Updated: Wednesday, 21 Jul 2010, 1:00 PM MDT
Published : Tuesday, 20 Jul 2010, 10:31 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque inspectors said they found a dump built right into the living room floor of a house they red-tagged Tuesday.
The man who owns the "slum" is an Albuquerque lawyer.
Neighbors alerted cops about the latest set of problems after calling about a strung-out woman throwing bottles and breaking windows Monday. The owner of the home at 1940 Walter SE was all too familiar to cops.
“People were living in tents in the yard outside,” T.J. Wilham with the City of Albuquerque said. “There [were] numerous health and safety issues with the property.”
Police tried to take a peek inside but, “the property owner denied them the right to do an inspection, which is their right." said Wilham. "They don't have to let us in."
A warrant finally gave police access to the home Tuesday.
“There was a hole in the floor of the home to where you could see down to the dirt, and people were basically throwing trash into the hole,” Wilham said. “Smoke detectors were not working. There was exposed, electrical wires. There were broken windows throughout the home, and it was basically a mess and very cluttered.”
Not to mention a syringe that tested positive for heroin and a crack pipe inside the home. It was red-tagged, meaning all four people were kicked out until the problems are fixed.
The city says it is willing to work with James Rawley, the owner of the home.
“We can seek condemnation within a year after that red tag, that's always a last resort,” Wilham said.
An attorney for Rawley said his client is just a compassionate man who tries to help get people off the street and charges them minimal rent.
People claiming to be renters said the cops got it all wrong. They say no one was living in the tents, and that they put the hole in the floor because they were working on the plumbing.
Wilham said Rawley will work with the city to get the house into shape. Rawley has three rental properties and has had the city knocking at each of his doors. This is the first time Rawley has been in trouble with the current city administration.
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