CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The City of Cleveland confirmed to 19 Investigates that it is taking steps toward possibly demolishing the building an illegal after-hours club is operating in.
Investigator Hannah Catlett brought the idea to city leaders after the murder of a mother at the problem spot.
Shamia Hurth’s killer is still on the loose after the shooting that happened in late October.
19 Investigates told you when we discovered years of records, showing police knew this building on Woodhill Road as an after-hours club.
In the police report from this fall, officers write that they discovered “after a check of the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s web site, that the building was actually property of the state.”
The state told us though it was in their name, the county is responsible for it.
And, the county told us it’s the city’s job to keep it secured.
Family and friends of the shooting victims started to come to us, asking if the city could just tear the building down to keep people from getting in it period.
We brought their concerns to the top officials, and now the City of Cleveland says that they’ve started the legal process they need to go through before demolishing the building.
But, why the lengthy process if the property was foreclosed on years ago?
Officials at the Cuyahoga Land Bank explained that to us a little further.
Essentially “State of Ohio Forfeiture” is a status, but it doesn’t mean the state flat out owns the property and can do whatever it wants with it.
The former property owner still has some legal rights to it, and that’s why the city has to jump through so many hoops.
According to the land bank, the previous owner also still has the legal right to be on the property.
It’s unclear whether he is the person permitting the club to operate, or if it’s an entirely different group or person.
The city says either way, it could take a while to determine whether it’s even an option to demolish the building.
Right now a spokesperson says the city is waiting on a search warrant it requested so that inspectors can get inside.
Once inside, inspectors could issue a condemnation notice, if they find code violations.
After that, state law requires the city to wait 30 days to see if anyone fixes the hypothetical code violations before inspectors can go back in and officially condemn the building.
From there, the city’s law department has to approve demolition.
And then, the demolition bureau has to do environmental surveys and put out a bid for the demolition work.
The land bank says our call to their office lead their team to reach out to the city about the possible demolition.
They are now working together to find a solution.
We’ll keep you updated on what happens.