Where did my house go to was the question that Poland, Ohio resident Sam Moffie asked when he took a visit to check on a vacant property he owned in Youngstown. Rather than seeing a sturdy brick built building, there was just an empty lot.

This is not the first time Sam Moffie has had a run in with the city of Youngstown. In 2011 the city decided to revoke the liquor permit for The Coconut Grove a local bar that Sam owned. You can read and hear the whole tawdry story here.

The latest Sam Moffie story has me reeling in disbelief. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Let us start with the Coconut Grove.

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Being in the right place at the right time, Sam snapped up a property across the street.

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Literally across the street. You can see it in this picture.
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The Coconut Grove is on the right, and his three story property is on the left.

His first renters were two of the staff working at the Coconut Grove, life was good. Things headed south when he decided to rent to a ‘section 8’ family who basically trashed the inside. Adding insult to injury, once the family was evicted someone came in and stole everything of any value. Copper pipes, wiring etc. Some less than enterprising people even lit a couple of small fires, no doubt just to keep warm.

Fed up. Sam took the move to secure the property, pending a planned renovation. A quick glance at the pictures above show the property boarded up. I am not sure when these Google Street Views pictures were taken, but it seems apparent that the property was indeed secure and in good standing.

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Brick buildings are designed to last.

Sam took the same approach I think most people would take under the circumstances. Having spent a couple of days on vacation in the Youngstown jail following the illegal raid on the Coconut Grove, he had little reason to spend quality time in the area so that the cops might get him again. As a consequence he avoided the area for 5 months.

I can only imagine his surprise to discover that his house had disappeared. Had some one absconded with it?


Nope, it turned out that the City of Youngstown had demolished it! Local news source Vindy.com ran a story a few days ago on the events. You can read it here. The problem with the Vindy story though is that it skips over most of the salient information.

Sam Moffie is a regular panel member on my weekly current events radio program. I decided to turn the microphone over to him to explain the whole gory mess. You can listen to the recording here. It starts about 5 minutes in and runs for 30 minutes.

If I was a cynic, I might be tempted to view the demolition by the City of Youngstown as a vindictive move against Sam Moffie. In a couple of conversations with both the detective involved and Youngstown Police Chief about the Coconut Grove situation it is clear that they viewed the bar as the cause of much trouble in the area. You can find more information here.

I have known Sam Moffie for several years, he is a very intelligent individual. As the saying goes, there are three versions of every story, there is mine, there is yours, and there is the truth, which lays somewhere in the middle. In both the Coconut Grove and the vanishing house situation I lean strongly in Sam’s favor. The bigger question is, can Sam prevail in the court system? That is a huge unknown.

Simon Barrett


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