Wilmington landlord pays $5,000 for failed home repairs
A Wilmington property owner agrees to pay $5,000 for slow repair progress
Wilmington landlord AJ Pokorny agreed Wednesday to pay $5,000 in fines for not making timely repairs to the apartments at 808-820 N. Adams St.
- Wilmington landlord AJ Pokorny agrees to pay $5,000 in fines for failing to make timely repairs to condemned homes on North Adams Street.
- The property owner has until Oct. 28 to make necessary structural repairs to the buildings at 808-820 N. Adams St., or face additional fines.
- It has been more than a year since the buildings were condemned on May 17, 2022, forcing dozens of families from their homes.
The owner of condemned North Adams Street apartments in Wilmington has agreed to pay $5,000 for not making timely home repairs.
The 27 apartments were condemned in May, sending dozens of families scrambling to find a place to live and highlighting loopholes in Delaware’s landlord-tenant law.
AJ Pokorny, the landlord and owner of the property at 808-820 N. Adams St., has agreed to pay civil fines associated with the 27 condominiums condemned by Wilmington inspectors more than a year ago, after withdrawing his appeal of the 20 civil penalties he was awarded. This was issued in May, city officials said Monday.
Deposed population: Dozens were displaced after the partial collapse of an apartment on North Adams Street in Wilmington
Pokorny withdrew the appeal on Wednesday, agreeing to complete structural repairs to fire escapes and building as well as correct all other structural deficiencies within 45 days, according to the city’s Department of Licensing and Inspections. During this time period, Wilmington will not issue additional fines for violations.
Pokorny has until Oct. 28 to address immediate structural concerns, said John Rago, deputy chief of staff to Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki.
“If the structural problems are not fixed within 45 days, additional fines will be imposed,” Raju said.
Pokorny agreed to conduct weekly site inspections with his contractor and the city inspector as well as monthly site inspections with his architectural contractor and the city inspector, city officials said.
Once those repairs were completed, Pokorny agreed to let city inspectors inspect the buildings’ interiors to ensure all violations were corrected — the city cited the owner 364 times.
Historical neglect: The owner of the condemned apartments in Wilmington has a long history of neglecting the property
The buildings were first cited on May 16, 2022. City inspectors cited Pokorny for a combined 372 code violations at the seven buildings along North Adams Street.
At that time, inspectors issued an emergency order requiring Pokorny to make all necessary repairs to address the deficiencies within 30 days. Problems included shoring up collapsed and unsupported walls and beams, hiring a certified electrician to inspect and repair electrical systems that were not properly maintained, and repairing all fire exits.
Pokorny fought the fines first
The Wilmington landlord initially appealed the fines imposed on him in May, arguing in a June 6 appeal letter sent to city officials by attorney David Matlosky that the civil violations should be dismissed and that any orders issued after the “emergency order” effective May 17 did not apply because the apartments were not busy.
former: The owner of this city did not repair the condemned apartments. Now, he doesn’t want to pay the fines
Pokorny asserted in the letter that he had taken “comprehensive steps requiring a significant amount of time and financial resources” to address the issues that condemned his property, all while maintaining his property taxes and mortgage payments.
Any work Pokorny did to the property was deemed inadequate by city inspectors.
Pokorny contacted Delaware Online/The News Journal after publishing a story about his appeal of fines, claiming the city’s description was inaccurate, and promised to contact his attorney. Neither Pokorny nor his lawyer contacted the newspaper at all.
Repair timeline since condemnation of homes
One weekday afternoon, May 17, dozens of families were evicted from their homes after a conviction exposed loopholes in Delaware’s landlord-tenant law, making it difficult to hold landlords accountable for dangerous housing conditions.
State investigations: Delaware AG launches investigation into Wilmington property owner after dozens displaced
June 15, 2022: Pokorny advertises a condemned apartment for rent.
September 7, 2022: The city is issuing an additional request to update the status and plans of repairs.
September 12, 26 and October 19, 2022: Building permits have been issued in Pokorny.
October 11, 2022: Rotten wood siding on buildings was removed.
November 18, 2022: The outer casing has begun to be replaced.
December 2, 2022: Vinyl siding is installed on the back of buildings.
January 6: City inspectors reject ongoing exterior work.
February 27: Pokorny, his attorney, and city officials meet to discuss reforms.
February 28: Building inspectors review the work on site and find that many repairs are incomplete.
March 16: City officials watch as crews remove debris from building basements.
March 28 and 30: City officials are inspecting the property, but no work has been done.
April 3: City officials search properties, but Pokorny won’t let them check basements.
April 25 and May 15: City officials are inspecting the properties, but the work remains incomplete.
May 22: The city sends a letter to Pokorny with civil penalties for not making repairs in a timely manner.
June 6: Pokorny appeals the fines.
September 13: Pokorny withdraws the appeals and strikes agreement with the Wilmington Department of Licensing and Inspections.
October 28: Deadline for Pokorny to complete structural repairs at North Adams Street properties.
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