Property homeowners abandoning land, leaving communities with condemned structures

Media Reports News

Property homeowners abandoning land, leaving communities with condemned structures

August 29, 2018 [Kevin Barry, News 5 Cleveland]

While Rob Moon mows the grass on his lawn and his neighbor’s on Dearborn Avenue, it’s in the shadow of an eyesore just down the street. 

Records show the property is owned by Dantino Enterprises, formed by David Dansak. 

“We started noticing a lot of drug addicts and prostitution going on at the house and basically, nobody was doing anything about it,” said Moon. 

Police reports show multiple calls for similar concerns. Since News 5 started reporting on the squatters who lived inside, the city has boarded the building up and recently condemned the whole structure. 

“As neighbors, we feel safer,” said Moon. 

The placards and court documents stapled on the front of the building mean it could be knocked down eventually. Cuyahoga County Land Bank Chief Operating Officer Bill Whitney says the legal process taxes six months to a year if it’s streamlined. 

But then there’s the cost. 

“Well, an average one to four unit structure probably runs about $13,000,” said Whitney. 

Some homeowners cost land banks and municipalities a lot of money and time just by themselves. 

The Cuyahoga County Land Bank has a list of 15 properties that were at one point owned by Dantino Enterprises or the person who started that company, David Dansak. Some have been foreclosed on or sold at auction and a few, like the home near Rob, are still owned by Dantino Enterprises but are falling apart. 

“I don’t know these individuals so I hesitate to say anything, but I think you can see for yourself,” said Whitney, when asked what a pattern of dilapidated properties says about the owner. 

The Land Bank took a property on Baxter Avenue and demolished the home that sat on it after David Dansak owned it. Now the Land Bank is looking to resell it, just like the other 4,000 properties that they spend $2 million a year to maintain until a buyer comes along. 

A vacant lot might not be the best look, but Bill says it’s better than a house that’s falling down. 

“There is definitely negative effects within a 500-foot radius,” said Whitney. 

Back on Dearborn Avenue, neighbors say the negative effects aren’t completely gone even with the home boarded up. They’re worried about kids sneaking into the house and the squatters that still come by and try to get in. 

“As a homeowner, he should have taken responsibility to check on his home instead of just abandoning it like that,” said Moon.