SHARECOMMENTMORE

CLEVELAND -- The City of Cleveland's efforts to recover public dollars spent to remove hazards created by the owners of abandoned properties were rewarded today by the Cleveland Housing Court's approval and ratification of a plea on multiple criminal counts by Bryce Peters Financial Corporation and Blaine Murphy, aka Bryce Peters III.

The plea agreement requires the defendants to pay the city $250,000 as restitution for demolition, grass-cutting, and clean-up expenditures incurred by the City at dozens of Bryce Peters Financial Corporation-owned properties.

Bryce Peters Financial/Blaine Murphy, a Florida-based real estate operation, acquired and promptly resold at a profit dozens of foreclosed and distressed properties.

This practice, known as "flipping," is the target of the Bulk Holders Task Force, established by Mayor Frank G. Jackson in 2010.

The Task Force includes housing inspectors, city prosecutors, and city collections personnel who use property ownership records and track real estate transfer activity to get results. The Task Force also shares information and works with the County Prosecutor's Office.

This partnership was instrumental in today's positive outcome, as the County Prosecutor's Office extradited Murphy from Florida to Cleveland to stand trial based on felony indictments through the County.

This enabled Cleveland to proceed with its Housing Court prosecution. "Mayor Jackson and the City of Cleveland have been at the forefront of pushing back against the dumping of vacant property on its neighborhoods," said Edward Rybka, Director of Building & Housing.

"Aggressive nuisance abatement initiatives and legal strategies holding negligent property owners accountable will continue and should serve as a warning to those looking to buy and sell nuisance properties for profit without making a positive investment in these properties."