Last week, a large, vacant warehouse located at 1835-61 E. Madison St., collapsed. Located paces away from Kensington Avenue and on a block with primarily two-story homes, this event surely spooked the neighbors when the large building came tumbling to the ground last Wednesday afternoon. And it’s a real shame, because it never should have come to this.

In 2008

The other day

The property is owned by George Capewell, through a company called Refurbish Inc. Mr. Capewell acquired the property in 2003 for $82K, and has paid no property taxes, from what we can tell, as long as he’s owned the building. Including penalties and interest, he owes over $33K in taxes on this property. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Capewell owns another property on the block, 1858 E Madison St., which he purchased in 1993. And wouldn’t you know it, he hasn’t ever paid property taxes there either, with almost $25K owed. According to this story from the Metro, Capewell owes at least $260K in delinquent property taxes on at least 13 different properties.

Looking down the street, with the collapsed warehouse on the left

The story also mentions that Refurbish Inc was cited by L&I for having numerous violations at the warehouse, and we’re imagining that fines are owed for those as well. Amazingly, despite having numerous properties that are in various states of tax delinquency, Capewell has only lost a handful to sheriff’s sale. But hey, when you have over a hundred thousand tax-delinquent properties owing the City more than $500M, what’s one guy in Kensington with a dozen or so?

In almost every other major city, systems are in place to force people to pay their property taxes, or lose their properties fairly promptly at sheriff’s sale. With AVI ostensibly on the horizon, and a school district in all kinds of financial distress, is it too much to ask to please, for the love of all that is holy, send these tax delinquent properties to sheriff’s sale like, yesterday?

And in case you were wondering, the sheriff’s office is still without a website.

Keep up the great work, everybody!!!