The Allentown, Pennsylvania textile mill owned by Rabbi Moshe Rubashkin is so unsafe that the city may spend $400,000 to tear it down:
City officials say the fenced-in site is unsafe and has suffered a series of break-ins and even a small fire since an April 19 blaze gutted the clothing factory and was later declared arson.
The owners of the property, which is scheduled for sheriff's sale on Friday, have not responded to a raze or repair order issued by the city, which will have to find the $400,000 in a tight budget.
''When the building owners don't meet their responsibilities, the city has to step in and do something,'' said Lauren Giguere, acting director of community and economic development.
''There is fencing up around the property, but it is right at the edge of a residential neighborhood. There are children who play around the area, and people who are breaking into the property.'' …
''It is tight, but it is a no-win situation,'' Giguere said. ''We have to find it somewhere. We can't just let it sit there when a building is constituted as dangerous for the public. It is structurally unsound, the beams and columns were twisted by the heat. There are some hazardous and flammable materials still on the property.''…
In several letters to both Skyline and Supreme, city code inspectors cited the property as a public nuisance, and required the owners to remove junk, secure openings with plywood, reinforce and seal the roof and exterior walls, and make interior floors and walls structurally sound.
The 41/2-story, 112,444- square-foot structure had been closed since at least 1999. As of 2004, the building owed $140,000 in property taxes.
Rabbi Moshe Rubashkin, brother of AgriProcessors Rabbi Sholom M. Rubashkin, served 15 months in Federal prision for bank fraud. Released last year, Rabbi Rubashkin was promptly elected president of the Chabad-Lubavitch controlled Crown Heights [Brooklyn, NY] Community Council.