attorney for Ronald "Arjo" Adams has asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to
order the city of St. Paul to hold off on demolishing his East Side home.
was forced from the 676 Wells St. property on Tuesday afternoon, and he said he
is now living in his pick-up truck.
demolition crew "started getting the house prepped for demo, clearing everything
out from the inside," said Adams' attorney, Melvin Welch. "It's a pretty crappy
thing to have happen on Christmas Eve."
said the Court of Appeals is likely to weigh in on the case within the next two
months. Pointing to recent repairs completed on the house, his appeal accuses
the city of being "arbitrary and capricious" in issuing an order to vacate and
proceeding with demolition on a livable home.
officials say they've asked Adams to bring his 1 1/2-story property up to city
housing standards for more than two years, and they're now acting to remove a
distressed property. Adams, who was arrested in a drug raid at the home in
October but not charged, has butted heads with St. Paul officials for well over
a decade, on a number of levels.
a phone message, Adams said that work crews arrived at his house Tuesday, forced
him out and confiscated his and his housemates' personal effects.
took the Christmas presents. ... They took everything, and they destroyed the
rest of it," Adams said. "I have not stopped crying for two days. I don't have
any clothes, except what I'm wearing. No place to sleep but in my truck.
even took my I.D.s, my money, my Social Security card."
has been wrestling with the city for years over the condition of his neighboring
folk-art "People's Park," a hodge-podge assembly of concrete gargoyles, bed
headboards and cobblestone walks which he put together over the course of a
decade on an empty lot at 680 East Wells St., next to his home.
artistic endeavor was part political protest over the city's decision to
demolish a series of homes in the neighborhood. Pointing to large objects
hanging in the trees and unsteady stone walking paths, city officials called the
"People's Park" illegal and potentially dangerous.
city emptied the lot last May.
conflict with St. Paul escalated in June 2012, after city housing inspectors
discovered that homeowner Beth Woolsey had moved out-of-state. The city
reclassified their Wells Street home as a rental property and conducted an
inspection, which turned up a number of issues.
who has lived in the house off Payne Avenue for decades, has since added his
name to the property title, but the Department of Safety and Inspections'
subsequent inspections turned up new concerns. "The number of code violations
that the city found went from nine, to 49, to 98 over the course of 3 1/2
months," said Welch, incredulously.
and his attorney maintain that the serious violations -- such as issues with the
home's foundation -- have all been rectified. Eager to avoid yet another empty
lot in the neighborhood, the Dayton's Bluff Community Council recently
contributed $16,000 toward repairs.
have fixed all the items that were identified as materially endangering," Welch
said. "The foundation was repaired. The railing was all repaired. The entire
basement, it used to have a bathroom down there ... that was all cleared out, so
there's no living space in the basement anymore."
little pithy code violations, those aren't life-threatening, like (fix the
showerhead on the) tub and rubber-seal the attic door," Welch added.
October, Adams and several of the home's inhabitants were arrested by St. Paul
police in a drug raid that turned up methamphetamines, prescription pills and
suspected marijuana. Adams was later released from jail without being
don't know where he's living, and I'm worried for his sanity and his safety,"