A newly divorced couple from Illinois contest responsibility for Riviera Maia Apartments, saying that the Trust set up by them is and should now be made responsible.

Divorced apartment owners contest responsibility for the condition of the complex

Owners of a Toledo apartment complex named Riviera Maia Apartments, who are now divorced, refused to take responsibility for the chaotic condition of the complex when they appeared before the judge at the Toledo Housing Court on Tuesday.

The defendants appeared in court in response to summons issued by Toledo Housing judge C. Allen McConnell, who is also presiding over a similar case brought by the city against Larchmont Gardens, which have become unkempt and unsafe to the extent that the city had to move its 100 tenants out of the now condemned 504 units.

Vladimir Sklarov of Lake Forest, Ill., and his wife Sharon Sklarov of Des Plaines, Ill., appeared in court with their respective attorneys Deborah Kimelman and Jerome Phillips who spoke to the court on their behalf.

The divorced Sklarovs say responsibility for the apartment belongs to the Trust

The trust was set up in 1998 for the couple’s children. The trust acquired the apartment complex from the couple in 2005 for $5.6 million. It was only last month that the couple’s long divorce case bitterly contested by divorce attorneys was settled by a Lake County judge.

Jerome Phillips says that even though the Sklarovs may have a financial responsibility they have absolutely no income from the complex and forcing them to pay may cause them to face bankruptcy. He said that they are not necessarily criminally liable for the Trusts failure. He also said that they feel terrible about what has happened as this was not what they had wanted.

The attorney for the city, John Madigan said that the city believes both Sklarovs to be owners.

Phillips thinks that even if ownership has a broad definition, ownership is a legal question.

In the meantime Judge McConnell has asked the city of Toledo to provide security and maintenance to the Sklarovs complex, which they would have to pay for later. The city’s Commissioner of Building Inspection, Chris Zervos says that a potential buyer from Nebraska had withdrawn his offer leading to the housing complex to be foreclosed in March. It looks like a demolition team should be brought if this place is not even suitable for low income renters.

There is nothing worse than a neighborhood having unused, condemned structures. That is an invitation for criminal elements to manifest themselves.

Do divorce laws require tweaking!

The question of how jointly held property should be legally considered after couples divorce, seems still up for further revision. Divorce attorneys contesting mutually held assets have to find ways to legally divide them between the divorcing couple. In this case even after the Trust bought the property from the Sklarovs it is not clear if they have been completely relieved of their responsibility and ownership.

The divorced Sklarovs were served another legal notice as they were leaving the courtroom from 60 former Riviera Maia tenants for alleged poor living conditions, security deposits refunds, embezzlement, and illegal water charges, amongst others. Why would the Sklarovs even run an apartment complex if they did not know what they were doing?