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Sunday, February 19, 2012

St. Paul's Frogtown: The war for a neighborhood & the city's malicious war on landlords.

Pioneer Press Reporter Freddy Melo said;
Side by side, they're hoping to accomplish what the troubled housing market and unscrupulous landlords have not: revive a community.
Town Hall host opinion--->
Freddy have you forgotten the city's rogue housing code enforcement policy has made it unprofitable for private individuals to rehabilitate homes in Saint Paul?
Haven't we had enough, of over 10 years of blaming landlords and bars for social ills because the city and police can't find a workable crime strategy? The city is on a quest to shove as many landlords out of town as they can. If the city has to label a landlord a slumlord to get rid of them they do. These non profits do not pay property tax's. Home owners already pay more than their share of property tax's? And good ole boys like Freddy here are all to happy to help the city demonize landlords and deceive the public. How does it feel to be a brown nosing puppet Freddy?
Here is the kind of thing Freddy and the city support...
522 Charles- As of today I couldn't verify a building permit was pulled for this house. There is no information showing a vacant building fee was paid. It looks like I am going to have to make sure none of these hand picked non profits gets a wink and a nod from the city to cut corners. Landlords aren't allowed to cut any corners. And as we have seen in the past the city has given a wink and a nod to a non profit that used children to remove asbestos siding without proper training or the use of hazmat equipment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am a homeowner and I have a house that I rent out. When the city did their annual fire inspection there were two issues that needed to be fixed. Both could have taken an hour of my time and be fixed, but the inspector stated I needed a building permit and that the work needed to be done by a licensed contractor.

One was dryer venting (replace plastic with metal) and the other involved pitting in a new covered light fixture (no rewiring needed). I had had to hire a licensed contractor for both and get permits. In the end I spent over $500.00 for something I could have done for under $50.00.

How can these guys get away with doing a total rehab of a house without licenses contractors.

Also noticed in the pictures in the Pioneer Press there are many obvious code violations that a "licensed contractor" would NEVER be allowed to do. I like the one where the space heater is warming up the primer.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the article too and the fact that they are using volunteers which brought the question to my mind about what happened to having to pull permits and using ONLY licensed workers for homes such as these. The other thing I thought to myself was why all of a sudden after the landlords are about to make it to trial are they publishing a story such as this about affordable housing and the city working with certain individuals to make the homes livable and affordable? There were several questionable statements throughout the article that seemed to be fishy making it seem as though the city itself may had influence the whole article in their favor.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One example statement that the city may have set itself up for to look good for the upcoming trial in the public's eye:

"But Charles Avenue residents also point to signs of rehab and renewal as proof that community, city and religious leaders haven't given up on one of the most ethnically diverse residential areas in the state."

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this fact or a type of influencing the public before trial:

""If you overlay a map of subprime mortgages and a map of vacant properties, it's the same map citywide," said Danielson-Castillo, director of the Frogtown Neighborhood Association. "This problem was caused by banks giving bad loans."

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good work Bob!


9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This problem was caused by banks giving bad loans."

Code enforcement amplified the effect of the foreclosure crisis.


9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If permits were pulled it is my understanding that they must be posted in a visible location, is that correct?

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The permits aren't on line.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Link said...

at the link above type 522 Charles

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Link said...

Code compliance report linked above

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The truth is it is awesome to be here right now," says Tolo, as Christian rock music blasts out of his second-floor office at 537 Charles and up and down the block.

If that was hip hop music blasting up and down the block the city would send over goons from code enforcement to gentrify the black plague

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Non-Profit means Big-Profit for the
CEO's of those Non-Profit $$$$$$

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My thanks goes out to Freddy Melo, these story show us that non profit companies are with out any profits do to the top dogs pay

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Link said...

when is a permit required

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This shows that there is a double standard when it comes to permits and code compliance.

I see there have been no vacant building fees paid nor have any building/work permits been taken out for the work that is being done.

I thought if work was being done, and this building is not owner occupied, they need licensed contractors doing the work.

Where is the plan approved that shows this organization has the money to carry out the project. Where is Ms. Moermond? How or why did she allow this?

If we, as homeowners have to pull permits, why don't they?

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to that code compliance list dated 9/19/2011, the six months would now be up so either this house must be completed with ALL permits signed off on or it will need to go for an extension with consideration that over 50% of the work has been completed to date, is that correct even for special people such as so called non-profits?

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't Repke one of these non profits who is exempt from code compliance?

There is a double standard. St. Paul Council Member, Ward 2 Dave Thune got a pass from the DSI folks, as he didn't need building permits or licensed contractors on his rental properties because he was a city council member.

Here are the photos:

11:58 AM  
Anonymous 522 Charles said...

Thanks for Links I like the County Site for Market Value and Ownership.
At the end of Fred Melo Article he bought a Property on Charles.
Fred What is your address.
Why is it unless the Reporters have Indirect/Direct interest in their Story's
522 Charles current Mkt V. 58 Thous, sold for $114,xxx.oo It Pays to WALK AWAY.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is another link to the house in the article.

They have been working on this house since this summer and without a building permit.

It is shocking at how they took this house down to the farming and then put in new windows, electric, plumbing, mechanical, all WITHOUT permits.

This is really something, as the city hounds regular Joes like you and I if we were doing a project like this. How can they do this work without permits or inspections?

If you ever sat in of the housing code hearing, you would hear Ms. Moermond and all of these questions and statements:

"Is the work being done up to code?"

"Since you are not a "licensed contractor" the work you are doing needs to be redone."

"Let's see the pictures of the house (asking a fire or DSI inspector). I see some real health and safety violations here."

"Do you have the proper permits?"

"I have real concerns about this property and I am going to recommend to the city council that either this property is repaired within 15 days it needs to be torn down."

"That is me recommendation."

This is total crap!

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pioneer Press reporter Fred Melo just posted this in the comments section. Les asked about permits and this is Fred Melo's answer.

"I can't speak for John Tolo's efforts, but yes, nonprofits can't just walk into a property and get to work. Their contractor, Morrissey Builders, has devoted a page on its website to the Frogtown project:"

You would think that he as a reporter would have checked with the city BEFORE he wrote the article. This is basic leg work that a reporter does. Several posters here have done just that many posts ago.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Ralph a reader here gave me the lead on this story. The success of this town hall over the years is credited to participants like you.

Folk's, if you have a story my email address is in the header of the home page.

522 Charles-
First thing I did was check with the city website, no permits to be found. There is no information the vacant building fee had been paid. I drove by 522 Charles and didn't see a building permit posted anywhere.

We have seen misleading information from other Pioneer Press reporters in the past skirting the truth or ignorant of the truth (one issue the story of 14 E. Jessamine).

6:36 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I also looked at 537 Charles... There wasn't any placards displayed.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about laying a map of code enforcement over the same area and see what that looks like?

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The truth is it is awesome to be here right now," says Tolo, as Christian rock music blasts out of his second-floor office at 537 Charles and up and down the block.

Hey John Tolo, it is illegal to use that home for an office in it's current condition.


8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wondering if the city is going to ignore the appeals court decision now they lost at the Supreme Court level. They ignored the Minnesota Supreme Court decission Morris v. Sax.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:08 PM, Why wouldn't the city just ignore Morris v. Sax Investments? They have the feeling they can just walk on water.

Have you ever attended a city council meeting? Lantry is one of the most self-righteous, arrogant individuals I have ever met. Ms. Moermond, the code hearing officer is another piece of work. Ms. Moermond worked for the city council and due to cut backs and restructuring her job was cut and Lantry and others created a position for her, thus she is now the code hearing officer without any training in law. Sit in on these hearing sometime and you will really have your eyes opened.

So yes the city does what it wants because they know no one has the money to fight them.

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about the houses in the story but saw Bob whining about how some how this is do to the City's inspections.

If you pull up the permits on the two you mentioned you would see that both 522 and 537 Charles were rental properties that had C of O's in 2007 and never were condemned by the City or had any work orders other than to pick up the trash until they became vacant buildings.

They are long term rental properties that the owner wore out and threw away when they were done. No action by the City caused this. They went back to the bank.

You can make up all the shit you want Bob that is life in the real world.


Chuck Repke

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you pull up the permits on the two you mentioned you would see that both 522 and 537"

What permits? There isn't any listing of a permit being pulled and there isn't any placards posted on the buildings.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was the only person on all the big committees over 25 years for the turnaround of the Selby Avenue community. This was a model for the US. The city had granted autonomy to the communities, which turned around using individual initiative, teamwork, imagination, human understanding, and solid strategies.

The city wants Frogtown to do the same. It will not happen with the current 'leadership'. The insular downtown group has put itself back in charge of the communities. They are ill informed, and have no imagination. They think they can get positive results using negative methods. Tehy are doomed to failure, especially since the city has been found guilty of institutional racism, and will have to pay the price.

Also, when the city mistreated my family, and alienated me, they lost a real supporter of the city, and they lost a lot of money in various ways, such as PR and knowledge of how things work.

Bob G.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Chuck said;
I don't know anything about the houses in the story but saw Bob whining about how some how this is do to the City's inspections.

My response;
Chuck my point is your non profit buddies do not have to play by the same rules as landlords. The Pioneer Press (freddy melo) does this wonderful story on this non profit rehabilitating Frogtown and it appears they are working on these homes illegally with a wink and a nod from the city and local media.

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


All of the non-profits are required to pull permits like everyone else. Every job that my non-profit has been a part of we have had to pull the same permits and pay the same fees like everyone else does. I have no idea why their permits are not posted yet or if their contractors have failed to pull them, but all of these jobs have to be done by licensed contractor the same as any other job.

On the habitat houses, they pull the permits and then have licensed contract supervise the work of volunteers. It would amount to being the same thing as having an apprentice do the work under supervision.

The only thing that the City does different with any of the non-profits is that there are cat 3 properties that the HRA buys from banks (because the City allows itself to buy cat 3 properties) and either sells or gives to the non-profit to rehab (because they are in effect doing the work for the HRA).

That is the only way in which the non-profits are treated diferent than private developers is that they end up doing contract work for the City.


Chuck Repke

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Chuckie!

8:42 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Chuck here is one example of a wink and a nod.

Link here

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and today I was doing 35 in a 30 and nobody caught me... in your world, that's a wink and a nod.

From 1974 until 1989 I worked in corrections, it always amazed me that the biggest complaint of those that broke the law was that others got away with it and that somehow that was a conspiracy against them that they got caught.

This site and these landlords always sound the same way. The argument is if you can't inspect every property in the City every day then you should never inspect any property. If you are picking on me today than you better pick on everyone else in the City today (not tomorrow or two days from now) or I'll sue you.

Life and fair and then you die Bob.

Its a bar, not a house... maybe they give commercial property a little more space. Beats me, shit happens.


Chuck Repke

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life ain't fair and then you die...

I was auto corrected...


10:46 AM  
Anonymous LINK said...

Here is a wink and nod that ended in tragedy.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what is happening with 522 Charles and 537 Charles?

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


FYI to your "LINK"

1179 7th Street East, was owned by Mike Kalis, the city inspector your referenced here is also the vacant building inspector in charge of the building at 522 Charles that you wrote about.

Just a note, the building at 1179 7th Street East did get the liquor license due to the fact who his backers were with the major help of Lantry and Thune. The city council never goes against "old" St. Paul money. George Montpetit and the Montpetit was behind Mike Kalis, just like they were behind Billy Boy Juice (cover for money laundering from gambling).

In June 2010 George Montpetit purchased the building at 1179 East 7th Street from Mike Kalis for $305,000.00 when the building was only worth $286,000.00.

This is gangster money that is involved here, or I should say "old" St. Paul boys club money.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Life ain't fair and then you die...

I was auto corrected...


10:46 AM

LINK said...
Here is a wink and nod that ended in tragedy.

2:21 PM

My response;
Life wasn't fair to Rita & Gary and then they died. I haven't forgot that Chuck. I won't forget it. :(
I can't forget all the faces and tears of all the people your friends in city hall hurt.

12:26 AM  
Anonymous TakingBackFrogtown said...

John Tolo's criminal history spans from 1997-2009 and includes DWI, driving violations, driving with a revoked license, fleeing the police and domestic assault (and interfering with a 911 call when the victim attempted to get help).

John Tolo owes $27,000 in active judgments against him.

2008: John Tolo described his financial situation as desperate, "That was a very difficult time for our family. Jen and I were in the process of losing our house and although I had a very good job selling computer equipment our financial situation was a mess and we were at our wits end. How could I even consider getting involved with a storefront rental ($2,500 per month). God spoke to me and told me He was calling me to WAR. He revealed that I was to be a soldier and to be completely obedient to His command. A good soldier doesn’t worry about provision he just does what he is command confident in his provision to accomplish what is set before him.

In 3 months later Feb of 2007 God directed me to resign my job and commit myself full time to trust him that he would care for us out of His abundance. He has been faithful. He moved us into an apartment gave us a simple budget and now we are able to move quickly and dangerously with the Kingdom of God against the kingdom of this world..

At this time of economic distress it would be really easy to try to reason out our situation and make good solid choices to circle the wagons. This is not God’s way. I cannot meet my needs, I am unable to provide for my family..

There is also a significant opportunity for one or more individuals to make a financial investment that will impact the city in a significant way. I would love to share this opportunity with you if you feel God is calling you hear more about an opportunity like this. This is a $50,000 to a $100,000 investment.

If you would like to give a gift to support our family or the mission you can respond in 2 ways.

...(Here is one way Tolo is getting by)
Financial Support Team:
□ I would like to make a monthly commitment or onetime gift of $_________ towards the Tolo expenses. Make checks payable to ‘YAK’. Include a NOTE saying “Donation for The Tolos”.
John Tolo on Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 9:34pm ·

Despite this, Tolo brags that: "As we have moved into the City, in just a short time now we have 3 houses, a vacant lot (Eden Community Garden) plus an apartment for a family we are working with. This is nearly a whole block that we are taking for the Kingdom."

Pictures of Frogtown House construction:

Tolo still has his hand out..
NEEDS- We are in the immediate need of a car (Good news! After going through intense rituals and prayer called "Deliverance", a newly recruited member of Frogtown House is allowing use of a car to further the "Kingdom")

Also, Construction Supplies and tools, Insulation, Winter Clothes’ Food, Bibles and Christian books

GOD is using all kinds of people at the mission, especially single moms and children. (Tolo should be doing background checks on all volunteers, and convicted felons like Bill Hanson, whose Re-Armor Homes is partnering with Frogtown House, should not be working with children)

Willing Workers of all types.
STUFF- we need all kinds of it! Resources are what it takes to serve a community. If you have it, we probably need it.

FINANCES- our volume of spending has gone way up as we work on the house, feed people, move, do weekly outreaches, drive people around, live… (oh pretty please....with sugar on top!)

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Wait.. John Tolo is changing his story! My bad, I told it to you wrong...

THIS: 2008: John Tolo described his financial situation as desperate, "That was a very difficult time for our family. Jen and I were in the process of losing our house and although I had a very good job selling computer equipment our financial situation was a mess and we were at our wits end..."

VERSUS..."John Tolo of Young Adult Koinonia (YAK) lived with his family in a Roseville apartment complex. He observed that by simply cleaning up and tending the building’s horribly neglected garden, it brought a 7-fold benefit to the apartment residents and neighborhood.."

Hey Folks John Tolo DID not move into an apartment because of foreclosure, active judgments, quitting his job, legal problems and money problems... He is on a mission!!!

"Please consider how you can be a part of the exciting launch of the Frogtown Community House Project — and bring the life and hope to this devastated neighborhood of St. Paul and beyond..."

Really funny because the launch of Frogtown Commuinity House Project does not involve forming it's own non-profit or LLC...all the money is funneled into YAK. AND Donations are also being accepted for the Tolo family.

Great video of the extensive construction on Frogtown House can also be viewed on this link:

What is the name again? Frogtown House? YAK? Operation Kingdom Come?

And look at all these cute kids...The convicted felons like Bill Hanson, a devoted volunteer to Frogtown House and "prophet"/Spiritual counselor, will just love to work with these sweet he can teach them alot.. He only has a record that includes drugs, terroristic threats, assault with a dangerous weapon and theft by swindle..

You can go down to Frogtown House and ask Bill to pray for you. Or meet Tolo and the Gang (no pun intended--really!) on Monday night for prayer in a boarded up church on 515 Farrington. The Tolos will lie to you but really the church is bought by Re-Armor Homes, an organization to rehab convicted felons....the church really needs a minister.. Hmmm...who would that be??

11:07 PM  

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