Ioannou maintains that the broken windows are a criminal matter and that for this reason he shouldn't have to pay to replace them until an investigation is completed. He does have a point; the person who is responsible for the damage is ultimately the one who should pay. However, this can happen whether or not Mr. Ioannou fixes the windows in the meantime. Naturally, this is what he should do.
Mr. Ioannou claims that he doesn't have money to fix the windows, that he barely has money for his utlity bills. More sympathetic, I could not be. However, instead of spending his scarce resources on an attorney fee, he ought to just pay to have his windows fixed. Something he's most likely going to have to do anyway.
Furthermore, why are all the commercial units vacant in this building? One has to wonder if maybe lowering the rent or maybe taking a more hands-on approach would attract and keep more commercial tenants in the old arcade-style building.
Clearly, allowing a community asset like this to sit vacant, with boarded up windows no less, is a travesty. Rather than a long, protracted legal battle between the Village and Mr. Ioannou, maybe something better can come out of this. Aren't there any civic-minded developers or groups that might step up and engage the community to find a better use for this historic building than to sit vacant covered in plywood for the forseeable future? If Ioannou is losing money operating the building, he should have no reason not to want to sell it, right?
There are a lot of opportunities for downtown redevelopment in an old arcade-style building such as this. I'd much rather see the discussion shift from how to get an absentee landlord to maintain the building to discussing various ideas for how the community should use this building. Henry Ioannou can do this as well, it doesn't matter who does it. Someone just have to be willing to put in the time and energy, and it may require a little something more than bottom-line thinking.