Boarded up home belongs to U.S. Senator’s family


A home registered to a living trust for U.S. Sen. Jim Risch’s mother-in-law and registered to the senator’s own address, remains boarded up and an eyesore, two years after being gutted by fire.

The 109 year-old home on the corner of Myrtle and Fifth streets along one of downtown Boise’s busiest thoroughfares, has been repeatedly penetrated by vandals, irritating Jeff Day, a hair stylist at Olivers Salon, which sits right behind the dilapidated house.
“I was born and raised in this town and there’s no need for that to be sitting like that on such a busy intersection,” Day said.

On Tuesday, Day placed a sign in the front yard alerting passersby to the connection to Risch. It reads: “Jim Risch owns this shack, owns this property.”

The property is registered to the Helen Choborda Living Trust, and Risch’s address on South Cole is listed as a contact.

Jason Risch, a Boise attorney and political advisor to the senator, his father, said that the family is battling an insurance company in wake of the fire, two years ago.

“It’s mired down in negotiations with the insurance company over the cost of repair,” he said.

Jason Risch said the Risch's would like to get it fixed up so that his grandmother can continue to derive income from the house as a rental property.

But even before the fire, there were complaints about the historic property.

In the Summer of 2005, city officials investigated a growing number of cars parked on the property and issued a notice to abate, which was followed. Inspectors cleared the propertyof the citation about a month later.

And in May 2006, the city declared the yard a public nuisance and ordered the weeds abated. Again, the owner complied.

This week city code enforcement manger Michael Meloy noticed that the property had become overgrown and that the door was wide open.

“That’s a public nuisance,” Meloy said, of the open door. “We need to get it boarded up.”

Jason Risch agreed that the door should not be open and said they had paid to have the home 
boarded up following the fire.

Day recalled that a large Risch sign appeared in front of the boarded up house during Risch’s recent Senate campaign.

“He’s posting his campaign signs, so I’ll post mine,” he said.