Address: 2331 May St., Walnut Hills
Owner: Bertha Nelson
Value: $17,400, according to the Hamilton County Auditor's Office
Year Built: 1895
Comments: Bertha Nelson is still listed as the owner of this property, even though she died in 1999. This sometimes happens if a person dies and her estate has not yet been probated.
The city of Cincinnati has filed two civil charges for noncompliance with orders from the Department of Buildings and Inspection. No one representing the property appeared in court to answer the charges, according to Ed Pinkston, an inspector with the city.
The Department of Buildings and Inspections has ordered the building to be kept vacant and barricaded and ordered the owner to obtain a vacant maintenance building license.
"The city barricaded it once," Pinkston says. "It was open."
Jo Ann Davis of Mount Auburn is the late owner's niece.
"She was a real nice lady," Davis says. "She had Alzheimer's, so I could no longer take care of her."
Nelson lived in Ohio all her life until a few years before her death, Davis says. Then she went to stay in a nursing home in Alabama. Davis says the house has been vacant since about 1996 or 1997 and that Nelson willed the property to her.
Records at the Department of Buildings and Inspections show Davis' cousin in Alabama as the contact person for the property. The auditor's office also has an Alabama address listed as the place to send tax bills.
Davis says she spoke with a lawyer and two magistrates about what could be done with the property and was told to let it go. The house is encumbered by Medicaid liens, property taxes are delinquent and a foreclosure is underway.
Davis blames the city for allowing the property to deteriorate.
"The city lets certain areas just go," Davis says. "They haven't even respected the neighbors that's complaining."
Davis says she and a friend once tried to clean the property.
"If it took me all my life to do an honor for my aunt, I would be willing to do it," she says.
BLIGHT OF THE WEEK is an effort to highlight the problem of abandoned buildings — and who's responsible for them.