Judge orders owner of derelict Dorchester house to stop leaving open cans of cat food there

A court-appointed receiver gave a housing-court judge photos of hundreds of open cat-food cans piled up inside and outside of 97 Mt. Ida Rd. - which he said today explains why rats keep flocking to the derelict property, because they love the stuff as much as cats.

After owner James Dickey acknowledged at a hearing he was leaving open cans of cat food on the property - but to feed cats, he said - Judge MaryLou Muirhead ordered him to knock it off.

Muirhead took no other action today in the spat between Dickey and ISD over the property that is now more than a decade long, drawn out in part by the lawsuits Dickey keeps filing, lawsuits that, for the most part, he loses. ISD says the house is a public-safety nuisance that needs to be either made habitable again or torn down.

Stuart Schrier of Dorchester, appointed by the court as a receiver to figure out what to do about what has become a neighborhood blight, told Muirhead that in addition to observing the empty cat-food cans, he left some poisoned rat-food bait and then returned to find most of it apparently eaten.

At the hearing, Dickey blamed the rats on the city, which he claimed broke the connection between the street sewer main and the house, leaving it open to rat invasions. "They're responsible," he charged.

"Do not feed the cats," the judge retorted. "It's ill advised."

Schrier told Muirhead that despite all the damage from a 2011 fire, he thinks the house is still salvageable - and that it could bring $500,000 even in its current state and as much as $1.5 million if it were fully rehabbed and turned into three condos, because of the house's prime location across from Ronan Park on a hill overlooking the water.

However, he acknowledged it would take a lot of work - and said he was unable to get into the basement or upper floors either because of all the stuff still crammed into the first floor or because the main stairs have been burned away. He said the entire first floor was filled with debris left over from the 2011 fire and estimated it would take at least two large dumpsters to cart away all the unusable stuff inside.

Murhead said she would review Dickey's motion to have Schrier removed as a receiver in the case - but after she came within a hair's breadth of having a court officer physically removed Dickey from her courtroom.

Dickey tried to explain his request by bringing up another receiver and another house - which he did not own. The connection was that Schrier served as that receiver's lawyer during a court case. Muirhead said she did not want to hear about a receiver or case that had nothing to do with 97 Mt. Ida Rd.

"I think we're done with this conversation," she told Dickey. "You can't do that," he replied, as the court officer got up from his seat near the judge's bench. "You can't stop me from talking."

And he then tried to bring up the other house again.

"I'm done hearing about the other case," Muirhead said, as the court officer moved closer to Dickey. "I do not need to hear any more."

"Yes, you do!" Dickey replied.

The judge ordered him to sit down. He didn't and continued, "I have a right to be heard!"

"You have a right to be heard about 97 Mt. Ida Rd., " she replied. She said she would look at the documentation Dickey filed explaining his case to have Schrier removed, then said she was done hearing about the other house - and that if Dickey said one more word, "the court officer will help you out [of the court]." Finally, Dickey was quiet.

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Comments

WTF

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Is this guy's problem?

Wow. Just. Wow.

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a movie

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this was a movie starring Joe Pesci, no?

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You know...

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I had forgotten all about that movie!

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Not a bad idea at that

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The City could then film the whole thing and sell the footage to Hollywood.

Ready for The Super II then.

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I don't get it

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Why has the government not declared this person unfit and committed him already? Thousands of far more functional human beings have been locked up in wards for less.

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$

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$

(as in, he's got plenty of it)

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Basis for suing?

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"Destruction" of private property? Trespassing? I wonder how that would go in court. Assuming it's a judge making the decision I wonder what he/she would decide in this case.

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Thanks Adam!

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Excellent reporting. I felt like I was right there in the courtroom!

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animal control

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needs to trap and remove any non-vermin animals from the property ASAP. Also need to inspect for dead animals on premises and remove because poisoned animal carcasses are eaten higher up the food chain and cause more deaths.

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This case needs continuity

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The cat food was something he was doing for years based on articles written in the past where people were describing his leaving cat food containers out for strays/pests. This judge probably had no idea and neither did the receiver.

This case needs continuity. It seems like he gets by on delay tactics almost primarily by involving a different court/judge/executive board every single time and they don't go through the entire background of what he's already been doing/slapped with.

I also don't understand why the receiver doesn't just say "knock it down, start over, done" and be done with it. Trying to rehab a burned out husk that ISD said they wouldn't even let their inspectors into because of the conditions of the floors and stairs sounds like a disaster that would cost more to rehab than replace at this point.

I just don't understand how we're *still* hearing about this stupid house.

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Cat food

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It's not just that he leaves out cat food - he never removes the cans. The photos show them stacked up in large piles.

As for why this is still going on, he has proven adept at ping-ponging his case between different courts for years. The ability to file a lawsuit is constitutional right, and judges take it seriously, but I think this will be coming to an end soon (with "soon" being relative, given how slowly courts often move) - judges are getting tired of this case, and him.

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Someone needs to go out to Sudbury

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and start leaving open cans of cat food around his home. I’m sure there are lots of hungry cats out there and his neighbors would be thrilled.

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Wow.

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Wow.
Maybe take him out back and beat him with a shovel too?
American citizens have rights, even those with mental health issues. He has these rights, that all of you are quick to want to take away. The neighbors can't tear the house down with a back hoe at 2AM. It's illegal. And immoral. He can't be put away without just cause. He needs help. But he also has the right to refuse it. There are no easy answers but with any luck, he'll get some help now. Help everyone by keeping your cats inside. There's people feeding them rat poison out there.

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Here's a thought

Bev, why don't you ask Mr. Dickey if you can live there.

The neighbors have rights, too. His property will still be there - it just needs to be there without the condemned house on it along with all the problems that condemned house is causing the neighborhood.

How hard is that for a morally-challenged semi-anon to understand?

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Why would I ask Mr D if he

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Why would I ask Mr D if he can live there? He already does. It's his home. You make zero sense. As usual.
Go bully some other online poster or maybe a person with mental health issues.
shoo

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It's not his home

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At least, not according to his court filings, which list a Sudbury address.

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Bullying?

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Nope.

You can't even read, let alone go back to earlier stories and get the real story here.

The man doesn't live there and he is victimizing the neighborhood while claiming to represent their interests.

Go do your homework.

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I wrote it

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I do some work for the Reporter, which includes sharing any Dorchester-related news I write (note that the story byline is "Reporter staff," not Jennifer Smith). You're the second person today to ask about this, so we're looking at better identifying stuff I write for them, possibly with an editor's note at the end.

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Who is Dickey paying off?

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The city has the authority to condemn a property. The BRA could take the property via eminent domain.

That Dickey is living up to his name in playing games with the legal makes me wonder how he is getting away with this. After a dozen years I would think his name and the case would be quite familiar to any who need to be concerned. Boston is not a continent size city.

The wheels of justice grind slowly; but are they grinding exceptionally slowly because money sand is thrown into the wheels?

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