Those are the words of Lenoir City revenue agent Don White. Steven Powell of WVLT covered the story of Karen Holloway of Lenoir City and her imprisonment for not keeping her yard maintained. Judge Terry Vann sentenced her to five days in prison, then after a little sunshine was shed on the story, cut it to six hours. The City is claiming this is a 12-year problem to justify their actions. The citation shown in the video is dated July 28, 2014 and it is claimed a lot of yard work has been done since then. The citation states that she was warned on June 13 that her property was in violation of “the City of Lenoir City’s Propert (sic) Maintenance Code.” Out of curiosity, I located the property to see what it looked like in recent Google street views. The picture to the left was captured in March of 2014, just three months before the citation. Not well manicured, but certainly not Sanford and Son either.
Here’s the only other image available, from September 2007. Notice the cut grass. I guess those shrubs in front of the porch are just too offensive. Where is the “12-year” ongoing problem? Notice the second news report said neighbors “never even really paid any attention to it, never really even noticed it”. So just exactly who is the ‘brother offended’ here?
The news coverage only featured revenue agent Don White, but neglects to mention the codes enforcement officer Rondel Branam who issued the citation. A little research reveals that Rondel has only been on the job with Lenoir City about a year. This was after the Mike and Debbie Johnson family sued Lenoir City and Wardley Homes LLC for $500,000 in a claim related to faulty construction that was alleged to have been concealed by the contractor and not reported by the paid code enforcement inspectors of Lenoir City:
“Beth Collins, assistant codes inspector with Lenoir City, confirmed in August 2013 that former inspector Leslie Johnson — no relation to the Johnson couple — nor the interim inspector, David Denton, had kept formal inspection records. Previous inspectors were keeping inspection notes on the back of property folders.
Lenoir City has since begun the practice of keeping inspection records and added Rondel Branam as its full-time codes enforcement inspector in September. Branam previously served in that capacity with the city of Loudon.” (emphasis mine)
Interesting. I guess the same inspectors must have kept really meticulous records of their “property maintenance code” citations though – for at least the last 12 years….right?
To add to the frustration, I tried to imagine myself being a resident of Lenoir City and wondering what else I could be imprisoned for related to landscape maintenance and tried to find this “Propert (sic) Maintenance Code”. After all, Ted Hall said “It’s interesting, you know the ordinances are there, you know the laws are there…”. I have searched the city website and tried the pages that might intuitively make sense: Codes Enforcement, City Documents, but to no avail. Only a selection of amendments are there. Has the city made a serious error here in imprisoning Mrs. Holloway and hidden their related code documents that might reveal that, or do they just inform residents of the code one citation at a time?