History has a way of repeating itself. No one knows that better than James Lemon, Hannibal city attorney.
Earlier this year the city filed a nuisance complaint in Circuit Court against the owner of the downtown building at 213 Broadway that has been deemed a hazard. And as happened previously, the city has encountered problems serving legal papers to the property’s owner.
“To my knowledge we have still not gotten service on the property owner,” said Lemon recently. “We sent out what they call an alias summons to the sheriff in the county where the property owner resides. I have not received a report back from them that they are completely unable to get him served.”
The owner of the building is reportedly Ron Richter of Pleasant Hill, Mo.
According to Lemon, the city has “asked the court to order the owner to either repair the building or take it down so that it will not continue to be a nuisance or hazard to the people of Hannibal.”
The apparent inability to have Richter served will not stop the city dead in the water.
“The next step I anticipate is we’ll ask the court for permission to serve them by publication,” said Lemon.
The city’s course of legal action, including serving by publication, is identical to what it did in 2012 against the then-owners of the old Maryland Hotel (Conklin Hotel) in downtown Hannibal, Jim and Sheryl Love. In November, the Loves sold the property at 314, 316, 318 Broadway to Bricker Excavating/Demolition, which is taking down the structure.
Problems at 213 Broadway date back over a decade. During a routine Fire Department inspection of the building in April 2002, it was determined its walls were leaning. That prompted Karen’s Dance Academy, which had operated at the location for 13 years, to relocate. The building has stood vacant since then.