Can the developer that built retaining wall afford to repair homes and hillside after landslide?

Company must turn over finances Monday
Can developer afford repairs after landslide?
Posted at 6:03 AM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 06:44:23-04

CINCINNATI -- The developer that built a retaining wall that collapsed in Mount Adams earlier this month is on the clock to turn over financial statements to the City of Cincinnati by 4 p.m. Monday.

A judge ordered Metropolitan Design and Development to "act with all due haste." After reviewing all 2016 and 2017 finanicial statements, the city will determine if the company is financially capable of repairing damaged caused by the landslide.

Art Dahlberg, Cincinnati's buildings and inspections director, said Metropolitan Design and Development worked at 406 Baum Street without a permit; he called that the epicenter of the landslide that damaged the two homes.

Dahlberg said the landslide was a result of excavation done by Metropolitan Design and Development before they built the wall.

"Since they caused the problem, not only do they have the responsibility to repair the houses that they were the general contractors on, but they become obligated to stabilize the hillside and repair all the damage that has happened across the board," Dahlberg said.

The need for repair is urgent: Since the initial May 3 landslide, Dahlberg said, the hillside has continued to shift and destabilize, causing several smaller landslides in the process. 

The company submitted a stabilization plan to the city Department of Buildings and Inspections ahead of a noon deadline Friday, but did not authorize its implementation. The company wrote "by submitting this plan for the purposes of complying with the terms of your order Metropolitan does not accept liability for causing nor contributing to the hill slide," according to a memo from City Manager Harry Black. 

"This response does not satisfy the order's issues, therefore the city has moved forward with emergency legal action," Black wrote.

The city filed a request for emergency injunction Friday against Metropolitan Design and Development to stabilize the hillside, according to Black. They are also seeking an order to deal with the damage done to the affected properties.