November 22, 2014

Elyria
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Building inspector didn`t do paperwork for house addition

LORAIN – The county prosecutor`s office is investigating why Lorain`s chief building inspector never filed the proper permits for an addition to his home.

Assistant County Administrator Ron Twining said he received an anonymous complaint several months ago that William Desvari was building a second floor above the garage on his Columbia Township home.

When building officials investigated, they discovered that Desvari had not filed for an occupancy permit for the addition, which he is legally required to do.

Desvari allowed county building officials to view the structure to determine if it was up to code, Twining said, and he promised to provide them with engineering drawings for the addition at a later date.

After several months` worth of phone calls and letters, Desvari still had not provided those drawings and was given a deadline to do so, which passed last Friday, Twining said. In addition, figures he did supply to the county pegged the cost of the addition at $30,000, when it was actually more than $100,000, county Commissioner Lori Kokoski said.

The discrepancy could just be an error, or it could be an attempt to undervalue the property to pay less in taxes, officials said. The commissioners voted unanimously Friday to proceed with legal action against Desvari.

“It`s kind of ironic since he is a city building inspector,” Kokoski said. “And it`s a little sad at the same time.”

Desvari`s job as Lorain`s chief building inspector is to make sure residents are complying with the city`s building codes, and if not, request legal action be taken against them.

He has come under fire in the past for skirting this responsibility, especially with landlords who consistently violate safety codes.

This summer, a family of five was left homeless after a fire ravaged the home they rented. That home was not up to date on its inspections. Desvari did not return several phone calls seeking comment Friday.

“It is surprising he didn`t apply,” Twining said. “He could make the claim that, ‘I know the codes, so I know it`s up to standards.` But there`s no provision that just because you are a building inspector that you don`t have to file the same permits everyone else does.”

Lorain Mayor-elect Tony Krasienko, who has led the charge to have Desvari fired while on Council, said he will be doing his own investigation into Desvari`s file to determine whether he`s an appropriate fit for Lorain.

“Once I`m in office, I`m going to review everything that`s been compiled or that I feel needs to be investigated,” Krasienko said. “We will make a decision at that time, based upon factual concrete information that we`re able to document.”

Contact Adam Wright at 653-6257 or awright@chroniclet.com.