The Columbus City Attorney’s Office boarded up eight properties Friday tied to an accused pill-mill doctor, including one-half of a duplex that was the site of two homicides.
All eight properties are owned by Jose Villavicencio, of the Southeast Side. Villavicencio is a former doctor who was stripped of his medical license in 2012 for operating a “pill-mill” clinic at the South German Village Medical Center, 1730 S. High St.
The eight properties were boarded up Friday after the city attorney’s office obtained an emergency order Thursday from Franklin County Environmental Court, a specialized, court created to streamline oversight and adjudication of housing code violations.
The properties that were boarded up were duplexes at 2-4 Reeb Ave. and 364-366 E. innis Ave., both on the South Side; 289-291 Brehl Ave., in Franklinton, and 629-631 S. Wheatland Ave., on the West Side.
Police were called to investigate separate homicides at 2 Reeb Ave. on Dec. 19 and Feb. 5.
City Attorney Zach Klein’s office said in a press release that a person found dead Dec. 16 on the West Side near the Brehl Avenue address had been dumped there after dying inside 289 Brehl Ave.
On Jan. 7, the Columbus police Human Trafficking Task Force executed a search warrant at 289 Brehl Ave. and found more than 92 grams of fentanyl.
In total, police had responded to more than a dozen calls of shots being fired at the eight residences combined, as well as numerous calls for drug-related activity, overdoses, domestic disturbances and unresponsive people.
Klein said that the properties were placed in receivership in 2019 as part of an ongoing wrongful death lawsuit that was filed against Villavicencio in 2013.
In the release, Klein’s office said “Villavicencio and his associates continued to oversee the properties by executing leases and collecting rent” during the receivership.
Since Villavicencio has owned the properties, the city has filed eight other civil suits and six criminal cases against Villavicencio and his companies, most of them for property code violations.
Klein’s office said the city received a permanent injunction in 2016 banning Villavicencio from having any nuisance properties in Franklin County. In 2017, the former doctor was sentenced to 178 days in jail for criminal violations and has been fined thousands of dollars.
The Dispatch reported in 2012 that Villavicencio was under investigation by the State Medical Board for his treatment of patients between 2005 and 2008, including several who died soon after their last appointments with him. Other problems in the practice included allegations of giving narcotics to known street-drug users, prescribing excessive doses of pain medication — including to a 13-year-old — and not conducting proper evaluation or follow-up with patients.