LAWRENCEVILLE (KDKA) — A few months back, KDKA told you about Jimmy Coen — known as “Jimmy Yinzer,” the owner of Yinzer’s in the Strip District.
A group took him to court and tried to take control of a building he owns in Lawrenceville.
Now, a judge has dismissed the case, giving Coen his building back.
“You know what, I think it’s a win for, not just for me, but people that, people may be looking at their property,” Coen said.
The group, called the Allegheny County Development Corporation, used a little-known law that allows nonprofits to take control of blighted or abandoned properties, but common pleas judge Don Walko has now dismissed the claim.
“This case was dismissed, as it should have been, and as soon as it was dismissed and put back in the hands of Mr. Coen, he got back to business,” Coen’s attorney, Joe Mistick, said.
The so-called conservatorship law allows nonprofits to take control of buildings that have fallen into disrepair, but Coen produced evidence that he had done thousands of dollars of work on the building’s interior.
Mistick further argued that the plaintiffs and their attorney, Rob Xides, had been exploiting the law for personal gain.
As evidence, Mistick produced a flier from a speech Xides made two years ago in front of a group of real estate investors entitled, “How To Get Free Houses Legally By Exploiting A Loophole In The PA Conservatorship Law.”
“It’s a little shocking to hear someone suggest that they found loopholes in a law that would permit them to take some other individual’s property without paying anything for it,” Mistick said.
Xides said in a statement that he had been defamed by the allegation that he and his partners “must have been involved in a ‘long-term scheme, dating back to 2016, to get free houses for themselves.’ Nothing could be more illogical or farther from the truth.”
Mistick says the case against Coen was a misapplication of the law, which although well-intended, may have unintended consequences of taking someone’s property without good reason.