Embattled landlord Sam Vazirani will remain under house arrest as a hearing continues into whether he defied a judge's order to get rid of his troubled rental properties. A number of residents in Franklinton, where Vazirani has operated for years, said they hope that Franklin County Environmental Judge Harlan H. Hale revokes his probation and sends a clear message to other landlords.
Embattled landlord Sam Vazirani will remain under house arrest as a hearing continues into whether he defied a judge’s order to get rid of his troubled rental properties.
A number of residents in Franklinton, where Vazirani has operated for years, said they hope that Franklin County Environmental Judge Harlan H. Hale revokes his probation and sends a clear message to other landlords.
That includes the Rev. Lee Anne Reat, vicar at St. John’s Episcopal Church, who attended Vazirani’s hearing yesterday. She said poor tenants continue to be “exploited by unscrupulous landlords.”
Probation officer Kevin Clark said Vazirani still owns or controls many properties — Clark rattled off a list of addresses. The number the probation officer had questions about was around 30 in the statement of violations he compiled.
Clark said Vazirani’s handwriting appears on current deeds and that the deeds and some mortgages weren’t properly filed. Clark also said he has talked to tenants who told him that Vazirani is still their landlord.
“There are many pieces to this puzzle that need to be identified,” Clark said.
Defense attorney Sanjay Bhatt told The Dispatch that his client has complied with the terms of probation and disposed of his properties.
Clark brought up a Grasmere Avenue house in Linden, which records showed Vazirani bought on Oct. 11, violating the court order. During a break in the hearing, Bhatt said the house was bought in 2011 and that the deed wasn’t issued until 2012.
After a couple of hours, Hale set the hearing to resume on Tuesday, saying he had other cases to deal with and it might get continued again.
Hale had set Vazirani’s bail at $10,000 on Feb. 4; Vazirani had been arrested and jailed that week when his probation officer alleged the violations. Vazirani has been confined to house arrest with an electronic monitor since he posted bond.
In April, Hale prohibited Vazirani from owning or managing rental properties after the 73-year-old Northwest Side resident pleaded no contest to 20 misdemeanor code violations at a Wisconsin Avenue house where three people died in a December 2011 fire. Two years earlier, the city had ordered the house vacated because of safety hazards.
Vazirani has been sued by the families of those who died. Bhatt said Vazirani is not trying to hide his assets.
More than a year of jail time remains on Vazirani’s suspended sentence if he is convicted of violating probation.