Burlington, a Parking Lot, Boves Housing Violations, 2001 Deja Vu

Oct
19

This boycott started a year ago when I wrote a letter to the editor about why the City of Burlington shouldn’t sell a parking lot to the Boves. While Mayor Weinberger and the majority of City Councilors weren’t bothered enough by the Boves’ history of slumlording, or found the promise of more hotel rooms for out-of-state tourists enticing, I found their lack of historical perspective concerning, especially since many of the councilors were born and raised, or have spent decades, in the Burlington area.

The current deal allows the Boves a reward even after decades of Slumlording. Buy city property for a cheap deal (after the city gave them adjacent land 17 years ago), and in return the Bove Brothers promised to keep their Burlington apartment up to code for 5 years. When I met with the Mayor in the spring and asked him what will happen once those 5 years and up and he had no response. It is clear, from history and their properties outside Burlington, that they will go back to being Slumlords.

After looking through old microfilms at the UVM Library, I came across an article from 2001 about the Boves’ construction on Pearl Street, Victoria Place, and how their terrible landlord behavior has been going on for atleast 2 generations and for nearly 20 years. “Landlord gets money from the city, state, despite 32 violations during 3-year period”. 

As the saying goes, it’s deja vu all over again, and this article also proves once again that Mark and Rick Bove own and operate property, and the pasta sauce company, together.

Some quotes from the article:

“Martin said he had complained six months earlier to his landlord, former City Councilor Richard Bove Sr, that water damage had weakened the plasterboard ceiling – Bove says he put off maintenance because Martin and others hadn’t paid rent in months.”

“The city contributed public land, formerly a parking lot, and tweaked zoning laws to accommodate the Bove project.”

“Bove’s six-unit brick apartment house on George Street where Martin lived has been cited for 32 violations of the city’s minimum housing code in three years…”

“Even as city and state agencies were providing more than $3 million in financial help, donating land, and changing zoning laws to help the Boves, city inspectors repeatedly were finding violations…”

“Asked why the city would help the Boves build new housing when Bove Sr.’s record at George Street was poor, city officials said the Boves agreed to major renovations at the George Street property…”

“He made a commitment to fix these properties, said Michael Monte, director of Burlington CEDO.

“Richard Bove Jr., who manages his father’s properties, said repairs were put off at George Street because several tenants owed back rent…he evicted Martin for that reason…George Senior made no mention of unpaid rents when he evicted Martin in September…he listed “no cause”…Martin said he was evicted because he complained…Martin said he has been unable to find a vacant, affordable apartment, and would be forced to live either in a shelter, or a nightly motel with his two young daughters, one of whom suffers from cystic fibrosis.

“A city inspector who spoke to Bove Sr. in 1998 concluded in a report that the family was delaying maintenance for another reason: They planned to tear down the building on George Street.

“In 1998 at the same address, inspectors found a stove that didn’t work, hols in the walls, broken windows, rotting wood and other problems. The property was cited for 23 violations after that visit.”

“Bove Sr. and his wife own the land for the project. Sons Richard and Mark are developing the property and will be responsible for maintenance when tenants move.

Are the Bove Brothers hiding behind faceless corporation ‘Sterling Corp Tax Credit Fund’?

Oct
17

Yesterday on the Facebook page someone asked about a Bove property. When I looked into it to make sure I had remembered the information correctly, I noticed something I had missed in the past. 5 Bove properties had Principals not named Rick and Mark Bove, but rather Sterling Corp Tax Credit Fund ______. The interesting part is that the name of the registered agent changed from their old business partner to their lawyer, Carl Lisman.

 

 

Yet if you look at other online sources and documents, the owners are still Rick and Mark Bove, Bove Brothers Realty.

 

Stony Creek

The Boves have been hiding a lot for over a decade – why stop now?

But isn’t Mark Bove the Good One?: In 3 Stories

Oct
07

STORY 1

On Friday I went to the Boves’ Friday Flashback dinner. I came by myself, with a sign, standing on the side of the road. At the previous protest, Milton police officers said myself and 4 others could stand a bit on the grass so that we will be out of drivers’ way. Needless to say, Friday was different, as on Tuesday Mark Bove had gone to the police station to request an indefinite ‘No Trespass’ order against me. I can’t state this clearer – I have never been on the property, nor inside their manufacturing building, nor do I want to. Yet this was his response to me holding a sign on the side of the road – easy enough to be viewed as a crazy individual by most people in attendance.

 

Now, I know that this by itself isn’t enough evidence to support my argument. I have two more stories to share.

STORY 2

I created this website the afternoon of August 14th. Less than 5 hours later Mark Bove called my phone, where he kindly asked me from using social media and taking down his logo or else his lawyer would call me, with the assumption that lawsuits will come after. Unfortunately, using lawyers in a heavy-handed manner is a typical strategy of both Bove Brothers. Here’s what he said.

 

 

I was working that night until 930, and thought I’d call in the morning when I woke up to see what exactly his concerns were. Here was what Mark Bove’s lawyer had to say, greeting me before 830am.

 

 

It’s been 6 weeks and I haven’t heard back since about how my First Amendment rights are somehow logo infringement on the Bove brand. Still not sure if the issue is trademark or copyright. Still not sure about the libel claim. Still waiting for proof that the Bove Brothers aren’t in business together at both their pasta sauce company AND their landlording. Maybe it’s purely a coincidence it’s called Bove Brothers Realty and Bove Brothers Property Management and that Mark Bove is a principal on both these companies and that Rick Bove is a principal in the pasta sauce company.

 

Maybe it’s a coincidence that from the beginning Bove’s of Vermont has also been owned by both Mark and Rick. Maybe Mark is a good guy, and even if Rick owns all the slums, he still thought it was a decent thing to go into business with a slumlord, still thought it was decent to share the family name of a business with his slumlord brother. Maybe. Or maybe Mark hides behind Rick and let’s Rick be the ‘bad guy’ so Mark can look like the family-friendly ‘good guy’.

STORY 3

I was going to share this as a separate post, and may do so, but wanted to include it now. Mark Bove got into a property line fight with his neighbor, Patrick. Mark said he owned a decent chunk of his land and parking spaces, and Patrick pointed out that wasn’t the case. Mark asked to buy around 100 square feet of land, even though he already owned 350,000 square feet. In spite, Mark built an incredibly ugly fence to separate the two landowners.

Here’s Patrick in his own words:

Join us for a Bove Boycott Protest Friday October 5th

Oct
03

We would love to see you at the Boves’ manufacturing facility, where they will be hosting their first ‘Flashback Friday’. Here we can let folks know that their pasta sauce empire was built on the backs of hard working low-income families. Questions? Shoot us an email BotcottBoves [@] gmail [dot] com.

Rep Don Turner’s Response to Boves and Low Income Renters

Sep
28

 

After a month of silence, Don Turner’s campaign for LT Governor finally responded to our questions. As a State Rep and Town Manager of Milton, it’s important to ask what relationship Mr Turner has with the Boves, predatory landlords and business owners. I have included the entire disappointing and short conversation below. In short: “Boves is a significant business in the Milton community, and Don is humbled to have the support of their leadership and employees.”

We hope the free food for his kickoff event didn’t play a part in his response, ignoring the dozen+ folks who have come forward to share their stories.

 

Why Did the Boves Illegaly Evict This Woman? (Video)

Sep
25

Mark and Rick Bove, aka Bove Brothers Realty and Bove’s of Vermont Sauces have a history of preying on low-income families.

One brave former tenant, Heather Rayta, tells her story about how the Bove Brothers took all of her belongings and priceless family photos, leaving her illegally homeless. Find more stories and how you can get involved at BoycottBoves.com.

Boves’ Buildings Finally Get Fixed

Sep
19

The Bove family is worth over $40,000,000. So why did it take so long for them to fix one of their buildings, where several of their restaurant employees lived? As one victim stated:

 

“So they would make him stay [At Boves Restaurant] and work past a certain time and wouldn’t pay him past a certain time and he worked minimum wage for the whole time….Yeah George at [st] was awful mold and wood floors water damage caving ceiling my grandmas neighbor had animals in her kitchen and her porch was unstable it is crazy my papa worlds [worked for] for them to [too] and they ripped him off sad.” – Relative of former Boves Restaurant Worker, contacted through Facebook.

 

How did Rick and Mark Bove reward their loyal employee, according to officials?

 

“The Burlington Housing Review Board on April 18 ordered Bove to fix violations including broken windows, leaky plumbing, a cracked toilet seat, failed caulking, defective cooking equipment, and cracked walls and holes in the ceiling.”

 

It’s hard to believe Rick Bove’s argument, that he was waiting to renovate and was ‘loathe to put money into the property when it is going to be completely renovated’ feels like what a stretch, especially when one considers that Rick Bove lives in a $1.6 million mansion in Colchester and Mark Bove lives in a $1.4 million mansion also in Colchester. In a housing Board of Review appeal, the board recognized that Rick and Mark Bove had said they plan on “renovating/and or redeveloping the property for years with nothing changing.”

You can find the Housing Board of Review decision here.

Finally, the building is being fixed, all of which could have been done years ago if the Boves were fair and reasonable landlords. The former tenants, however, get no justice, many of whom have been moved to Bove properties outside Burlington, where enforcement and oversight is terribly lax and even more ineffectual than in the city.

As of now, one city councilor has shown interest in working with us to support tenants and hold predatory landlords accountable.

Before

As of 9/19/2018

Update: Why was Burlington Code Enforcement Director Offering Unsolicited Help on Bove’s Facebook Page?

Sep
16

Update: it has been made clear we have not been as specific as possible regarding our concerns. Post updated to reflect this.

Relationships in small town can be tough, especially when the person whose job is to enforce the laws is overly friendly with a person whose business has repeatedly broken said laws. Is this sort of personal Facebook outreach given to low-income tenants who have been preyed upon by the Boves? Or are the Boves’ Facebook friends and have a connection that most of us do not have? And how can we trust that in Burlington that there won’t be conflicts of interest* between the political powerful and wealthy landlords?

Our concern is with not just a potential conflict of interest, which does not require any malice or ill intent, but also with the appearance of a conflict. Our concerns are that Mark Bove is an owner in Bove Brothers Realty, and that there could be unconscious bias towards one’s Facebook friend or their brother.

By offering unsolicited help through a personal Facebook page, this interaction leads to an appearance of conflict of interest, where some folks have access to local leaders in a way that others do not. This is why we bring up our concerns, for an appearance of a conflict can be just as damaging as an actual conflict.

*“A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.”

Boves Pasta Sauce Reddit Convo

Sep
14

We brought a couple conversations to Reddit’s Vermont and Burlington pages. Please give it a read and let us know what you think!

Vermont Conversation Here.

Burlington Conversation Here.

 

 

Boves by the Numbers

Sep
09

A friend of the campaign created this beautiful and informative flier showcasing some of the stories and concerns we have.