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Ohio Groups Want Slice of $13 Billion JPMorgan Chase Settlement to Demolish Vacant Houses

An excavator razes a derelict home in Cleveland. (ideastream file photo by Brian Bull).
An excavator razes a derelict home in Cleveland. (ideastream file photo by Brian Bull).

The plan asks for $200 million to go to Ohio -- $144 million of it to knock down houses that the foreclosure crisis left empty and deteriorating. The rest would support renovation, preventing future foreclosures and revamping vacant land.

It's got support from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur and Ohio's two senators, Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman.

Former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis heads the Thriving Communities Institute, which wrote the plan. He says JPMorgan Chase should give locals discretion over the money.

"They helped to create this mess, and if they're serious about a solution, then they have to listen to us, because we're the folks on the ground who understand the impact of this disaster," Rokakis said in a phone interview.

A spokeswoman for JPMorgan Chase wouldn't say whether the company supports the idea. An emailed statement says part of the settlement money is "designed to go directly to struggling homeowners and prospective homebuyers."

It makes no mention of demolitions.

Nick Castele is a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media.