CLEVELAND - Cleveland Housing Court Judge Ray Pianka said the total amount of housing fines and contempt of court charges owed now exceed a record $100 million. He vows to continue pursuing violators who don't show up for court.
Pianka told 5 On Your Side the number of homeowners and companies who continue to carry housing code violations, and fail to show up for court, have generated a staggering 1,600 court entries.
"We demand cooperation from these entities. They need to come into court and resolve their issues," Pianka said. "Until they show up for court, most of them will be charged an additional $1,000 a day."
Cleveland Housing Court released a 35 page list of violators to 5 On Your Side to outline the effort being made to bring housing violators to justice.
Diamond Housing Group LLC, EZ Access Funding LLC, Paramount Land Holdings Inc., REO Nationwide LLC, and SFS Group Limited Partnership are just some of the companies with 20 or more violations listed in the housing court report.
[Click here for a map of EZ Access-owned properties in the Cleveland area http:// on.wews.com/ xTA0qQ]
Pianka reported out-of-town investment companies, that have bought up multiple properties, are the biggest offenders. It's because the companies are hoping to re-sell them in bulk to turn a quick profit.
Pianka said he believes this group of violators are responsible for dozens of condemned homes, perpetuating crime, and a reduction of neighborhood property values.
"Individual citizens who carry housing code violations can be arrested, but companies from another state that owe millions can't be taken to jail," Pianka said. "That's why it's important our court continues to pressure these entities with mounting fines and hold them accountable. We also need media outlets like NewsChannel5 to continue to shine a light on these offenders."
Pianka credited 5 On Your Side reports by Chief Investigator Ron Regan as being instrumental in getting the principal individuals with EZ Access Funding LLC to finally respond to Cleveland Housing Court.
Tonight on NewsChannel5 at 11 p.m., Ron Regan confronted one of the masterminds behind EZ Access Funding. Cleveland Housing Court reports EZ Access is responsible for harboring dozens of condemned homes in northeast Ohio.