Harrisburg landlord denies tenants run drug house

Landlord denies claims his tenants run drug house

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Harrisburg landlord John B. Weigle Jr., speaking from the witness stand Monday in Richmond County Magistrate Court, said he doesn't know anything about any drug dealing going on at his rental house at 223 Eve St.

A woman lives there with her two grandchildren, whom she's been raising since her daughter died of cancer, and Weigle said he wouldn't mind living next door to them.

"I would be glad to," he said.

The property has been the subject of three protests by neighborhood activists -- one outside Weigle's home in the Forest Hills subdivision.

Lori Davis, the president of the Harrisburg-West End Neighborhood Association, called the Eve Street home a "known neighborhood drug house" when she filed a small-claims complaint against Weigle in March.

Davis had her day in court Monday, telling Judge William D. Jennings III that she has been trying since 2007 to get Weigle to come to the table to resolve issues she has with his tenants but that he's been dodging her.

She's suing him for $5,000, which includes her donation toward bringing nuisance-properties expert John H. Campbell to Augusta earlier this year to talk to a commission committee she sits on.

Jennings didn't rule on the case Monday, but he's expected to before week's end. Weigle's attorney, Jack Long, asked him to dismiss the complaint because state law holds that landlords can't be held responsible to third parties for tenants' behavior.

The judge held off after Davis pointed out the state's nuisance and disorderly house codes.

Davis also called a witness: Charlotte Ginn, a children's pastor at Harrisburg's Bible Deliverance Temple. She described how she, pastor Kelly McKnight and his wife once passed by the Eve Street house and saw a woman who rented a unit from the church's Another Chance Ministry Network homeless outreach.

She was "looking sick," broke down and cried in the church office when confronted, and flunked a drug test, Ginn said.

Davis has said she doesn't expect to win the lawsuit, but she wants to prove homeowners have no recourse against problem landlords without a chronic nuisance properties ordinance.

Making the same statement, activist Butch Palmer filed two $15,000 Magistrate Court claims in March -- one against Joe Smith, the owner of the building at 1739 Fenwick St. that houses Mercy Ministries, and the other against the ministry itself.

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itamazezme
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itamazezme 05/11/10 - 01:05 pm
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MyParrot as the previous

MyParrot as the previous commentor I too am sorry about your mother's friend. But It is that same laid back I going to run from the situation rather than stand up for what is right that is adding to that neighborhoods problems. I don't know what your mom's friend has done to resolve that situation but not staying at her own home just lets them continue. Ask them to leave, call the police, and my personal fav if you step foot on my property especially after the above mentioned has failed I would shoot first and then we can have a real court battle!

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/11/10 - 03:16 pm
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Just a clarification: the

Just a clarification: the headline says

Harrisburg landlord denies tenants run drug house

The subheading says

Landlord denies claims his tenants run drug house

The article says

Harrisburg landlord John B. Weigle Jr., speaking from the witness stand Monday in Richmond County Magistrate Court, said he doesn't know anything about any drug dealing going on at his rental house at 223 Eve St.

There's quite a bit of difference in denying an activity versus saying you don't know anything about the activity. Hillary Clinton made good use of this “I don't know anything; I don't even suspect anything” defense many times.

Emerydan
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Emerydan 05/11/10 - 03:25 pm
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deleted

deleted

corgimom
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corgimom 05/11/10 - 07:45 pm
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Well, I guess he knows about

Well, I guess he knows about it now.

CorporalGripweed
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CorporalGripweed 05/11/10 - 08:49 pm
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Ms. Davis and Mr. Palmer et

Ms. Davis and Mr. Palmer et al, are definitely trying to raise awareness with these lawsuits. Winning is secondary to shining a light on the issue of...dare I say it...SLUMLORDS....who care more about continued revenue from their nuisance properties than they do about the neighborhoods their properties are located in.Still,it doesn't let law enforcement or code enforcement off the hook either. But totally letting the landlord off the hook is not correct . They ALL should be part of the equation.

myparrot
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myparrot 05/11/10 - 09:47 pm
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itamazezme As I stated she

itamazezme As I stated she did call and there was retaliation against her. She is an older woman living by herself she needs to be able to sleep at night. She has tried the police to no avail. While Harrisburg in some eyes seems to a bad place to live it was not as bad ad people made it out to be. Good working class people wanting to have homes and raise families made this area. LET'S CLEAN IT UP AND MAKE IT A DECENT AREA AGAIN,

Harrisburg Homeowner
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Harrisburg Homeowner 05/12/10 - 09:44 am
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Emerydan, you have made a

Emerydan, you have made a very good point. I myself made that point on my blog at http://www.ipetitions.com/my/petitions/245598/blog/1725/details.
Everyone, please take a look at my positions on this travesty that is occuring, not only in the Harrisburg community but all over Augusta-Richmond County. While you are there, if you haven't signed my petition, please do so.

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