LEON VALLEY, Texas - Leon Valley store owners in two mall strips along Bandera Road and Seneca Road are boxing up and moving out, after a week of no action from the owner following a stop work order from the city.
Fire Chief Luis Valdez said the city took immediate action after attempting to get owner Ron Ray to comply for about eight weeks. A tip led the fire marshal to the plaza’s along the 6500 block of Bandera Road. When the arrived, they discovered bare wires, extension cords being used as permanent wiring and more than 100 other violations.
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“This business owner at one point has said to me and our staff 'I hope these buildings burn down,'” Valdez said. “And I could care less about anybody in those suites. They can go and he used several expletives to describe those business owners, the fire department and the customers.”
The owner, Ron Ray, purchased the buildings earlier this year without an inspection according to Valdez. An online search through the Bexar County Appraisal website shows Ray’s name associated with nearly 50 other properties across the metro.
KSAT attempted to reach out to Ray over the phone but his voicemail was full and his home is in a gated community. He’s told tenants and Valdez that he’s out of the country.
Valdez said he will be reaching out to fire officials in other cities where Ray owns buildings to check for problems there.
KSAT checked and found the buildings in question had previous problems during past inspections. The properties, Seneca Plaza and Lebman’s Corral Center were owned by a different person last year.
In May 2016, inspectors found two businesses operating without a certificate of occupancy, a church and dance hall at Lebman’s Corral Center. Among the violations for both were not enough exit doors and blocked fire sprinklers. The suites were closed.
An inspection at Seneca Plaza in June of 2016 found a ballroom also operating without a certificate of occupancy and unsafe conditions. A stop work order was issued for the business.
Off camera, tenants said they’re frustrated with the city and Ray, both who never alerted them of the problems. They also said they were taken by surprise over the sudden closure.
Valdez said allowing tenants to continue to occupy the unsafe buildings would be a deadly liability.
The stores will remain closed until the owner makes the repairs. There is no legal repercussion for him if he chooses to do nothing.
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