The building had an extensive fire in December 2013. The city has been in communications with the property insurance company. City Attorney Sean Surrisi explained, â€śLast year there was a new program made available to third class cities where..when there is a property involved in a fire or explosion, if you are registered for this program, which the city did, you are given notice if there is any disbursement of insurance proceeds and 15% of that money is earmarked for the city and not released to the insured until it is cleared or there is a contract for repairs or demolition.â€ť
Surrisi said thereâ€™s been a dispute between the deeded property owner is selling the building on land contract without having the contract recorded. The dispute is between the deeded owner and the buyer on the insurance proceeds. The buyer isnâ€™t as keen on the purchase since the property has been damaged.
The building commissioner and city attorney has talked with the deeded owner, Torres Bertin of LaPorte last week and again on Monday learning that he wasnâ€™t able to attend Monday nightâ€™s meeting. Bertin is to meet with his attorney and have a resolution and a release of the insurance proceeds in the near future. He indicated his desire to demolish the structure.
Going forward with the issue the city attorney asked council member to affirm the order to demolish the building as set forward by the building commissioner. That allows the city flexibility to seek bids if Bertin doesnâ€™t take action.