Hilbert v Davis heats up over Lawrence’s allegations

In what feels like a return to classic 1980s/1990s Richmond politics, the Chris Hilbert v Jonathan Davis campaign in the Third District is running hot right now. In a recent Richmond Voice, owner of much vacant and blighted property Oliver Lawrence complained that his more than 600 citations for code violations related to property upkeep […]

In what feels like a return to classic 1980s/1990s Richmond politics, the Chris Hilbert v Jonathan Davis campaign in the Third District is running hot right now. In a recent Richmond Voice, owner of much vacant and blighted property Oliver Lawrence complained that his more than 600 citations for code violations related to property upkeep were “motivated by rogue officials, including a sitting council member”. The Voice alleges that 3rd District Council Representative Chris Hilbert tried to “persuade Lawrence into selling the Standard Auto dealership in North Side Richmond” so that Boaz and Ruth, “a local non-profit organization that helps ex-offenders rejoin society”, could make use of the property. In the resulting discussion on CHPN, it came to light that Lawrence has contributed at least $500 to the campaign of Hilbert’s challenger, Jonathan Davis, using two of his businesses as fronts (Standard Auto Center, Standard Auto Sales LLC) .

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  1. Lucy Gandeline on said:

    Jonathan Davis’ acceptance of political contributions from Oliver Lawrence, one of Richmond’s biggest slumlords and one of the worst blighted property owners, says a lot about the character of Mr. Davis. You can’t talk about the need to eliminate blight and the problems it creates in a society while at the same time getting all “palsy-walsy” (as the Church Hill News blog says) with the property owner.

    I’d like to also point out that Davis’ own campaign website states his views on how to deal with blighted properties. Specifically, he says “owners of blighted properties must be held accountable for either renovating them and occupying them or selling them to persons who will.” This is exactly what Hilbert was trying to do – get the property sold to an organization that was interested in maintaining and using the property to enhance our district, rather than bring it down as Mr. Lawrence has done.

    Maybe Oliver Lawrence should spend more time dealing with his 600 CODE VIOLATIONS and the $375,000 in fines he was assessed for previous violations rather than attacking Mr. Hilbert for the good work he is doing to advance our community. And, maybe Mr. Davis could refrain from making up bogus allegations against Hilbert, which were most likely fed to him by Mayor Wilder, and he should definitely stop soliciting contributions from questionable property owners that are currently being prosecuted!

  2. My favorite law in Holland (and some others parts of Europe) is that if you take over an abandoned, run down building and start doing repairs to it, you have more rights to the property than the person who owns it. Makes sense to me…

  3. Property is far more scarce there and I’m sure that it is only the rare occasion where that actually happens. Richmond needs to amend its tax laws regarding what it can do with vacant properties, right now it’s either ignore or demolish, neither of which serves the common or individual good.

  4. Ramzi on said:

    That last comment was from me, I got on the computer after Gray and didn’t change the settings.

  5. Yes that is true (I spent a lot of time with squatters), but if that were the case here in the States (people fixing up buildings having more rights to property than owners who leave them to decay), I doubt that there would be too many abandoned buildings left to rot in our cities….

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