Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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Las Vegas City Council:

City rolls back fine on Silver Dollar Avenue condos, issues stern warning

A Las Vegas property owner will get a steep discount on the nearly $600,000 in outstanding fines tied to 19 condominium units near Valley View Boulevard and Sahara Avenue so long as he makes regular monthly payments to reimburse the city for its cost of cleaning up the property several years ago.

The issue: Joseph Randazzo, one of the property’s new owners, asked the city for forgiveness on the $600,000 in fines the condos racked up for code violations under previous ownership.

The vote: The council voted unanimously to waive the fines if the owners comply with several conditions.

What it means: The city could finally be rid of the headache caused by a trio of condominium complexes on Silver Dollar Avenue.

The property was a nuisance and an eyesore for years, attracting vagrants and feral cats and requiring repeated responses from city code enforcement staff.

Inspections by city staff found a litany of problems, including damaged stucco, weeds and waste outside the building, plus leaking bathroom fixtures and holes throughout the interiors of 19 different units, several of which were unsecured.

The city spent $28,698 cleaning and securing the property. An additional $596,050 in daily civil fines accrued and compounded after continued nonresponse from the then-owner.

The city initially placed liens against the units to collect the money it was owed in 2009 and worked out a payment plan with the owner that would have lifted the fines after the city was reimbursed for the $28,000 it spent.

Those payments to the city stopped in 2011 after only $6,894 was collected and the property went into foreclosure, where it was bought by a group of new owners, including Randazzo, in November.

On Wednesday, Randazzo told the city council the group was working to improve the appearance and landscaping around the complex and that all of the previous code violations had been addressed.

He offered to pay the remaining out-of-pocket costs for the city, about $21,000, but asked that the civil fines be waived.

After dealing with problems at the property since she was elected in 2007, Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian said she was reluctant to cut Randazzo too much slack, especially after the previous owner reneged on a similar agreement with the city.

The council backed Tarkanian and approved an agreement that will require the owners to pay back the $21,000 in out-of-pocket costs plus $15,000 in civil fines over the course of 42 months.

If the owners miss a payment, the full $596,000 fine would go back into affect.

“We’re not trying to bury anybody but we want the citizens that reside there to be able to reside in a safe and healthy atmosphere,” Tarkanian told Randazzo. “If you don’t follow through, we’re going to come and hit you hard.”

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