City to acquire northside homes for rehab

Boarded houses
Hundreds of abandoned and boarded houses in north Minneapolis are vacant because of foreclosure.
MPR Photo/Dan Olson

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak says the city will take control of 141 mostly vacant rental homes on the Northside.

A court-appointed receiver will manage the properties and work to rehab and resell them.

The homes are associated with T.J. Waconia, a company the city is suing for mortgage fraud.

The city's lawsuit accuses Waconia of buying homes, converting them to rental properties, collecting rent and then abandoning the properties.

The suit also accuses the company of using fraudulent appraisals to buy and quickly re-sell homes for more than they were worth.

Rybak said yesterday that the company has hurt north Minneapolis residents.

"It was a fraud that had tremendously negative impacts on the neighborhood. It was a fraud that couldn't stand. We knew the city of Minneapolis had to stand behind the neighbors and today we got the one goal that we knew we needed, which was to get control of the properties," said Rybak.

Calls to Waconia were not immediately returned.

The north side of Minneapolis has one of the highest rates of foreclosure in the state.

City officials say they have already started rehabbing some of the vacant homes.

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