Land Use

Long-shuttered Lake Terrace Shopping Center avoids seizure by the city, for now

A judge has temporarily stopped the city from seizing and selling the Lake Terrace Shopping Center, a strip mall on Robert E. Boulevard that has sat empty since Hurricane Katrina.

Judge Carolyn Gill-Jefferson, filling in for Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Clare Jupiter earlier this month, signed a temporary restraining order stopping the city from seizing the property, at the request of the owner, DMK Acquisitions.

As The Lens reported in its first published investigation in 2010, DMK, headed by Kenneth Charity, received public money to restore the shopping center in 2009 and 2010 with little progress to show for it. Total city money invested in the stalled project came to $225,000, The Lens later reported.

In March, the city of New Orleans was ready to take final action on the troubled site. During a presentation on the city’s blight-eradication efforts that month, Councilman Jason Williams asked about the property, saying it “has caused a huge problem” for the community.

The city obtained an administrative judgment last year declaring that Lake Terrace was a nuisance property and calling for about $6,000 in fines, which Assistant City Attorney Tammie Jackson said were unpaid. The city was preparing to put the property into lien foreclosure, the first step toward putting it up for a public auction.

“It’s already been reviewed, and it’s ready to go,” Jackson said at the meeting. She said the owners of the property, Kenneth Charity’s DMK Acquisitions, had filed for and received a suspension of the judgment pending an appeal hearing. But, she added, the appeal was not served within the 90 days required by law.

On May 20, Charity and attorney Eric Person argued that the city should be legally restrained from going through with the foreclosure. Their petition says Person paid for service of the suspensive appeal motion on October 31, 2014. The appeal was granted on Nov. 3. It goes on to say that the city had “actual knowledge” of the suspensive appeal because city officials were contacted by The Lens following Jackson’s comments. The Lens contacted city officials on March 18, 19 and 20, more than 90 days after the suspensive appeal was granted.

Gill-Jefferson granted the temporary restraining order on May 20. She set a hearing in on a temporary injunction for June 11 in Jupiter’s courtroom.

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About Charles Maldonado

Charles Maldonado covers the city of New Orleans and other local government bodies. He previously worked for Gambit, New Orleans’ alternative newsweekly, where he covered city hall, criminal justice and public health. Before moving to New Orleans, he covered state and local government for weekly papers in Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn.

  • Tim

    This is ridiculous. The landowner has been lying for years about his intent to redevelop this property. At what point does this guy get criminal charges for stealing public money?



  • nickelndime

    2009, 2010 – That’s about right – city progress (or NOT!) is measured in decades (it’s like dog “years” for people) – just like the public education here. The only thing that finally stops it is that government runs out of public taxpayer money – and that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon – Right!? 05/28/2015 11:25 PM DST USA

  • Jimmy Anselmo

    This property is 1 1/2 blocks from my residence. My wife grew up in this neighborhood when her Mom and Dad built here in 1960. The property in question was the center of activity until Katrina with various businesses such as a Veterinarian, Drugstore, Time Saver, burger place, drycleaners, etc. When is the city going to do something about this???

  • DanishPastry

    “Kenneth Charity” — have we been hornswoggled again? The city hands out $225K to another flim flam man who tells us by his moniker where the money’s going!

  • nickelndime

    Hold up! Hold up! The last time somebody called a “mover and shaker” a “flim flam man,” he got busted by Kenny Polite on the steps of a federale’ building. I got to laugh to keep from cryin’. For the record, it was Ira Thomas, formerly of the OPSB, who called Dana Peterson, the RSD Deputy Superintendent – husband of Louisiana Senator, Karen “Ken Carter” Carter Peterson, who called Peterson a “flim-flam man,” and he was correct. However, the state of Louisiana does not recognize nespotic conflicts of interest. Hell, for that matter, neither does the USDOE and the federal government. Charity – Carter – Peterson …who gives a damn? It’s public money and it is there “for their taking.” 05/29/2015 11:41 PM DST USA