City Questioned on Taxpayer Money Used to Clean Up Foreclosed Property

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by Jack Mayne

North Burien resident Dick West wants to know why Burien city government spent upwards of $15,000 to clean up debris and trash from a foreclosed home at 11416 26th Ave. South (map below) and apparently was never was reimbursed by the property owner, Chase Home Mortgage.

West told the Burien City Council meeting Monday night that the property sat abandoned while it was in foreclosure, a “house with 40 yards of garbage.”

He says he spent about $600 of his own money to hire a bankruptcy attorney to investigate after a news story last October about the abandoned house in the Highline Times.

The investigation showed the house was surrendered to Chase Mortgage on March 25, 2010.

“That was 35 days before the dumping (on the property) began and eight months before the city cleanup,” West told the council.

“Instead of pursuing abatement action against Chase, the legal owner, the city manager and city attorney chose to clean up the mess with city funds,” West said.

“Since the city chose to not charge Chase for the cleanup of its property, I want to know what public accounts were charged for cleaning up Chase’s legal obligation,” West said. “How many thousands of dollars were involved. I want to know why things were done the way they were.”

He said he estimated the cost at “between $10,000 and $15,000” but could be off on his estimate.

“I respectfully request that a due diligence report into this matter, including recovery of these monies be entered into the public record by Aug. 1,” he told council members. The city should consider “action against Chase” or if that is not an option, then “the council should contact your insurance carrier for recovery of lost city funds.”

West said a statement attributed to City Manager Mike Martin in the Oct. 26 issue of the Highline Times said, “It should be noted that the city in unable to recover the cost of removing that garbage and securing the property because the owner was/is in bankruptcy.”

The property has now been sold and is occupied as a rental and that it has been well maintained during the past few months.

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7 Responses to “City Questioned on Taxpayer Money Used to Clean Up Foreclosed Property”
  1. I would have cleaned it up for free for free rent for a year so that it wouldn’t sit empty.

  2. Way to bail out Chase Bank so they could sell the house! They reallllly need the money! lol

  3. Dick West spoke at last nights council meeting. Video at:

  4. Ghost of Maplewild says:

    Thank you Mr. West. I fear you will get the same response others did when asking the city manager for the total cost of trying to annex WC.

  5. May says:

    The question is…How did “Hue Huynh T” found out and buy this property?

    Who told him and how did he know? See, he lives at the below address
    When you go to this address, Hue lived there with a person named Nguyen Tho Q.

    Is this Nguyen in any way related to the Nguyen that Michael Martin hired and that works for the City of Burien? It would not surprise me if these are more of their dirty shananigans.
    This is also not the first time this has happened. If you guys do searches on Michael Martin and his friends, you will find a lot of foreclosures and bankruptcies.

    Its all about Cost overruns, foreclosures, bankruptcies, changing work orders, changing documents. Basically, its all about dirty business.

    At one time this home was &400.000 and he got it for &87.000? What a deal. And someone cleaned it up for him for free. WOW.

  6. Linda says:

    Is this property even in Burien? Looks like from the map that its in the unincorporated area..

    This is the typical response you get from Mr Martin when he has spent city money he should not have. Stonewall. Stonewall. Stonewall.

    Unfortunately he will, (as usual), not be held accountable by “His” council which, if they follow their usual pattern will block any motions to force Mr Martin to be transparent on this.

    From the facts that are known its a no brainer that Chase should have paid for the cleanup.. There may be mitigating factors but as I stated we are unlikely to get any oversight or clarification from Mr Martin whose attitude is that its none of our (the tax payers) business how he spends city money. And if you want to file a FOIA on it he will claim its a waste of city money to spend time providing that information, a tactic he has used many times before.

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