Judge to Orphanage Owner: Clean Up & Pay Up

The City of Marquette takes the owner of the old Holy Family Orphans Home to court and wins.

Last year, the city sued the owner, Roger Rinne, over blight conditions that led to unpaid fines for building code violations.

Rinne didn’t show up in court.

He appeared by phone, saying financial hardship prevented him from traveling from his home in Phoenix, Arizona.

Acting as his own attorney, he made a motion to delay the trial for 60 days.

Circuit Judge Thomas Solka denied it and held the trial as scheduled.

Rinne even offered to pay all of his fines, plus something extra to help cover the city’s legal costs, if they would agree to the continuance.

Rinne told the court he offered $2,000 extra, which he would have been willing to pay after the extra time from the continuance was up.

Michigan law prevents people from appearing for a trial by telephone.

So Judge Solka entered a default verdict in the city’s favor.

He ordered Rinne to pay the $6,038 in city fines he’s racked up.

City Attorney Ron Keefe says while he’s pleased to hear Judge Solka rule in the city’s favor, he’d be more pleased if Rinne has the necessary work done to bring the orphanage up to code, because that’s what the city was after.

Rinne has to cut grass and weeds, and replace or board up all the windows and doors, within 30 days.

He needs to fix or replace exterior walls and handrails in 90 days.

Rinne also has to fix or replace the roof, which has a hole in it, within 18 months.