Whit­mer’s run­ning mate could lose prop­erty over blight

The Detroit News - - News - BY LOUIS AGUILAR The De­troit News

De­troit — Gar­lin Gilchrist II, the Demo­cratic can­di­date for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, is at risk of los­ing a fire-dam­aged du­plex he bought from the city if he doesn't clean up the prop­erty by Mon­day, city of­fi­cials said late Fri­day.

The is­sue has be­come fresh am­mu­ni­tion for Gilchrist's Repub­li­can op­po­nents who ac­cuse him of "slum­lord-like be­hav­ior."

Gilchrist, who is Gretchen Whit­mer's run­ning mate, bought the du­plex apart­ment in Au­gust 2016 in the North End neigh­bor­hood for $27,000 from the De­troit Land Bank Author­ity, city records show. Gilchrist's own­er­ship of the 253 Marston St. prop­erty and its con­di­tion were first re­ported by Dead­line De­troit. The land bank is the city agency that con­trols prop­erty lost in tax fore­clo­sure. The land bank is the largest landowner in the city.

Usu­ally, the buyer must re­pair and have the prop­erty oc­cu­pied within six months, ac­cord­ing to land bank rules. But be­cause Gilchrist bought a larger prop­erty, an eight-unit apart­ment build­ing, com­pared to a sin­gle­fam­ily home usu­ally sold by the land bank, he has been given more time to do re­pairs, said land bank spokes­woman Alyssa Strick­land late Fri­day.

Still, the land bank "finds the cur­rent con­di­tion of the ex­te­rior ... to be un­ac­cept­able."

Gilchrist was given un­til Mon­day to pro­vide proof the ex­te­rior of the prop­erty is clean and se­cure.

"If Mr. Gilchrist fails to pro­vide the re­quested ev­i­dence of clean-up at his prop­erty, the De­troit Land Bank Author­ity will is­sue a

no­tice of re­con­veyance," the state­ment said, which means the city agency will take back the prop­erty.

Gilchrist is­sued a state­ment Fri­day, say­ing he's "ex­hausted his per­sonal re­sources" to do ex­ten­sive re­pairs to the du­plex at 253 Marston and is try­ing to con­tinue re­pairs by se­cur­ing a loan. City records show Gilchrist filed per­mits for elec­tri­cal work to be done in 2016.

"The apart­ment build­ing is not in the state that I want it to be in, even with the sig­nif­i­cant progress that has been made thus far," Gilchrist's state­ment read.

He added "it has been a strug­gle to se­cure a loan" in part due "to my pur­suits of elected of­fice in 2017 and now again in 2018." Gilchrist un­suc­cess­fully ran for De­troit City Clerk last year.

"I re­main com­mit­ted to se­cur­ing the fi­nanc­ing, end­ing the hold­ing pat­tern that this project has been in, and bring­ing the apart­ment build­ing ren­o­va­tion to com­ple­tion as soon as pos­si­ble."

Whit­mer said af­ter the Fri­day night gu­ber­na­to­rial de­bate that her cam­paign had known about Gilchrist's prop­erty but was not fully aware that im­me­di­ate ac­tion was needed. "He's do­ing his best to get it reme­died, and I'm con­fi­dent he will," she said.

Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Bill Schuette pounced on the rev­e­la­tion, de­scrib­ing Gilchrist's ac­tions as "slum­lord-like be­hav­ior."

"Gar­lin Gilchrist has shown he is too ex­treme for Michi­gan based on his neg­li­gent han­dling of this prop­erty, his past sup­port of Ha­mas, crit­i­cism of Is­rael and its sup­port­ers and other rad­i­cal po­si­tions,” said Stu San­dler, spokesman for the Schuette cam­paign in a Fri­day state­ment.

The anti-Is­rael charge con­tin­ues is based on a Gilchrist 2009 tweet that he later apol­o­gized for. Gilchrist is the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter of So­cial Me­dia Re­spon­si­bil­ity at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan, a po­si­tion from which he plans to take a leave if elected in Novem­ber.

Whit­mer on Fri­day coun­tered that Gilchrist, a na­tive who had lived in Washington state and Washington D.C., wanted to make an in­vest­ment in the city and "was ex­cited to come back home."

Staff Writer con­trib­uted. laguilar@de­troit­news.com Twit­ter: @LouisAguilar_DN



Clarence Tabb Jr. / The De­troit News

Gar­lin Gilchrist, the Demo­cratic lieu­tenant gov­er­nor can­di­date, says he's “ex­hausted his per­sonal re­sources” to do vast re­pairs to a De­troit du­plex.

Dale G. Young / The De­troit News

Gar­lin Gilchrist II was given un­til Mon­day to pro­vide proof the ex­te­rior of prop­erty he owns at 253 Marston St. is clean and se­cure.

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