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Posted on Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 6:03 a.m.

Ypsilanti Mobile Village owner files for bankruptcy as conditions in trailer park worsen

By Tom Perkins

A company that owns the now abandoned Ypsilanti Mobile Village filed for bankruptcy in Detroit, just hours before company owner Dominic D’Mello was to appear in Washtenaw County Circuit Court for an emergency show cause hearing.

Ypsilanti Township officials filed a motion to have the East Michigan Avenue trailer park secured, demolished and cleaned up. They say it has become a haven for criminal activity and now resembles a “Wild West ghost town.”

Because attorneys for D’Mello’s company, Cormello LLC, filed for bankruptcy, a stay has been placed on any other legal action. Township officials hoped that after the emergency show cause hearing, the judge would declare the site a public nuisance and order D’Mello to demolish the remaining trailers and clean up the property.

D'Mello did not respond to calls from

Township attorney Doug Winters said his firm will now file for a hearing in Detroit to have the stay lifted. He said the park won’t remain in its current condition.

“His attorneys, in my opinion, have abused the bankruptcy code and filed bankruptcy in the 12th hour,” Winters said. “When someone holds you accountable, you really show a lot of courage by running and hiding behind the skirts of the bankruptcy court.”

In its motion, the township outlined the park's conditions. The last resident left on Nov. 15, but the trailers still remain, despite a prior court order directing D’Mello to remove them.

Among the issues in the park, according to township and police officials:

  • Raw sewage continues to leak from several residences.
  • A woman reported being dragged into an abandoned trailer and raped in October.
  • Water lines are broken, causing contaminated water to flow back into the system.
  • The township has spent thousands of dollars securing the abandoned mobile homes, which scrappers have broken open and stripped of anything of value, including the trailers’ siding.
  • Squatters have taken up residence in at least one unit.
  • Natural gas leaks from broken gas lines.
  • Prostitution activity has increased, prompting the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department and Ypsilanti Police Department to conduct special joint operations in the area.
  • Colonies of feral cats and wild dogs now roam the park. The dogs have chased sheriff’s deputies on foot patrol through the park.
  • The Sheriff’s Department had to set up a foot patrol in the park, and the area continues to require significant police resources.
  • Former residents’ belongings and trash are strewn throughout the park.

Ypsilanti Mobile Home Park_6.jpg

Conditions at Ypsilanti Mobile Village have continued to worsen, officials say.

Tom Perkins | For

The township asked the court to order D’Mello to clear what is left of the trailers, which were described in the motion as “shells of wooden frames and insulation." The township also asked that D’Mello remove the three permanent structures on the property, all the park’s infrastructure and smaller items such as satellite dishes and landscape edging.

The motion also asked that D’Mello be ordered to fill in gullies created from utility crocks and erosion, clean contaminated soil and clear garbage and debris off the grounds.

The legal problems at the park date back several years. Per a 2008 consent judgment, D’Mello is obligated to either bring the mobile homes up to code or have them removed. He neglected to do so throughout the last year, and officials say conditions there spiraled.

Last summer, the township contacted the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, which handles licensing for the trailer parks. Winters said he's frustrated by inaction and would like to know whether there is a bond file on the property. Many licensing agencies hold bonds to dissuade people from walking away from their properties and leaving municipalities with the bill and cleanup effort.

“You have the State of Michigan standing by doing absolutely nothing and allowing people to operate this way,” he said. “What good does a license do if when you violate the terms of the license, nothing happens? Apparently with mobile home licenses you don’t have to worry about ever being held accountable.”

State officials previously told they have no policy for expediting more urgent complaints to their office, and the process for revoking a license can take months.

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


Ms Smarty Pants

Tue, Dec 28, 2010 : 6:24 a.m.

@ Stunhsif what are you talking about "Detroit moves westward"? I am a former Detroit resident who moved to Ypsilanti in 1995 to attend EMU. Every person from Detroit is not the cause of the current rise in crime and decline of neighborhoods in Ypsilanti. There are plently of locals to take that blame buddy!


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 11:28 p.m.

Detroit moving westward, welcome to the "New Frontier". To lay all the blame on the landlord is ridiculous. He tried to make it work but to evict someone in this state takes more money than what the rent pays the landlord. Maybe all the loving liberals in A2 will open a trailer park to welcome all the folks that moved from this place? Don't just talk the talk A2 Libs, let's walk the walk? Good Day No Luck Needed


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 10:16 p.m.

My friend used to hang out there and was telling me about a friendly cat left behind by owners and she had kittens...If all these neglected animals are there, why hasnt the humane society been there to try to rescue them!! Makes me wanna go dump a few bags of catfood around there...


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 9:36 p.m.

As a Landlord, I know personally what happens when you neglect a property and expect it to run itself because you have too much on your plate. Ownership and management let it get out of control, and now it is a cesspool of septic proportions. Slumlords take note: If you cant take care of your possessions...get the hell out of the business. You are worse than the scum you rent to. You greedy scum lords make me want to vomit. Greedy Pricks.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 9:27 p.m.

what huh7891 said, the orange cat. He did look like he was looking for help out of that place. But I ain't going in!

Ann English

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 8:28 p.m.

Jesse, It sounds like the abandoned trailer park is on the north side of the road, as Kroger is. It's been over eleven years since I did anything in that area, but I think Value Village is on the south side, and so are Sesi and Discount Tire. Or are any of these businesses closed today? It's always good when the business you founded outlives you, as Sesi's did.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 7:29 p.m.

Chase, no personal attacks from me...I would have to agree with you. Anyone know whats going on with the orange cat that keeps appearing in the video, is this another animal that was left to fend for itself and needs to be rescued? Looks like it follows the car around hoping for help...This is sad really sad

Chase Ingersoll

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 7:12 p.m.

What would be wrong with having those collecting unemployment checks clean it up as a condition of their unemployment benefits? Moderators: please be ready. I'm certain to face a number of personal attacks for asking this question.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 6:48 p.m.

I'm 36 and have lived in ypsi my whole life and never stepped foot into that park until i was 34 and that was taking a friend over there. I was scared! There was like 5 cop cars in there that night looking for someone. Rebuilding that place wouldnt make a difference considering the area it's in. Maybe they should build a police station there. That might help with the Arthurs crowd and the prostitution.

Ann English

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 6:47 p.m.

While watching the video, I thought this news story somehow hasn't resembled any events I've read or listened to on fiction, either print, cassette or CD. In Jerry Jenkins' Riven story, a tornado does tear through a trailer park, killing the younger brother of one of the protagonists. But it was not in bad shape at all. Only after his home was destroyed did Brady Darby realize that although it wasn't that great a place to reside in, still it provided a place to belong in. Only then did he miss it. Those trailers did have little roofs over many of their doors, something I don't remember seeing on most of the trailers of a different trailer park where I once delivered telephone directories. I thought there was once a similar story about a different owner of mobile homes off Ridge Road.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 3:28 p.m.

Watching the video, one expects a zombie to jump out. Screw the court systems, this is a dangerous public nuisance. Bulldoze, scrap and put a lien on the property. In two years the county will own it anyways.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 2:46 p.m.

Al those against government REGULATION would say this guy can do whatever the hell he wants with his property. It is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. He owns it. I guess regulation is only important when it works for them.

Tom Perkins

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 2:41 p.m.

A video of the park shot by an Ypsilanti Township employee has been added to the page.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 11:34 a.m.

I guess I'm missing something here - I reckon the story says its a private owner that has let the park deteriorate. And, I reckon those that want to limit government intervention would be the ones that would want this private owner left to chose what he wants to do with his own property.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 11:14 a.m.

If in fact the taxpayers will pay, let's use inmates for most of the work. Puts them to work; saves money.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 11:10 a.m.

Have I missed something? What does this have to do with health care or government corruption? As a former small business owner this doesn't surprise me. The legal system makes it virtually impossible to force anyone to do anything or to collect money owed to you. If somebody wants to avoid fulfilling their contract they hire a lawyer to drag it out forever or to make it cost more to collect than you are actually owed. I would guess that local authorities would like this mess gone but find themselves stymied by the court system.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 11:06 a.m.

Thank you for providing a forum for uninformed, un-expert bellyachers to blow hot air. I'd love to know where Mister fixem-up-for-two-grand-apiece got his data. You can't fix the toilets for that. And Habitat For Humanity builds new permanent homes only, through the effort of volunteers, Mister Great Idea. They don't fix up festering fistulas of crime like this one on Mich Ave to foist on struggling families. Hot air. Buck up tAxpayers, you're picking up the check on this demolition.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 10:58 a.m.

Where is a level 5 tornado when you need one?

Atticus F.

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 10:27 a.m.

@nekm1, what exactly is your beef? Is it that the federal government is stepping in, to hold local government accountable(in the form of a grand jury indictment)? Or is it that the elected local officials are corrupt? Either way how does that relate to corporate run health care vs. government run health care?... Maybe we should also privatize the millitary, police, fire dept, and public schools... After all, "the government is incapable of doing anything".


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 10:12 a.m.

How about court-ordering a group of 'legal offenders' to clean the area? Much like the litter details already in use...


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 9:56 a.m.

It's right next to the Burger King on michigan ave and across the street from Sesi car dealership.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 9:56 a.m.

A coward to declare bankruptcy? How crude. If you don't want the responsibility? Declare bankruptcy. This way you walk away debt free and you let others take care of the problem. Besides, he was having financial issues anyway and Ypsilanti can get rid of the riff raff themselves. Detroit is doing this now with the new mayor.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 9:22 a.m.

And people still want the government to handle our health insurance! How stupid can we all be? NO ONE EVER HOLDS THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE. Just look East to Detroit! Graft, corruption, grand juries...We need to figure out a way that government agencies can't simply say.. State officials previously told they have no policy for expediting more urgent complaints to their office, and the process for revoking a license can take months. What a cop out....

Basic Bob

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 9:22 a.m.

The nanny state has their own abandoned prisons to clean up. Michigan could put a lot of people to work cleaning up all the abandoned property. It would benefit a lot of people.

Atticus F.

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 9:16 a.m.

I agree with F Dan Walker. These places can be rebuilt for about 2k each. And with the proper management, they could turn into safe, clean, affordable housing.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 9:09 a.m.

What a dump.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 8:57 a.m.

Where is this 'Mobilehome' park, exactly? It may be that some arrangement(s) with the governing bodies could turn this mess around. Get some investors or Habitat for Humanity to rebuild the site. If the means were availible, surely this could be done.

Judy Immel Melvin

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 8:50 a.m.

I lived in a trailer park in that vicinity in 1960 call Green Acres it this the same place????


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 8:38 a.m.

Gee, where's that nanny state when you need one?