Still no word from owner on Humphrey building court order
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – With no fresh news on the horizon regarding a court order to force action on the Humphrey building in downtown Fort Madison, city officials are pressing on.
A court-order signed by District Judge Michael Schilling gave the building’s owner Bryan Humphrey, who resides in the structure, until Oct. 9, to inform the city of his plans to rectify structural deficiencies. As of Friday, the city had not heard from Humphrey or a representative of the former attorney.
Last week City Building Director Doug Krogmeier put the matter back in the hands of Pat O’Connell, the city’s representing attorney from Lynch-Dallas out of Cedar Rapids.
On Friday, Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld said the city was moving on.
“That deadline that was set came and went without any face-to-face with Bryan,” Mohrfeld said.
“And so right now, by my understanding, and I’m not a lawyer, Bryan has not met the initial criteria and we will follow that order to the letter – and to the day.”
Krogmeier confirmed Monday that no contact has yet been made with Humphrey or a representative of Humphrey’s.
According the court order signed Sept. 25, Humphrey was fined $150,000 with all but $30,000 suspended. That $30,000 is due to the city by Oct. 31. The suspended portion is contingent upon Humphrey’s compliance with the remainder of the order.
Schilling ordered the remainder of the fine to be paid in full with interest dating back to the city’s initial citation in September of 2019, if Humphrey fails to comply with the order.
Humphrey has already failed to me a deadline for informing the city by Oct, 9, whether he intended to demolish the building or repair it to city code. He also missed a deadline to shore up the west wall of the building per city code if, in fact, he chooses to repair the structure.
The order gives the city authority to abate the property in the event neither deadline was met, in a manner “it reasonably believes necessary” consistent with the order. The order also requires Humphrey to vacate the building by Dec. 15 if hasn’t complied with either of the two options.
The city can then take possession of the building to take necessary steps to repair or demolish the building at their choosing without obligation and assess the costs to the property.