May 4—A home improvement contractor told a Lackawanna County judge Monday that two dilapidated buildings owned by Scranton landlord Ken Bond’s company and targeted for demolition by the city can be repaired.
A virtual hearing before Judge Julia Munley on a request by Bond’s firm, PSN Realty Inc., for injunctions to prevent the city from knocking down the buildings at 616 Cedar Ave. and 1620-1622 Pine St. will resume 9 a.m. Tuesday.
City officials notified Bond last month of their intention to proceed with demolition of the long-condemned properties, prompting the landlord to seek injunctive relief. Bond, whose company owns more than a dozen properties in the city, has a long history of tax and trash fee delinquencies.
Under questioning by Bond’s attorney, Robert Kobilinski, contractor Jerry Finnegan of Finnegan Drywall & Home Improvement testified about the work needed at the two condemned properties, which he reviewed during walk-throughs with Bond on Sunday.
Speaking specifically about Cedar Avenue building, Finnegan said, “I can tell you this structure can be fixed. It’s going take a little bit of work.”
But attorney Jaime Hailstone who represents the city, objected when Finnegan suggested the building was structurally sound, arguing the contractor is not qualified to make that assessment. Munley upheld the objection.
The contractor estimated the repairs at each building would require about six weeks.
During cross-examination by Hailstone, Finnegan acknowledged he is not a structural engineer, nor is he as licensed plumber or electrician. While he can do some of the repairs, a general contractor would be needed to do work at both buildings, he said.
Bond testified briefly, talking mostly about the history of the Cedar Avenue property, before Munley recessed the hearing until Tuesday.
At the hearing’s outset, Hailstone questioned whether Munley’s courtroom was the proper venue for Bond’s petition on the Pine Street property. A previous demolition appeal related to the building was dismissed by Judge Margaret Bisignani Moyle in May 2019, he said.
“I don’t know why this is even before your honor,” the attorney told Munley.
City council introduced legislation last week to authorize a more than $375,000 contract with a Dunmore company to raze the two PSN Realty structures and about 20 others.
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