Friday, October 10, 2008

The Standard-Examiner Finally Gets around to Reporting Ogden City's River Project Arson Crime-wave

Better late than never, we suppose

The Standard-Examiner reports this morning on a story that's been rattling around Weber County Forum for at least a couple of months:

"Fires sweeping Ogden neighborhood slated for demolition"

Scott Schwebke does flesh out this ongoing story a bit, with interesting tidbits such as these:

Ogden City Planning Commissioner Iain Hueton owns a property in the area;
• An eyewitness actually saw somone torching a home last Tuesday night;
"At least three of the homes that have burned" are owned by Gadi Leshem;
• Leshem plans to file insurance claims on these properties;
• City officials have been working with Leshem to get him to demolish the abandoned homes as soon as possible.

Not exactly red meat news for a Friday morning, but it's encouraging progress, we think, to see that the Std-Ex has finally gotten around to reporting this ongoing Leshemville arson crime wave, after being scooped by Weber County Forum over the past several months.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?




Curmudgeon said...

I notice the administration's spokesperson has wheeled out that old governmental warhorse phrase --- "working with" --- to try to defuse criticism. Whenever I see that term in a story like this, I always wonder what it could mean.

Something like this maybe? "Please, Gaddi, please tear the buildings down. Please, please, pretty please?"

What it probably should mean is something more like this: "Those abandoned homes you own in the river project area have become a public hazard. We've given you notice of this several times over the past months, but you have so far done nothing to rectify the situation. Be advised that if you have not removed the hazard by November 1, the city will bulldoze the buildings and clear the wreckage and bill you for the costs."

Don't most cities have ordinances that permit the city to deal with derelict properties if the owners won't, and then to bill the owners for the costs?

PS: the same, by the way, should apply to Ogden RDA owned derelict properties in the area.

Average Joe said...

Curm-Those rules only apply to us peons not the lords anointed.

Curmudgeon said...

SE on line has an update on this story which reports that Ogden police have a suspect in house burnings. Link here.

Lionel said...

Seems strange that Gadi would have these dilapidated and abandoned old houses insured for $153,000.

Smells a lot like the old candy factory that the mayor had insured for a million or so more than what it was really worth - just before it was torched.

Could this be a cornerstone of the Godfrey Gaggle's business plan?

"Godfrey Gaggle"! Gawd ya just got to love it!! Thanks Curm for the apropos addition to the Ogden lexicon.

OgdenLover said...

I seriously doubt that Leshem has the money to do anything with this property. Even if he does, who is going to buy condos, open stores, etc. in this economy?

Waterboy said...

Doesn't the mayor (and Leshem) realize that Arson is a crime, thus raising the crime rates in Ogden? I believe that Arson would count as a Part 1 crime. I would imagine that Fraud (i.e. collecting insurance money by burning your own property) would be also. But I bet the mayor will just have the police department list these fires as unknown cause fires rather than Arson so that his beloved (made up) crime statistics do not take a hit.

Brett said...

It's deja vu again! Remember the old Shupe-Williams bldg. on the corner of 26th St and Wall? Godfrey had said that it would be down by March 31, 2007. On March 11th it burned to the ground helped by a fire accelerant. A suspicious person was seen at the scene 20 minutes before the OFD received notice of the fire.

We need to remember that Gadi Leshem is a FOM. It's a lot cheaper to burn a building than demolish it, and the evidence can be destroyed before an investigation can be conducted just like it was when the Shupe-Wiliams building burned. One can’t help but do the sum and arrive at the conclusion that the financially stressed Leshem when contacted by the City to clean up his properties according to the city’s code, he asked for help via a pyrotech.

Ogden politics since Godfrey took office would make a great basis for a docu-fiction novel.

WhatWardRUin said...

lesham has no money. he is cash poor until walmart pays him for the properties he is holding for the superstore at 20th and wall. gahdi/walmart were scehduled to close in july, august and september. now they have discovered contaminated soil and walmart is in no hurry to take on that responsibility, so gahdi sits on his brains looking the other way while somebody else does his demolition in the river project. godfrey wants city crews to demo buildings, but that is apparently against the law for the city to compete directly with comercial demo crews. add to that the fact that mouldings landfill on west 20th is closed and the nearest landfill for consruction/demo materials is little mountain and the end result is simple; the area known as the river project is going to look like a burned out ghetto for manymany more months to come. godfrey has a bad habbit of picking friends that do little more the stir up the community; gahdi lesham, chris peterson, curt/bob geiger, scott brown, et al. what a mess.

livin the dream said...

Boy Mayor Godfrey is meeting with all city employees to tell them how great Ogden is doing. Is he doing this because he care about his employees. Probably not. I am sure he has a hidden agenda. When he met with the fire department he thanked the fire department for thier slow response to a fire on Kiesel (was that a joke or was he being serious?). Within ten minutes of that comment a fire call came in at 1823 Kiesel. Coincidence?? You decide.

WhatWardRUin said...

hidden agenda? not matthew godfery. everything he does is part of a hidden agenda, except that his agenda is still the same; downtown gondola, give mogc to chris peterson, extort land from wsu for chris peterson, and drive the city further into debt. as far as his employee meetings; from what i hear they are nothing more than a pep rally for his pet projects; ice tower, velodrome bmx/skate mega park, horse trail. i'm told he comes right out and says these things are more important than employee benefits and not to expect another raise for a few years until the fruits of the super adventure playthings are up and bringing millions into city coffers. his emphasis is to make odgen a play ground for tourists with abosolute disregard for us poor tax payers that live here.

INSANITY! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Curmudgeon said...

Couple of points:

1. Just a caution: arson is a very serious crime. And alleging someone, has engaged in it is not wise, unless the person making the allegation has evidence... the kind that would stand up in court... to substantiate the claim.

2. Insanity: you wrote On that same note, it's interesting to read what some of the symptoms of syphilis are.
I hold no brief for Hizzonah, and am not an admirer of his administration of the city's affairs. But this is way over the line.

INSANITY! said...

Does anyone here know, by chance, if Matthew Godfrey has any clue what's going on in the REAL world at the moment? Does he watch any TV or listen to any radio, or even read any part of the SE??
I just can't understand how any person in their right mind, at this time in the world, can think that it's prudent and ethical, let alone reasonable or responsible to be more concerned with his MJ playland for tourists, than to be concerned about the Ogden City employees, ALL of them, and the Ogden City taxpayers...ALL of them. It this person mentally stable? I do not mean that as a dig against this poor little man. (OK, THAT was a dig.) But seriously, to not be concerned with the community's needs that the taxpayers are forced to pay for, ie: taxes for roads, plowing, services emergent and otherwise, and how they will be funded on a routine basis makes me wonder if this little man has a mental problem that maybe someone in his family should find a loophole in the HIPPA rules to let the rest of us know why his mental processes are how they are. I just can't see a healthy, mentally stable person making these same asinine decisions, and especially now. Not to mention the most curious connections of his time in the Mayor seat and the "fires" around town as mentioned above.
I've got to say...this is just NUTS!

Comment edited and re-posted by blog administrator

HA HA HA said...

Sue Wilkerson

Frank said...

ha ha ha

So Mz. Wilkerson has a BS in Agriculture management! Does that stand for Bull Shit in managing agriculture waste?

From the looks of her bio she has a short attention span changing careers every few years or so. How long do you think this current one will last? Without her no bid contract with her mentor Godfrey it appears her whole firm only has four listings! Tough game this real estate business is these days, no placed for flakes.

Curmudgeon said...

Still don't understand this penchant for attacking, personally, people with whom folks disagree about policy. Ms. Wilkerson seems to have sunk significant money into Ogden renovation... her own home in the Jefferson Historic District, and renovating an historic mansion as her business HQ. She seems to have been active in worthwhile charities and public service projects here in Ogden. Not a record to be trivialized, seems to me. I can oppose her senseless bleating-groupie-style support of Hizzonah's flatland gondola obsession, and her stand on other ill-advised public projects, without trying to turn her record of public service and charitable work into some kind of joke. Seems to me, trying to do that diminishes me, not her.

Go after her on the merits of whatever it is she'd advocating that you don't like. She's not been particularly effective, so far, in countering criticism of her public policy stands made on the merits --- her her pet projects' lack of them.

Curmudgeon said...

SE reports in a front page story this morning that Ogden City will begin tearing down six of the derelict properties in the River Project area because, the Mayor now says, "they are unsafe." The six properties are those that have been targeted by arsonists. The Mayor also says the City hopes to begin demolishing adjacent derelict properties in the River Project area soon, but that that will take longer because of environmental problems involving asbestos in the house. Full story here.

OgdenLover said...

Actually, the Mayor claims that "many of the structures contain asbestos". How common was it for asbestos to be used in buildings like these built when they were?

It sounds like a lame excuse to me.

monotreme said...

Actually, it's fairly common in construction from that period.

What is unclear is whether it's better for all of us to inhale asbestos released as a result of fire. Maybe a Mayor concerned with public health and safety would put a stop to these fires by demolishing the properties in question (with asbestos mitigation), billing the property owners for the cost, and then demanding that the property owner(s) maintain the properties in accordance with existing ordinances. If we can go after little old ladies with broken sprinklers, we can go after property owners in the River Retroject.

PPK said...

Squirrel Patrol and ACORN.....

Is there even one honest politician out there anymore??

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