Landlord says family must leave

Rent payment is cited in notice

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A Harrisburg family found living in squalor last week is being ordered out of their house not only by the city but also by their landlord, who says they owe a partial month's rent.

Through his attorney, James Overstreet, property owner John B. Weigle Jr. sent a letter to his tenants last week, demanding they vacate for nonpayment.

Overstreet filed a dispossessory affidavit in Magistrate Court on Tuesday, another step in the eviction process, stating they're behind $320 on their $550 monthly rent.

The demand letter was dated Sept. 22, the day after License and Inspection officials visited the one-story bungalow at 223 Eve St., a few blocks from the Kroc Center construction site.

Responding to a complaint about an extension cord running from one house to another, inspectors found Rebecca Tankersley, her three grandsons and her two brothers living without electricity or running water, with jars of urine and a bag of feces in the house, rotting floors, a sagging ceiling, and more feces and buckets of urine in the backyard. The house was also roach-infested and so crammed with furniture and junk that it created a fire hazard.

Code Enforcement Manager Pam Costabile had it condemned for occupancy and told the family to have their things out by Friday. They're still in the house, though, because they're broke and have nowhere to go, said Tankersley's sister, Willie Bell

Tankersley, 53, is hospitalized at University Hospital. She has pancreatitis and diabetes, and the humiliation and stress of losing her home led to a physical breakdown Monday, her sister said.

A worker from Harrisburg's Mercy Ministries visited the house Tuesday, asking questions in hopes of finding a program or source of money to put a roof over their heads. Executive Director Fran Oliver said they might get help through rapid rehousing stimulus money, but she needs to talk to Tankersley to find out where she wants to live and what she can afford.

"These people need hope, more than they need anything," Oliver said.

Two of Tankersley's grandsons are mentally disabled, and the youngest, 15, has a juvenile criminal history, Bell said. Her brothers are also disabled, one saying he has an injured hip and shoulder, the other with prostate cancer and bronchitis.

Bell said her sister, who has been living off her grandsons' Social Security checks, fell behind on utility bills after being hospitalized last month and suffering a heart attack. She told The Augusta Chronicle on Monday that, despite what Weigle's letter said, Tankersley was current on her rent payments.

She apologized for that Tuesday, saying she made a mistake. Bell stood by her assertion, however, that Weigle has begun eviction proceedings only to cover himself.

Tankersley has gotten behind before, but her landlord worked with her, Bell said. She said he also promised he'd fix some of the structural problems cited by code enforcement.

"He wants to make it look like it's her fault, not his," she said.

Overstreet said that although the demand letter was dated the same day the news story broke, he started working on it before learning that the city condemned the house.

Neighborhood activist and mayoral candidate Lori Davis said she doesn't buy it, considering that Weigle kept the Tankersleys at the property even after three public protests by her activist group, including one in front of his home and another outside his workplace. Claiming 223 Eve St. was a drug house -- which the family strongly denies -- Davis sued Weigle unsuccessfully in Magistrate Court.

"He went to court for them, but now he's putting them out over $320?" Davis said.

Weigle has declined to speak to The Chronicle about the situation.

Family members told the newspaper Monday that, before the inspectors visited, they were siphoning electricity in to keep meat in the refrigerator cold. Since then, they've been using the bathroom at neighbors' houses, or using water from neighbors so they can flush the toilet.

Costabile, of License and Inspection, said she has never had tenants refuse to leave a condemned dwelling, and she is checking with the Law Department on what to do next.

With Weigle's dispossessory affidavit filed, the Marshal's Office will serve the Tankersleys with a court summons giving them seven days to respond. If they stay in the house, a hearing could be set at a later date.

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corgimom
30076
Points
corgimom 09/29/10 - 02:14 am
0
0
I bet by now Mr. Weigle

I bet by now Mr. Weigle wishes he had never even heard of the Tankersleys.

RAWR
0
Points
RAWR 09/29/10 - 02:15 am
0
0
I dont get it. She was

I dont get it. She was hospitalized last month and fell behind on utilities? After a month they wouldn't cut utilities off. Unless they had a history of late or non payments.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 09/29/10 - 06:19 am
0
0
"These people need hope, more

"These people need hope, more than they need anything," Oliver said,

and he's got it right. When subsidy programs take away personal responsibility and personal accountability and leave the recipient a slave of the federal subsidy system, all hope of any kind of self respect or self confidence is gone, especially when the slavery becomes multi-generational.

This is a national disaster used to secure a vote for one of our political parties, and for this reason this pitiful situation will continue to be supported by way too many people.

Brad Owens
4178
Points
Brad Owens 09/29/10 - 06:24 am
0
0
Despicable slumlord Weigle!

Despicable slumlord Weigle! Shame on you!

So NOW, all of the sudden Slumlord Weigle wants these people out and wants to do it all legal through the courts.

Slumlord Weigle is an exploiter of the poor and obviously greedy person. This man is not a good person given the way he has handled these struggling and suffering people.

Slumlord Weigle is making money off of the poorest in our society, the elderly, the sick, and the desperate.

Yet, Lori and Butch are the bad guys down there if you listen to these West Augusta slumlord leeches like Slumlord Weigle that live off others misery.

This is despicable behavior from so-called ‘decent’ people in the community.

I am not a member of the God Squad, but there has to be a special place in hell for people who benefit off others misery like this. Greed is a sin and so is the usury which is what I consider $550.00 per month for a property that should be condemned.

Where is all the self-righteous indignation about this issue of obvious sinful exploitation of our fellow man?

crickets.....

Let an issue about Obama (any issue about him), gay marriage, gays in the military Mexican illegals, or porn shops on the Southside and you will see pages of posts quoting the Bible in support of their what appears to be selective outrage. But have a West Augusta land-slum-lord in the crosshairs and it becomes a 'legal' issue.

I call it like I see it. I hope one of the churches steps forward to help these poor people in their time of need. Seems like the God Squad is the only folks that will even try help in sitiuations like these so please don't take my comments as anti-church, they are not, I just want the moral side of this to be considered and not just the $$$.

Slumlord Weigle should be viewed for what he is, not what he says he is.

I also think that because the Slumlord owners are white and live on the Westside and are viewed as 'productive members of society' and the tenants are poor minorities living in what is viewed by certain parts of our community, the so-called 'polite' society, as working class and 'black' that it makes people less inclined to support the poor people in this case. Or at the very least it provides a certain level of 'benefit of doubt' for Slumlord Weigle.

This is not an overt race issue, but I do feel it flavors people's opinions about who is right and why is to blame in this situation. I have seen comments on here about how 'lazy' these people must be and 'Section 8' living ect.. yeah, in Augusta it is just soooo easy to get a job if you are poor, black, living with no water to wash, no car, and unemployment is double digit. Yeah, these people are just plain ol' lazy huh?

Will some of you memebrs of the God Squad get help for these people? I am 7500 miles away or I would help myself. I mean isn't there any compassion for the people suffering or is it just for the poor slumlord?

It just seems that everyone is overlooking the aspect of human suffering here.

Brad

vetbubba99
6
Points
vetbubba99 09/29/10 - 06:32 am
0
0
Salvation Army has some of

Salvation Army has some of the rapid rehousing money Miss Fran talks about that could help put these people in affordable housing and so does CSRA EOA. It is a shame but this is typical of how the people of Harrisburg need the help of the Kroc Center first stop now.

Brad Owens
4178
Points
Brad Owens 09/29/10 - 06:34 am
0
0
Cliff, these people are not

Cliff, these people are not "subsidy" as you put it. They are poor for sure but your banging the "subsidy" drum is worse than my banging the anti-DDA drum...well almost.

Anyway, don't you have one ounce of compassion for the human suffering here? Or is the fact they are poor and "subsidy" people mean you forget they are humans?

You blame Obama for the economy, so why not use this as another angle for banging that drum here?

I mean, what has all those 100's of Billions done to help folks like these who really need jobs, any job JUST TO LIVE. Stimulating? Not so much.

Not everyone who takes public assitance is a lazy minority right? I know that 'subsidy' has become white conservative code talk for "blacks on welfare" so drop the mantra or be honest in your assertions.

Brad

Brad Owens
4178
Points
Brad Owens 09/29/10 - 06:40 am
0
0
vetbubba99, I wish I were

vetbubba99,

I wish I were home to help sort this out. If I were home I would show up to magistrate court and pay the balance of the rent to the Slumlord for them, just so he cannot get rid of the problem so easy. So that he has to FACE this and be shown for what he is.

I may send someone down to pay it anyway. Can someone find out when the court date is?

I am not joking at all.

Brad

Brad Owens
4178
Points
Brad Owens 09/29/10 - 06:45 am
0
0
These people should sue

These people should sue Slumlord Weigle for not keeping the property up to code. For every month they have been forced to live like this he should have to pay them back, plus punitive damages.

Also, if they have paid the rent, he needs to be forced to repair the house and bring it up to code OR pay them back all the rent they have paid so far, all the while paying for temp accomodation for these renters that have been abused and exploited.

PUNISH all slumlords!

Brad

ispy4u
0
Points
ispy4u 09/29/10 - 07:46 am
0
0
BRAD, excellent posts.

BRAD, excellent posts. Amazing how a slum lord is made out to be a victim. Only in Augusta. LOL

JustMe
0
Points
JustMe 09/29/10 - 07:49 am
0
0
The condition of the house

The condition of the house may not all be the landlord's fault. The filth and trash is not his doing. Any structural problems he is responsible for. He has been ticketed several times for trash outside. I am sure he didn't put it there. These people are not on Section 8 from the way I understand it. They have disabled children on SSI which is different. All the blame should not be on the landlord.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 09/29/10 - 07:51 am
0
0
Good ideas Brad. I am sure
Unpublished

Good ideas Brad. I am sure with all of the ppl commenting on this article, by the end of the day, we should be able to collect 320 dollars+ to help this family out. . . . . . . . What's up ppl? Where is your heart?

gregleopard
150
Points
gregleopard 09/29/10 - 08:03 am
0
0
Brad, your argument

Brad, your argument presupposes that the tenants did not cause the damage that has caused the home to fail to meet code.

As for those pleading for this family: aren't most of you the same ones who have been screaming that these people are drug dealers for the past year and have to get out of the neighborhood immediately? Are you now saying that the landlord was correct in defending them, as they were actually helpless law abiding folks? Where were you all while Davis was slandering their name his past year?

Little Lamb
44846
Points
Little Lamb 09/29/10 - 08:12 am
0
0
iLove wrote: I am sure with

iLove wrote:

I am sure with all of the ppl commenting on this article, by the end of the day, we should be able to collect 320 dollars+ to help this family out.

Wait a minute! The Richmond County Marshal's department has ordered the family to vacate immediately because the house is a threat to human health. Why should charitable people give $320 to the landlord for "back rent" when he has tolerated these unsafe conditions? It would be better to give the $320 (or whatever is collected through charitable donations) to the family for their new living quarters. Don't give it to Weigle.

gregleopard
150
Points
gregleopard 09/29/10 - 08:20 am
0
0
My perspective is a little

My perspective is a little different than yours on this one Brad. Don't get me wrong, I love your thoughts every time I read them on the AC site but on this one I simply must disagree.

I see a landlord who after well documented sacrifice (hiring a lawyer, going to trial, personal and business protests by Davis) defended these people against uneducated and ignorant attacks about their so called "business" to an extent that no other landlord would, only to learn that the very people who he defended were destroying his property with no regard for the time and money he invested in defending them.

dani
12
Points
dani 09/29/10 - 08:28 am
0
0
The woman has 2 brothers,

The woman has 2 brothers, both disabled; 2 grandsons, mentally deficit and they are all living off the children's social security checks.
She has health problems of her own. It appears that she is a very generous and caring woman, but a woman whose generosity is misplaced. The children's social security is meant for them, improper used can mean a loss of checks.
My problem is, what on earth is the answer. Not a one of them care enough it seems to clean the place up. Trash piled in the house can be removed without utilities. I am frustrated. I realize there are two sides of the story. The taxpayers who I suppose owe the people a living and the residents themselves The landlord has NO side. Leave him out. Condemn the house and property.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 09/29/10 - 09:15 am
0
0
The meaning of my comments:
Unpublished

The meaning of my comments: Lets help the family out.

Maybe I should have said, "Lets take up a collection, so the family can have somewhere to stay until they are able to find another place to live." My bad. . . lol

alsteve
0
Points
alsteve 09/29/10 - 08:37 am
0
0
I want to know why why child

I want to know why why child protective services was not called in if you have minors living in these conditions and their guardians are not providing them with the care they need???????

gnumbgnuts
0
Points
gnumbgnuts 09/29/10 - 08:48 am
0
0
Not saying in this case

Not saying in this case necessarily, but many people get "crazy checks" that are no crazier than some/most of these posters.

Just My Opinion
5428
Points
Just My Opinion 09/29/10 - 08:53 am
0
0
After the people are finally

After the people are finally gone from this house, I think the judge should force "Slumlord" Weigle to live in this house for at least a week, with no outside help or assistance. I would never do business with this man or his company because he shows he is only out for himself. How anyone can defend him is beyond me.

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 09/29/10 - 09:03 am
0
0
Brad slumlords come in all

Brad slumlords come in all colors...ask the folks who rented betty beards property..........................

Brad Owens
4178
Points
Brad Owens 09/29/10 - 09:05 am
0
0
LL, The point I am making is

LL,

The point I am making is that the landlord has lied on the record in court and these people have not been treated fairly.

Lori Davis and Butch are RIGHT! They didn't just picket the house itself, they also confronted the slumlord in front of his house. They were asked to leave by the Sheriff because they were blocking traffic or something if I remeber correct.

The pont I was making about paying the rent was so they could sue the slumlord for not holding up his end of the bargain. The courts are the great equalizer on things like this.

Judge Bill Jennings is the most compassionate and fair man I have ever met on the bench. He doesn't like being lied to, and Slumlord Weigle did lie if he said, under oath, that he made visits to this house.

I just wish to God I could be in that courtroom to help these people face down this liar and exploiter of fellow human beings.

This proves Lori is right on the CNPO and shows why we need it. It will help alleviate human suffering in our community. We really need Lori.

Brad

P.S. iLove, I cannot understand how poor, elderly, disabled, people who are suffering at the hands of greedy Slumlord Weigle are being made out to be the SOLE problem and the poor hard working insurance saleman Slumlord Weigle, living in his VERY comfortable home in West Augusta, is the victim here. At least he can afford a lawyer to defend himself from being held accountable for his greed and abuse of these people huh?

stanley
2
Points
stanley 09/29/10 - 09:14 am
0
0
I have issues with both sides

I have issues with both sides of this problem. You can be poor, but you don't have to live in filth. Regardless of being sick, you can still take care of basic needs. They have family that comes by all the time to visit, why didn't they help with cleaning up. Twice a week there is trash pick up by the county. If these people are able to move around and hang out in the yard and porch, why can't they clean up their daily trash? When they are moved, whose to say this won't happen again? Maybe money should be raised to hire a maid to come clean for them? Please don't preach about them having illnesses, there are many people that are very sick and take care of themselves and their basic needs. It doesn't take money to clean your house or take the trash out! Helping the family out is great, but what are they doing to help themselves?

As for the landlord, he needs to get with the program, but if he's only meeting them at the gate to get the rent, he may not know what is going on. I have a friend who owns rental property in Harrisburg and she's told me that it is nearly impossible to get into a couple of her properties just to check on the conditions in order to make need repairs. One tenant told her she would be stompin on his civil rights, inspecting his house. But he'd be the first to join this band wagon to beat up the landlord from West Augusta.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 09/29/10 - 09:16 am
0
0
I c Brad. Please read my
Unpublished

I c Brad. Please read my follow up comment. I didn't get my point across the way I intended to, in my first comment. . . . . it's early in the a.m. :)

anotherlook
88
Points
anotherlook 09/29/10 - 09:24 am
0
0
Brad, you may have missed

Brad, you may have missed some of yesterday's comments regarding the article that was posted. Someone commented that the Harrisburg Association of Churches had tried to assist the family and their assistance was declined. As for the situation with the utilities, when services have been cut off, a deposit must be paid in addition to any outstanding amounts owed. Few non-profit government funded programs will pay a deposit for a client given the fact that the deposit is refundable to the client. Once a place is found for the family these same deposits will be required. This would be a good place for the churches to step in and provide assistance if the family will now let them. I made several recommendations that would allow stabilization for the family and address their immediate needs. It is not that no one knows what to do...there needs to be someone who will do it! I do understand what Fran Oliver is talking about though. After so many years of bad choices, illness, trials, financial problems, and powerlessness over one's situation, it is possible to lose hope and just give up. What we see here is the face of such a failure. Do you think that in a way, this is our failure as well? After all, this time we didn't have the excuse that these folks were isolated way back in the woods somewhere in a rural county.

gregleopard
150
Points
gregleopard 09/29/10 - 09:25 am
0
0
How exactly are Butch and

How exactly are Butch and Lori right, Brad? They picketed because the landlord allowed drug dealers to reside in the home--an allegation that all seem to now consider a debunked argument, As for the landlord saying that he visited the home regularly: I seem to remember in yesterdays article the tenant saying that the landlord personally picked up a check from the home each month.

The CNPO is a little more interesting. It seems as though our current system is removing these people from the residence as Code Enforcement's contamination claim will ultimately allow the marshals to clear the property. CNPOs, as they are written, would not allow for the tenant's removal in this case as they require a "3-strikes" provision within a 6 month period, that is, 3 violations within 6 months. Based on the AC's own investigation, there haven't been 3 violations in 6 months.

This case has been the focal point of Davis arguing for a CNPO, but ironically, the facts of this case would suggest that the current system would be more effective, in this matter, than a CNPO.

airbud7
1
Points
airbud7 09/29/10 - 09:25 am
0
0
Little Lamb/ I agree ( Don't

Little Lamb/ I agree ( Don't give it to Weigle) give it to the family for their new living quarters.

harrisburgwillrise
0
Points
harrisburgwillrise 09/29/10 - 09:31 am
0
0
Here is the truth out of

Here is the truth out of Harrisburg, so everyone listen up. The tactics used against Mr. Weigle by Harrisburg activists were set forth in a research study funded by HUD. The study is called,"Solving Chronic Nuisance Problems; A Guide for Neighborhood Leaders." Members of the Harrisburg Neighborhood Association went through a rigorous process before ever protesting or taking Mr. Weigle to court.It began with a simple phone call to Mr. Weigle describing the problems at his rental property. This was the last call he ever took from the Association and that was 2 and a half years ago. The family at 223 Eve has been an antagonist for 5 years in Harrisburg. The police have over 60 documented calls in an 18 month period. The decent people of Harrisburg are fearful of them, and I imagine if the truth were known, so is Mr. Weigle. Auben Homes who owns the house next door has been unable to keep their property rented because of the behavior of their neighbors. No one has ever told Mr. Weigle to get rid of these tenants, but only to meet with us to discuss a solution to the ongoing problems and complaints from Harrisburg residents. He has refused on all levels. This entire exercise was done to prove the need for a Chronic Nuisance Property Ordinance. If Mr. Weigle had met with the association members, none of this would be happening today. Augusta has refused to entertain the idea of a CNPO, calling it unconstitutional. What do we call this situation, with no rememdy in sight after 8 days. Many wonder why people are not rushing to this family's aid. This family has antagonized an entire neighborhood on a variety of levels for years. Augusta ranks #5 in the nation per capita for non profits that handle the homeless and underserved. It is now time for these groups to step up with the help of John Weigle. For Harrisburg residents to help to continue to enable this problem, I don't see it happening.

peepanson
0
Points
peepanson 09/29/10 - 09:35 am
0
0
Mr. Landlord. Im sure that

Mr. Landlord.
Im sure that this is'nt the first time you've heard your name called, or h
eard about the property problem in Harrisburg? It's strange that after all
the bad things that have been reported in the news, that you will do ever
ything to make yourself look good? You are more at fault than this family
are, and not just you. But the Mayor, County Commissioners, Inspection
Department, and many others who should be on this Train of Shame? A
nd dont think that this is the only house and family in question, This situ
ation goes all over the CSRA. With people of all races. Mr. Landlord, why
did'nt you speakout that this family were behind in payment, when this is
sue first started? You and your property have been in the spotlight for q
uite sometime, and you just now seeing a reason to speak out? You, an
d all of the powers that be, have a right to Evict this family. But now a m
ore greater issue have surfaced, the Residents of the CSRA have heard a
very small part of their problems and lifethreatning situations. And that t
hey have Nowhere to go? You all are right, this is'nt your problem, and y
es, they made all of us look bad. By forcing and Reminding us, that there
are people lving far below the poverty level? We all can afford to feel goo
d and pat ourselves on the backs, because all of our bills are paid on tim
e, all of our families are well supported by what we are making on our job
s. We can sleep comfortablely in our beds? The bottomline is, that every
one of us is just steps away from this situation. It's nice to think that yo
ur Life is Better, and that this cant happen to you and your's? Final Wor
d, WE HAVE NOWHERE TO GO??????

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 09/29/10 - 09:36 am
0
0
Responsibility and blame go

Responsibility and blame go in both directions on this case. Even if Weigle wasn't the perfect landlord, Tankersley could have still maintained sanitary conditions on the property. Had Weigle really visited the property, he would have known about the junk and filth. Any good landlord would have insisted the tenants clean up the property, especially after having been cited by the city for the conditions of the yard. Any good landlord would have visited the tenants to ensure the allegations of the property being a drug house were false, and after having done so would have seen the structural problems and had them fixed. However, a good tenant would have kept the property clean. A good tenant would have reported structural problems so the landlord could fix them in a timely manner. If the problems were not fixed, a good tenant would have sought help with dealing with her landlord. It is possible that Ms. Tankersley didn't know how to handle Weigle's neglect of his property and was simply glad to have shelter. If he's evicting her for partial rent payment, then is it possible for her to counter-sue because of the structural problems that didn't just pop up over night?

anotherlook
88
Points
anotherlook 09/29/10 - 09:45 am
0
0
Harrisburgwillrise, please

Harrisburgwillrise, please don't assume that non-profits have not assisted this family in the past. Some organizations may have helped in the past but have a restriction on providing repeated assistance to clients due to great need in the community and limited resources at their disposal. We really don't know.

As for the allegations made about drug sales or trafficking, have any of the complaints been investigated and criminal charges brought against this family or one of it's members? Have criminal charges been substantiated and any of the family convicted of a crime? Remember the burden of proof is on the accuser. Let us not forget that if the rule of law is there for anyone it must be there for everyone.

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