September 2, 2014

Elyria
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City boards up troubled Kush building for ‘unsanitary conditions’

ELYRIA — The building housing the Kush store and apartments above the store was condemned Wednesday after the Elyria City Building Department found “unsanitary conditions.”

A worker boards up the building that housed the Kush store and apartments at 306 Broad St. on Thursday after a police raid Wednesday and was condemned by the city of Elyria. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)

The warrant was executed as a result of an ongoing investigation since a raid of the shop at 306 Broad St. yielded drugs, money and several guns, including an AK-47, on Dec. 19.

Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said the Police Department has received numerous complaints about the building. The shop also was raided in November by the Lorain County Drug Task Force, and officers discovered 44 grams of “bath salts,” which are used as a recreational drug.

During Wednesday’s search, officers from the Neighborhood Impact Unit and the Drug Task Force found a lack of running water or heat in the store, and the Elyria City Building Department was contacted.

City official Kevin Brubaker said he discovered that water in the building had been turned off in September, and the gas at the store had been turned off since August 2009. He said there were no restroom facilities in the shop.

Apartments above Kush were without electric or running water, and Brubaker said plastic tubs full of urine and feces were found. The apartments at 310 Broad St. were without gas since 2010.

Legally, Brubaker said, the apartments were unlivable. He believes squatters had been accessing the rooms by climbing a roof and into the windows.

The entire building was boarded up Wednesday, and Brubaker said no one will be able to access Kush or the apartments until they are up to code.

According to the Lorain County Auditor’s website, the building is owned by Russell and Leighton Partnership. It was purchased March 16, 2000, for $130,000. The owner owes $18,332 in unpaid taxes, according to the website.

Lorain County Court of Common Pleas records show that Russell and Leighton has several foreclosed properties, and Kush was foreclosed after the owner filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

Brubaker said the Building Department is working to contact the owner to “give them the opportunity to get it cleaned up.”

Kush’s owner, who does not own the building, was issued a summons for possession of marijuana during Wednesday’s search. The owner, David Jones, was found with an amount of marijuana that “wasn’t substantial,” according to Costantino.

Police are testing suspected drugs found in the store, and Jones may face further charges.

Costantino said the discovery was a result of hard work and collaboration among many departments.

“I think that what it shows is that the Police Department will continue to be very active on acting on complaints that it receives,” he said.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.