Sherman Street , Part 3
Mohammed Kabir's claim that he's giving up fixing his Sherman Street property because he's been treated shabbily by Buffalo city building inspectors and City Court isn't sitting well with Common Council members.
"He's basically blaming the city. He should be ashamed off himself," Council President Darius Pridgen said of the Brooklyn investor. "If you can't do it, don't buy it, and don't try to blame the city," Pridgen said.
"The whole tone, it's willful defiance," Fillmore Councilman Dave Franczyk said of an email Kabir sent the Council. "Saying it's the city's fault. It's contemptuous."
Kabir bought the former church building at 413 Sherman St. for $1,000 in 2012, when he promised to turn it into a community center. Instead, the building has continued to decay, and Pridgen says it's now being used by drug dealers and prostitutes, and could end up a candidate for demolition. At Pridgen's request, the Council recently asked Kabir to attend a Council session to talk about his plans for the building, but Kabir never showed up. He subsequently emailed the Council complaining about the way he's been treated by city inspectors, who, he said, ordered removed some of the facade work his employees put up, and who have cited his property for code violations. He was then fined in City Court, he said.
Pridgen Tuesday asked the city Law Department to research whether the Council can use its subpoena powers to comply Kabir to attend a Council session.
Turns out covering City Hall is a way to meet current and former football players. Tuesday, I met Demeris Johnson, a former wide receiver with the Buffalo Bills (as well as the Miami Dolphins). Since his football career ended, Johnson stayed in the Buffalo area, becoming a businessman and also pastor at the Worship Center in Buffalo. The Council always invites a religious leader to say a prayer blessing before its meetings, and Pastor Johnson was invited to do this week's, which is how I met him.
At Tuesday's Council meeting, lawmakers recognized February as Black History month by asking Monique Pridgen, the Council President's wife, to sing the Black National Anthem.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on 'til victory is won.