If everything goes as planned, next week the city of Hannibal will ask a judge to rule that the owner of 213 Broadway is in contempt of court for neither repairing or demolishing the structure.
“We’re going to be presenting evidence and asking the judge to find him in contempt and order that we’ve got the right to take action to take care of the nuisance and assess the cost over to Mr. (Ron) Richter,” said City Attorney James Lemon, noting that the court appearance is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Marion County Courthouse in Hannibal.
This summer the Circuit Court issued an order giving Richter 10 days to begin repair on the Broadway building, or to demolish the structure. The deadline passed without anything happening at the site.
After that, Lemon asked the court to find Richter in contempt and to issue a judgment that will allow the city to take care of the work and assess the cost to Richter.
It’s been over two months since the Hannibal City Council approved contracts for work on buildings in the 200 block of Broadway. Century Used Brick has been hired to demolish 213 Broadway for a fee of $5,000. Before 213 Broadway can be torn down, 211 Broadway must first be stabilized. That work will be performed by River City Restorations, whose bid of $38,584 was accepted by the City Council in July.
The process has been slow in part because the city has had difficulty getting court papers served to Richter, whose home is in Pleasant Hill, Mo.
“I talked to my process server and he’d gone to the guy’s farm. The guy (Richter) saw him coming and ran inside the house,” related Lemon. “He (process server) went and knocked on the door. The guy (Richter) was looking through the window at him (process server). He (process server) called him (Richter) on the phone and talked to the guy. The guy (Richter) said, ‘I’m not accepting service.’
“That ought to be sufficient to be considered service in Missouri. The process server has returned that service to the court.
“Obviously it’s in the judge’s control and discretion, and he may not do that, but that’s going to be the request I’m going to make.”