Owner: Time to sell
Police set up surveillance cameras


June 4, 2015


 A surveillance camera hangs from a tree overlooking the Eisenbahn Trail toward the former Bermico building Thursday in West Bend. The police department hung cameras around the building.
John Ehlke/Daily News 

WEST BEND - Enough is enough.

The developer and owner of the former Bermico building, John Bagley, is selling the building. The move comes after years of fighting with West Bend officials about the building’s condition and his effort to lease business space there. A “for sale” sign went up at 2100 Northwestern Ave. Thursday morning. Bagley’s asking price? $1.2 million. He said the building was recently appraised at $1.3 million and he’s “spent thousands of dollars out of my own pocket to renovate the place.”

Bagley said he decided to sell after the city installed at least three surveillance cameras pointed at his building along the Eisenbahn Trail — two are on his property and the third is along the trail in a backyard. He was at the building Thursday during an inspection.

“I’ve just had enough. City detectives put the cameras up to make sure I enter the building only at certain times,” Bagley said. “That’s after they’d already posted the stop work notices.”

Bagley said he’s reached the point that it’s just time to sell the building, cut his losses and move on.

  John Bagley raises his hands as he talks on his phone in between two West Bend Police officers outside the Bermico building Thursday, July 9 in West Bend. Police were called to remove an individual from the property. On Monday, The city of West Bend posted halt work posters around the building staying it was unsafe for human habitation.
John Ehlke/Daily News 

West Bend Police Lt. Michael Hartwell said the surveillance cameras were put up to catch trespassers.

“Officials told me that if I enter the building without making prior arrangements with the city’s building inspector I could be ticketed or even arrested,” Bagley said. “They threatened me with that for entering my own building. They have already forced all my tenants out.”

On July 6, the city posted bright pink stop work orders on the building. The notices said the building was unfit for human habitation and no one could enter. At that time, City Administrator T.J. Justice said the order was imposed after the city conducted an inspection because it “had reason to believe some work had been done on the building without appropriate permits.”

People can only enter if they make specific arrangements with the building inspection supervisor, Justice said.

Bagley accused city officials of coveting the property so it can be developed the way they want. Justice said the city purchase of the property was “an unlikely scenario.”

“The city has received no legitimate proposals that would involve any possible development of that property since I’ve been with the city,” Justice said.

  Scott Reeves of NAI MLG Commercial posts a for sale sign outside of the Bermico building Thursday morning in West Bend. 
John Ehlke/Daily News 

In May, Washington County Circuit Court Judge James Muehlbauer dismissed the city’s legal effort to have the building razed.

Muehlbauer asked those involved to try to work together to come up with a solution. The attorneys involved talked after the hearing. Then in July the city issued the stop work order. At that time, Bagley said he would have to appear before the city’s Plan Commission sometime this month to obtain a permit so he could resume work.

“Is that the way to follow a judge’s request to work together?” Bagley asked. “He tells us to work together and they won’t allow me in my building and they threaten to arrest me and put me in handcuffs. That’s hardly working together. They’ve thrown every hurdle they can in front of me.”

Reach reporter Joe VanDeLaarschot at .