Warsaw Hearing Officer Lawrence Clifford Monday reviewed a Warsaw property that has been in foreclosure for the past five years.
The home previously was discussed during a July 21 hearing.
The home built in 2005 is at 330 Ringneck Trail, Pheasant Ridge Subdivision, Warsaw, and owned by former Warsaw City Councilman Kyle Babcock, who now lives in Fort Wayne.
After lengthy discussion Monday, Clifford reset a hearing for the property for Sept. 15 at 1:30 p.m. at city hall.
In May 2009, the property was vacated by Babcock due to water issues, mold in the basement and water entering the foundation, and the property entered into litigation.
Babcock, who attended Monday’s hearing, said he and his family moved out of the mold-filled home five years ago after two court-ordered mediations.
“In the mediation agreement it clearly stated I was to move out of the property and the house would be fixed and they couldn’t fix the house if I was in the property,” Babcock said.
He said he has waited eight years for justice on the house, and looks forward to his day in court.
“I wouldn’t want this house put on another resident in this city to have to go through what I went through,” Babcock said. He said he applauds the city in bringing the house issue before the hearing officer.
Clifford said it would be a shame to tear down the house, but said it is not the first home he has ordered to be demolished.
Babcock said there are counterclaims that he has filed against the builder and the lender.
“The only way I had an opportunity to move forward with the counterclaims against the builder and the lender was to allow the property to go into foreclosure, and I was able to file counterclaims against them because in the original contract I was not able to do that,” Babcock said. “I tried to tell them for years and sent them inspection reports that there were problems with the home to no avail from them.”
Babcock said he wants the home fixed as it said it would be in the mediation agreement.
“I sat in the mediation discussion and was told there was nothing wrong with the house. I knew there were things wrong with the house,” Babcock said. Issues included mold, a cracking foundation and water damage.
He said he filed claims against the builder for constructing a faulty home.
“I moved into that house and saved my money for 10 years and never refinanced the mortgage in Indianapolis. I put my money down on that house, lived in that house and built my dream home in this community,” Babcock said.
He said his home was taken from him because of faulty construction.
“My wife had two miscarriages. I lost two children because of mold in that house. I lost everything financially because the remaining parties wouldn’t do anything with this, and anyone who knows me in this community knows I am stubborn as they come and I’m not going away until they write me a check to make it right for me and at that point all the lawsuits are settled,” Babcock said.
He said he will go away when he is written a check for the money, time and children he lost because of the mold in the home.
“I had a child who was sick all the time. We had to get out of the house because the mold was so bad. The only way that house sells is to go in with a wrecking ball and tear it down,” Babcock said.
Todd Slabaugh, building commissioner, said the cost to make repairs to the home is $40,000 and far exceeds the cost of demolition to the home at an estimate of $8,500.
“I will order demolition if the facts show it needs to be demolished,” Clifford said.
Fredric Lawrence, attorney for Nelson & Frankenberger, representing the investor for the property who is trying to clean the property up, attended the meeting.
Lawrence said he objected to demolition of the property, and will work to see where the investor is on fixing the home’s foundation and other repairs.
Slabaugh has inspected the home on three occasions in July and August and said there are still weeds in the front flower beds that need to be pulled; drywall under the downstairs stairwell needs to be removed; drywall around the tub in the bathroom needs to be removed; and framing needs to be dried and sealed to 19 percent or less of moisture content. Slabaugh said the wires to the sump pump were cut and the sump pump pipe to the outside was cut off at the foundation.
Slabaugh said the big issue besides mold is water in the basement and the foundation of the home is cracked letting water in the home.
In other business, four other properties were reset for Sept. 15 including a home at 202 S. Union St. owned by Raul Ramos, where brick work needs to be completed; a home at 614 E. Center St. that needs to be re-roofed; a home at 410 W. Winona Ave., owned by Evelia Vega, where cleanup is needed; and the home of 832 E. Market St. owned by Ralph Fitch who rents out the home that has junk on the front porch which needs to be removed. There will be an interior inspection of the home today.