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City moves to clean properties

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By David Giuliani

The city of Las Vegas last week entered agreements to clean up properties owned by the community’s two most prominent alleged code violators.

Bob Dalton has entered an agreement to clear the rubble of the old Center Block building, which collapsed in August 2006. Under its terms, the city has the right to remove the piles of bricks and other debris after June 1 if Dalton doesn’t do it himself. But the city has to give a seven-day notice before entering the property.

Dalton gives up all rights to appeals under the agreement. He had already filed a lawsuit, trying to fend off efforts to clean up the property.

The property had been owned by Las Vegan Jerry Williams, but it reverted to Dalton, the mortgage holder.

The city also has entered an agreement with Tony Ortega, who owns a number of targeted properties in the Railroad Avenue area. He has to clean his properties by various deadlines over the next few months or the city will enter the properties and clean them up.

In all the cases, the city can assess the cleanup costs to the owners and if they don’t pay, the city has the right to file liens against the properties.

The agreements help the city avoid expensive lawsuits, officials said.

Elmer Martinez, the city’s community development director, said the city’s priority among the Railroad properties would be 135 Railroad Ave. because a building is expected to collapse soon on a property next door owned by Gloria Tafoya, who has said previously that she has had trouble renting out a house because of the problem.

Other Railroad properties owned by Ortega contain old vehicles, equipment and debris and have been a big irritation for residents in the area.

“The city attorney, Matt Sandoval, deserves credit for staying steadfast in these cases,” Martinez said.