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Health Department files suit against Valley Properties

January 14, 2006|By PEPPER BALLARD

Discarded tires, untagged vehicles and other refuse allegedly piled up past due at a Hancock mobile home park prompted Washington County's health officer to file a lawsuit against the property's manager and owners.

Washington County Health Department Health Officer William G. Christoffel filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Circuit Court against Valley Properties of Hagerstown LLC, the managers of Vista Village Mobile Home Park, and its owners, asking the court to order them to comply with an April health department abatement order, and pay a $1,000 fine and court costs.

The owners are listed in the lawsuit as Stephen B. Sagi, Harold A. Eskew, Harry Galblum, George S. August and David M. Keil, tenants-in-common, trading as US-US Partners.

In his complaint, Christoffel said his agents received a complaint about Vista Village on March 31, 2005, and its sanitarians inspected the McKinley Drive property the next day, finding "a significant accumulation of garbage, tires, untagged vehicles, vacant trailers, old furniture and pallets."

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On April 15, Christoffel sent an order to remove the items in an Order to Abate Dangerous Public Health Conditions and/or Nuisance. But in nine subsequent investigations, between May 17 and Aug. 17, the refuse had not been removed.

"The defendants refuse, and have refused, to comply with the Abatement Order," Christoffel, through his attorney, Kirk C. Downey, assistant county attorney, wrote in the complaint.

In the order, dated April 15, Christoffel warned that if the refuse was not removed within 30 days, the health department would file a complaint in Circuit Court.

A message left seeking comment from Sagi, owner and president of Valley Properties, was not returned Friday.

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