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Rat-infested wreck of a Dorchester three decker gets new owner

With a deed recorded Friday afternoon, a Quincy builder and contractor took ownership of what's left of a three decker at 97 Mt. Ida Rd., after years of legal efforts by its previous owner to get ISD to stop bothering him about the boarded-up eyesore.

Neighbors are hoping new owner Malcolm Barber, who has worked on a number of projects in Dorchester and South Boston, will soon start working to restore the property.

Eastern Housing Court Judge Marylou Muirhead actually approved Barber's $665,000 bid for the property in March, but the deed could not be recorded until after the Supreme Judicial Court ruled earlier this month that a receiver appointed by Muirhead could actually sell the property. Previous owner James Dickey lost the case in part because he'd set up an LLC to own the property and then insisted on representing it in court, despite state laws requiring corporations to be represented in court by a licensed attorney.

The receiver, real-estate attorney Stuart Schrier, will use the proceeds to pay off Dickey's mortgage on the property, the costs of cleanups done over the past year - including removing hundreds of cans of cat food and large amounts of debris - and paying off any liens and other debts associated with the property, including his own fee for acting as receiver.

The three decker suffered a fire in 2011 that left it uninhabitable. Dickey, who had already been feuding with ISD over conditions inside the building, launched a series of lawsuits in both state and federal court in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to get ISD to leave him alone that still bought him month after month of delay - often when he'd try to transfer a suit he filed in state court to federal court.

Dickey started out by alleging ISD was trying to deprive him of his due-process rights in ordering him to clean up the property, but later shifted to a different legal theory: That ISD and Housing Court judges were engaged in a conspiracy to deprive black homeowners of their properties. It was a theory that judges kept rejecting in part because Dickey is white, in part because he had nothing at all to do with the cases he claimed as proof of his theory.

Federal judges eventually told Dickey they were fed up with him and they were just not going to intervene in a dispute over the state sanitary code.

Housing Court will maintain supervision over the house until all violations are fixed and a certificate of occupancy is issued.

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Comments

Why do you hate this guy so much?

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If you ask me why I'm fascinated by this guy, I'll answer your question.

If you want to talk to people who have reason to hate him, drive to Mt. Ida Road some weekend and talk to the neighbors who have had to put up with this for years now.

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Voting closed 121

But I am glad this saga is reaching is end. From what I read on uhub the neighbors on this street have been dealing with this nightmare and eyesore for years and its finally reaching a conclusion.

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Voting closed 41

Break out the champagne!

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This took 8 years to resolve. Far far too long. Our system of justice is broken. I write from personal experience as well as watching this useless dram unfold. The neighbors of this house are the people who have carried the greatest cost of a debilitated house that draws rats. Dickey spent plenty of money but he knew the house was a disaster.

Civil justice is broken. A gross amount of time is now required to resolve civil suits. Anyone with the money to abuse the justice system will try. Often they win. Trump's games with the contractors that he has cheated is a prime example.

But justice is made by people. It is not a natural phenomena. It is based on the rules that legislators and judges create. The same rule that legislators and judges can change.

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Lawyers money and money. No guns. Just lawyers and money. No disrespect to the late great Warren Zevon!!

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And money? Hard to imagine how this guy was making any by neglecting the property like this.

The property was condemned in 2003 - it just burned in 2011.

Seems to be a case of privileged crazy.

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What changes would you make here? I think most would agree this is an abuse of the system, but I'm not sure how you change that in a way that doesn't enable other abuses, particularly for those less well-off.

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They have way too many when it comes to development, and way too few when it comes to derelect properties.This somehow became all about Mr. Dickey's rights, when he didn't even live there.

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I'm not a lawyer. So I do not know what particular changes are needed. I have only experience. If your property is severly damaged, you run a good chance of needing 5 years before the matter is resolved. Producing one document can take 6 months. Some lawyers just sit on their butts until legal action against them.

If you need assistance from a Massachusetts agency such as the folks regulating insurers hope that a staff person will respond to your concerns within a year.

If in the meantime you wind up bankrupt the attitude is, "Sorry Charley," that's life.

My favorite is that if a first responder is harmed while on your property, even if due to the their negligence, YOU get to pay for the cost incurred. If a fire fighter has a heart attack in the course of their work and while on your property, you're looking at $20,000 and more. You pay the hospital charges, you pay for the time they are not at work, you pay for everything.

Again speaking from experience, even if the cost is exaggerated or bogus, you still get to pay.

Many liberal and progressive middle class Bostonians pretend that they support fairness and justice. Some do. Quite few successful ones (ironically also lawyers) do not. I can think of some city government administrators, state legislators and non-profit leaders who want their prestige, local fame, power and incomes when paid, but who prefer that constituents shut up except for when it's fund raising time.

I've heard Massachusetts known as the Louisiana of the North. It fits.

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Thumbs up time 100!

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One of the standing uHub stories has been put to rest. What's next, détente with the turkeys?

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I wouldn't doubt there are many other neglected, dilapidated properties out there in the Boston area that are tied up in "legal battles" and code violations. However, the lengths this man took to avoid having to any make any improvements is extreme.

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The place on Boylston street with no rear wall has been an eye sore and public hazard for a few years. Forget its current status, I don't think it real measures up to 97 Mt. Ida.

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Isn't there finally repair work going on there now, though?

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Glad to hear this is done, but I'd be happier if the new owner was me. I guess my dream of owning a triple decker with a view of the ocean will have to be put off for a little longer.

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That view is gorgeous!!

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Or would the new owner be better off demolishing it and starting over? Whatever he does, I hope he does it quickly.

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Sorry I don't have the link to a recent uhub story that had the realtors photos. It looks damn good inside.

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