Raze order back in place, fines due by end of month for Northridge Mall owners

NOW: Raze order back in place, fines due by end of month for Northridge Mall owners


MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee County Circuit Courts say the raze, or tear-down order, for Northridge Mall is back in place after years of back and forth between the city of Milwaukee and owners of the property.

Nearly $110,000 in fines will need to be paid by Oct. 31 from the $2,000-a-day fines that started in August.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Sosnay says security and maintenance will be needed to stop the fines.

He says the property wasn't always an issue, but then in 2008, U.S. Black Spruce Enterprises took ownership.

"From there it went into total disrepair, in fact arguably it is almost a blight in that area," said Judge Sosnay.

Monda Li Yang, with U.S. Black Spruce Enterprises, was in court.

She didn't make an appearance last time due to a camping trip, but Judge Sosnay required her presence this time.

"We always have maintenance company to try to do their best to maintain the property," argued Yang.

She and her attorney argued that their company has done what's needed, and said they're working on getting security in place.

The city called to the stand first responders and experts who disagreed.

They documented the issues at the property, including over $5 million in needed repairs, lack of security, numerous safety concerns, holes in the walls, fires, and more.

"The general inattentiveness is a vandal magnet," said Chief Aaron Lipski, Milwaukee Fire Department. "[Then there's] the indirect risk to the public of losing enormous swaths of the city's fire protection resources, which also provides the emergency medical resources."

Which is why Judge Sosnay says the raze order fought for by the city, and previously overturned, is back in place.

It's something he says is fair because the millions in repairs needed are worth much more than the property's assessed value.

"This court will not allow this to go on indefinitely," said Judge Sosnay. "The court is very concerned with the safety hazard that this exists."

He's requiring sealed financial information and contact information for the owners of Black Spruce be turned over to the court.

"I will use all the resources I have to get you to do what this court has ordered," said Judge Sosnay.

There isn't a date in place for when the building would need to be torn down, but the fines can stop if maintenance and security is put in place.

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