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Teapot Dome figure's home in El Paso may be demolished

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.borderlandnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060410/NEIGHBORHOODS01/604100344/1012/NEIGHBORHOODS Owner of A.B. Fall mansion, city clash over
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10 6:58 PM
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      http://www.borderlandnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060410/NEIGHBORHOODS01/604100344/1012/NEIGHBORHOODS

      Owner of A.B. Fall mansion,
      city clash over home's status

      Darren Meritz
      El Paso Times
      Monday, April 10, 2006

      A temporary restraining order filed on behalf of A.B.
      Fall mansion owner Sib Abraham and his son, William
      Abraham, has prompted a City Council vote that allows
      city attorneys to pursue aggressive avenues --
      including possible use of eminent domain -- to rescue
      the historic property.

      City officials long have sought a means to either
      force the Abrahams -- who own many properties in El
      Paso, including the Caples building and the Kress
      building -- to repair the property or get Sib Abraham
      to sell it to someone who will.

      For years, William Abraham has said repairs are so
      close to completion at the Fall mansion that he could
      have the property rented in the next several weeks.

      "I think there are widespread concerns that some
      aggressive action needs to be taken," said South-West
      city Rep. Beto O'Rourke. "I don't know why he's doing
      this, but at some point these properties are in real
      danger and might need to be condemned."

      The A.B. Fall mansion is a 9,000-square-foot property
      at 1725 Arizona built in 1907 by Albert Fall -- long
      regarded as a scapegoat in the Teapot Dome bribery
      scandal during President Warren G. Harding's
      administration. Fall's ancestors to this day are
      seeking a posthumous presidential pardon.

      City officials -- who say the property is suffering
      from structural and other damage as a result of years
      of poor upkeep -- planned to consider condemning the
      Fall property at a Building Standards Commission
      meeting late last month. But the Abrahams were able to
      persuade 205th District Court Judge Kathleen Olivares
      to issue the temporary restraining order to prohibit
      the hearing.

      The Abrahams argued that they have made the necessary
      repairs required by the city, which included
      improvements to the property's structural condition
      and inspection by an independent engineer. They're
      ready to start painting the exterior of the property.

      "The structural integrity is irrefutable and what
      we're dealing with is cosmetic," William Abraham said.
      "But I can't go in there and start painting."

      William Abraham said he was in Florida during spring
      break and could not return to El Paso in time for the
      Building Standards hearing. His flight was canceled,
      he said.
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