The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday clarified the nationwide eviction moratorium that it had issued on September 4, 2020, lasting through the end of the year. That clarification (“Frequently Asked Questions”) is linked here.

Some important points from the FAQ:

  • The Order does not prevent owners from commencing eviction proceedings so long as the actual eviction (which we interpret to mean the set out) does not take place until January. As we see it, this means that evictions can proceed to writ, but the set out must wait until January.
  • As set forth in this blog entry, the protection to a tenant under the eviction moratorium is trigged when the tenant signs a CDC form that certifies all of the following (every adult residing in the unit must sign the form for the moratorium to take effect).
    • The individual has used best efforts to obtain government assistance for the payment of rent.
    • The individual falls below the above-income thresholds.
    • The individual can’t pay rent due to loss of income or medical expenses.
    • The individual is using best efforts to pay the rent or as much of it as he can.
    • Eviction would render the individual homeless.
  • An owner may cross examine (or perhaps conduct discovery as the Court would allow) as to the truthfulness of those certifications. Previously, the rule was ambiguous on this point, leading to inconsistent application throughout the thousands of jurisdictions handling executions in the nation.
  • Landlord are not required to inform tenants of their rights under the CDC Order.
  • The clarification reiterates that (a) tenants still owe their rent and (b) tenants have a duty to make partial rent payments as they are able.
  • The clarification reiterates the criminal penalties for tenants making material misrepresentations on the CDC form.

Friday’s FAQ pronouncement tilts the effect of the moratorium in favor of landlords. Given that the set out in Ohio typically is six-to-eight weeks after the start of the process (the 3-day notice), the real delay in recovering possession of a landlord’s property from a non-paying tenant is now under 30 days.

The scope of the moratorium is limited to situations where the default is solely the non-payment of rent. Our firm has successfully worked with landlords who need to recover possession of their property from hold over tenants, squatters, those causing physical damage to property, those involving illegal use and sale of drugs, too many occupants and other lease violations.

Please call our experienced landlord/tenant litigators if you have questions. Contact Julie Gugino (513.943.5669) for more information.

 

As many in the Ohio real estate, title and finance industries are aware, this firm along with the firm of Markovits, Stock and Demarco are co-counsel to several Plaintiffs challenging a long-running real estate scam that has ensnared hundreds of victims in the greater Cincinnati marketplace.

The Complaint alleges causes of action under Civil RICO, Civil Conspiracy, Breach of Fiduciary Duty by both the various Build Realty companies, First Title and Pat Connors, Negligence against First Title and Pat Connors, Unjust Enrichment, and a declaration that the various schemes designed to avoid the statutory right of redemption and the right of a borrower to excess proceeds under a lending arrangement are illegal, and that the trusts themselves are illegal and contrary to public policy.

The defendants in the proposed Amended Complaint include:

  • Build Realty, Inc.
  • First Title Agency, Inc.
  • Edgar Construction, LLC
  • Cincy Construction, LLC
  • McGregor , First Title, LLC
  • Cowtown Holdings, LLC
  • Build SWO, LLC
  • Greenleaf Support Services, LLC
  • Gary Bailey as Trustee and individually
  • George Triantafilou, as trustee and individually
  • Robert Scott Whiteside
  • G2 Technologies, LLC
  • GT Financial, LLC
  • Five Mile Capital Partners, LLC
  • Smith Graham & Co., Investment Advisors, L.P.
  • Pat Connors

A copy of the proposed form of Amended Complaint is here and below.

It appears this case will soon be moving forward before Federal District Court Judge Cole.

We will endeavor to keep victims updated by means of this blog as developments occur.

If you have questions, it’s best to email Christopher P. Finney. You may also call him at 513-720-2996.

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Ohio’s largest hotel and convention center, Kalahari Park in Sandusky

In a second State Court win against the arbitrary and unconstitutional shut-down Orders of Dr. Amy Acton and Governor Mike DeWine, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law (Maurice Thompson) and Finney Law Firm (Christopher Finney and Julie Gugino) today obtained a Preliminary Injunction for the re-opening of Kalahari Water Park and Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio.

Read the Order here and below. More on this will follow.

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As is reported here by Jennifer Baker of Fox 19, today Finney Law Firm filed suit against Dr. Amy Action, former director of the Ohio Department of Health, to allow planned summer music festivals to proceed.

Read the story here.

David Nethers of Fox 8 in Cleveland also has the story here.

Read the Complaint here.

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Today, Finney Law Firm attorneys, along with Maurice Thompson of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, filed suit in Warren County Common Pleas Court against Ohio Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton to reopen Kings Island amusement park.

This is the seventh in a series of cases filed by Finney Law Firm to re-open businesses in Ohio.

Here and below is the Complaint.

Here is the Fox19 story on this case by Jennifer Edwards Baker.

Here is the Enquirer story on this case by Hannah K. Sparling.

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Faith is the Overcoming Victory! 1 John 5:4-5 - Therefore Now ...

Well, that didn’t take long.

On Monday, Finney Law Firm filed suit against Hamilton County’s Municipal Court Judges  at the Ohio Supreme Court to make them re-open eviction proceedings that had been shut down since March 15.

Just last week, presiding Judge Heather Russell had signed an order extending the eviction moratorium through July 1, and the Clerk was not scheduling new hearings until the end of July. In fact, the Clerk’s office was telling prospective plaintiffs that they had no idea when eviction court would re-open.

As is reported here, Hamilton County was the second-to-last of Ohio’s 88 counties to re-open eviction court.

On Wednesday, the Judges met and, possibly motivated by our law suit, voted to re-open eviction proceedings  essentially immediately, Monday, June 8. We’ll consider that a victory for our client!

We also want to thank the Cincinnati Real Estate Investors’ Association (CREIA) and the Ohio Real Estate Investors’ Association (OREIA)  for their initiation and funding of the suit!

Finally, our co-counsel, Curt Hartman led the legal team on this quick and successful battle.

Jennifer Edwards Baker of Fox 19 has the story here.

Dan Horn of the Enquirer has the story here.

Hamilton County Court House

The COVID-19 crisis has created a series of delays in civil and criminal cases.  One of those casualties has been residential evictions in Hamilton County.

The problem

No evictions hearings have been held since March 15, and the earliest they are scheduling new hearings at present is July 28. This means not only that landlords can’t clear their properties of tenants who won’t pay rent, but also that tenants who deal drugs, damage property — or even worse criminal behavior — can stay in possession now for more than five months before the landlord can have a hearing to restore possession of the property to him.

Suing the Judges

Finney Law Firm has initiated a relatively unused action — for a Writ of Procedendo — to force the Hamilton County Municipal Court Judges to proceed with forcible entry and detainer actions. The Complaint, captioned State Ex rel. Salvador Properties v. Judge Heather Russell is here.

Other counties

Below is what our research has shown other counties currently are doing (note “per normal” noted below means you can timely get a decision in an eviction case; there may be modified procedures and hours to accommodate the crisis):

  • Butler County: Holding hearings per normal;
  • Warren County: Holding hearings per normal;
  • Clermont County: Holding hearings per normal;
  • Franklin County (Columbus): Holding hearings per normal;
  • Montgomery County (Dayton): Holding hearings per normal;
  • Summit County (Akron and all Municipal Courts): Holding hearings per normal;
  • Lucas County (Toledo): Holding hearings per normal;
  • Mahoning County (Youngstown): No hearings being scheduled; and
  • Cuyahoga County (Cleveland and all Municipal Courts): Cleveland and Cleveland Heights are holding hearings after 6/15/20 and 6/17/20, respectively, and other Municipal Courts (Shaker Heights and Berea) are holding hearings per normal.

So, of surrounding counties and Ohio’s major urban counties, only Mahoning (Youngstown) and two of four Municipal Courts in Cuyahoga County are further delaying eviction hearings for COVID-19 issues. Other than Youngstown with no hearings being scheduled at all, Hamilton County presently is the worst in the State for scheduling eviction hearings.

Conclusion

This suit is one in a series of actions initiated by Finney Law Firm to re-open Ohio business and Courts that have been closed under the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, contact Chris Finney (513.943.6655).

Federal District Court Judge Douglas Cole today issued  an important 51-page decision in Compound Property Management, LLC, et al, v. Build Realty, Inc., et al., the real estate/RICO class action  law suit that seeks to stop what Finney Law Firm alleges are illegal and fraudulent practices by a group of Defendants and obtain monetary recovery for our clients.  Potential class action members number more than 450.

Defendants who participated in the scheme include:

  • Build Realty, Inc.
  • Edgar Construction, LLC
  • Cincy Construction, LLC
  • MacGregor Holdings, LLC
  • Cowtown Holdings, LLC
  • Build NKY, LLC
  • Greenleaf Support Services, LLC
  • Build SWO, LLC
  • Gary Bailey
  • George Triantafilou
  • First Title Agency, LLC
  • GT Financial, LLC
  • G2 Technologies, LLC

You may read the federal Complaint here.

You may read Federal District Court Judge Cole’s the ruling on the Defendants Motions to Dismiss here.

For more information on this case, continue to monitor this blog, or contact Chris Finney at 513-720-2996.