BLOOMINGTON — The owner and owner-to-be of several apartment buildings in Bloomington face almost 800 "pretty significant" code violations, including 226 at a building destroyed by fire Feb. 10, city records show.
The city already had sought a demolition order for 1101 Gettysburg Drive because the roof kept caving in, said Deputy Corporation Counsel Angela Fyans-Jimenez. The city also has 572 citations pending against owner Wayne Pelhank and contract-for-deed purchaser Ed Duran for five rental properties in the 900 blocks of West Front and West Grove streets.
The various cases are filed in circuit court and the city's administrative court. Pelhank's attorney declined comment Tuesday; Pelhank could not be reached. Duran had no comment.
Fyans-Jimenez described the violations at the Gettysburg property on the city's east side as similar to those in the case related to the west Bloomington buildings.
In addition, “Significant crimes were happening (in the vicinity of Front and Grove) so we also filed a chronic nuisance case in McLean County Circuit Court and required them to put security cameras up, and they are supposed to tell the police department when new tenants move in,” Fyans-Jimenez said. Pelhank is due to appear in circuit court Thursday.
"We had the administrative court case pending and the (Gettysburg) roof kept caving in. They kept fixing it,” Fyans-Jimenez told The Pantagraph on Tuesday. “If you’re having the roof continue to fail that to me says there is structural stability issues so I also filed a demolition case (in circuit court) as well.”
If the owners don't demolish the now-destroyed building, the insurance company will have to, she said.
Pelhank and Duran are set to appear in administrative court Feb. 28 to answer the demolition question, as well as alleged violations that include 19 counts of failing to install or having non-functioning smoke alarms in seven of the Gettsyburg units. The men also are scheduled for a separate appearance on problems at the Front and Grove properties.
In the demolition request filed Dec. 15 in circuit court, the city said the building was structurally unsound and had significant roof leaks and water-logged ceilings, walls and carpeting.
A firefighter was injured in the Gettysburg fire and 29 people were left homeless. A cause of the fire has not been determined, according to Bloomington Fire Department. The 12-unit, two-story building was built in the 1970s.
Pelhank bought the property for $360,000 in January 2000 and he is listed as owner of 12 other properties in Bloomington.
According to city records, code inspectors completed an initial inspection of 1101 Gettysburg Drive on Sept. 6 and found 262 violations. Pelhank was given until Nov. 28 to correct them, but the compliance date was extended after neither he nor a representative showed up Nov. 28.
About eight violations had been fixed when a city inspector re-inspected the property on Dec. 18 and Pelhank was given a final extension to complete repairs. At the Jan. 30 re-inspection, the inspector noted 226 violations that included smoke alarm problems, missing doors, windows that wouldn't open, improperly installed doorknobs, damage from water leaks, and cockroaches. Various violations were found in all 12 apartments, the report said.
Pelhank and a bank that holds the mortgage on the property were in the demolition request. A case management hearing is set for June 7.
In that case, Fyans-Jimenez alleged that in addition to the roof problems, flooring in an upper-floor bedroom had buckled due to water damage and needed to be replaced. A water-damaged ceiling, walls, carpet and padding also needed to be replaced, according to court documents.