Town officials have condemned a two-story house at 124 E. Pine St. that was severely damaged by fire in November. However, the owner is in federal prison and has not responded to letters from the town requesting that he demolish the structure. Town Council will vote Wednesday whether to approve a bid for the demolition work and bill the owner for the cost.
The owner of the East Pine Street house is Michael Scanlon, a former business partner of disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He was sentenced in early 2011 to 20 months in federal prison on corruption charges related to the scandal that took down former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Texas) and 20 other government officials.
Ten months after Scanlon was sentenced, the vacant house he owns at 124 E. Pine St. suffered an estimated $12,000 in damages during an afternoon fire that began on the second floor. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, a spokesman for the state fire marshal’s office reported this week.
Town officials said they have attempted to contact Scanlon through his Wilmington-based attorney Don Gouge, but have not received a commitment from Scanlon.
According to town code, Town Manager Eugene Dvornick Jr. may order the owner of a structure that is deemed unfit for habitation to either repair or demolish their property. After six months, the town may hire a firm to do the demolition and then bill the owner for the cost.
Town council is slated to vote Wednesday night whether to accept one of two bids it has received to demolish the house at 124 E. Pine St.
Those bids range in cost from $14,500 to $18,500, town officials said. No date by which the demolition must be complete has been set.
Scanlon also owns a large two-story residential property at 130 E. Pine St. that also has been condemned. The town solicited bids for the demolition of that property as well. However, town officials said this week that they are still hoping the building can be salvaged through renovations.