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City Files Almost 90 Blight Lawsuits

February 10, 2012

Said Wharton (shown here with Public Works Director Dwan Gilliom, Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich, City Attorney Herman Morris, and outside counsel Steve Barlow): "We now have the muscle of the DA's office on our side."

As part of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s 100 Days plan, the city filed almost 90 more blight lawsuits earlier this week.

In 2010, the Wharton Administration filed 138 lawsuits against the owners of blighted properties. Of those properties, 46 have been completely rehabbed, 19 have been demolished, and 18 are currently in the process of being rehabbed. There are also still 24 active cases.

The rest were either rehabbed or demolished shortly after the city filed the lawsuits and the cases dropped or the properties foreclosed on or sold before the owner was served.

The new lawsuits, which also include 11 public nuisance suits filed by the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office, represent properties in every Council district in the city. However, the addresses, mostly generated by resident calls to the Mayor’s Citizens Service Center, also represent target areas.

“The fight against blight is no less than a crusade,” Wharton said at a press conference at Frayser’s abandoned Peachtree South apartment complex. “Property in this condition shouldn’t be acceptable in any city.”
The initial settings for all the city’s new cases will be March 22nd at 1:30 p.m.
Success stories from the first round of lawsuits include a property at 218 Tillman, where renovations are underway, and 225 Cedar where building demolition was paid for by the property owner, not the city.

A former hotel at 3222 Airways is one of the properties the city has filed suit against in Shelby County Environmental Court.

Proceeds generated from the first wave of lawsuits were also to fund the 86 new cases.  

Those citizens interested in reporting a property for blight can call the Mayor’s Citizens Service Center at (901) 576-6500.


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