A state Housing Court judge last week appointed a receiver with the power to clean up a house at 97 Mt. Ida Rd. that has only fallen further into disrepair after it was heavily damaged in a 2011 fire as its Sudbury owner keeps fighting in court to try to get Boston's ISD to leave him alone.
Separately, the National Football League Players Association is using owner James Dickey's long-standing battles with the city over the house as one example of why a federal judge should dismiss his $850-million anti-trust lawsuit against the union and the NFL, which he brought because the union barred him from acting as a player agent after he failed to sign up a single play to be represented by him.
In an order last week, Housing Court Associate Justice Marylou Muirhead appointed Stuart Schrier, a Dorchester housing attorney, as receiver for what's left of the Mt. Ida Road property, with the power to order any repairs or actions to end the building's current status as a rat-infested menace to public health.
Schrier's first task, Muirhead directed, is to compile a report "identifying what repairs need to be performed" and the order in which they should be performed. ISD had previously sought court permission to simply tear the building down and attach the costs as a lien on the property.
Muirhead set a June 15 hearing for Schrier to report his findings to her, Dickey and ISD.
Dickey has fought a long series of court battles against ISD. When a Housing Court judge seemed ready to rule against him, he would transfer the case to federal court in Boston, which would typically buy him several months time as a federal judge considered the case before ruling there were not federal issues and that it belonged in housing court.
The most recent time he tried this - alleging ISD and the housing court were conspiring to steal property from black residents of Dorchester, an argument he made even though he is white, a federal judge told him to stop showing "complete disregard of prior court orders" and leave the federal court system out of it.
Dickey promptly appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston. Last month, that court denied his request to block any action by state housing court, saying that it wasn't sure it had the authority to question the return of the case to state court and that even if it were, Dickey "has not demonstrated that he is likely to succeed on the merits of his claim." But the court allowed him to continue to argue that his case does ultimately belong in federal court.
In the NFL case, Dickey sued the union and the league last year after the union delisted Dickey as a player agent because he had not signed up any players over a three-year period.
Dickey sued the two for $850 million, alleging he should have at least been given a hearing to explain his extenuating circumstances, which included "the nature of the business" and "family illness beyond the agent's control that delayed the active pursuit of big named clients usually set to make the NFL active rosters" and that the two conspired to ensure people like him could not be agents.
In response, the players association says that even if the NFL didn't have exemptions from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, Dickey has no right to request such huge damages when he never managed to sign up a single player - especially since he signed an agreement that called for arbitration in case of a dispute but that rather than attend an arbitration hearing the union agreed to, he filed his federal suit.
In its memorandum, the union noted Dickey's ongoing legal struggles with ISD - and a federal judge's ruling against him:
Pro se Plaintiff James Dickey ("Dickey") has a history of "filing frivolous or vexatious suits" - resulting in a reprimand by this very Court.