A court-appointed receiver reports cleanup work has begun in and around 97 Mt. Ida Rd., whose owner continues to battle the city in court over the work to restore the rat-infested building, heavily damaged by a fire in 2011.
In a report to Housing Court filed yesterday, Stuart Schrier, whom a Housing Court judge appointed receiver in June, said he hired a contractor who completely cleared the first floor of ruined furniture and debris this week. He said the contractor will clear out the other two floors and the basement in coming weeks.
The contractor has also cleaned out the property's yard - after Dickey himself did some exterior cleaning, Schrier wrote.
Schrier, who has borrowed $20,000 to clean up the three-unit house and yard, wrote he will be unable to determine if the building can be saved and rehabilitated - or if it is so far gone it needs to be razed - until after all the floors are cleared. In the past, Schrier has estimated the house, on a hillside with a view of Ronan Park and Dorchester Bay, could fetch $1.5 million as condos if it can be rehabbed.
Since the fire, the owner and the city have exchanged repeated court actions in both state and federal court, in which Dickey basically demands the city leave him alone and the city argues the condition of the house poses a health and safety risk to neighbors serious enough to require the house to either be fully restored or simply torn down.
In June, a Housing Court judge ordered Dickey to stop leaving open cans of cat food in and around the house, after Schrier reported that hundreds of them were at the site and attracting far more rats than cats.
In his report, Schrier reported the first floor has been completely cleaned up and that the remaining two floors and basement will be emptied out over the coming weeks:
The house is full of damaged furniture and other debris. All of the debris inside the house is water damaged and unsanitary due to cats and rodents in the house.
Dickey has managed to repeatedly stall any work over the years by constantly suing the city - and now Schrier - in both state Housing Court and federal court in Boston.
Even though federal judges have now told him several times they have no jurisdiction over the city's efforts to get the property cleaned up, Dickey filed another federal action earlier this year, in which he now claims he is victim of a conspiracy by city officials and Housing Court judges to steal property from African-Americans in Dorchester. In filings last week, city officials and the Housing Court judges wrote that even if there were such a conspiracy - which they said there wasn't - Dickey could not sue over it because he is white.
On Wednesday, a federal judge denied Dickey's request for an emergency order to get the city off his back, writing "there appears to be no imminent emergency here." However, he did not also toss Dickey's suit.
Receiver's 10/4 report (10.9M PDF).