Ellwood City businessman George “JuJu” Costulas’ problems have entered a second week.

Last week, police confiscated his stock of cigarettes and jewelry, alleging he was selling without proper state licenses.

On Wednesday, the borough code enforcement inspectors condemned his 509 Lawrence Ave. building as uninhabitable until repaired.

Costulas said the borough’s action was wrong and he appealed it. He and his attorney, Nick Frisk Jr., met with borough officials yesterday afternoon.

He said he will reopen his business today after his fire extinguishers are recharged at 11 a.m.

Borough manager Dom Viccari confirmed Costulas can reopen his business today.

“He’s taking immediate action to fix some deficiencies and has 60 days to fix the others. We’ll inspect what he’s done over the weekend on Monday.”

Ellwood City Police Chief Richard McDonald said Wednesday’s inspection was carried out as a result of last week’s raid.

He explained that after a review of the history of the building and because of the violations that had precipitated the raid, “We figured there were other violations and asked building and fire code inspectors to come in.”

Jaki Grover, the borough’s code enforcement officer from CodeSys Inc., said Costulas was notified by a hand-delivered letter that his building was formally condemned.

The letter lists 30 code violations and gives him 60 days to correct them. That deadline is Oct. 15.

Grover said the violations include: a locked back door creating a fire hazard, a dirty inoperable toilet, windows with missing glass or loose in their frames, no hall light, no covers on light switches, electric plugs missing, non-working exit signs, and weeds growing on the roof.

The certified master code official who performed the inspection took photographs, Grover said, copies of which were presented to Costulas.

But the businessman was not happy with the procedures.

“The normal way, the fair way, is to send me a letter detailing the corrections with a time limit, then if I don’t correct it, you cite me,” he said.

As for last week’s raid, Costulas said, “The police made me sit in a chair. I wasn’t informed and didn’t know I was being inspected. When they issued the search warrant, they brought people in, didn’t identify them and they went all through the building.”

He said he recently had installed a new metal rear door with a deadbolt that is operated with a key. He said all commercial deadbolts are required to function with a key, not a hand-turned lever.

“I leave it unlocked when I’m open; I forgot to (unlock) it”

Costulas said he had changed the battery in the smoke alarm and was cited for letting it hang loose.

“Nobody pressed the test button; every alarm in the building would have went off.”

About the cover that was off the furnace, Costulas said the gas is not turned on, “They neglected to ask me.”

He said he has a fully operational restroom for employees but not for customers. He said the toilet near the pool room is inoperable, “because the kids were rolling their joints in there.”

Costulas said the hall light is operable but the inspector didn’t turn on the light switch.

“The light bulb in the exit sign is burned out,” he admitted, “but exit signs don’t have to be lighted.” He said he has printed signs in lighted areas.

As for the roof, he said it’s not leaking now and the weeds are growing out of debris he had left on the roof when he fixed it. He said he intends to replace and paint the drywall that had been soiled by the leak.

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