Village of Chesaning President Matthew Hoover has announced that the Village Attorney has filed a lawsuit against Greg Schankin, the Macomb County owner of a downtown building that collapsed in December. The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring Schankin to clean up the remains of the brick building and repay the Village for costs incurred for the public heath and safety emergency.
“Mr. Schankin had ample warning and time to prevent this disaster – and he failed to do so,” Hoover said. “The circumstances that endangered the public, damaged the neighboring building and our beloved Kiwanis Park, and left an eyesore in our beautiful downtown cannot be excused. It was an act of gross negligence that could have been avoided and this absentee owner should be held accountable.”
In announcing the lawsuit, village officials said they tried to have the building condemned and demolished in 2021, but Schankin challenged those efforts in court. Later, a back wall partially collapsed on December 22. They said the village notified Schankin, who failed to respond or repair the damage. The village hired a structural engineer, who declared the building a public safety hazard. The village then demolished the building to prevent further injury or damage.
Village Administrator James Wickman said, “The lawsuit, which was filed in Saginaw County Circuit Court, seeks to hold Schankin liable for his negligence, the nuisance caused, and for violating the International Property Maintenance Code. Schankin refused to correct an obviously unsafe condition, address the partial collapse, or clean up the mess. Chesaning will not stand back and allow a neglectful property owner to tarnish the safety or tranquility of our Village.”
The Village of Chesaning’s lawsuit seeks reimbursment for the cost of demolition, fencing, and a structural engineer. It also asks for Schankin to be ordered to remove and clean up debris on the property, pay for repairs to a neighboring building, plus costs and attorney fees.