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Private Attorneys To Help With Nuisance Property Crackdown

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Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio
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The city of St. Louis has beefed up the number of attorneys targeting problem properties in the city.

Private lawyers from firms throughout St. Louis, working for free, will supplement the efforts of city attorneys to take the owners of those properties to court.

Those are the buildings that are so structurally unsound they pose a safety risk, or where police get numerous complaints of nuisance crimes.

The city's Problem Properties Unit has seven attorneys, and has dealt with 9,000 properties in more than 10 years. Most of the owners, said city attorney Patti Hageman, are charged in city court with code violations. The private attorneys will help bring the most serious offenders to circuit court.

"I don't want anyone to think that we're going to run out tomorrow and file a thousand new lawsuits," Hageman said. "That is not the desire of what's to come out of this project. This is really to be kind of a laser strike against some of the worst of the worst properties."

Hageman says she’ll also ask the attorneys to help her reform the city’s liquor and public safety laws.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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