Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Briarwood 1 Owner Fights to Stay Out of Jail

Briarwood 1 owner Mike Kohan filed an emergency petition for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against in Hinds County Chancery Court on February 15 after Jackson Municipal Court Judge Jeff Reynolds ordered his arrest on February 14.  Coincidentally, a cleanup crew recently started work at the building. 

Kohan owns the building through his company, Briarwood Holding Realty, LLC.  The building was neglected for years and fell into a serious state of disrepair.  Jackson Code Enforcement officers found numerous violations and cited Kohan. 

Jackson Municipal Court Judge Jeffrey Reynolds held a trial in absentia on January 10 as Kohan failed to appear in court.

The Court found the building suffered from severe sanitation problems, drainage problems, pervasive mold, water "everywhere", and electrical wiring exposed to water. A multitude of residency-challenged individuals inhabited the building, committing more destruction of the property as broken windows and graffiti mushroomed throughout the premises.

Judge Reynolds ruled the building was "dangerous" to the citizens of Jackson and ordered it demolished if it was not brought up to the code to the reasonable satisfaction of the Court. The Court suspended a six-month jail sentence for Mr. New York pending demolition of the building. Judge Reynolds set his appeal bond at $1 million.

Kohan's lawyer, John Martin filed an emergency motion to vacate the January 10 ruling and rescind the arrest warrant.  Judge Reynolds held another hearing on February 14.  JJ reported that day: 

(John Martin) argued neither he nor his client received a copy of the citation or notice of any hearings.  The Court did not have jurisdiction over the non-traveling Kohan since he was never properly served.  

Judge Reynolds said the city prosecutor stated under oath at the trial that she sent Kohan a copy of the notice and citation through certified mail as tell as notifying him over the phone.  She said she emailed copies as well at Kohan's direction.  

Martin argued that even if such correspondence occurred, his client was still not properly served under the rules. He claimed the summons must be personally served upon his client as actual notice does not cure defective process.  He also said Kohan is not the owner of the building but instead claimed Briarwood Holding Realty, LLC owns the building and the company was not given notice of the citation.  

City Prosecutor Jeffrey Graves said notice can be sent through certified mail, as it was in this case.  Judge Reynolds said Environmental Court does not serve any defendants through personal service.  All citations are delivered via the United States Postal Service.  "I don't believe we issue a citation here and Jackson, Mississippi and serve it personally in New York," opined the jurist.  Section 3.2 (d) of the Mississippi Rules of Criminal Procedure states: 

The summons may be served by personally delivering a copy of the summons to the defendant by any officer authorized by law to execute arrest warrants or by delivering a copy of the summons by U.S. mail, addressed to the defendant at the defendant's usual residence, business or post office address. 

Kohan appealed to Hinds County Court but did not pay the bond.  His attorney asked the Court to reduce the bond but Judge Reynolds refused to do so as he was determined to keep the ball in his court.  

Beaten but undeterred, Kohan filed his emergency petition the next day in Hinds County Chancery Court.  He asked the Chancellor to stop the city from enforcing the judgement as he argued the demolition would be a "classic taking without the due process of law."  

The petitioner said a citation was never served upon him nor the proper owner, Briarwood Realty Holding, LLC.  

Kohan claims the city never produced "the alleged proof of mailing of the citation to Kohan."  Prosecutor Jeffrey Graves said the citation and summons were sent to Kohan through certified mail but the certified mail receipt was not produced at the February 14 hearing. 

The petition asks the Chancellor to stop the city from enforcing the judgment and to set it aside.

Kohan submitted an affidavit several days later in Chancery Court.  The affidavit states Kohan is the managing member of Briarwood Realty.  The affidavit claims the property has an interested buyer. He claims the property is of no value to a buyer if demolished.  

The affidavit states Kohan is repairing the fence, providing security guards at night, ejected the residency challenged, and pumping water out of the flooded parking garage.  Briarwood asked the city to turn off the water but it has yet to do so.  

Several dumpsters and a port-a-john appeared this week at the site as a crew removed debris from the building.  

The case is assigned to Chancellor Tametrice Hodges.  Attorney Chris White of Baker Donelson entered an appearance yesterday for Briarwood Realty.  

Kingfish note: Can get a TRO in Chancery Court on a criminal case? 


Anonymous said...

I don't know how good the City will be at this because this action is standard BS that Kohan does to hold on to distressed properties without paying taxes or doing adequate renovations. Step 1 has started and good luck having anything done...

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is why no business owner wants to operate in Jackson.

PittPanther said...

Sounds like he didn't believe the hicks from Mississippi would actually consider having him arrested and extradited south in chains.

Do the workers have proper gear to protect themselves from mold?

Anonymous said...

If Jackson is so desperate to fill it’s jail, quit releasing all of the accused felons.

Anonymous said...

Is that (just doing business) what you believe Mr. Kohan is guilty of @1:13, or are you just complaining about Jackson for the fun of it?

I think you’re just talking out of your ass again. Go home.

Anonymous said...

Hell, I, for one, think it is more valuable if demolished.

Anonymous said...

I dont recognize that to be Mike Kohan's signature on the petition.

Anonymous said...

"Briarwood asked the city to turn off the water but it has yet to do so."

So many appropriate troll responses, so little time....

Anonymous said...

City can’t provide certified mail receipt. City can’t turn off water. Hmmm. Maybe this building owner isn’t the bad guy after all

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to bash or assign blame. Figure the city and this slum lord are both guilty of fault.

I'm just going to say how sad it makes me, that a building that I was proud to work in 20 years ago has been allowed to become the garbage heap it is today.

So many wrongs and failures.

Anonymous said...

2:15 - JXN doesn't have a jail. That's part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Innocent man buys a shitbox building in a shitbox area in a shitbox city full of shitbox scum. Shitbox goes to shit and is unrentable due to shitbox drug addicts and shitbox mental-cases. ARREST HIM, sayeth Kang Shitbox!

Anonymous said...

Will someone explain the law because the guy doesn’t own the property? How is he criminally liable for an LLC?

Anonymous said...

100% if Jackson had not allowed the area to be overrun with criminals this building would still be in operation. Every time a crime occurred here, people made plans to go elsewhere until it was a dead horse. NOW the city is on the ball about punishing the owner, meanwhile the environment in which business became unbearable is worse all the time, the City Of Jackson has no time for the criminals, just Mr Kohan. Is that because he has deep pockets or something?

Macy said...

Good luck on availing yourself of Chancery Court jurisdiction by claiming a constitutional violation in this case. I give it a Hail Mary's chance.

Anonymous said...

Is remedies are not available in chancery court

He needs to appeal and stay in proper lanes…..

His lawyer is not really a dumbass but….maybe I’m wrong

Anonymous said...

Well, just send a letter. Who cares where. The defendendant didn’t answer, was obviously disinterested. Take his property. Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

A criminal matter in Chancery court?


Anonymous said...

I'm glad they are somewhat taking some level of action, I guess?

The city usually just holds a rally in the parking lot to pray.

Or offer a mentorship to Mr. Kohan.

Its just a bit peculiar that they only seem to be interested in justice when it involves and out of state investor. There are many local slum lords that the city seems quite fond of.

I hope they practice "equitable" punishments and demand this level of action from all.

Anonymous said...

"....City Of Jackson has no time for the criminals, just Mr Kohan. Is that because he has deep pockets or something?"
February 22, 2023 at 5:31 PM

Bingo! It's called a 'SHAKEDOWN'. It's possible Mr. Kohan is known for providing inducements to key parties. Jackson's functionaries seem to have learned from those of New Orleans. I suspect that should Mr. Kohan discover how to get the correct inducements to the proper parties, his problems will disappear.

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of Jackson's City Gov't, but some of you fellas have true hate in your hearts. Over a city in which most of you don't even live. It's sad.

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