EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — East Cleveland city council members Korean Stevenson and Patricia Blochowiak believe the demolition of a home owned by Mayor Brandon King raises a series of questions.
According to both city and Cuyahoga County records, King obtained the Oakhill Road home from the East Cleveland Land Bank for no more than $1,000 in 2017, but Stevenson and Blochowiak believe the mayor had no right to tear it down.
Stevenson told News 5 she believes King violated the city ordinance which she said requires any home taken from the city land bank to have renovations started within a year, or the property must be given back to the city.
Stevenson said she believes the mayor violated that agreement, the home should not have been demolished and that the mayor should have done a better job keeping the home maintained in that historic neighborhood.
"I could not believe you’re going to tear this house down," Stevenson said. “You get the property, you have a year to repair the property, if you don’t do it, the property reverts back to the city. So this property should have reverted back to the city.”
“Every homeowner has an obligation to keep their house up and renovated, he didn’t do what he said he was going to do and that’s why we’re here today. When it comes to the demolition, I would be asking where is the money coming from for this, why was it done and why the property didn’t revert back to the city.”
East Cleveland Councilwoman Patricia Blochowiak told News 5 that the demolition of the house should have been vetted by the city council since the house came from the land bank through council approval.
“We should know where the funds came from, we should know why that particular demolition company was chosen, we should know whether the permitting process was legal," Blochowiak said. "We should know why it didn’t come before council.”
News 5 spoke with other homeowners living in historic houses on Oakhill Road, who didn't want to be identified, who said they were disappointed the house was taken down, despite its poor condition. Homeowners shared their concerns about property values and having a vacant lot in the neighborhood.
News 5 made four phone calls to King's office and his personal cellphone, including leaving a message with his office manager. News 5 also sent an email to the mayor, but we're still waiting for a response.
Meanwhile, Stevenson is hoping the mayor will soon provide answers to many questions about the home he had demolished.
“If you didn’t want the house, if you decided you didn’t want it, you’re not going to fix it, give it back to the point of origination,” Stevenson said. "That was his obligation and he didn’t do that.”