There’s a cartoon at a desk of one of my co-workers where a man with a wrecking ball and a clipboard stands next to a pile of rubble. He’s reading the clipboard as an angry homeowner looks over his shoulder. He’s saying to the homeowner, “Why, you’re absolutely correct; this *IS* the wrong address!”
GARY — A mother and daughter who say the Gary Department of Redevelopment tore down their family home on Polk Street by mistake filed a lawsuit against the city this week. The suit, by Jacqueline and Terri G. Martin, seeks unspecified damages for the loss of personal property at 2632 Polk St., as well as for emotional injuries.
City officials didn’t comment on the lawsuit Wednesday. When contacted about the demolition in May, they insisted the house in question is actually located at 2636 Polk St., and that it was torn down at the request of its owner, CRWorks Inc.
However, property records show a one-story, red-brick home stood at 2632 Polk as recently as 2006, and no city record explains what happened to it.
One-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind — that’s this guy right here.
According to the lawsuit, Gary’s building commissioner issued an order to demolish the “unsafe building” at 2632 Polk in January 2000. Jacqueline Martin, its owner, says she made satisfactory repairs to the house, and the property wasn’t demolished.
The Martins also point out that demolition orders expire two years after they are issued under Indiana law.
However, on Dec. 18, the Martins claim the city of Gary, through an unidentified demolition company, tore down the house without notice and without a hearing. When it did so, the Martins said, Terri Martin’s personal property was destroyed.
The Martins have said the house wasn’t a primary residence, but it was inherited by Jacqueline Martin and used for storage.
County records list 2632 Polk as a vacant lot .
No sign of a house can be found under the key number for 2636 Polk on a map in the county surveyor’s office. City records show a demolition permit was issued for 2636 Polk on Dec. 16. The file lists the cost of the work at $5,625, and it shows the contractor that did the work was T.R.I. Inc., of East Chicago.
The real tragedy is the city of Gary Indiana. For may years it has been in the top 2 or 3 highest homicide rates in the U.S., right along with New orleans and Washington D.C. In many areas it’s extremely difficult to sell property simply due to the reputation Gary has as a city.
So these people inherit a house they can’t sell, and use it for storage. They get a demolition order and make the required repairs; no problem. Six years later, some imbecile in the Building commisioners office issues an order to tear down a house on an adjacent lot that has no actual house on it. City hires a politically connected company to do the demolition (and believe me, everything is politically connected in East Chicago) — demo company won’t make money unless they tear down a house — so they tear down the only house on the block.
Yep; sounds like Gary Indiana.