COLUMBIA - A Columbia man's attorney told KOMU 8 News Tuesday his client plans to remodel part of his burned strip mall following his guilty plea for failing to demolish and clean up the property.
Mark Stevenson entered a guilty plea for his business in Boone County Court Monday to seven city property violations at the property, which is located at 106 Business Loop 70 West and was burned in a fire in April 2012.
In September 2012, KOMU 8 News reported investigators estimated the fire caused nearly $7 million in damages and lost property. Court documents showed the Community Development Department issued a letter stating Stevenson's property was a public nuisance. The letter also noted that Stevenson had 45 days to complete demolition and clean-up of the property.
Stevenson told KOMU 8 News at the time that complications between himself, the City of Columbia and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources caused a delay in clean-up.
Stevenson wanted to clean the property for resale but had to wait for approval from the DNR to do so. Stevenson did not approval from the DNR after the deadline to complete demolition from the city.
While Stevenson has maintained his innocence, Stevenson's attorney, Mike Schneider, said Tuesday Stevenson pleaded guilty because of a threat of new charges.
Stevenson was fined $500 on four of his seven counts. He also received three suspended sentences, which means he will not be subject to punishment unless he continues to violate city code.