MILWAUKEE — The owners of Milwaukee's vacant Northridge Mall already face $26,000 in fines and counting after a judge ruled they are not securing the property according to his orders.
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Sosnay gave the owner, U.S. Black Spruce Enterprises, seven days to secure the property or face contempt in court and $2,000 in fines per day. The city says the property was never secured before the deadline.
The order is part of Milwaukee's effort to eventually demolish the mall ordered back in 2019. City inspectors have reported a lack of security guards, downed fences, broken windows and other unsecured areas.
The property has also been plagued by a series of incidents including four fires in July and August of this year. Fire Chief Aaron Lipski passionately said such fires put his firefighters at risk.
U.S. Black Spruce says they hired a company but they resigned, saying they could not fulfill their contract and secure the property, our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal report. U.S. Black Spruce further failed to secure contracts with three other companies.
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Judge Sosnay said during a hearing on Friday that the costs of security are cheaper than the $2,000 in fines.
“I fail to see the logic or the wisdom of what Black Spruce is doing here. I will enforce my orders. I expect them to be complied with," Sosnay said, according to the BizJournal.
Northridge Mall closed in 2003. Black Spruce, which bought the mall in 2008, has pushed back against efforts by the city of Milwaukee to tear down the complex.