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Erik Burgess, Published April 17 2014

Fargo may not need to bring Black Building owners to court

FARGO – A city prosecutor says going to court with owners of the historic downtown Black Building can be avoided, now that an owner is cooperating to take care of alleged boiler problems in the 84-year-old building.

Assistant City Attorney Jason Loos said Thursday that he will meet with Daniel Sampson, one of the building’s owners, in early May.

Loos told The Forum earlier this month that he would resort to an arrest warrant on Sampson to get him in front of a judge to face charges of not properly installing the building’s two new boilers last fall.

City inspectors say the improperly installed boilers could lead to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide and general poor heating throughout the building.

In an email Thursday, Loos said Sampson has recently been “cooperating.” A trial date will likely not be set for some time, he said.

“Hopefully we can avoid court all together if we can work out a solution,” Loos said.

DTL Properties, which owns the Black Building, 118 Broadway, could face up to an $81,000 fine in municipal court for the boiler issues, which are alleged to have occurred from Dec. 6 through Feb. 25.

Lloyd Sampson, another building owner, has called the situation a “misunderstanding” and said they are willing to work with the city to fix any issues.

Bertrosa’s on Broadway, a downtown eatery located for years in the basement of the Black Building, closed last week, citing issues with the building’s heat and increased competition from other new restaurants.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518