About 72 Carter Street
What is the condition of the property?
As you can see from the pictures on this site, Mario’s house was and is extremely substandard. For the most part, it has not been upgraded since 1945. The upstairs remains the same as it was back then. The pictures on this website are photos from AFTER the housing rehab which allowed for the renovation of the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. Some photos are from the bedrooms in the house which remain substandard. The toilet was literally falling through the floor when the CDBG staff went to look at the house.
The house has no driveway and is on a tiny lot. At only 978 square feet, it is a very small home.
In fact, in the past few years even with the improvements, the house has decreased in value from $165,000 to $130,000. Over this past winter, the radiators burst and water continued to seep in, causing additional damage.
Currently the house is in tax title, scheduled for tax taking in the upcoming months. When the nieces came to me and asked me to help, this end result was just what they—and the neighbors–were concerned about. That no one would take ownership of the property and that it would become a neighborhood eyesore and danger.
What is the history of the ownership of 72 Carter Street?
72 Carter Street was originally owned by Thomas and Angeline Cavaioli, Mario’s parents. Thomas died in 1960 and Angeline in 1966, both without a will. Thomas and Angeline had five children, Michael, Mario, Edward, Antonio and Katie Cavaioli. All have now passed away without a will. There are three nieces remaining who were the children of Katie Cavaioli’s. For the home to be transferred, as many as seven estates would need to be probated—a very expensive process. According to the City’s Housing Rehab Specialist, no loan has ever been repaid while a property is in probate.
At the niece’s request, I currently have approximately 1/7 interest in the property. Pending an expensive process of probating at least seven estates (there could be more relatives we are not aware of), spending an estimated $50,000-$75,000 on renovations, and paying back the $25,119 for the CDBG loan, I would most likely lose money on the property.
Why take an interest in 72 Carter?
For 45 years, two of Mario’s nieces and I looked after the family, then the two brothers, and then just Mario. When Mario died, the nieces and the neighbors came to me—concerned over what would happen to the house. The nieces could not afford to probate seven peoples’ estates and the house was already well on its way to deteriorating.
When I ran for Mayor in 1993, one of my passions was to work to improve housing on Leominster’s French Hill. I believe that a strong housing stock helps deter crime, gives residents new opportunities, and helps the neighborhood have a sense of pride.
So no one was interested in this home. The sisters couldn’t afford the probate, taxes and renovation costs. The house was like many homes that the City had taken in the past—quickly deteriorating and dragging the neighborhood down with it. And what about the $25,119 owed to the CDBG fund for renovations? Even though I would have most likely ended up losing money on the house had I taken full ownership, I certainly would have paid back the entire loan amount. Now, the City is out $25,119 that could have been used to renovate other homes.
Those of you that know me, know that I don’t even like people to buy me lunch. I’ve spent my entire career committed to making this City a better place. After all this time, I certainly wouldn’t try to take the City for $25,119. My love for this City is too great and my respect for all of you who live and do business here is too much to risk.