Neighbors of a condemned home in West Juneau are optimistic about the clean-up of the property so far, while the latest attorney representing the owner is asking to withdraw from the case.
Juneau attorney Bruce Weyhrauch explained during a hearing in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday that he was not in contact with his client Ronald W. Hohman. Weyhrauch does not have a current address for Hohman and he may have difficulty serving him with a notice of withdrawal. Contractor Leitoni Tupou, who also appeared in court, has power of attorney to act on behalf of Hohman.
Weyhrauch is the second attorney to represent Hohman in the last two years. In addition to the City and Borough of Juneau filing suit over unsafe conditions at 3101 Nowell Avenue, city officials earlier alleged violations of CBJ code requiring the use of public sewers and using a building that is considered as a public nuisance for human occupancy. Attorney Deborah Holbrook represented Hohman in that case which was later dropped.
Neighbors say they have complained for years about the deteriorating condition of the structure, junk in the yard, and debris inside the home that has attracted rodents and other wildlife.
As of Wednesday, much of the debris and building materials previously littering the yard appears to have been cleaned up, and a building permit is now posted on the garage door calling for demolition of a bedroom and office addition. That portion of the house, believed to be in danger of collapsing and falling over onto a neighbor’s property, is gone and house wrap now covers exposed areas of the existing structure.
Tupou told Magistrate Judge James Curtain on Wednesday that neighbors and CBJ Building Official Charlie Ford appear satisfied with the latest progress of work done on the property.
He also said that a local bank is reluctant to finance repairs and clean-up, but it may be willing to finance his purchase of the property from Hohman. Tupou returned to the property almost immediately after Wednesday afternoon’s court hearing. He was preceded by an official from Alaska Pacific Bank who arrived to take pictures and survey the property.
The next hearing in the case is May 21st.
Trial is currently set for August 8th before Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez.
Whether the case is settled or goes to trial, CBJ attorney Amy Mead said they will likely ask to recover nearly $72,000 in clean-up and other expenses incurred by the municipality.