely, well-maintained appearance.  We truly hope, as some have suggested on FB, that the warning wasn’t issued here in retaliation or vindictiveness.  I would love to have this rental as a neighbor any day of the week.

10410902_10204768314234998_5229106715753770026_n

 

DON’T RENT FROM GLEN OR GARY RUSSELL…

Golden Cockroach has been covering the crazy, stoopit, illegal antics of Glen Russell and his sidekick bro, Gary Russell, for about 3 years.  They operate by this simple motto:

“Our money is our money and your money is our money”

Cracked open the blog this afternoon to find this little gem

awaiting approval…


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We’re giving the following comment the full EXPOSURE it deserves.  Hang onto your Money…

Kajed writes:

Glen’s a real piece of work. He was my slumlord a few years ago. He didn’t take care of the mold issues or the rodent infestation. Then, about 9 months in, I get a letter from Russell Property Management stating that I had missed about 5 of my rent payments and that I owed them thousands in back rent. Luckily, we saved our receipts (that we had to insist on getting each month since we were paying in cash) and provided the proof that we had payed in-full every month.

Glenn’s brother, Gary, told me it must’ve just been a misunderstanding and apologized for his brother. Then several months later, I received a similar letter about owing back rent again. I again provided proof. Oddly, 3 of the months listed on the new letter were also on the original letter which I had already provided proof for. This to me seems like an intentional scam to take advantage of those who do not keep good financial records.  **Good records or not, this is scammin’ behavior.**

In the end, we left the place in better condition than we had received it in. This however did not stop them from unjustly stealing our security deposit. They didn’t even send the required itemized explanation.

When I called to find out why we hadn’t received our deposit, Glenn claimed that the carpet was damaged with burn holes and stains and there were also marks on the walls. I then referred him to the original lease in which those damages were specifically listed by me prior to us moving in. Somehow, we got cut off at that point.

I then called Gary who explained it must just be another misunderstanding and that we would receive our deposit in a few weeks. That was the last I heard from either of them.

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They stopped answering/returning my phone calls. They never sent the check. Unfortunately, I did not find out that there are laws to help protect renters in this situation, until after the statute of limitations had expired. Apparently, I could’ve sewed them for up to 3x my deposit.

Look, it’s been said a million times before and we’ll say it till the pigs come home:

IF YOU’RE LISTING OR BUYING A HOME, CHOOSE A REAL ESTATE AGENT THAT DOESN’T RIP PEOPLE OFF.   YOU COULD BE NEXT.   File a complaint with the state if you’ve been ripped off by Glen Russell, Re/Max <<clik for his website. 

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/state_real_estate_commission/12523

Check the PA Court dockets & MontCo Prothonotary for a history on any agent or landlord doing business in Pottstown.

http://goldencockroach.wordpress.com/no-rest-for-the-wicked/

http://goldencockroach.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/glen-russell-and-a-maggot-in-the-middle-of-the-road/

MontCo Property Records list the following properties in Pottstown:

Glen Russell owns:  410 High St.  / 42 E. Third **tax delinquent**

Gary Russell owns:  176 N. Charlotte St. / 180 N. Charlotte St.

Have you got a tale of woe to tell about a slumlord you rent from or rented from in Pottstown or Norristown?  Have you been ripped off?  We’ll publish your experience and photo’s too.  Email us at:

ptownadvocates@hotmail.com

About Those Free Lunches….

Sparked by a discussion on Facebook today about free school lunches, paid for by the Feds, it was said that 66% of kids live below the poverty level in Pottstown.

So, everybody’s getting a free lunch except Pottstown resident property owners.  Were it not for endless, free, caviar lunches for rental income investors, we may not have an extreme need for free school lunches:

Montgomery County raises $2.1M selling tax-delinquent properties  <<clik to read article.  

This 9/20/14 Times Herald article by Dan Clark could almost make a taxpayer giddy with thoughts of 2.1M property tax collections in MontCo – a portion of which could seem like a generous contribution to the Pottstown School District &  Borough -

Right??  Not so fast – – what we don’t know, and the county isn’t telling, is the untold millions that are never collected in Pottstown …

Delinquent property owners are allowed to fall 2 years behind, according to the article.  If properties don’t sell at Sheriff auction and there’s a mortgage the banks buy ‘em back.  A lot of them are peddled for the banks by disreputable REO agencies that have an “in” with Fannie Mae and who have a medley of “get rich quick” investors lined up to be Pottstown’s next dead beat property owners. A lot of new investors will collect government subsidies for their dangerously neglected rental properties AND stop paying taxes too.

Properties are also pawned by the county, “free and clear” of tax and municipal liens, to even more slum investors who are not scrutinized by the county or maybe the county is part of that deal?

The county sold a couple properties, for $1 each, to a religious lady that distributes questionnaires to her prospective tenants, inquiring about their relationship with God, I have a copy and it’s so frickin’ uncool.  She sends “dripping in judgment” rejections via email <I have one of those too, it was forwarded to me by someone who tried to rent from her> WHAT IS THE COUNTY THINKING???  They must really hate Pottstown.

Now those tax defaults are not such a big thing to – very wealthy – Montgomery County, they have steady, pristine, upper middle class revenue in the majority of the county … but this 2 year policy is keeping N & Ptowns in the gutter – circling the same drain as Detroit, Wayne County MI.  Why should these very poor communities be asked to wait for 2 or 3 years for desperately needed funds then end up – possibly – with nothing at all or with more cheap trick investors?

EXHIBIT A, below is three properties that are owned by Tyler and Diana Bui, they are all tax delinquent.  There are no sheriff’s auction notices on the properties, yet.  Two of the houses are condemned and they will sit there – rotting – until they are 2 years behind in taxes or the bank sends them to auction, (or the water authority sends them).

I believe mortgage default is also a 2 year process.   When two years is up, the Bui’s tax debt will look like this:

$5,840.00 429 King St.

$5,082.00 431 King St.

$5,524.00  1057 South St.

$16,446.00  Total Property Taxes on three properties, for 2 years, that’s a lot of free lunches for the Bui’s even if the properties weren’t fully rented for the full 2 years…

By the time all is said and done, for two years, no property maintenance, no taxes, no mortgage – every penny of the rent money the Bui’s collected is “mainlined” directly into the pocket of Tyler and Diana.  It’s unethical, it’s sleazy, it SHOULD be criminal.  It’s not unlike the behavior of an addict – like junkies mainline heroin.

Question is, have they paid their municipal liens or the mortgages?  I could be wrong, but it’s a safe guess they have not.  So the figure $16,446.00 is at least double, a fix that’s fed their greed, giving them a substantially profitable high.  Why shouldn’t they be tempted to repeat this experience like any good junkie would?   When nobody’s minding the ranch…the wolves are fat and happy, pickin’ wool from between their teeth.

My block, my town will be left in despair while the properties await the next cheap investors to turn a trick.  Who else would want to buy the homes?    One of the homes was once owned and lived in by an interior designer – it is said that it was a beautiful residence/office space.  How far from grace have  leaders let this borough fall…

The Bui’s profited from their negligence and the illegal drug trade in Pottstown, as all income investors do when they rent to drug dealers.

Money is the drug of choice for Pottstowns slum investors, they skim the cream off the top, officials suck up what’s left and we pick up the tab. 

Poverty Pimps!!!!  Poor people!!!!  More and more of them everyday!!!!   We do not disparage the free lunch that Pottstown kids get at school M-F, by the way, but..

We are disgusted to see slum properties continue to change hands while officials show no concern for the mess the 2 year property tax waiting game has gotten us into.  The new funding for homeless and parolees has investors lining up at the trough with the expectation that they too will be asked to do little maintenance, get no inspections or even have to pay taxes.

Officials of the school district and borough can advocate for better laws at the county level, not only tax reform for the entire state, (which appears to be D.O.A. once again).

MontCo treasurer, Jason Salus states:

“We’ll start preparing them <properties> for the judicial free and clear sale. In between then, we have a new sale process in place called a private sale,” Salus said. “For those 11 months where we’re preparing those properties for the free and clear sale, anybody <in Pottstown that means slum investors> can come in, make a bid and we’ll pass it to the school district, the county and the borough or municipality to see if they have an interest in selling it for whatever the private sale is. There’s an option to try to get those properties back on the tax rolls during that one year window.”

“Getting properties back on the tax rolls” CANNOT be the only consideration when officials have the opportunity to scrutinize prospective buyers before a sale.  They don’t do it after the sale either when they hand out building permits, conditional use permits and rental licenses to deadbeats when the law allows them to be denied <PA Act 90 Blight and Reclamation> an oz. of prevention is better than a lb. of cure.

The Times Hearld points out, if a property doesn’t sell at Sheriff’s auction, it can sit for 3 years generating no taxes and deteriorating.   So why isn’t the borough/sd buying  back these homes and selling them to HOMEOWNERS for $1 as part of a neighborhood stabilization effort?  Put solid taxpayers in them –  smaaart!!  That’s what they’re doing in Gary, IN << clik to read article.

What can officials here learn from Wayne County, MI, if they wanted to??  Wayne County waited to do anything until Detroit became stuck at the bottom of the drain.  Understand NOW the dire predicament of Pottstown and how it comes full circle.

Good, taxpayer residents are outraged in Detroit – as you should be here.

Detroit — “The city’s property tax system is riddled with errors and waste, and is overseen by a pair of double-dipping officials who work just two days a week, a Detroit News investigation has found.” <<clik to read article

I believe a no holds barred investigation of Pottstown and Montgomery County would be the best thing that could happen for taxpayers in Pottstown.  This merry-go-round of property tax evasion has us circling the Detroit drain. 

“Extractive investor” is a term that was coined in Baltimore explained to me, a few years ago, by attorney Michael Sarbanes while he was visiting Pottstown:

“Extractive” is an investment style that requires no property maintenance, no background checks of tenants, illegal evictions AND non-payment of property taxes.  As it sounds, an investor extracts the useful life out of a property for financial gain and walks away to do it all over again.  In Pottstown, we’re on at least our third generation of extractive investors. In some neighborhoods there’s nothing left to extract but, that hasn’t stopped the vicious cycle.

Last summer I started documenting the filth and debauchery of tenants at 429 & 431 King St., owned by the Bui’s <pronounced “boys”>.  Many locals recall attending school with Tyler who was called “Hung Bui” before his name change, he may have owned properties under that name too?  I don’t know for certain.

Drug dealers were chopping up a van in the backyard of 431 last summer.

Drug dealers were chopping up a van in the backyard of 431 last summer.

This is how the renters lived.

This is how the renters lived.

I called Tyler – often – regarding the conditions of his property and his renters who were seen selling drugs, behind one of the houses, to school kids as they made their way home in the afternoon.

Tyler was evasive, unconcerned and had a big “FUCK YOU” attitude, kind of like the response from local authorities who were called to the problems as they were reported by neighbors.

HPIM1352

Summer, 2013

Today.

Today.

The drug dealers were nonplused, they were as assured as Tyler was that it would be a cold day in hell before the law caught up with them, they were all pretty darn comfy in Pottstown.

Funny thing is though, I posted some of these photo’s on Facebook, last summer, along with Tyler’s name and his church people came out of the woodwork to defend him, “he’s a nice guy” they said.  I said, “nice guys don’t screw taxpayers and kids.”

Today, both houses are condemned.  I learned that one set of tenants had no electric service, they were running a generator through the monster winter of 2013-14.

I don’t suppose Tyler and Diana had to worry about keeping their kids warm and I doubt they ever once considered the fate of their renters children or they would have paid taxes and maintained their properties.

-57 Irwin Pl is the county mailing address for the Bui's.

57 Irwin Pl is the county mailing address for the Bui’s, taxes are paid up.

Tyler and Diana also own this property along with Vu Phuco & Connie Bui:

201 Jordan Dr.  Gilbertsville.

201 Jordan Dr. Gilbertsville, no tax lien here either.

And, they own land with no tax lien.

I’m tired of taking it in the shorts while people like the Bui’s live the life O’Reilly and I clean up, put up <but never shut up> and pay for the bullshit they have brought to my block, my community.

I’d also like the county to tell me why my property taxes, despite having them lowered, are $3,105/year while their highest taxed, INCOME generating property is only $2,920.00.   Most of the investor properties near my home pay less than I do.   Income investors should NOT be allowed to lower their taxes – EVER.  As for the Homestead tax break for owner/occupants MontCo doesn’t list that information on their website but activists in Allentown have discovered it’s quite common for slum persons to give a rental property as their home address to qualify for the tax break.  Maybe that’s why deadbeat, Ed Mitchell, gives 239 Chestnut St. as his tax mailing address and also claims to live at 454 King St. and, of course, Blue Bell too.  Whataguy.

What can you learn from people like Tyler and Diana Bui??   If you could overlook your pesky conscience and stop paying your taxes and mortgage for two years, let your house fall into disrepair and ignore the borough’s violations, your kids will still eat for free, they’ll get an education and…

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Wouldn’t you like to be richly rewarded with a pocket full of money to start your life over on Boardwalk or Park Place?   Chalk Pottstown up to a bad move in the game of Monopoly?

Your credit will take a hit but, for an increasing number of Pottstown homeowners, that’s a small price for playing their final “get out of jail cards.”

Ply the lessons from the Bui’s and hundreds – no-  thousands of other extractive investors or, you can just leave your thoughts and ideas in the comment space below.

“Truth never damages a cause that is just” Ghandi

August / September 2014 in review.  Click on the links beneath the quotes to read the articles from various news sources in the area:    

Poverty is rampant

“Experts say few, if any, communities in the greater Philadelphia region are more in need than Pottstown, a city of roughly 22,000 by the Schuylkill where poverty and homelessness have steadily risen in the years since it lost its luster as an iron- and steel making center of the last two centuries.”

“Linda Abram of North Penn United Way said 21.5 percent of children under 18 there live in poverty, almost four times the rate in the rest of the county. And the median family income of $42,000 is only about 60 percent of that of the rest of the county.”

New initiative seeks to help students find housing stability

I didn’t see this article right away.  When it was brought to my attention I was even more astounded that borough council, councils of yore and former mayors admonish residents for speaking negatively about the housing problems in Pottstown.  The word is out, guess what??  It’s not a secret.

 @@@@@@@@@

“Trends in local housing supply and demand aren’t working in Pottstown’s favor right now. In a word, the market is troubled.

Andrew Himes, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors in Collegeville, said the borough is one of the few places that hasn’t made any kind of a comeback.”

UPDATE:  A former Pottstown homeowner sent this email after reading the post: 

I am an example in your newest post. I paid $73,000 for my home in the mid Eighties…I began the effort to sell it in early 2012. I never even came close to selling it. After a fruitless year I began the long process of giving the house back to the bank via a deed-in-lieu (while still trying to sell it). The transaction completed this past April. The bank has been trying to sell the property since then…the price has now been lowered to $89,900 and it still sits!!

What a nightmare that town has become…decades of poor Boro leadership, lax code enforcement, ineffective policing, and the staggering upward spiral of property taxes…I feel fortunate that I got out…

 

In Pottstown plenty of sellers few buyers

In response to the article above, State Representative Mark Painter had this to say:

“Whether or not a community is desirable is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a shame The Inquirer chose to focus on the naysayers.”

Letters Sept. 20th Philly.com

95% of the article referenced irrefutable data about home sales in the area.  The article also mentions a few of the nice things about Pottstown:  parks, The Hill School, Senior Center…  I took exception to Mark Painters letter because,  among politicians that serve Pottstown, everyone is more than willing to tout the virtues but they readily dismiss the most unfortunate realities that are stunting this borough.

However, their silence on the housing issue fans the flames of mistrust and speculation about their motives….their connections to real estate investors and the real estate industry that profit handsomely from their sleazy business acumen in Pottstown.

In Ward one, the number of investors roaming our streets, on the prowl for their first or their next delapidated slum rental property is markedly on the rise.  In the eyes of those beholders Pottstown is a cornucopia of desire, stuffed full of easy money.

Naturally, we wonder:  whose toes are politicians afraid to step on and why?   Homeowners watch, in horror, while their own investments evaporate and working class renters live in disgusting conditions because they are afraid to ask for help for fear they will lose the roof over their heads.  Please just stop burying the housing crisis in marshmallow cream, it insults the intelligence of many and it’s not helping this community.  

Welcome to the 400 block of King St. where only 8 remaing homeowners tenaciously strive to keep peace, pick up litter and look after one another.   

We need street cred and acknowledgement from every politician that serves Pottstown.  It is true that Mark Painter champions Pottstown but, even he has not engaged in dialogue about the housing problems with the community.  We hear nary a peep from State Rep Tim Hennessey who has made no effort, that I am aware of, to reach out to his constituents here.  Worry not, we’ll soon be reaching out to him. 

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“Before the creation of Your Way Home, Shapiro said, the county would find homes for an average of 15 people a month.

“Under Your Way Home, we have been able to not just help 15 people get out of homelessness, but we’re now up to 55 people a month getting out of homelessness and into stable housing,” he said. “This isn’t someone going from the street and into a shelter.  This is someone going into stable housing.”

Montgomery County program finds homes for the homeless

This is all good and well, I’d be hard pressed to say housing the homeless is not a noble cause.  “Stable housing” is hard to find in Pottstown and I do not see the benefit of housing the homeless in rental properties that are worn out, unsafe.  The county has seen to it that there is plenty of money to house people here.  I believe they also have an obligation to work with borough officials to make the housing safe and dare I go so far as to say attractive?  Giving tax dollars to investors who profit from the misfortune of others, with no expectation that they will follow the laws, is how we got into this mess in the first place.  Shapiro and the other commissioners cannot continue to be MIA on the housing problems in Pottstown.  

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“In her 88-page opinion submitted to the board, Jodi Isenberg, the administrative law judge who heard the Montgomery Elks case, said:

Issues that don’t occur directly inside an establishment are still its responsibility.

A licensee can be held accountable for activity occurring off-premises where there is a causal connection between the licensed premises and the activity,

Judge Isenberg also stated…

That the number of police incidents at the Montgomery Elks clearly … establishes a pattern of conduct that shows the lodge was disregarding its responsibility to monitor outside and adjacent to the licensed premises.”


Montgomery Elks liquor license denied by state

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The unfortunate events at Montgomery Elks that have resulted in hundreds of police reports, crime, untold costs to taxpayers, fear and loss of enjoyment for homeowners and other peaceful residents but, it is only one example of the abuses of “bottom feeder” businesses that harm our community.   

I am disheartened that borough council could not imagine better for my neighborhood – Ward 1, (whose challenges are greater than any other neighborhood), than to approve the minimart at 450 King St. They also continue to allow the building to be used as a boarding house.   Their decision exhibits a lack of knowledge and understanding of  their own ordinances and the principals of revitalization.  

Based on numerous experiences in my neighborhood alone, exemplified by the Montgomery Elks, I have no reason to expect better from councils decision to allow Edward Mitchell, owner of 450 King St., to establish his negligent business practices in Pottstown.  I don’t expect Torres minimart will be held to  legal or common sense standards by the borough or Mitchell.   Edward has a lengthy history of non-payment of property taxes, municipal liens and mortgages – dating back to the 1980’s, which screams of his incompetence, or even worse.   His history should not be confused with a warm, fuzzy recommendation or sound business experience.

Edward’s disregard for state landlord tenant law is legendary as former renters at his property at 239 Chestnut St. (under his wife’s name) will attest and, as I have witnessed.   Pottstown has become a magnet for people like Ed Mitchell.   This is only one, possibly insignificant decision to council but, when you magnify this decision, it has larger ramifications for every taxpayer in the the community.  It is within council’s decision making process, to examine, question, learn and take time to make a determination – instead, they ask no questions and hastily give their approval, even blocking out the concerns of the neighborhood and community members.  

The Conditional Use hearing in Pottstown is a ruse where people are invited to comment then told their comments have no value.  

Tongue tied as usual, not one council person asked Ed Mitchell when, under oath at the conditional use hearing, why he gave three different addresses, two in Pottstown and one in Blue Bell.  He claimed to live at each one.  Why would he do that?  The answer can be found in the zoning law and ordinances that govern boarding houses and rental property management.  When someone chooses to pull the wool over the eyes of council, under oath, then is rewarded for it – we have bigger  problems than we can wrap our minds around. 

In her wisdom, Judge Isenberg has reenforced federal, state and local laws that exist for the purpose of holding every business and property owner responsible for the activities of their patrons, renters or guests – on and off the premises – the borough has been remiss in their enforcement and it is councils duty to know what prevents borough employees from being effective.   

It’s my sincere desire that when council instructs Attorney Garner to write  ordinances to govern activities in Pottstown –  he will keep in mind the logic of the findings of Judge Isenberg.  Ordinances must be enforceable and consistently enforced. From the nuisance ordinance and safe housing ordinances to litter and criminal activity – bad behavior should not be allowed to escalate to the extreme before an intervention occurs.  How can we prosper without good laws and enforcement?  Just look around and know that Montgomery Elks serves as prominent, although common, example of what DOESN’T WORK.  

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Collectively, these articles and events are just another “black eye” for Pottstown and it’s increasingly impossible to sweep them under the rug, or more aptly, cover them with a rainbow.  If our politicians won’t speak of them, the press surely will.  

The onus is on every official that serves Pottstown to acknowledge and talk with residents to gain perspective on the day to day housing issues that we all live with.   I challenge every council person and politician… 

Take the first step, make it a priority.  After all, that’s why you were elected and that’s what leaders do – LEAD.  

I leave you with this article in the 422 Business Journal, written by Barry Cassidy, a recognized leader in community development in PA and elsewhere.  Barry knows how to get it done right:

Can Something Be So Bad It Is Good?

 

HEADS UP: Nikchad, LLC / Chagalliving, LLC / Alisa Levin…

Let the people speak for themselves.  Featured comments can be found at the bottom of the slumlord list.  You will also find the link for the montco property records on the page where you can find a list of rentals owned by these LLC’s.  

anonymous says:
September 21, 2014 at 10:05 am 

Alisa Levin is a horrible landlord I didn’t have any heat for a year and I was the only one paying for gas and electric in the building. She does not provide the proper service as a landlord she has a guy that works for her as a superintendent but never wants to fix anything. She never had the building inspected she doesn’t communicate well and she will try to take your whole security deposit when you decide to move out. She should not be a landlord in Pottstown, Pa or anywhere else in the world be careful because she will try to charge you for something that your not supposed to pay for if she thinks you don’t have the knowledge to know better…

“DON’T RENT FROM ALISA LEVIN”

 

Sick of slumlords says:

December 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm 

Alisa Levin has been victimizing tenants for years. She uses her null and void psychology license to prey on young poor women manipulating them to stay in her dilapidated properties. I have numerous text messages from Ms. Levin, threatening to call child services on a tenant if she did not comply with her demands. I have multiple photos of shoddy conditions in her “penthouse” suite located above Daisy’s bodega which as codes stated to me had not been inspected since 2005 and was to be used for storage only according to codes. The place has shoddy electrical with bare exposed wires. The windows are broken and riddled with lead paint. The fire lighting system was disconnected and a board was nailed over the outlet so the delinquents who “loitered” in the common area stairwell could not charge their phones according to Levin. All of this evidence was presented to a judge who blindly allowed this sheister to keep renting her dangerous properties. Several attempts to gain access to her “so called investors” NikChad LLC were shot down by Levin herself. If the tenant signs a lease with NIKCHAD how does she have the right to quell any conversations with the “ghost investors”? Well that’s because Ms. Levin and NIKCHAD are one in the same. Why does Ms, Levin hide her investors? Why does she hide the fact that she IS NIKCHAD? This is something that will eventually come to fruition I am sure.

Sick of slumlords, goes on to say:

December 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm 

…there are drug dealers living in the building and the store below (345 Beech st) breeds every vermin in town. I am sure this is due to the store owners prior infractions for selling cigarettes on the food stamp program which I am certain he still does. Wires are exposed in the units children live in and her maintenance man is a recovering addict (who relapsed) working for a local rehab in Pottstown. His girlfriend likes to threaten anyone she can get her hands on. The codes department thanks you for your tips but then turns a blind eye and allows the landlord to turn over her properties within a week from the other tenants (who still have active leases) leaving.  This woman should be ran out of town and sent back to Quakertown where her family lives in the lap of luxury.

POTTSTOWN OFFICIALS AND JUDGES REFORM THIS NOW BEFORE WE GO OVER YOUR HEADS TO A FEDERAL AGENCY !!!!
Sincerely and Serious,
Sick !

450 King St. Alisa Levin - Chagallliving, LLC  Paint job on trim is new *gag*   Front window is plexiglas - suck the heat right out of the house.  Storm windows or insulation?   You'll freeze your petuties off this winter and pay a chunk of change for it too.

450 King St. Alisa Levin – Chagallliving, LLC Paint job on trim is new *gag* Front window is plexiglas – suck the heat right out of the house. Storm windows or insulation? You’ll freeze your petuties off this winter and pay a chunk of change for it too.

Poison Pen Letters

I remember…

About two years after I moved to Pottstown the stories of underhanded politics began to unfold, including the prevalence of anonymous, “poison pen letters” that are designed to intimidate and threaten an adversary.  I’m sure this kind of thing is not a Pottstown exclusive but it sure is popular here.

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How fulfilling can it be to send anonymous letters?   Think about it:

The sender never has the satisfaction of seeing surprise on the recipients face.

The sender never knows if their target shared the letter with other people.

The sender is never assured that their secret letter spawned conjecture or fear or debate about who sent it and why.

Nope, in reality, the sender never really knows if the letter had the desired effect of intimidating or paralyzing their intended.

The author is left with the temporary satisfaction of secretly spewing their threats and vitriol after which, it seems to me, they can only indulge themselves in twisted fantasies about the impact they’ve made on another person.  In that regard…

I imagine the authors of poison pen letters are full of false bravado, and a few other things I shall not mention by name but one of them rhymes with coop.

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The recipient’s of anonymous, toxic Pottstown fiction say they usually <wisely> tear the letters up, with little regard for the hostile content, and toss ‘em in the round file cabinet. 

Recently, poison pens are going around again.   There seems to be a single author whose writing style stands out and whose content is to threaten lawsuits against the borough, or encourage residents to file lawsuits against other residents.  The letters lack fact or substance and…

The writer comes off like she’s throwing an adult temper tantrum <so unattractive by any measure>  The recent round of letters give every indication of having been written by a real estate  -eh hem- “professional” who I have written about on this blog and who is affiliated with the Western Montgomery County Real Estate Investors Group.   This is an organization whose members comprise many of the negligent rental property owners we see today in Pottstown.

th-1Judging by the poison pen letters being mailed of late, it’s an easy guess that some members of the real estate investors group are feeling a tad uncomfortable with recent developments in the borough. Perhaps they sense that their free reign of terror is coming to an end?

We can only say:  IT’S ABOUT TIME!

The recipient of one of those poison pen letters is a neighbor of mine who brought me the letter yesterday to make a copy for posterity.  In the letter my neighbor was encouraged – in a misguided, erroneous rant – to hire an attorney and sue me for posting to facebook the footage taken from a surveillance video, in a public space, that captured.. uh.. shall I say, something that should have been accomplished in private.   The fact is…

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The 4th Amendment guarantees privacy in our homes, public restrooms, jail, in a phone booth, etc. but…when you are in public places – if, for example, you choose to urinate in public – it is possible to be charged with littering, public nuisance, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, or other law if the locality doesn’t have a law specifically addressing public urination, (Pottstown has laws on the books to govern these things).

The following is an example of one state’s law dealing with public urination:

76-9-702. Lewdness — Sexual battery — Public urination. A person is guilty of public urination if the person urinates or defecates in a public place, other than a public rest room; and under circumstances which the person should know will likely cause affront or alarm to another.

While these laws are widely enforced in other towns and cities it is not common to see them enforced in Pottstown leading some people to the conclusion that it’s O.K. to take a pee or leave graphic evidence, (of the solid variety),  in public – anywhere they would like –  without shame or embarrassment or concern for being arrested.

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But, what happens if it’s captured on video?  For one, it might go viral and who knows… any Pottstownian could be next in line to receive an “ax job” <anon letter>  from a whack job for posting legitimate concerns about illegal activity, so…

If you happen to open your mailbox and find an anonymous letter about me or any other topic please hold on to it.  I think these letters have a place in the history of Pottstown or, at least, an enterprising and avant guard new restaurant could up-cycle them to wallpaper their bathrooms – – for entertainment purposes only.

Meanwhile, I am extending an invitation to the author of the inane, poison pen ramblings sent to my neighbor to pick a time and let’s get together for a cup of joe and conversation.   Send me a <signed> letter or contact me by email if you have the cahones to do so:

ptownadvocates@hotmail.com

While we work on a new project to feature ethical Real Estate Professionals and Landlords in our area please remember, they are not all created equal.  This is a reminder to CHECK THE HISTORIES of anyone you are considering renting from, including PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO’S.  

The same holds true if you are selling or buying real estate.  The Pottstown housing ocean is infested with sharks and you are at risk of falling prey to the unethical, illegal actions of many real estate professionals and landlords.

Check civil and criminal backgrounds on the county and state links which you can find if you click on the link below.  If you need help finding information, contact me at the email address above.

Choose wisely because you have a lot to lose: 

http://goldencockroach.wordpress.com/june-2014-current-list-of-pottstown-slumlords/