A court-appointed receiver for 97 Mt. Ida Rd. told a housing-court judge today that owner James Dickey has agreed to begin cleaning up the hundreds of cat-food cans, fallen tree limbs and other debris around the property over the next month.
But as with everything else dealing with the property - hit by a fire in 2011 - any cleanup hinges on the outcome of Dickey's latest court attempt to get ISD and his mortgage company to stop pestering him about the property.
On Thursday, Dickey filed an appeal of Stuart Schrier's appointment as receiver with the Supreme Judicial Court. His request to the state's highest court comes after the Massachusetts Appeals Court - the state's second-highest court - rejected his request and after a federal judge rejected his demand for an immediate order to stop the city and Schrier from doing anything about the three decker, which now sits boarded up and has become a gathering spot for the rats attracted by the cat food Dickey had been putting out for months.
Dickey has successfully avoided being forced to do anything about the property for years now by filing repeated lawsuits and appeals in state and federal court. He once tried to go all the way to the US Supreme Court, which declined to hear his case.
At a hearing this morning, Schrier said Dickey is now "starting to show serious interest" in cleaning up the property at least enough so that an inspector can get into the second and third floors to determine whether the building can be salvaged. At a hearing last month, Schrier said his guess, based on an inspection of just the first floor, seemed to show the building could be rehabbed, but that it was impossible to say for sure because the fire took out one set of stairs to the upper floors and debris blocked the second stairway.
Schrier said Dickey, a Sudbury resident, told him he could do much of the cleanup himself and that he would store the stuff to be carted away at a farm he owns.
Judge MaryLou Muirhead set a status hearing for Aug. 17. She gave Schrier authority to buy liability insurance to cover any work, should Dickey decline.
Dickey attended today's hearing, but Muirhead refused to let him speak, because the ISD action is technically against the LLC he set up to own the house, and non-lawyers are not allowed to represent corporations in court. Dickey has always filed all of his suits and appeals and motions himself.