A mortgage company that disposed of a dilapidated Harvey Avenue house will pay a fine to satisfy charges it neglected the house while it still held the title.

American General Home Equity Inc., 5875 S. Transit Road, agreed last month to plead guilty to 10 building code violations at 38 Harvey Ave., a two-family house it foreclosed a mortgage on in 2007 and later sold to a neighboring couple for a nominal price.

The mortgage company received its sentence Tuesday in Lockport City Court. Judge Thomas DiMillo agreed to the city prosecutor’s recommendation that the plea be reduced to six noise violations, each carrying a $100 fine, with two conditions: The fines must be paid by Jan. 20 and the mortgage company must release the house’s new owners, in writing, from any liability for the fines.

Terri and Patrick Dibley, 33 Harvey Ave., bought 38 Harvey from American General for $100 this past August, unaware the house was the subject of judicial action as they agreed in the sale contract to take responsibility for violations and any fines arising from them. The release commits the mortgage company to paying the fines itself and not trying to hand them off to the Dibleys.

Failure to meet the plea conditions would negate the plea and expose a company executive to prosecution, prosecutor Matthew Brooks said.

In other ongoing housing cases:

• Brian Falsioni, owner of 163 Cottage St., pleaded guilty to reduced charges stemming from his citation on six code charges this past spring. He took the plea deal rather than go to trial, which DiMillo had set for Tuesday.

Falsioni was cited originally for problems including lack of maintenance on a vacant structure, roof, drainage, foundation and structural issues and need of new paint. Since Falsioni secured all needed remedies except painting, the deal offered by Brooks was a guilty plea to two noise violations.

DiMillo previously threatened to jail Falsioni because of the length of time the repairs were taking; but on Tuesday, he offered a conditional discharge on that penalty, providing the house is painted by May 15 and does not incur new code citations over the next year.

“It seems you are committed to this property and want to do what’s best,” DiMillo said.

Falsioni had been visibly upset at times during monthly proceedings that began this past May. Financing repairs forced him into debt, he said, and when he tried giving away the house, in the hopes that would settle the court case, he couldn’t find a taker.

After court, Falsioni talked briefly of his frustration, and shame, in being summoned to court over the house he’d lived in for 10 years, until he couldn’t afford it any more. Along his block of Cottage Street, his house is hardly the only one that’s not code compliant, he said; two others near his are vacant and unmaintained as well.

Then again, he said, an elderly neighbor on the other side of his property shouldn’t have had to tolerate his disrepair.

“I owe my neighbor an apology for letting (maintenance) get away from me, I know that,” he said. “I’m going to put up Christmas lights and try to make the street look better.”

• Richard Miller, 218 Ontario St., pleaded guilty to two noise violations to satisfy five original code charges involving foundation and exterior walls, sanitation, weeds and accumulation of rubbish. Miller was charged this past August and the violations are corrected now, building inspector David Miller testified. DiMillo praised Richard Miller for making the repairs in a “reasonable” time and waived the fines, so long as the property is not cited for any additional violations over the next year.

• Francisco Poll, 274 Washburn St., reported on the state of his five-unit apartment house, which was ordered into receivership by DiMillo last month. DiMillo appointed Lockport-based attorney Charles P. Ben to collect rents, manage tenancies and secure needed repairs at Poll’s property, which was cited for 19 code violations this past May.

Poll said he secured a tenant to occupy one of two units that were vacant in October, but he still is having trouble with a non-paying renter. Progress on code repairs remains slow, inspector Miller said, and because rental income isn’t accruing quickly enough to cover repairs, Ben is looking for private lenders who might loan Poll the money. The receivership order authorizes Ben to take out loans for repairs, using the property as collateral, and the payments would be Poll’s responsibility.

Ben reporting he’s having difficulty raising sufficient rent money struck Poll as ironic. It’s precisely the reason Poll gave repeatedly as DiMillo insisted he get the violations under control or face consequences.

“I agree with Mr. Ben that there will be slow progress. That’s what I tried to say before,” Poll told DiMillo. “He’s having the same experience I had.”

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