Posted September 6, 202311:55 pm
Cleveland Housing Court has fined a landlord $10,000 for failing to clean up lead hazards at a rental property that poisoned a toddler and forced the child’s family into temporary housing.
Earlier this month, Judge Moná Scott ordered Hadad Investments LLC to pay $10,608 in contempt of court fines that have been adding up since May, court records show. The judge also ordered the company to pay an additional $112 for each day it ignores the court’s most recent order to pay up and make the property lead safe.
An attorney for Hadad Investments did not respond to a Signal Cleveland request for comment.
The company rented the single-family home on East 144th Street in the Collinwood neighborhood to La’Chresha Wheeler and her two daughters, Sariyah and Ashari, in July 2021.
In early 2022, Sariyah was hospitalized and diagnosed with lead poisoning. The company failed to remove the toxic lead dust from the home, and the Wheeler family eventually had to move out. The Wheelers’ struggle to find housing and the city’s failure to ensure landlords comply with laws that require landlords to clean up lead hazards was the subject of a three–part Signal Cleveland series.
Hadad Investments is owned by Ronen Hadad, who lives in Israel. The city filed an affidavit with Cuyahoga County attached to the property title that documents the lead hazards in the East 144th Street property.
It was one of 200 affidavits the city filed this spring on properties with lead hazards to notify potential buyers that there is an active lead hazard in the home with an order for cleanup.
Hadad recently sold a second home he owns in Cleveland.
The City of Cleveland has not filed criminal charges against Hadad Investments for failing to comply with health department orders to clean up the lead hazards. The city has also not used its nuisance laws to move the Wheeler family into temporary housing, fix the hazards, and add the cost to the landlord’s tax bill.
Maria Smith, the Legal Aid attorney representing the Wheeler family, said city officials have been responsive to her concerns about the legal case. However, Smith said, she hopes the city will examine its policy and other resources to collaborate with community partners to end childhood lead poisoning.
“We have all these tools to make landlords aware and respect the law,” Smith said.
Smith said the next hearing in the case is scheduled for this month.
Source: Signal Cleveland - Cleveland landlord fined $10,000 by Housing Court