BLOOMINGTON — Landlord Wayne Pelhank's insurance carrier has not determined whether the burned-out apartment building he owns in east Bloomington will be repaired or demolished.
The insurance company is waiting for a report from a contractor "in regard to the potential repair or demolition," said Eitan Weltman, Pelhank's attorney, following closed negotiations Wednesday in the city's administrative court.
"It's taken a little bit longer because it's a time-consuming proposition to get that report out," Weltman told The Pantagraph. "It's a due diligence that the insurance company has to do, and they have to have that report. It is our hope that they will have that report by Monday."
Weltman said the case was continued to next Wednesday.
The fire at the apartment building, 1101 Gettysburg Drive, was reported around 3:08 p.m. Feb. 10. The damage was estimated at $650,000. One firefighter was slightly injured.
An accidental cooking fire was the cause of the blaze that left seven families homeless. The families have since been relocated, some to other Pelhank-owned properties.
Prior to the fire, the city found 226 code violations at the 12-unit, two-story building during an inspection on Jan. 30. The building caught fire 11 days later and displaced 29 residents. The violations included smoke alarm problems, missing doors, windows that wouldn't open, improperly installed doorknobs, damage from water leaks and cockroaches.
Pelhank and his property manager, Ed Duran, also have racked up almost 600 violations at another group of rental properties Pelhank owns. The city says the pair are the worst offenders on a list of landlords whose properties are in violation of city code.
Pelhank was cited for 572 violations at five apartment buildings he owns in the 900 blocks of West Front and Grove streets.
Some of the citations at the Grove and Front streets properties have been dismissed after code violations were fixed, according to city Deputy Corporation Counselor Angela Fyans-Jimenez. But Pelhank still faces fines of $17,500 for nearly 80 code violations that must be fixed before he appears in court again on March 28.
If the problems are corrected, the fines will be dismissed, said Fyans-Jimenez, adding the landlord will then need to fix a final batch of code violations at those five building before that case is resolved.
The City Council Monday asked city attorney Jeff Jurgens to draft an ordinance that addresses chronically noncompliant landlords. The council's review of the city's rental inspection program was prompted by the fire and the large number of violations amassed by one landlord.