BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Neighbors in Allentown say they want action on slum properties in Allentown -- before this weekend's art festival draws thousands to the neighborhood.
The properties were the subject of a 7 Eyewitness News I-Team report in March -- a report they say helped lead to a housing court judge issuing a warrant for Chuck Dobucki, the man neighbors describe as the Cottage Street 'slumlord.'
But since then, neighbors say there's been little action on the property, and the city has not arrested Dobucki.
"They can make him sell these or fix em up, they refuse to, and I blame no one but the city," said neighbor David Folmar. "My aunt had a couch on her porch on the East Side, they made her take it off and they find her by they can’t find him and make him fix up these houses. Shame on them."
Added Patty MacDonald of Project Slumlord, "Buffalo will foreclose on people who don't pay their water bill, but they won't foreclose on people who do this, which is just an outrage."
Neighbors are especially concerned about image and also safety ahead of this weekend's Allentown Art Festival.
"They are dangerous properties," said Anne Noble of Cottage Street. "They're leaking, they're caving in, the gutters are falling down. We're welcoming thousands and thousands of people to Allentown this week, and the reason I live in Buffalo -- and I've only lived here a year -- is because this is a welcoming town and a wonderful community. The way we welcome people in this city should be reflected in our properties."
But city leaders say they are doing everything they can -- but they just haven't been able to locate Dobucki. 7 Eyewitness News was previously unable to reach Dobucki despite multiple attempts.
A spokesman for Mayor Byron W. Brown referred questions to Lou Petrucci, assistant director of permits and inspections for the city.
"With respect to us not going after him, that is not true," Petrucci said. "We’ve contacted the city of Buffalo detectives who’ve been going out and routinely trying to find these places that- where they believe Mr. Dobucki could be in the city of Buffalo. And when they find him they will arrest him."
In the meantime, Petrucci said the city will take care of services like grass-cutting, and is trying to get the State Attorney General involved.
“We want to see compliance with these properties as much as the neighbors do,” Petrucci said.