Homeowners get the boot

Sandusky forcing residents from their homes because bankrupt property owner failed to pay $50K water bill.
Shawn Foucher
Jun 19, 2013

"Fine with me." 

So said Joe Yost, when asked Tuesday how he feels about the city gearing up to toss a dozen or more Sandusky families out on the street within the next month or so. 

Yost, owner of Hoppers mobile home park on Venice Road, hasn't paid the property's water bill in about five years, according to city officials, and he's about $50,000 in arrears. 

So the city's leaders came up with a grand solution: Shut off the water Aug.1 and evict the residents. The health department would deem a health hazard to live there without water service.   

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Yost had little else to say about the situation when reached by phone, other than accusing the residents of failing to pay him for their water service. He said he and city officials are working out some details, but he declined to discuss the matter further before hanging up the phone. 

Tuesday afternoon, three residents at the park showed a reporter copies of receipts for recent water bills.   

"It's not my fault the (expletive) screwed me out of this and didn't pay the water bill," said Lawrence Allen Jr., 46, who has owned the same trailer at Hoppers for the past 20 years. "I have nowhere to go. If they shut my water off, I'll still be here. I'll go buy a Porta Potty and put one right in my (expletive) front yard. I'll haul water in." 

For now, the water is still running. 

Even so, the folks in this ill-fated park along Venice Road know greater troubles are just around the corner. Some are hoping for the best, others are carrying on as if the worst is inevitable. 

As Allen talked about digging in his heels and fighting to the bitter end, another resident, Bill Mullins, quietly pried away at the metal skin off his trailer. By early afternoon he had removed most of the metal shell, which he'll sell for scrap. 

Half a dozen or more of the mobile homes have already met similar fates, skeleton frame left in their places.    

Like Allen, Harry Litteral, 49, doesn't plan to leave quietly or easily. He watched as Mullins peeled the trailer like an orange.  

"We ain't touching our houses," Litteral said. "That's crazy."  

"I have almost $18,000 tied up in my trailer," Allen said. "And they're just going to throw us out in the street without any compensation?"  

Both men are on disability. Allen said he was injured years ago. Litteral said he still suffers from a long-ago attack, when he was shot four times in the back by his half-brother. 

More than two weeks ago, a handful of public agencies hosted an information session in the parking lot of Westgate Center, a property Yost also owned until a bank grabbed hold of it a few years ago. Hoppers residents were invited to the session, where agencies passed out brochures and packets about services offered.

There are 36 lots at Hoppers, at least eight of them vacant. Other trailers appear empty or disassembled, although in some cases people are still living inside. At this point it's unclear how many people still live at the mobile home park.   

City officials said they're working with the residents to help them relocate. 

Head out to Hoppers this week, you'd get a different story. 

"They haven't done (expletive) for nobody," Allen said. "Every time you go talk to one of them, it's, 'Go see this person, go see that person, go see this person.' But after you go through a whole train of people, you get the person at the end who says, 'Well, what do you want us to do for you? What are we supposed to do?' 

"What are you supposed to do? You're supposed to do something," Allen said. "You're throwing us out in the (expletive) street."

It's unclear how Yost could have gotten so far in arrears on the water bill, or why the city is pushing the residents out without offering other potential options. It's also not clear who made the decision to evict the residents and how the city arrived at that decision.  

The Register has asked all seven city commissioners for their view, if only to determine if the city will delay its timetable for shutting off the water, or provide more individual help to some of the park's residents. 

The Register asked commissioners to reply by Friday.

 

Comments

pavedparadise

Nope!!!! Its the one at Venice and Tiffin

44870 South

Wow...this is just terrible. Can't Habitat for Humanity or something like that get involved here? That Park needs some TLC for sure. Every cent needs to be paid back to the city. But these people need help, not all of them back there choose to live in filth. I say mow down the trailers that are a complete eyesore, plant trees, or put in a some swing sets and slides. Give the people back there who don't live in squalor a chance to show pride of ownership...and yes...I also agree with paying rent and utilities directly to the city.

twosenseworth

This is an extension of a much larger problem in Erie County, where delinquent property owners have the ability to acquire more and more property, despite owning existing delinquent property. To me, it makes perfectly good sense to pay the property taxes for what you presently own before acquiring more property. Others though, don't share this view. Hence, the problems multiply.

gene44870

Now this has got to really suck for the residents , I know if it were me and this happen ed to me I would be fighting with the owners as well as the city . Even if it ment me getting lawyer and filing suit against the city as well as the owners of the property and ask the court for a restraining order against the city as well as the property owner from shutting off the water for the ones that have paid .. I relize the city has a point , but you have to look at the whole picture and not take it out on the tenants that are current .
And to say , well to bad , you have to get out and we are not going to help in anyway speaks loud and clear what this city is all about .
If this where Cedar Point , I bet they would be working hard to fix the problem

2cents

No offense to the residents, but I did not like to park over by there when Mr. Wiggs was in the plaza!

heaven-leigh

I miss Mr. Wiggs and Foodtown too.

2cents

The mini mall before the mall! I know, I was a little freaked out moving to the area in the early 70's from a bigger city that had two malls.

SamAdams

There's no excuse whatsoever for the City to have let ANYbody run up a bill that size for so long. NONE. Sure, the landlord is, just as some have said, scum. But $50,000 is seriously out of control!

The residents, at least some of them, DID pay their water bill (to the landlord, doubtless a requirement of the space rental). So why are the RESIDENTS being punished? The City should change the billing so that each resident can pay his or her own water bill directly to the City, and the City should go after Yost for what he collected and never paid.

Unless, of course, as some allege here, there's some sort of a "plan" to get rid of the trailer park... It's not that I can't see some rationale for that, but at the same time, the wrong people are being penalized here! That needs to be addressed, and it needs to be addressed BEFORE anybody is homeless.

heaven-leigh

The trailer park on Rt.101 is not going to let them move their mobile homes there. They want to tear down all the older ones that they already have there. Last I heard years ago it was over $600 just to move in there. "Entrance fee." Probably even higher now.

Hurley

Not to dash hopes, but the residents aren't going to stay.
Go to the Erie County Auditors website and put in parcel 5801990000, then chose the tax tab. $293,000+ owed in back real estate taxes. If you solve the water problem, the tax problem is next, then it will be the mortgage. We should all empathize with the tenants, but if the city bends it will only be a few more weeks before the county or the bank becomes the new bad guy.

starryeyes83

The residents should call Fox 8 or Channel 5 or Channel 11 ... as far as lawyers go they should Call Legal Aid or something.. This is an absolute OUTRAGE! It's a good thing some of them kept their proof of payment. Always keep your receipts or cancelled checks for proof - most especially IF YOU rent whether it is a home or LOT rent.

Mum-of-One

I think if the tenants had known that the water was not being paid to that extent their rent could have been put in escrow. I think that there are regulations about unpaid utilities. It's hard to believe that the unpaid water bill is as high as $50,000. Regular households are shut off after the second payment is missed. I think the city should have made the tenants aware that the water was not being paid so that they could have looked for legal advice since they were paying their rent in "good faith". I also thought that by including the utility company as a creditor in your bankruptcy schedules, the utility company will receive official notice that you have filed for bankruptcy protection. That will ensure that the utility company does not terminate your utility services due to your pre-bankruptcy delinquent account. I am not sure if this would apply in this case but it is something to think about.

devilsadvocate

1. If they paid Yost and he didn't pay - did they know? If so, couldn't they pay directly - or at least get a lawyer and put their rent in escrow. Why didn't they pay the water dept directly - sounds like they just paid him rent which included water. Did they get water bills?

2. After looking at the pictures in the Register - it doesn't look like this is the most habitable place to live.

gene44870

I have to say that its not the responsablity of the tenents to see that the water bill or taxes is paid , its the owner of the park that is resposable . and to hold the tenants like they are and avicting them from there is a crime as far as I am concerned
I am not saying that what the park is doing is right , cause from what I have read on here , the palce should have been shut down years ago . But I am saying that the way the city is going about it is really wrong , I would like to think that some of the people that live there are working and paying taxes and to just throw them out without any recourse is WRONG . I would like to think that some of the trailers in that park are liveable , and what is going to happen to the trailers once everyone is gone ? I can tell yea , they will sit there unattended and will become just like the others and it will take the city years to do anything about it cause its private property and there are going to be channels that are going to have be done and thats going to cost the tax payers even more money, Wheres it end ?

AEversole

God of thunder how could you sleep st night knowing you forced children out of there home and into a shelter for doing nothing wrong. You are crazy and dillusional if you think that is ok and I am embarrassed to even live in a city where the commissioners would even consider putting them kids out in the street regaurdless of a notice. If you don't have the money to move, are you going to give it to them. I didn't think so. Think twice before rushing these people to the homeless shelter. Have a heart.

heaven-leigh

This isn't the city of Sanduskys' fault. They let it slide for 5 years! This is the park owners doing.

God Of Thunder

Have you been through the trailer park??? Walk through, not drive through, and look at how neglected it has been for several years. I would sleep very well knowing that these kids would be in a better place. I am going to assume that you have never been through the place to know what you are talking about, so I will let it go at that. I and you will give them the money, because it will be public assistance, and these folks, I believe, they deserve it.

Yeah... I may be crazy, but I call them as I see them.

goodtime1212

I know a few good people that live in the park, work hard just to get by, they paid there lot rent on time every month, trash and water is included in the lot rent, they had NO idea until the city came knocking on the door there was any trouble. Seems to me that would be theft on Yost part.
Mr Yost is the same man that went bankrupt on the Cold Creek Crossing development levying the city hanging, also the Westgate plaza that is in foreclosure. scub bag

Blues

Hmmm... It seems as though Mr. Yost has the DILLIGAF syndrome.

TboneWalkerJr

MY GOD!! Peeling the siding off his own trailer to sell for scrap and continuing to live there???

The WHOLE PARK SHOULD BE CONDEMNED

huronguy

Off topic sorry here but I wish the register would tell us about the trouble the newly hired sandusky boys basketball coach got into and want to jail for. Also what about the guy who shot himself last night in sandusky. T. Greene.

God Of Thunder

Yost was even being paid lot rent for these people and supposed to include garbage pick-up..He stopped paying the garbage bill so everyone just started tossing their trash outside, for years, so that tells you what kind of shape the park is in.. Yost is a terrible person and it's like he held everyone captive.

I can understand with legal reasons why the city took so long to act, but enough is enough. The city is doing the right thing. Not to mention all the property taxes he owes on this property, and the shopping center..Oh and Cold Creek development.

Free Man

they would be left alone if they where black, the city is racist !

God Of Thunder

Dude..That's just wrong...You know it...

LadyC

The whole thing is terrible! Those people do not deserve this and the problems should have been addressed a long time ago. So where is this landlord? I'll bet he isn't living like the tenants are.

EricB

I feel that it is a real shame that the residents of this mobile home park are being made to suffer because the park owner didn't pay the water bill. There should have been charges against Joe Yost a long time ago. He should be in jail for theft of services and probably other charges. The residents deserve much better than what they are getting out of this situation. The residents that can show a reciept for payment of their bill should be able to get water directly from the city. The city should be going after Joe Yost, not the unfortunate residents.

The governed

Scumbag sure lives the highlife with his cigar boat friends on Kelleys Is.

dorothy gale

Throw the owner's a$$ in jail and let the trailers stay, rent free, with the tenants paying all their utility bills including water. Or don't put the scumbag in jail and sieze all his personal property instead. Then garnish any wages he makes until the day he dies.

queenjhb

Lets see a good photo of Joe and all his assets, Shame on him, He has been very inhumane and needs to be made to live in the condition he has left for his tenants. slumlord!

pptrsha

job and family services has the money right now to to pay security and first month rent to any working individual that is eligible for medicaid and/or food stamps, heap, etc

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