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Hank Investigates

City of Boston didn't collect money its owed

Now a story you'll see only on 7! Hank uncovers a shocking financial mess and it's your money that's missing. Why didn't the city of Boston collect at least a half million dollars its owed? Because they had no idea it was missing until Hank told them! And now the city admits it screwed up.

See these abandoned houses and neglected lots aren't much to look at now.

But they were a lot worse before the city of Boston stepped in. See this ramshackle triple-decker?

Boston spent $1095 to board up its broken windows.

The city spent $3288 to fix up this house!

For years now Boston's Inspectional Services department paid big bucks to clean up hundreds of rundown properties.

Bryan Glascock, Boston Inspectional Services Commissioner

"It's critical for maintaining the safety of our neighborhoods."

The city was supposed to make the owners of these properties pay that money back.

But our investigation found - many times the city never even asked for reimbursement!

Look at this list - we found all of it is money the city lost.

Brian Glascock recently took over the "Boston ISD".

Hank

Did you know this was happening?

Bryan Glascock, Boston Inspectional Services Commissioner

No, not til you brought it to our attention.

When the cleanup's done, the city posts "clean it or lien it" signs.

That's because the city has the power to slap deadbeat owners with a legal lien --that prevents a property from being sold until the clean-up bill is paid.

Good plan - except we found the city often didn't do that, either!

Hank

More than half these homeowners, landlords never paid the city back..

Bryan Glascock, Boston Inspectional Services Commissioner

Right.

We calculated Boston paid out - and never got back - at least half a million tax dollars!

Hank:

Can you believe you're saying this?

Bryan Glascock, Boston Inspectional Services Commissioner

Ah, no.

And it's probably a lot more! We found six years of documentation is missing! What properties did Boston fix in those six years? How much did it cost? Who paid them back? Or not? No one knows.

Hank:

Do you know where are these records are?

Bryan Glascock, Boston Inspectional Services Commissioner

No, we're in the process of trying to find them.

No bills, no liens, and no pay back. And if one of these boarded properties is now owned by someone new - it MAY BE too late for the city to do anything.

Hank:

Who dropped the ball on this?

Bryan Glascock, Boston Inspectional Services Commissioner

"I don't think you can pin it on any one person. This is one of those things that sort of got put on the back burner, and nobody ever picked it up again."

As a result of our story the crackdown has already begun. The city is now sending out bills and slapping on liens--and officials tell me--they're already collecting money.