Rochester city council puts landlord on notice
The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
An alleged participant in a violent April 13 rampage through Rochester is now in the city council's cross hairs.
At a special meeting Monday, council members discussed possible housing code changes that would empower them to punish the participant, 35-year-old Laura Boardman, by revoking rental certificates she has for four Rochester properties.
Boardman was the driver in an hours-long rampage through Rochester in which her passenger, 28-year-old Jordan Mitchell Blevens, reportedly fired a shotgun at houses from the window of Boardman's truck, assaulted two men and kidnapped one.
Though Boardman has not been charged with a crime, council members were disturbed by her participation in the events, and by the fact that she did not call police.
Council member Michael Wojcik called Boardman "the perfect example of somebody that just needs to be out of operation at this point."
She co-owns six properties with her husband, Jess Boardman. Four have current rental certificates; one is a single-family home; and the sixth, at 14 16th Ave. S.W., is where Blevens lives.
Boardman also claims that the 16th Avenue property is her address, though her residence there has been disputed by neighbors who observe her comings and goings.
It is not necessary for a homeowner to have a city rental certificate in order to share a residence with rent-paying roommates, but because Boardman advertised the rental property on a website, it triggered the certificate requirement.
City records show that Boardman has current rental certificates on her other four properties — 323 Sixth Ave. N.W., 1202 12th St. N.W., 1427 East Center St., and 816 Fourth St. S.E.
And the records depict her and her husband as capable landlords, whose properties, taken together, have generated only minor code violations over the years, all of which were corrected promptly.
The 16th Avenue property, however, is a blemish on their record. Jess and Laura Boardman applied for a rental certificate for the property in 2008, but canceled the application before a city inspection.
Neighbors later complained that the property appeared to be occupied by renters, but not the Boardmans. Laura Boardman wrote a letter to the city stating that she lived there, with her husband at another address, so that they could house people who had come out of alcohol and drug rehab.
"We don't want to have trouble, so please let me know if there (are) any issues," Boardman wrote.
Boardman could not be reached on Monday.
City Attorney Terry Adkins will consult with the local and state multi-housing associations and examine other cities' rental codes before bringing an ordinance proposal to the council at a future meeting.
"It's not going to solve all of our crime problems, but it's something we should be doing," Wojcik said.
The meeting Monday was a special meeting called by Wojcik and council member Mark Bilderback.
"We made a lot of progress today, and that's what I was hoping for," Bilderback said.