Business suing city over Uptown demolition project

Alleged botched job caused $101,000 in damage to adjacent building, lawsuit charges
2013-11-08T06:20:00Z 2014-01-24T18:10:05Z Business suing city over Uptown demolition projectCARA SPOTO Journal Times

RACINE — The owners of Racine Merchandise Mart are suing the city and a local contractor for $101,000 in damages that allegedly occurred to their Uptown storefront during the demolition of a blighted building at 1516 Washington Ave.

The lawsuit, filed in Racine County Circuit Court on Oct. 25, comes nearly a year after the building was torn down and about a month after the plaintiff, Racine Properties Group LLC, or RPG, filed a claim against the city seeking the same damages.

The City Council recommended the claim be denied on Sept. 17, which allowed RPG to file the lawsuit.

Mayor John Dickert ordered that the building be taken down last November after staff became concerned that the structure’s crumbling facade might fall off and hurt someone. The project, which was completed in January, was originally slated to cost $26,209, but cost overruns later brought the final price tag for the job to $52,353. The change orders on the demolition contract — one for $3,750 and another for $22,394 — were the source of weeks of debate among aldermen, city staff and feuding contractors over the bidding and oversight of the project.

A month after approving those change orders in April, the City Council ended up approving another change order for $1,650 to fix a gap at 1512 Washington Ave., the location of Racine Merchandise Mart — an antique and interior design shop run by local residents Linea Anthony and her husband, Clifford Goodenough. Anthony is a “registered agent” for RPG, which, according to the complaint, owns the building at 1512 Washington Ave.

One of the issues at the center of the debate about the demolition was whether the main contractor — Azarian Wrecking also known as RAZA of Racine — disregarded demolition specifications issued by the city when it opted to tear down the building with a backhoe.

In its complaint against the city and RAZA, RPG alleges that Azarian failed to follow city guidelines, which stated that the contractor should take “extreme care so that no damaging or weakening of that adjacent buildings” occurred.

According to the complaint, an engineer hired by RPG found that 1512 Washington Ave. sustained roughly $96,000 in damages as a result of the demolition, including a cracked wall, and exposed beams and footings.

Deputy City Attorney Scott Letteney would not speak about case specifics on Thursday, but said his office is working on response to the complaint, which is due sometime in early December.

Attempts to reach Anthony and her attorney Thursday afternoon were unsuccessful.

No hearing date have been set in the case.

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(11) Comments

  1. Green Racinereal
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    Green Racinereal - November 09, 2013 11:07 am
    I like to thank Mayor Dickert for all the great (well for me) stories I can report on and make some cash writing about.
    I might as well get bank the Mayor's pals are. Too bad the city property Owners will be pay for this (other then the many downtown that do not pay property taxes)

    Thanks again!
  2. shadyclaudelois
    Report Abuse
    shadyclaudelois - November 09, 2013 7:56 am
    Another example of EMINENT DOMAIN abuse. This type of ABUSE was rampant also

    in Burlington Wisc. Follow the MONEY Trail. Check to see if the MAYOR is partners

    with a LOCAL CORRUPT DEVELOPER. If you can connect them , Call the FBI. Local

    states attorney will NOT HELP.
  3. Mrs John Hanner
    Report Abuse
    Mrs John Hanner - November 08, 2013 2:27 pm
    Kenosha thrives while Racine dies.

    Party on, lying John!
  4. Unbiased
    Report Abuse
    Unbiased - November 08, 2013 11:27 am
    I'm glad to hear that the lawsuit addresses the basic issue in that the City allowed Azaria to take the building down with a backhoe instead of piece by piece according to the specifications. It appears that ARC Architectural Group created a specification that was correct when is required the piece by piece removal.
  5. layedback
    Report Abuse
    layedback - November 08, 2013 10:17 am
    Right On...Ghetto it is and City Hall is smack in the center.
  6. PrimeTime69
    Report Abuse
    PrimeTime69 - November 08, 2013 9:20 am
    I'm still waitng for someone, anyone, to name just ONE successful thing Mayor Dickert has achieved in Racine in the last 5 years. It's shameful what this city has turned into, zero accountability and zero responsibility from city hall to the residents, just more lawsuits upon lawsuits that residents are forced to pay. Thanks alot Lying John
  7. Unreal Racine
    Report Abuse
    Unreal Racine - November 08, 2013 9:18 am
    This was another RIGGED CONTRACT by Mayor Dickert and his cronies, just like the RIGGED CONTRACT for the CAR25 deal that went to the Mayor's friends.

    Our city forgets that they are supposed to follow the law and ensure fairness for public contracts. The Mayor's cousin who he gave a sweetheart deal to be the city administrator is completely unqualified for his position, and they are both corrupt and immoral, ruining our city with one shady deal after another. Their only plan is to pad their own pockets, pad their friends pockets with handouts and rigged contracts, lie to the community, stack committees with their friends, and keep themselves in power to keep their scam going.

    This is another example of their poor planning, hasty decision making, failure to understand and follow rules and laws, and their corrupt process to rig contracts with over-charges. How about giving millions to Porter's and Delta Hawk, selling sacred Mound for peanuts to the Meredith family, discriminating against businesses that compete with his friends, and paying the Mayor's best friend Monte Osterman for marble bathrooms and cost overruns as part of the city hall renovations. Then add more to the zoo, the roundabout, and every other possible project he could think of. There is a long list of examples.

    They are stealing from the community and violating people's rights. If they aren't destroying their lives directly, they are destroying their properties, and destroying everyone's property values while they continue to borrow more money, raise taxes, and increase fees for more handouts to themselves and their friends.
  8. ggodmuls
    Report Abuse
    ggodmuls - November 08, 2013 8:15 am
    Incompetence reigns supreme in Jobless Johnny's Ghetto called Racine!

    Taxpayers BOHICA! The Smart Money has already left Racine! Only the gold plated boat anchors warming seats at City Hall, The Marks, and those too poor to move remain!
  9. ordmm
    Report Abuse
    ordmm - November 08, 2013 7:31 am
    Wow...Think the mayor is going for a remake of a movie.
    "“Hey, Mr. Blandings.” shouts one of the workers. “Do you want me to rabbit these lintels?”
    Cary Grant, knowing he should know the answers, stands there, frozen. Not saying anything. Deadpan. Very funny.
    He splutters, “Uhm – no. No rabbits will be necessary. No.”
    The worker shouts up to his men: “TAKE ALL THE RABBITS OFF THE LINTELS!”
    You begin to hear crashes up above as all the lintels are taken apart, and Cary Grant looks horrified, and frightened. He has no idea what is going on.

    The last sentence says it all.
  10. Queen
    Report Abuse
    Queen - November 08, 2013 7:17 am
    Azarian should be footing the bill.
    They had the plans. The had the contract. They chose to do it their way.
  11. MCP
    Report Abuse
    MCP - November 08, 2013 6:41 am
    Another brilliant move by Johnny that's going to cost the city whether it wins or not....what was the spending plan defending lawsuits this year for being unqualified. Next time you order something, get a number 1 at McDonalds or something you can't mess up.
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