Sunday 6 August 2023

First, city demolishes man's home after sending warnings to wrong address; now it wants to foreclose on property to pay for demolition costs: Report

 The city of Atlanta demolished a man's home after sending warnings to the wrong address — and now it wants to foreclose on the property to pay for the demolition costs, WSB-TV reported.

What are the details?

Homeowner Everett Tripodis told the station in an initial report several months ago that the city sent warnings to the wrong address before demolishing his century-old home — an investment property he bought with his mother and was remodeling on Atlanta’s historic West End.

Tripodis’ property is on Lawton Street in zip code 30310, WSB said. However, the station noted that city of Atlanta demolition documents references Lawton Avenue in zip code 30314 — over a mile away. The station said it verified that certified letters to an incorrect address were returned to sender.

“I come and meet the contractor one morning, and the whole house is gone," Tripodis told the station. "Everything is gone. Nothing but dirt.” 

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Tripodis added to WSB that they even paid an annual fee to list the home with Atlanta’s vacant property registry as required by law: “The city had the correct address, the correct owner’s address in its internal records ... it blows my mind how they could have mistakenly sent [the warnings] to the wrong address." 

As you might expect, Tripodis sued the city over the demolition — but the station said the suit is stuck in the Fulton Court system.

“I’m not going to let the city take this from me," he added to WSB. "I’m going to fight them tooth and nail."

A new problem

In the station's new story, Tripodis said the the city of Atlanta is suing him, saying it intends to foreclose and take the property.

“When I saw [the envelope] came from the city, I was quite excited. Maybe it was a letter of apology. Maybe it was a check. Maybe they’re going to justly compensate me. I opened it up and realized that they were suing me,” Tripodis told WSB.

The station said the city is alleging that “the property should be sold at public outcry unless one or more of the interested parties tenders the full redemption amount" — which, taking interest into account, is now more than $68,000 in demolition costs.

“After you air the story, after everyone sees it, instead of them fixing the problem, they double down and do it again," Tripodis told WSB. "It’s like after the slap comes the spit in my face. I’m just frustrated."

The station said Tripodis only has weeks to respond to the foreclosure suit.

WSB said it contacted the mayor’s office about the situation, which replied that it's researching the situation.

Here's WSB's video report about the demolition which aired in the spring:

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