Last week, the city of Davenport filed an enforcement action against the owner of the partially collapsed Davenport building where three residents have died, leaving some people scratching their heads and others outraged.
Owner Andrew Wold faces a fine from the city of $300 and an additional $95 in court fees.
In a news conference on Thursday, Davenport city attorney Tom Warner said this fine was filed with the intention to prevent Wold from transferring the property and avoiding a demolition, or even larger fees.
Warner said not to focus on the fine, calling the $300 "irrelevant."
"When we bring that building down it's gonna be costly, the last thing we want is for that owner to transfer that property and avoid that demolition," Warner said.
The body of 42-year-old Branden Colvin was found among the rubble on Saturday. Crews recovered the body of 51-year-old Ryan Hitchcock on Sunday and 60-year-old Daniel Prien early Monday morning.
Fine could keep Andrew Wold from selling collapsed Davenport building
Christopher Odinet, professor of law at the University of Iowa, said the bigger goal he thinks the city was trying to achieve is putting a "cloud" on the title to the property.
Odinet explained that the fine is against Wold's property itself. He said that this fine creates a barrier of sorts, discouraging others from buying the property. It is similar to being unable to sign a lease on an apartment until the current tenant's lease is over, Odinet said.
Davenport's municipal code is limited in the dollar amount that can be charged per fine.
"Whoever did that, wrote that, made that, that's not even right," Branden Colvin Jr., whose father died in the collapse, said to local TV station WQAD. "Four hundred [dollars] for this?"
In March, Wold was given a civil penalty and fined a total of $4,500 plus court costs after his property was declared a nuisance due to garbage violations. The city documented 19 instances after the declaration stretching from June 2022 to January 2023 of overflowing waste. He was fined $250 for each violation.
Wold did not contest the citation or show up to a court hearing. Court records show he has paid $150 toward the fines.
Two days after the collapse, Wold made a statement including that his "thoughts and prayers," are with his tenants and families during this time. Wold also claims to have been working closely with The American Red Cross to help displaced families and individuals.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Andrew Wold, owner of The Davenport, was fined $300. Why?