Burlington, a Parking Lot, Boves Housing Violations, 2001 Deja Vu
This boycott started a year ago when I wrote a letter to the editor about why the City of Burlington shouldn’t sell a parking lot to the Boves. While Mayor Weinberger and the majority of City Councilors weren’t bothered enough by the Boves’ history of slumlording, or found the promise of more hotel rooms for out-of-state tourists enticing, I found their lack of historical perspective concerning, especially since many of the councilors were born and raised, or have spent decades, in the Burlington area.
The current deal allows the Boves a reward even after decades of Slumlording. Buy city property for a cheap deal (after the city gave them adjacent land 17 years ago), and in return the Bove Brothers promised to keep their Burlington apartment up to code for 5 years. When I met with the Mayor in the spring and asked him what will happen once those 5 years and up and he had no response. It is clear, from history and their properties outside Burlington, that they will go back to being Slumlords.
After looking through old microfilms at the UVM Library, I came across an article from 2001 about the Boves’ construction on Pearl Street, Victoria Place, and how their terrible landlord behavior has been going on for atleast 2 generations and for nearly 20 years. “Landlord gets money from the city, state, despite 32 violations during 3-year period”.
Some quotes from the article:
“Martin said he had complained six months earlier to his landlord, former City Councilor Richard Bove Sr, that water damage had weakened the plasterboard ceiling – Bove says he put off maintenance because Martin and others hadn’t paid rent in months.”
“The city contributed public land, formerly a parking lot, and tweaked zoning laws to accommodate the Bove project.”
“Bove’s six-unit brick apartment house on George Street where Martin lived has been cited for 32 violations of the city’s minimum housing code in three years…”
“Even as city and state agencies were providing more than $3 million in financial help, donating land, and changing zoning laws to help the Boves, city inspectors repeatedly were finding violations…”
“Asked why the city would help the Boves build new housing when Bove Sr.’s record at George Street was poor, city officials said the Boves agreed to major renovations at the George Street property…”
“He made a commitment to fix these properties, said Michael Monte, director of Burlington CEDO.”
“Richard Bove Jr., who manages his father’s properties, said repairs were put off at George Street because several tenants owed back rent…he evicted Martin for that reason…George Senior made no mention of unpaid rents when he evicted Martin in September…he listed “no cause”…Martin said he was evicted because he complained…Martin said he has been unable to find a vacant, affordable apartment, and would be forced to live either in a shelter, or a nightly motel with his two young daughters, one of whom suffers from cystic fibrosis.”
“A city inspector who spoke to Bove Sr. in 1998 concluded in a report that the family was delaying maintenance for another reason: They planned to tear down the building on George Street.”
“In 1998 at the same address, inspectors found a stove that didn’t work, hols in the walls, broken windows, rotting wood and other problems. The property was cited for 23 violations after that visit.”
“Bove Sr. and his wife own the land for the project. Sons Richard and Mark are developing the property and will be responsible for maintenance when tenants move.“