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Detroit still hunting down Packard plant owner

Detroit may be one step closer to wiping the old Packard automobile plant off the face of the map for good. For years, the structure has stood derelict as a symbol of the city's decay as lawmakers fought to figure out who exactly owns the property. Supposedly, the plant is currently owned by a company under the name of Biosource, Inc, and the only person on that company's books is Dominic Cristini. Cristini is currently serving a prison term in California on drug charges, leaving the local government to try to decide how best to go about cleaning up the site.

But things got a little clearer recently when Biosource sued Detroit's 555 Nonprofit Studio and Gallery. The name on the lawsuit wasn't Cristini's. Instead, one Romel Casab was behind the move. It had been assumed that Casab was tied to the Packard property in some, but officials had difficulty proving it. Evidently, the parties behind Biosource became upset when the 555 gallery removed artwork by famous UK graffiti artist Banksy from the property (you can see the art and its relocation here).

Now that there's a clearer target in Mr. Casab, it's possible that Detroit will be able to lean on him to either demolish the 3,500,000 square-foot facility or allow the city to take over the former Packard plant altogether. Casab, for his part, denies having any ownership of the property. That's somewhat predictable considering that if the city moves forward with its attempts to clear the property, Casab could be held accountable for the related costs.

[Sources: The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press | Image: Spencer Platt/Getty]

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