Owner of strip mall destroyed in fire pleads guilty

Business Loop 70 mall was destroyed in an April 2012 fire

Owner of strip mall destroyed in fire pleads guilty

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The owner of a Columbia strip mall destroyed in an April 2012 pleaded guilty in Boone County court.

Mark Stevenson, the owner of 106 Business Loop 70 West LLC, pleaded guilty to seven counts of "miscellaneous property violations."

The charges were filed after the city issued several notices to the owner, ordering the demolition of the destroyed building. The city said the property owners delayed cleanup at the site.

The April 1, 2012 early morning fire caused more than $6 million in damage and lost inventory at numerous stores, including O'Reilly Auto Parts, Hong Kong restaurant, Dollar General and a barber shop.

When asked for comment about the guilty plea, Stevenson told ABC 17 News: "I look forward to telling my side of the story someday."

The city decided to waive jail time for Stevenson, but he faces up to $3,500 in fines.

A jury trial had been scheduled to begin Wednesday.

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