when things like human trafficking pop up, is it time for rental properties to be properly inspected in east whiteland and elsewhere?

What if this rundown house was your only choice for a home?

I am not deliberately trying to pick on East Whiteland Township no matter what some may think. But unlike many other municipalities (and I have been checking), East Whiteland does not have a person or people to regularly and routinely inspect rental properties in this township. They do not even have enough fire personnel to do all the life safety checks on rentals do they? (Asking the question because I heard there were people paid to do that I thought once upon a time out of the fire department or something?)

West Goshen (for example) has a rental property ordinance online. They have someone dedicated to rental inspections. That is in addition to the guys in the zoning department who inspect when the township gets complaints on rental properties.

The Borough of West Chester also has an ordinance and I am told as well as two dedicated rental property inspectors although residents say there are so many rentals they need more.

East Whiteland has a Rental Occupancy Report from 1992. I also found a form to fill out if you have a rental property. It mentions life safety, which is great and necessary. But I do not see anything about specific ordinances pertaining to rental properties and inspections of rental properties. And it is long past time to have that. East Whiteland is growing as a township and has grown exponentially in recent years. Does this township even know out of ALL of the new construction that is complete how many are rental units? And with ALL of the development still in the works and in various stages of construction, let’s get real, they are not all going to be owner occupied, aren’t some of these places going to be rentals? And what about the hotels? Are some of those like long term rentals at times? Sometimes when people can’t find housing they live in hotels/motels don’t they? Motor home parks? Trailer parks? No matter where the rental, shouldn’t people be safe?

Why am I thinking about this again? Human trafficking. If there were regular rental inspections and code enforcements along Route 30/Lancaster Avenue/Lincoln Highway where the human trafficking locations were, would we have even had human trafficking? Maybe, maybe not. I am told that human trafficking happens everywhere. And there is plenty that has happened in Pennsylvania. According to Fox23 in Central PA, Pennsylvania is ranked 11th in the nation for human trafficking. The Philadelphia Sun wrote about human trafficking this past March. The Philadelphia Sun said:

Deception, coercion, recruitment, and abduction are just some of the tools of trade for traffickers.

Trafficking in America is a billion-dollar business in all 50 states, where women, children, and men are being exploited; their lives of no value other than the profits they earn.

Where sex trafficking can occur:

Moving around in your daily life, in the city, suburbs, rural areas

Transportation systems: Septa, Uber, and Lyft

Brothels (houses), motels, and major hotel chains

Escort services

Bars, strip clubs, high-end baller parties

Online via social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Philadelphia Sun March 13, 2020

In November 2019 a woman named Tammy McDonnell who survived being trafficked spoke at Cabrini in Radnor. Read about it here: Survivor tells how to spot ‘red flags’ of human trafficking.

The stretch of Lancaster Ave/Route 30/Lincoln Highway where these rentals exist is a no man’s land. No one sees the people who live there, not because they aren’t visible but because people don’t want to see them. Mostly immigrant, with little choice in housing. And by culture, used to living in close quarters. So one would think rental inspections along that strip and elsewhere would make sense, right? So everyone was safe?

According to Patch, “The apartments used were at street addresses 483, 577 and 609 Lancaster Ave. in East Whiteland Township…”

Someone sent me screenshots off ChescoViews and Google Earth I guess it was (I am not very good at using Chesco Views):

This stretch of Lancaster is the one that looks so desolate and run down when you drive by except for the too many cars on the D’Ambrosio property (one of the sites of human trafficking right?):

People always ask how East Whiteland can be focused on this grand future of over-development without “seeing” these properties or their residents. During COVID19 especially when we were all at home, you couldn’t help but see as soon as the weather warmed up how many people live in these rental properties alone. I have also had people tell me in confidence that there are some awfully crammed rental properties in some of the townhouse developments.

So….maybe it is time for East Whiteland to look at this differently? They need an updated local ordinance on rental properties right? And I think they need a full time inspector of rental properties and possibly more staff, like maybe a part time one.

East Whiteland needs this NOW, yesterday and into the future. They have to find the money to have proper inspectors because I doubt there enough in the Fire Marshall category, and how much work are they supposed to do anyway? Aren’t they already stretched thin?

I will remind people of Christmas night 2016. That is when one of the rental properties in this stretch of road next to the Wawa at Planebrook went up in flames. A family lost everything that lived in one of these ramshackle rental units. And I think they never came back to East Whiteland. After all, it’s not like there really is any affordable housing right?

So you know how the fire by the Wawa was December 2016? How about that building which is uninhabitable has just sat there and rotted since then? Seriously here are some photos taken over the past few years (a real slum lord special, right?):

I was a renter for years. Face it, a lot of us were, and some still are. Would you want to live in any of these properties? What if you had no other choice? And were these landlords in the human trafficking locations 100% oblivious as to what was going on?

Potential For More Trafficking Victims Out There: Chesco DA
The Chester County DA’s Office calls for watchful eyes on kids in communities.
By Marlene Lang, Patch Staff
Verified Patch Staff Badge
Jul 9, 2020 4:20 pm ET
Updated Jul 9, 2020 4:46 pm ET

NBC10 Philadelphia: ‘I Don’t Want to Be Here.’ Girl’s Message Uncovers Chester Co. Sex Trafficking Ring
Three men face charges for running a human sex trafficking organization in the Malvern, Pennsylvania, area

Inquirer: Sex-trafficking ring uncovered after 14-year-old victim tells mom: ‘I don’t want to be here anymore’
by Ellie Silverman, Posted: July 8, 2020

CRIME My Chesco
Human Sex Trafficking Ring Dismantled in Chester County
July 8, 2020 – by MyChesCo – Leave a Comment

Pennsylvania Real-Time News Penn Live (AP)
Sex trafficking arrests made after 14-year-old’s plea to mom: ‘I don’t want to be here anymore’
Updated Jul 09, 2020; Posted Jul 09, 2020

Daily Local Authorities bust human sex trafficking ring in Chester County; girl, 14, rescued
By Jen Samuel jsamuel@dailylocal.com @jenpoetess on Twitter Jul 10, 2020

KIRO 7: TRENDING
‘I don’t want to be here anymore’: Teen’s frantic Facebook message to mom busts sex-trafficking ring

WFMZ: Chester County officials bust sex trafficking ring
6
9 News Jul 8, 2020 Updated Jul 8, 2020

6ABC: Teen’s Facebook message to mom led to sex trafficking rescue in Chester County, district attorney says

CBS Baltimore: Prosecutor: Missing Maryland 14-Year-Old’s Plea Leads To Sex Trafficking Arrests

CBS Philly: Authorities: Teen’s Facebook Message To Mom Thwarts Malvern Human Trafficking Ring, 8 Men Arrested

I also want everyone to know as per my sources, the East Whiteland Police Department truly went above and beyond the call of duty with this. It wasn’t just this girl messaging family that went into this. For a smaller department by comparison to large cities and boroughs, they put lots of man and woman power into this.


East Whiteland Police Department did exhaustive investigation and follow-up and coordinating with all different kinds of other agencies and states and it really does show their dedication to our community. These men and women should be publicly recognized for their efforts. In a time when police departments are being criticized, these men and women deserve to be commended. Ok yes, this is the job they sign up for, but this is huge. Or in my humble opinion it is. And kudos to our Chester County District Attorney as well.

I have many questions regarding human trafficking an how it happened. I will be curious to learn if the families of these girls who were rescued had ever reported them missing? If they did not, why not? Immigration fears or something darker? I ask because if my kid was missing I would leave no stone un-turned.


However I think we need to work as an extended community to prevent these things from happening and I think that means they need to have a system in place in East Whiteland Township and elsewhere in which rental properties are routinely and regularly inspected. Everybody’s been talking about this strip of rental properties in particular for years it’s nothing new. And East Whiteland like many other municipalities in Chester County are experiencing crazy amounts of development and growth. Why not have developers who want to be in our communities chip into programs like this? Isn’t it kind of part of infrastructure and municipal services? I mean it’s all great that mythical theory of build it and they will come but who keeps track once the developers have gotten their money out of sites and moved on?


I am calling on people in East Whiteland and Chester County to contact East Whiteland Township and ANY OTHER TOWNSHIP that does not have proper rental property ordinances and inspectors to catch up with the times. A lot of municipalities like East Whiteland are experiencing growth that is off the charts. Renters deserve safe places to live. Low income residents deserve truly affordable housing and safe housing.

Be safe out there. Thanks for stopping by.


fascinating

This has nothing to do with Chester County or anything to do around here and I am posting just because I find it fascinating:  the continuing saga of Huguette Clarke, the reclusive heiress who died in NYC at 104 in 2011:

Reclusive Heiress Leaves Behind 5 Homes Worth $180 Million

By Eamon Murphy

| Posted Mar 9th 2012 4:20PM

When Huguette Clark died in spring 2011, she left behind a massive fortune, two conflicting wills, the mysterious aura of recluse, and some of New York City’s choicest real estate. Now the fates of three apartments owned by the famed philanthropist, who was last photographed more than 80 years ago, are set to be settled: The residences are on sale for $55 million.
As perhaps befits the homes of a noted recluse, the apartments are said to be frozen in time, stuck somewhere around the Gilded Age and therefore in need of “significant work,” according to the Daily Mail. Located at 907 Fifth Avenue, they include a total of 42 rooms and take up 17,000 square feet. Two of them together comprise the building’s eighth floor, while the third occupies half of the 12th and top floors. Also among Clark’s assets are a $100 million estate on the Pacific Coast in Santa Barbara, Calif., and a $24 million country house in New Canaan, Conn.

NEW YORK — More than $3 million dollars on dolls. Nearly $2 million to her attorney’s favorite charity. Another $380,000 in checks written to the staff on a single day, just as the press started to ask questions. And a magic bottomless checking account with $43 million to spend.

These details emerge from court documents filed in the early stages of a legal battle over the $400 million copper-mining fortune of the late reclusive heiress Huguette Clark. The documents give us new glimpses into the life of one of America’s richest families. And they raise new questions about the actions of her attorney and accountant, who remain under criminal investigation even after her death in May at 104.

Attorneys are readying for a battle in the probate court known as Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan.

Huguette Clark scandal sparks interest in copper king father’s lavish past    

Magnate William A. Clark built 34-room mansion in Montana mining town in 1880s

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS 

    updated     2/22/2012 11:18:10 AM ET2012-02-22T16:18:10

A scandal over the fortune of reclusive mining heiress Huguette Clark has renewed interest in the life of her father, copper magnate William A. Clark, once one of the nation’s richest men.

The scandal has also brought more attention to the 34-room mansion that W.A. Clark built in Butte more than a century ago.

That home is now a bed-and-breakfast known as the Copper King Mansion and offers visitors a glimpse into the pampered lives of the robber barons who ruled American business at the turn of the previous century…..

William Andrews Clark was born in 1839 in Pennsylvania and moved to Montana in 1863.

Full coverage: Huguette Clark mystery

He eventually struck it rich in the mining camps and moved to the boom town of Butte in 1872. He branched out into numerous businesses, including banking, copper smelting, newspapers and railroading. He entered politics, serving as president of the Montana constitutional conventions in 1884 and 1889. He was elected by the state Legislature to the U.S. Senate in 1901, serving a single term.

In fact, his purchase of a Senate seat through the bribing of legislators led eventually to the constitutional amendment calling for the direct election of senators.

Clark also created the city of Las Vegas in 1905 as a way station for his Los Angeles to Salt Lake City railroad. Surrounding Clark County was named for him…

Clark left the Senate in 1907 and moved to a Fifth Avenue mansion in New York City, where he devoted himself to his business interests and to acquiring art. He died in 1925 at the age of 86, leaving his children a fortune of more than $200 million.

 

His last surviving child was Huguette Clark, who was born in Paris. She was married briefly in her 20s to a bank clerk. They parted after only nine months.

 

After her mother’s death, Clark’s busy life in New York society slowed and she rarely ventured from her home. She voluntarily moved into a hospital in the 1980s. She died in May at the age of 104, leaving a $400 million estate but no children.

 

Family of heiress Clark claims fraud by nurse, others

A New York judge has suspended the attorney and accountant who administered her estate, after finding evidence they engaged in tax fraud that resulted in $90 million in unpaid federal gift taxes and penalties.