Everyone agrees that the former Black Olive building at 22-24 E. Mt. Airy Ave. has become an eyesore that needs attention.
But its owners aren't in any position to do anything about it. Ina M. Walker and Hugh C. Clark have both now pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges and owe a variety of taxes on the property.
The two are accused of using federal funds—supposedly for a charter school they operated—to support Black Olive.
Those taxes, though, are the least of their concerns. Mt. Airy Business Improvement District Executive Director Hollie Malamud-Price said the BID, for example, is owed its assessment but hasn't had any luck in getting it from Walker.
The building was badly destroyed in a fire last June. It remains burnt, and its roof appears as if it's in pieces.
It was supposed to be up for U.S. Marshals sale but wasn't offered up for that because of the fire.
Derek Green, who handles zoning issues for East Mt. Airy Neighbors, said at a meeting Tuesday that the U.S. Attorney's office—which brought the charges against Walker and Clark—could theoretically get involved in the matter and potentially force a sale.
Whatever happens, Malamud-Price said, she hopes a variety of community groups are able to get involved and work together to try and bring a resolution to the problem.
"It's an issue for all of us," she said.