A former Lewiston landlord owes the city more than $200,000 in fines and fees for keeping his apartment buildings in disrepair, according to court records and city officials, but he didn’t list that debt when he filed for bankruptcy this summer. The omission raises questions about whether the city will recoup what is likely the largest financial penalty it has secured against a property owner in recent history.
During Rick Lockwood’s time as a landlord in Lewiston, from 2014 to 2017, his tenants went without heat in the winter and endured mold, bug infestations and general squalor, prompting the city to take him to court numerous times because he didn’t heed warnings to make repairs. It sued Lockwood 14 times over six of his 10 buildings to force him to comply with city ordinances.
The city prevailed. An updated tally provided by the city on Monday shows that Lockwood owes at least $181,690 in penalties and fines, and $27,429 in legal fees, for violating housing standards. He didn’t appeal the court’s totals, according to a review of court documents.
In June, however, Lockwood stated on a bankruptcy petition that he owes the Lewiston code enforcement department a much smaller sum, $20,000. It isn’t the only part of his filing that raised questions, as a creditor claimed in court that Lockwood didn’t report all of his income.