No renters, squatters allowed

By Jane Beathard

June 16, 2014

Madison County Health Commissioner Mary Ann Webb took legal steps last week to prevent anyone from living in a condemned apartment complex and office building on London’s west side.

Webb filed paperwork in the county’s common pleas court on June 11, seeking a permanent injunction against Bill Shaw Jr., owner of the joined properties. An injunction would keep Shaw from renting the buildings or allowing anyone to live there for free.

Webb said an inspection on May 23 showed furniture, bedding, clothing and food present in two units of a 16-unit apartment building on Stump Lane behind a vacant office building at 249 W. High. Similar items were also present in the office building.

Indications the buildings were inhabited violated an April 23 order for Shaw to remove those living at the property.

Shaw now has 28 days to respond to Webb’s request for the injunction.

The buildings, along with a vacant house at 239 W. High St., were condemned in October 2013 as a public nuisance. All were owned by Columbus developer John Gibboney at the time.

Health department inspectors said portions of the structures were bug infested, had no utilities and were a hotbed of criminal activity.

Gibboney sold all three to Shaw in April on a land contract . Shaw said he planned to repair all three and improve the West High Street neighborhood.

But Webb said Shaw never sought proper permits for repairs. In the meantime, grass grew high, trash piled up and utilities remained disconnected.

Shaw insisted he didn’t need permits for the intended work and was targeted by Webb, prosecutor Steve Pronai and London Safety-Services Director Steve Hume.

The 239 W. High St. house, judged a blighted property, was demolished last month after common pleas judge Eamon Costello denied Shaw’s request for a civil protection order against Webb.

Shaw could not be reached for comment Monday on Webb’s latest action.

Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.