Campaign is over. We're refunding money raised after the $855.
The money we raised before 1/12 ($855) has gone towards fixing the house. The rest the city would not accept for the fine
Justin Warren (@ots_nola) has to pay $575 in fines to the City of New Orleans to continue to repair his mother's home by Jan 13, 2014. He must repair the home within 30 days, or the property will be taken by the city and his mother will be homeless. He also has to pay for a Dumpster, paint, weatherboards, and materials as well as bills he will have to pay where he actually lives. Any other monies raised will be used to pay for court fines and the renovation/work itself. We can post receipts here and update this page if we receive donations to remain transparent. If you are in the New Orleans area and want to volunteer to help with labor contact Justin at 504-400-2284
Costs Updated 1/11/2014:
$575 fine due 1/13
$200 owed for use of Dumpster and pressure washer
Money Spent - $901.33 has been spent on fixing the house since we opened this WePay.
$240 paid to Justin's colleagues in exchange for use of Dumpster, truck to haul debris, and pressure washer 12/21.
$25.99 spent on contractor bags & gloves at Carruth Brothers Lumber 12/20
$20.00 spent at Gentilly Landfill on 12/21
268.24 spent at Lowes on 12/21
$93.63 spent at Wilson Bourg Lumber on 12/27 - weatherboard/siding
$24.50 spent at Lowe’s on 12/29 - paint buckets, a hammer, paint brushes
$17.25 spent at United Hardware on 12/30 - caulk
$11.72 nails - Carruth Brothers 1/03
$ 200 1/10 for truck and pressure washer.
$20 1/10 Gentilly Landfill
$17.65 1/2 on Caulk and nails.
Recepits are here: http://whosestreets.tumblr.com/post/70650396624/receipts-for-things-related-to-ournolablight-justin
Previous purchases prior to hearing:
98.54 Wilson Bourg Lumber
$65.91 Carruth Brothers Lumber
Here is his statement:
"A couple weeks ago, my mother called to tell me that NOLA code enforcement had sent her a notice of blight violations and had a hearing scheduled for the 12th of December, 2013. Admittedly, the place had fallen into disrepair since my father’s passing. There were a lot of legal issues to deal with after his passing like a fraudulent mortgage put on the house by the person who sold it to him. The will Justin’s father left was handwritten and not notarized. The lawyer he chose before passing was the lawyer of the guy who had taken the fraudulent mortgage and was the lawyer that handled the sale of the house. My father wasn’t great at choosing allies. Suffice it to say, this lawyer turned out to be problematic too.
So with all these questions hanging in the air, the fate of the property was uncertain, which resulted in the reluctance to put too much time into maintenance. Not an excuse, I should have put more time into it, but I was hoping some other members of my family would step up and share some of the responsibility.
Upon hearing about the hearing, I figured it was time to “shit or get off the pot,” so I began fixing the place up, weeding, repairing the fence, repairing the siding, scraping, sanding, and doing some minor structural repairs. I only had a few days to work on it between when I learned about the hearing and the date of the hearing. I do have a job and can’t just drop everything.
So I go to the hearing with the expectation that everything will be fine. The grievances weren’t big. I had proof that I had been working on the place (before and after photographs) I had the skills, no problem, right?
When I first walked in, I was made to sign in, then directed to a waiting room with a host of other people, about a dozen or so. Bless their hearts. I am 35 years old; the next youngest person in the room had to be pushing 60. There were a few canes. The other people were in good spirits but only because they were sweet people. One man walked in and asked, “How is everybody?” So this one person replied, “We’re in here, what do you think?” The first man turned aorund, walked back out and then re-entered. This time, he exclaimed, “I am blessed and I hope you are all blessed too!” We laughed our asses off.
So I waited about 20 to 30 minutes and was then called by the address of property in question. They never even said my name. I went to the next room where two women sat at desks. It was really fast; I tried to explain what my family had been going through and that I had started working on the property. They acknowledged that I had been working on it but didn’t care about anything else to the point that they would just cut me off in mid-sentence. ALL BUSINESS!
At this point, they rapid fired a bunch of legalese at me of which I could only make out bits and pieces. I was then ushered back to the waiting room where I was to wait for the printed copy of my verdict.
Upon receiving the written verdict, I was able to scrutinize the rapid fire legalese that I had been barraged with earlier. It seems I now owe $575 to the City of New Orleans. This amount is due in 30 days. Within these same 30 days, I have to clear all debris, weeds, and paint the house. The house needs repairs also, in lieu of paint. That’s not in the verdict but that’s the reality of the situation. This isn’t possible in 30 days. In my professional experience, I know that it can sometimes take months just to get a permit for these exterior repairs, never mind the fact that if I worked on the house every day for 30 days, I might just pull it off. However, if I can’t work at my job as a carpenter then I can’t pay the fines or pay for the material I need. I’m going to need to rent a dumpster to dispose of debris.
If I don’t comply fully within 30 days, a fine of $200 a day will be place on the property until it is deemed “move-in-ready” meaning I would have to renovate the entire property even though it hasn’t been deemed uninhabitable. It hasn’t even been deemed blighted, just a public nuisance.
I will fight till hell freezes over, and then I will fight on the ice. They will have a new appreciation for the term public nuisance if they take my mother’s house."
~ Justin Warren
(written by small_affair)
Justin's father Dave Warren owned property on 422 S. Cortez Street. When Dave Warren passed away, the property was left to his legal wife and his successors, assigns, and heirs, which include Justin Warren, my fiance, who is the executor of his father's will. Justin’s mother lives in that house, and Justin has been helping her with property taxes and other legal matters related to the house itself since his father's death in September of 2010. On November 18, 2013, Justin’s mother received notice that David Warren and his Successors and Heirs and Assigns Owner(s) of 422 Cortez Street stood accused of violating three sections of the Code of the City of New Orleans. This was based on an inspection that allegedly took place on November 13, 2013. Justin was unaware that any such inspection took place, and his mother has no knowledge of this inspection. The notice instructed them to appear at a blight hearing on Nov 18, 2013 for the following violations:
CCNO 26-160a Weeds and Plant Growth
All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of eighteen (18) inches. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and,vegetation; other than,trees or shrubs. Said 'term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens.
CCNO 26-161a Rodent Harborage (a All structures-and exterior property shall be kept free from rodent harborage and infestation. Where rodents are found, they shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes which will not be injurious to human health. After extermination, proper precautions shall be taken, to eliminate rodent harborage and prevent re-infestation.
CNO 26-167b Paint or Protective Treatment: Exterior wood surfaces; other than decay-resistant woods, shall be protected from the elements and decay by painting or:other protective covering or treatment. Peeling, flaking and chipped paint shall be eliminated and surfaces repainted.
Justin is a master-carpenter and began working to address the issues listed as violations. He's been taking time away from his paying job as a carpenter to repair this house and attended the hearing on December 12, 2013 with "before" and "after" pictures of the work he had done.
At the hearing, the property was not deemed blighted. It was deemed a PUBLIC NUISANCE by the City of New Orleans.
The City of New Orleans has ordered Justin to fix the violations and remit $575.00 within 30 days. Their notice states that "Failure to pay fine will result in lien and recordation fee of $80 will be added for total of $ 665." If he does not make these repairs in thirty days, a daily fine of $200.00 will be assessed against property for 30 days or until the violations are corrected. Justin is confident he fix this property but needs more time it will be impossible to do so if charged $200 a day in fines after 30 days.
There is no feasible way that Justin can take off work for a month and pay for dumpsters/materials & meet 30 day deadline. We need help with labor and/or finances. Justin and I do not live at the property; we live in an apartment that we rent, and we pay bills here. I'm a adjunct English teacher and Justin is a carpenter. It appears blight laws could be misused to make people pay the City of NOLA outrageous amounts of money. We cannot let Justin's mother lose her home.
Documentation from City of New Orleans
Thank you for your support!
@small_affair and @ots_nola