Owner Of Sheraden Home Mistakenly Torn Down Speaks Out

By Harold Hayes

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The City of Pittsburgh will no longer offer housing demolition contracts to a company that apparently tore down the wrong house by mistake.

“It’s just a crushed dream,” says Andre Hall of East Liberty. “I always wanted a piece of Pittsburgh. I finally got it. Now it’s gone.”

His dream was a house in the 3200-block of Motor Street in Sheraden. It was in foreclosure and scheduled for demolition until Hall agreed to fix it up within a few months. His dream was crushed with a backhoe.

He returned to town after the holidays and found little trace of the house he hoped to move in with his girlfriend and their children. They live in an apartment now.

He has copies of a letter sent from the city’s Bureau of Building Inspection to contractor P. J. Deller of Gibsonia in November with the words “do not demolish.” The building next door was set for demolition.

“I know they seen the new windows up – I put new windows in, new doors, new doorknobs everything,” Hall said.

“My tools [were] in there. When I pulled up they were already still tearing it down and I asked them, ‘What about the tools that were still in my house?’

“And they said, ‘Oh we didn’t see any tools,’ yet and still you got all my lumber on the back of your truck. Come on, that’s crazy,” said Hall.

The city blames the contractor and announced a new policy for now.

“We’re going to continue to review the matter but we’re issuing no more contracts to that contractor,” said Pittsburgh Public safety Director Michael Huss.

City Council member Theresa Kail-Smith, who represents that district, says the program that Hall participated in had merit, but that she was concerned about the mix up.

“It’s not the city’s responsibility,” said Smith. “It’s not their fault. They’ve taken every step that they should have to make sure that home was not demo’d so I don’t think the city bears responsibility but I think we need to talk to the contractor.”

Hall appreciates the gesture but is left with these emotions: “That don’t help me,” he said. “Now I got a lot.”

There’s no comment so far from the contractor.

  • Ann

    I still believe that the city is responsible because they are ultimately who contracted that particular contractor. I believe the city has all the right to go after the contractor for their expense of paying the land owner.
    The land owner needs compensation now, not a year later when the lawsuit is being heard in court with the contractor. Come on Pittsburgh, do the right thing here.

  • Stacey

    I believe as well that the city should show some responsibility at least to help make this contractor either rebuild this owner a new home on that property free of charge or that the city should give whatever money they contracted to the contractor to owner (or something to that nature). This owner should not have to suffer for someone’s stupid mistake.

  • Law Suit

    Watch the city & the contractor both try to worm their way out of this…….The owner needs a good lawyer

  • tony

    What is the mayor going to do about this?

    • Mayor Stupidstal

      I am going to pay my friends several hundred thousand dollars to do a investigations the blame someone else and make out with chicks in a hot tub in seven springs.

      • Ann

        actually that is exactly what the mayor does, good call stupidstal

    • JAUN


  • will g

    there isn’t one piece of wood laying around. those contractors were very efficent

  • Justin

    Shut up Ann. The city does what they are supposed to do in rebuilding communities. If the type of people that live there, whether they be white, black, asian, etc., cant afford it, that is there own fault. I feel bad for this guy and he will get what he deserves in the end. However, I do not feel bad for the people of Pittsburgh who CAN get jobs but choose otherwise because they are collecting unemployment. The jobs are out there, its the lazy communities that deserve to live in poverty struck areas.

  • Dan

    We all should leave here as fast as possible. well put!

  • pittgirl

    You people are crazy..

  • Copswife

    Seriously people. This was never about racism. This guy was fixing up a house in an already bad community for his kids to live in!!!!! Maybe if more people like him put pride into his family and their home, we wouldn’t have these issues. The city needs to step up and help this guy!!

    • Doug Shields

      cut this guy a break and beat up on the guys killing people and stealing money or not paying taxes…RICKEY BURGESS

  • MB

    As usual, there are nothing but inconsiderate comments about people who have suffered due to a lack of organization and/or common sense on the part of the city and contractor. Why would anyone in the neighborhood know the house was sold and being fixed up before he moved in? Why would you assume the kids are from two different fathers? Why would you identify yourself as white or black in a simple story about a human being losing his house? Why is there a link for “white power” on this blog? Why is someone ridiculing someone else for asking if the mayor could get involved? Why does someone write that the bank shouldn’t have given a loan to a black guy?

    This blog is a microcosm of the problems in this city and country. If this were a house in Mt. Lebo or Hampton or wherever, people would be calling for the heads of the contractors and and taking up a collection. Sad.

  • Gary17

    U are an ignorant piece of trash who does not need to post things like this. This guy was trying to build a better place for his family and his dream was “demolished”. I doubt you are even literate and can read the story. You just saw a black guy and thought you could spread your racist views around with your BS propoganda. I hope karma takes care of your pathetic white trash soul.

  • Mr Soho

    The house had $ 15,000 in unpaid taxes owed prior to demolition.

  • Dian

    OK, how about this for a solution. The city should give this man another house. It’s not as if there is a shortage of abandoned houses around here. Next, they should reimburse him for the tools and materials he lost plus some money for his effort. After all, this man is to be commended for wanting to do the right thing and make his corner of the world a better place. Then, let the city and the contractor duke it out in court over the money. Mr. Hall did nothing wrong, so why should he have to suffer and wait because of someone else’s mistake?

  • http://marylourose.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/up_down/ Raises & Razes (or for the Scrabble-challenged: Ups & Downs) « Vivant Pour l'Expérience

    […] holidays. Tell me why he came home from vacation to an empty lot. Something happened between the city and the banks and the contractors that ended in his house being completely razed, demolished, torn down. Imagine not only working hard […]

  • Miss.K

    my thoughts and prayes go out to this man and his family…. God Bless..

  • June

    Dian is absolutely correct: 1) The City should give Mr. Hall another house that is as good as or preferably better than the one he had. 2) The City should reimburse Mr. Hall for the value of his losses (tools, lumber, windows, doors, labor). 3) The City should take responsibility relative to Mr. Hall while at the same time pursuing its claims against the Contractor. Mr. Hall acted as a model good citizen and should be rewarded, not destroyed by the arrogance of contractors and bureaucrats.

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