Judge grants city's request regarding downtown property.

The city of Hannibal's efforts to have the owners of the old Maryland Hotel (Conklin Hotel) be held in contempt for failing to meet a court deadline to do something with the Broadway property are moving forward again. On Friday, Circuit Court Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd granted City Attorney James Lemon's request to allow the property's owners, Jim and Sheryl Love of California, be served by mail with a notice of an upcoming hearing regarding their property next to city hall.
According to Lemon, typically if someone is not represented by council in a matter such as this they must be notified by personal service of a pending court date. However, because the city had considerable difficulty earlier this year getting court papers personally delivered to the Loves, Lemon sought permission to have the hearing notice mailed to them.
"They should be having mailed out to them an order to appear for a show-cause hearing," said Lemon, who speculates that the hearing date will likely take place during the third full week of November. "They would be required to show up. If they don't she would probably hold them in contempt."
Lemon noted that the hearing may not be necessary.
"They of course could purge themselves of any potential contempt by going ahead and either repairing the building or beginning a demolition effort. That's the nature of the contempt I've asked for," he said.
In July, the judge ordered the Loves to either begin repairing the building or start demolition of it within 10 days of the judgment. The repairs entailed the removal of stucco and the tuck pointing of bricks to prevent additional debris from falling off the structure at 314-16-18 Broadway.
From the time the work started the Loves would have had 30 days to complete it. However, no repairs or demolition activity was undertaken during the 10-day window.
After that deadline passed, Lemon filed a motion of contempt, asking the judge to issue an "order to show cause" on the matter. With Bringer Shepherd signing the order, the Loves will now be required to appear and explain to the judge why they should not be held in contempt.
Depending on the outcome of the November court appearance, the city could move forward and ask the court to issue an order that allows it to demolish the building, and that the costs of such action be assessed to the Loves, along with all the legal costs. A year ago it was estimated it would cost between $57,000 and $60,000 to tear the building down.