Published on September 23rd, 2015 |1
Buckhead R.E. investor found guilty of code violations, faces jail time
Warren has let his properties go to seed instead of properly maintaining them and is considered a habitual offender and could be jailed for up to six months on each of the two convictions he received on Tuesday.
Warren was acquitted on three other counts, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says. He will receive his sentence on Oct. 20.
Speculators like Warren have been buying up inexpensive property near the new Atlanta Falcons stadium and the Atlanta BeltLine, hoping to turn them into profits once land values increase due to the new projects. Mayor Kasim Reed has spoken out against this practice, going so far as to label Warren a “predator” in May.
Warren has stood trial on three citations issued during a November 2014 code enforcement sweep on his properties, but Judge Crystal Gaines withheld verdicts on all of the cases until Tuesday, when the businessman was scheduled to stand trial on charges related to a fourth house.
Instead, Gaines announced guilty verdicts in two of the trials, and found Warren not guilty on three counts relating to the third. Charges for the scheduled fourth trial were dropped because prosecutors think Warren no longer owned that house when he was cited.
As a repeat offender, Warren faces a mandatory sentence of at least 30 days in jail on both guilty verdicts. Sentencing is set for Oct. 20, and Warren is out on $2,000 bond pending appeal.
Warren and his attorney George Lawson declined comment after the verdicts were read. Warren faces trial again for another property on Oct. 20, the same day he’s to be sentenced on Tuesday’s verdicts.
Warren was found guilty even though the houses were owned by limited liability corporations that were not listed under his name. Lawson argued that his client was not responsible for their conditions because he was not their owner or operator. But witnesses testified that Warren was in charge of day-to-day operations at those businesses, and records showed he had an ownership interest.