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Posted on Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 9:30 a.m.

Police investigate sexual assault in abandoned mobile home as remaining residents move from Ypsilanti Mobile Village

By Tom Perkins

Washtenaw County sheriff's detectives are investigating the sexual assault of a Pinckney woman who said she was pulled into abandoned mobile home last weekend and raped.

The incident occurred at Ypsilanti Mobile Village on East Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti Township, a park that deteriorated so badly that township officials have been lobbying the state to revoke the owner's license.

The 35-year-old victim called police at 9 a.m. Saturday and said she was walking through the mobile home park at 2 a.m. that morning when she was attacked. She described the man as Hispanic, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 150 pounds. Sheriff's spokesman Derrick Jackson said the incident is still under investigation.

The attack occurred just as residents are emptying out of the mobile home park amid living conditions that continue to seriously deteriorate. Township officials have struggled to persuade the park's owner, Troy resident Dominic D'Mello, to address safety hazards and say they've received no help from state agencies.

Mike Radzik, director of the township's Office of Community Standards, said D'Mello was provided notice on Oct. 1 to secure the park's seven vacant units. D'Mello didn't respond to the request, and Radzik said he has "pleaded poverty every step of the way" in terms of fixing public welfare concerns.

D'Mello did not respond to calls from for comment.

"To do what he's done to this point and for something like this to happen after ignoring our request to secure the park is, in my mind, unconscionable," Radzik said.

The township has since contracted with a company to board and secure the now nine vacant trailers at a cost of $3,300, which will be billed to D'Mello. Radzik said he expects the park to be completely vacated after this weekend, which will mean around 15 vacant units will remain.

He said the township wants D'Mello to demolish or remove the trailers that are left and secure the ground utilities, three free-standing buildings and the Michigan Avenue entrance.

The remaining residents were awaiting a letter promised by D'Mello in mid-September stating the park is closing. Without proof that the site is shutting down, the residents — many unemployed and on fixed incomes — were ineligible for moving assistance.


A sewage line broke at Ypsilanti Mobile Village, causing raw sewage to spew out of the ground for nearly a week.

D’Mello, sent that letter on Sept. 24, stating the park will close in 2011 after the last resident leaves.

The Washtenaw County Office of Community Development helped put residents in contact with agencies that can assist in relocation efforts. All but five of the 17 families that remained in mid-September have left.

As residents leave, living conditions continue to worsen. In the latest of a series of potential health and safety hazards, a sewage line broke in the park, causing raw sewage to spew out of the ground for nearly a week. When D’Mello neglected to address the issue, the township contacted the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Energy, which sent D’Mello a letter ordering a response.

Radzik said the leak was stopped, but he suspects a new sewage leak has sprung.

The park has been problematic for years. D’Mello bought it in 2004, when roughly three-quarters of the park’s parcels were occupied.

The ownership arrangement complicates the situation. Residents — not D’Mello — own the trailers, but many of the mobile homes are too old to meet current U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development codes required to move them to new parks.

D’Mello owns the “pads” on which the trailers sit and are connected to utility lines. Those are leased to mobile home owners. As conditions began significantly deteriorating between 2006 and 2008, the township sued Cormello LLC, D’Mello’s company, to bring the park up to code and make other safety improvements.

Per a 2008 consent judgment, the township is to inspect each trailer when a resident leaves. If condemned, D’Mello is legally obligated to either bring the mobile home up to code or have it removed. Every vacated trailer since then has been condemned, and D’Mello regularly pulled the mobile homes out of the park until this summer.

The vacant trailers have attracted scrappers and vandals and raise concerns over prostitution and drug use.

"The problem we're encountering is as quick as residents move out, the vandals are literally right behind them and trying to strip off anything salvageable or siding for scrap value," Radzik said. "In the process of stripping them, they're literally falling apart because they're so old.

“It has quickly becoming kind of like a junkyard, and it's in a location with high prostitution and drug activity. We can’t afford to have a park with open trailers that would be safe haven for drug dealers and criminal activity.”

Radzik said the township is working on a strategy for securing the park once it's closed, and could end up back in court.

In the 2008 complaint, the township cited numerous issues — including dilapidated manufactured homes, debris such as appliances and garbage littered throughout the park, residents illegally tapping utility lines, D’Mello allowing a resident to live in a condemned mobile home and general disrepair to the park’s infrastructure.

D’Mello told township officials he didn’t have the funds to make the repairs and intended to close the park. Case workers from the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County’s Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program have been assisting the residents with moving.

Anyone with information on the sexual assault is asked to call the sheriff's tip line at 734-973-7711.

Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.


no flamers!

Sun, Oct 24, 2010 : 7:44 a.m.

If/when Ypsi Township is able to gain the deed on this little slice of hell (probably only after protracted litigation that costs 40-times the value of the property), please, please don't allow it to become a trailer park again. No more trailer parks in Ypsi (have too much already). No more low income housing in Ypsi (have too much already). Let the poor move to downtown AA where they can, to borrow @nickcarraweigh's satire, aggressively panhandle the guilty free traders or maybe even share a sip of politically correct $4 free trade hazelnut lattes in the downtown bistros. (kidding)


Sun, Oct 24, 2010 : 1:42 a.m.

"All you did was regurgitate old news,this is another slap in the face of the victim." The victim needs a slap in the face with some common sense. 35 year old female from Pinckney strolling through a dilapidated trailer park in Ypsi at 2am. If that in and of itself isn't suspicious enough? I've been to this trailer park quite a few years ago. I'm a male well over 200 pounds and even years ago when this park was mostly occupied and somewhat maintained, I would've been nervous to walk through there during the day. I couldn't imagine now with all the empty units and at 2am no less!


Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 11:17 p.m.

I agree with Willa and A_a2...did you copy and paste 98% of this article? You lose the whole point of this article, the assault!!! All you did was regurgitate old news,this is another slap in the face of the victim. Was this really the best you could do?


Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 6:57 p.m.

another great represenation of's reporting. Is this article about the rape or the awful conditions at the trailor park....pick a story.


Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 6:51 p.m.

Tom, I'm frustrated with the way this article was put together. I have already learned most of the information about this park, its problems, and the fact that people are being forced to leave it all from other articles. To reiterate at such length information that can be found elsewhere, appears to diminish the article's message stated in the headline, that of a sexual assault. It would have been easy enough to provide links to those other articles at the end, just like many of the other articles do, and maintain the focus on this terrible event and the need for further information.

Tom Perkins

Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 1:19 p.m.

Gorc, No, the woman was not a resident of the park. She lives in Pinckney but is frequently in Ypsilanti.

Milton Shift

Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 12:50 p.m.

The conditions there had a lot to do with the rape. I'm actually quite pleased with this article as it doesn't do what many do, which is blitz us with horror, with no context as to why it happened and how it could've been prevented. Good article, Tom.


Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 12:29 p.m.

Nice Job Nick :)

Milton Shift

Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 12:15 p.m.

Terrible. Free market capitalism at its best. Yes, I am enjoying nick's satire very much as well.


Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 11:56 a.m.

Nick. Satire worthy of Jonathan Swift! As someone noted Ann Arbor is black and white, Hispanic and Anglo, Gay and Straight, Women and Men all marching together--AGAINST THE POOR!


Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 10:37 a.m.

@nickcarraweigh That is a hilarious satire.


Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 9:52 a.m.

Mr. Perkins do you know if the woman was a resident of the mobile park?


Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 9:48 a.m.

This story is a virtual poster child for a number of pressing local concerns, many of them brought to alert readers' attention thanks to dogged reporting by First, there clearly is no need to hamstring Michigan businesses with expensive state regulations like those facing the owner of this park. The sun rises in the east, and business will always act responsibly. Secondly, while these Dickensian hulks may seem to many people shamefully stark signs of Ann Arbor-area society's willingness to let the poor sink or swim on their own, the hovels may actually look pretty good to the roving bands of homeless SSI recipients so often featured in crime news in recent months. The only upgrade the homeless would require before we concentrate their camps into the park is a medical marijuana dispensary nearby. Plus, the relocated homeless would pursue their aggressive panhandling in Ypsilanti, where many Ann Arbor residents agree it belongs. Finally, on an even more hopeful note, common sense has shown us that trailer parks are virtual tornado magnets and it seems likely to be only a matter of time until one swoops down and transports the whole mess, dilapidated trailers and homeless hordes both, to someplace like Kansas where we won't have to worry about this anymore. It will be nice to get back to sipping our politically correct $4 free trade hazelnut lattes in the downtown bistro of our choice, comfortable in the knowledge that the motley, grimy crew we see pushing their drooling, unwashed and unshaven faces against the street-facing picture windows are, in fact, U-M students and unlikely to aggressively panhandle us when we leave.