Seattle looks to collect millions in back fines from landlord

SEATTLE -- A local landlord owes millions of dollars in fines for housing violations, but legal challenges have kept the city from collecting. Now the time to pay up may be drawing near.

Hugh Sisley is a Seattle property owner who's had some 400 zoning and housing complaints filed against him. The bill he owes the city has reached $3 million in fines.

"It doesn't surprise me one bit. I'm sure that he owes the city every penny," said Ronald Baldwin, who rents a room in one of Sisley's boarding houses in the Ravenna neighborhood.

Sisley has appealed many of the judgments, and city officials can't begin the collections process until the State Supreme Court issues a ruling. Meanwhile, tenants say repairs to his properties never get done.

"The ring there that holds the toilet down. It broke," said Patrick Fitzgerald, who rents a room in a Sisley property on 16th Avenue NE. "You flush it and sewage comes up."

Five tenants live on the bottom floor where Fitzgerald calls home, and all of them say the place is in bad shape. Tenants say health hazards are around every corner. They also complain that rooms are infested with bed bugs and ants, and electrical outlets don't work.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes may now try to confiscate Sisley's properties through foreclosure to recover some of the $3 million still owed.

KOMO 4 was unable to reach Sisley at his home, and his attorney told us Sisley wouldn't speak to us.