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Lawsuit filed by city aims to shut down Churchill properties

The legal complaint stated that a landlord allegedly knew widespread illegal activities were taking place on the real estate he owned.

The City of Milwaukee filed a lawsuit seeking the closure and sale of 12 near south side rental properties that have been linked to widespread crіmіnаl activities, including drug sales and prоstіtutіon.

Alderman Bob Donovan and Alderman José G. Pérez, whose aldermanic districts are home to all 12 of the properties owned by defendant Kenneth D. Churchill III of West Allis, said the properties have been a source of numerous complaints about crіmіnаl activities for years.

“It is alleged that Churchill would take extra cash payments from tenants, to look the other way, if they were selling drugs (at a property),” Alderman Donovan said. “Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that he (Churchill) may be actively involved in the drug activity at the properties.”

“Ruining neighborhoods was apparently all a part of Churchill’s ‘business plan’ in running his rental properties,” said Alderman Donovan, chair of the Public Safety Committee. “It is absolutely unconscionable.”

Alderman Pérez, a member of the Public Safety Committee, explained that the lawsuit was brought forward because of numerous constituent complaints about drug and prоstіtutіon activity occurring at the properties, as well as Milwaukee Police Department and Department of Neighborhood Services investigations.

“The lawsuit alleges that at least five, if not more, individuals have been linked to drug and prоstіtutіon activity at more than one of Churchill’s rental properties, and that the properties have received 11 drug house designations since 2011,” Alderman Pérez said.

Alderman Pérez and Alderman Donovan said complaints from neighbors played a large part in helping investigators looking into the allegations attributed to the properties owned by Churchill. They said the case is a prime example of citizens coming forward and then being taken seriously by police and by investigators, and clear evidence that neighbors and the community have the power to fight back, and take back, their block and their neighborhood.

The lawsuit, filed by City Attorney Grant F. Langley on February 13 in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, alleges that Churchill’s mismanagement of the properties interferes substantially with the comfortable enjoyment of life, health and safety of others in the neighborhood and the City.

The suit further alleges Churchill’s mismanagement of the properties has also contributed to crіmе, fear and disorder in the neighborhood and the city, as well as negatively impacted the neighboring property values and impeded lawful business operations in the area.

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