In January, The Lens reported on taxpayer money collected by DKM Acquisitions and Properties for economic development.

At the time, nothing visible had been done to renovate the gutted and unkempt Lake Terrace Shopping Center at Robert E. Lee Boulevard and Paris Avenue. City officials said that the $162,500 given to the company had been used for “soft costs,” saying that work was being held up by their counterparts in the permit department.

Now, more city bureaucrats are in on the act – those in the code enforcement division.

The owner, Kenneth Charity declined to speak to The Lens or Fox 8 for the January story. But this week’s publication of code enforcement hearings in The Times-Picayune shows that Charity will be given the chance to speak  to a hearing officer on March 16. The publication isn’t specific about what code problems were cited.

Charity won an grant of $250,000 from the city’s now-suspended Economic Development Fund for 2007. He can request the balance of his award if he shows progress.

The most recent report issued by the city on Feb. 11  lists the challenges facing the retail center as “negotiating permit requirements with the department of Safety and Permit.”

If the site remains as it was in January, he may have more negotiating to do to avoid costly court fees and fines from code enforcement.

Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led...