City attorneys file aggressive motion against Northridge Mall owners

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- City attorneys have filed a motion for the deed to the Northridge Mall to be given to them.

This comes as the current owner, U.S. Black Spruce Enterprises, continues to not comply with sanctions regarding the derelict property.

Tuesday, the court heard testimony from the city that since Aug. 19, Black Spruce has not complied with court orders for more than seven whole days.

That means the fencing hasn't been secure, the mall itself hasn't been boarded up, and the required 24/7 security hasn't been on site.

U.S. Black Spruce was only represented by their lawyer, even though back in December, Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge William Sosnay ordered company officials to be there for the hearing.

"I wanted the principals here today so I can address them personally and as everyone knows with a modicum of intelligence, it's a lot easier to make sure that certain participants follow orders when they're present," said Judge Sosnay.

Judge Sosnay says the $2,000 a day fines that have been in place since then will continue, those fines now total over $300,000.

With no one from U.S. Black Spruce Enterprises present and the continued lack of compliance with existing sanctions, city attorneys filed a motion to hold company representatives in contempt of court.

"We will be filing a written motion asking that the owners and the directors of Black Spruce be held in contempt for their non-appearance at today's court hearing," said one city attorney.

In their motion, it lays out the case for using jail time to Judge Sosnay, city attorneys said, "The only option to terminating the contempt of court is to award the City title to the properties […] Now is the time to act to secure funding for razing the properties. The Citizens of Milwaukee have waited long enough."

Judge Sosnay says at the next motion hearing they'll be working through the process of discussing the latest sanctions. He says they're doing everything they can to move the case forward as quickly as possible.

"I just want the community assured that this matter is a priority," said Judge Sosnay.

The lawyer for U.S. Black Spruce said he would communicate the proceedings to his clients.

Judge Sosnay ordered Black Spruce representatives to be there once again on the next court date, set for March 17, when the city's motion will likely be discussed.

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