ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For more than two decades, an Albuquerque man has been known to his neighbors as the city’s worst hoarder. He’s been the focus of a number of Larry Barker investigations. Now, the city has stepped in with a lot of manpower to try to finally put an end to the problem.
“John is compulsive. He can’t control himself. When his dad died, I think about 1995, he went out of control,” says James Mondloch.
For Mondloch, seeing the city clean up his neighbor’s yard has been a long time coming. For the past 20 years, the city says they’ve been trying to reason with John Gallegos, the man who owns the house near Louisiana and Copper.
“There had been constant complaints about the storage of litter, debris, trash. The collecting of anything and everything,” says Interim Planning Director Brennon Williams.
The collection of things also includes animals. Larry Barker investigations have shown pigs actually lived in the house at one point.
“He did seem like he wanted to fix things. He talked like he wanted to fix things, but when it actually came time to doing it, there was never any action,” Williams says.
About three years ago, the city was granted a permanent injunction on the property to clean it up. In the past, the city would hire contractors to throw things out into dumpsters. However, this was different.
“It’s estimated that we may need six or eight, maybe more, of these garbage trucks to haul off all the trash and debris that’s just in the backyard alone,” says Williams.
After giving Gallegos a ten-day notice with no response, about 30 different city employees showed up Monday to clean. At one point, Gallegos even tried to plead to code enforcement officials to not tow his car. It didn’t work.
Even though Monday’s clean up is something Mondloch has been wanting for a long time, he hopes it’s enough to change Gallegos for the better. Gallegos refused to comment.
“John, mend your ways otherwise you’re going to be homeless,” Mondloch says.
All of the clean-up the city is doing is going to cost Gallegos a lot in the end. The city will be putting a lien on the house for all the costs from this job. They estimate it’ll be at least $10,000.
After the city finishes cleaning up the house, they will have an inspector monitor the area once a week to make sure Gallegos follows the rules. If he doesn’t, they’ll be back to clean it up again.