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

Darkhorse

Why don't the commissioner discuss the problem at the commission table where it belongs instead of through e-mails to a reporter? Some of these people deserve an answer and help in relocating. The city says nothing on the matter.

God Of Thunder

The city has been involved with the residents. Don't forget, the residents did receive 3-4 months notice with an outstanding $50,000 water bill. Everyone has to remember, the city didn't cause this.. The slum lord owner is the cause for this situation. I think the city has been more than lenient and it's time..

candleburner

I'm not quite sure that they would have received the bill for this. They would have received their individual bills but probably not the entire bill that was in Mr. Yost's name. But I agree with the other's statements that it shouldn't have gotten out of hand the way it did and gotten up to $50,000 before anyone took action. I feel sorry for the people that live there and agree with whoever it was that suggested putting Yost in jail and letting the residents live there till the bill is paid back. But then you have the residents paying double for something that they've already paid for and Yost has pocketed and county residents are supporting him while he's getting 3 hots and a cot as the saying goes. But realistically I don't know if the City would be capable of taking over the property there even though that would be the best case scenario.

margaritaville88

God of Thunder: Agree with your statements !! Also, I would like to get the attention of DOLLAR GENERAL: Would you like to have your brand new shopping cart in the picture back ?? That is theft, period. If this is any indication of the actions of others there, then it would be wise to clean the place up. Just sayin...

margaritaville88

This P>O>S Yost is everywhere, but JAIL..WHY ??? http://www.morningjournal.com/ar...

margaritaville88

This scam artist keeps changing LLC's , the pattern is obvious. Take a look>> http://erie.iviewauditor.com/Dat...

margaritaville88

Connect the dots people !! WHO is letting this scum get away with this and doing nothing?? Wake up City of Sandusky. Everyone affected should get together and put him away for good before he runs ! http://erie.iviewauditor.com/Dat...

God Of Thunder

"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. "

Really SR??? Why the city is pushing residents out without offering options??? Don't you think letting this Scumbag go for 5 years and running up a $50,000 water bill is quite an option. I think the city has gone above and beyond over this whole situation and as far as delaying its timetable for shutting off the water....already said..

This place is long overdue to be shut down. It has been in a sad state of affairs for several years. I do feel bad for the residents getting forced out, but I also feel bad for the conditions they live in back there. The filth, stray animals, raw sewage flowing from under these trailers, and what scares me is the kids who run around barefoot through there.

I wish the residents luck, but believe me, it is for the better. Hopefully you will never have to deal with Yost again. You aren't the only people he has screwed over.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks God of thunder. Residents, some of whom own the mobile homes in which they live, had receipts showing they paid their water bills to the property owner. His company apparently didn't pay the city and is in arrears on other tax bills due to the city and other entities.

It doesn't seem unreasonable the SR would report updates on the frustrations the residents have with the  predicament they're in. I know I wouldn't like it if I were forced from my home through no fault of my own. It's good, perhaps, that you feel bad for the residents. The Register is simply reporting what is happening. 

It also doesn't seem unreasonable to ask how the overdue utilities bill to the property owner could reach $50,000 and what other steps there might be to assisting the residents who paid their bills. 

MrSandusky

Yes, but if the city allowed Yost to continue to recieve water service, even though he did not pay his bill for all these years and had an over $50,000 debt to the city what kind of precident would that set? Think about all of the other businesses and residents that would stop paying their bill if they did not have fear of the risk of having the water shut-off.

If you do not pay for your subscription to the Register for over 3 weeks what happens? If you do not pay for your electric service for a few months, what happens? If you do not pay Columbia Gas for a few months what happens? You get my point... The city has given this guy 5 years, and from what was said in the story it sounds like the residents and other agencies knew about this for some time now. How long is the city supposed to give out water for free?

Do not get me wrong, I do feel bad for the residents. But honestly, they need to group together and hire a lawyer. It is the only way they will recoop any of their losses in this. The city should not be expected to support or provide charity any longer, isn't 5 years long enough? For those that own the mobile homes, they can be moved. I know there is some expense involved, but I have see open spaces down 101 in the mobile home park by the ford plant. It is not the perfect fix, but it may be the best one available.

Rich Close

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God Of Thunder

Yawn.. These residents knew all along that this nit wit wasn't taking care of business. I think they had a clue when they had to start chucking trash bags out the front door. It is privately owned property and because of all the legalities and attorneys, the city's hands were tied.

And no...I don't work for the city...I don't live within the limits.

pavedparadise

Problem is the occupants can not squeeze blood out of Joe "Turnip" Yost. Lock him up.

bigdad1205

Put yost in jail for fraud. Have the residents pay their lot rent directly to city until its caught up. Not that hard to figure out.

YoMamma

Exactly bigdad! But that is to logical!!!

JACKEL

Common sense,no,you can't use that in settling things,not in politics !

grapplermom

These people have paid their bills. It's YOST who has not! Sandusky fix the problem! Where are 28 families who own their moblie home going to go????? DISGUSTED BY YOST!!! Most of these people can not afford to move their mobile or buy another one. They for sure can not afford an attorney. I know onw of the residents and he is a hard working man who can not afford to buy another home. Forced out for something completely out of their control. Why can't they start paying their water bills directly??? Go after the real crook YOST for his back payments!!!!
Clean up the trailer park & let these 28 familes stay!!!
GO AFTER YOST!!!!

TboneWalkerJr

How do YOU know they ALL paid their bills?? Maybe when they stopped paying the the water never got shut off they figured WHY bother? Sounds like some or even most can't even afford to live their. It is CLEARLY in the bottom 5% of trailer parks.

kURTje

Bigdog1205 has the answer! Matt westerhold take that ball & run with it!

Home Boy

Slum Dog Millionaire

deertracker

It is a sad situation and whoever allowed the bill to go unpaid for years needs to explain why. However, I really believe the city wants to clear out that entire area for commercial development and provide a better view for incoming tourists. Yost is a crook. Plain and simple. I have to admit though, that corner has looked awful for decades. It really does need cleaned up and the residents deserve some type of help relocating!

worddrow811

deertracker, you are right on the money about someone wanting the land! The City of Huron is doing the same thing to the mobile home park in Rye Beach. If the cities don't look favorable on first appearances, then the investors won't look twice at our areas. To city governments, tourists rule and Ford and New Departure have died and gone to Heaven. Look at the potential land re-use on that acreage. The land will always be here and is the most valuable commodity along with the Lake.

doggie mom

City wants to run the trash out of the trailer park cause it is a problem but I would love to know how 221 Rye beach got where it is...what a hole!!!!

Rich Close

I was going to post the same belief, the city let this happen to enable them to force them out. Why would Sandusky be any different than any other political entity, use their power and manipulate others to get what you want.

milemarkerzero

"Fine with me" he says!!!. I say put his smart a%% in jail. I know I'd be there if I owed the city 50k and did not pay it.

whocares

Why doesn't the City work out a deal with the home owners?

Sandusky44870

What about the kids! This place is so nasty and these kids are stuck playing there, because the city told there families Metro would be able to help. When they call Metro they tell them we will get to you we are still working on our 2010 list! The adults, whatever there adults but the children out there don't have a choice and it can't be very safe for scrap metal to be flying everywhere! I would think these people should be relocating the families with the kids before worrying about the others!

Truth or Dare

Hey bigdad1205; That would be the right and proper thing to do, and the SR or someone from the park should be contacting the ACLU in Cleveland, like when this first came about! If this story is in the hard copy today, I'll be mailing it out myself.

This is the trailer park on 101, south of the tracks right, not the one at the intersection of Venice and Tiffin, right? This is the same man who awhile back with a few others had quite a bit in unpaid taxes forgiven, right? Who is he married too? Or at least use to be? Why hasn't this man been charged with theft, let alone tax evasion? Who wants this property that the City would literally evict entire families from their homes? See, those are fair questions, because this could happen to anyone within this city that rents from a Landlord who doesn't pay their property taxes, let alone takes your $$$ for a city water bill and doesn't pay that either! Which trailer park in town is next?

Par for the course no one within City government knows who decided what. They know, just aren't saying and all the more reason I'll not cast a vote for not one City Commissioner that wouldn't speak up or out when a decision has been made to put several families w/children out onto the streets. The way I see it, the City is setting a precedent which could affect anyone who rents.

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