Bangor man loses round in court

Posted June 08, 2009, at 10:22 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Bangor man, upset that a city public works crew last week cleared a mountain of junk from his Eighteenth Street property, filed a temporary restraining order Friday against the city in U.S. District Court.

Aaron Husek, in a one-page hand-written complaint, claimed he “personally witnessed city of Bangor employees destroying [his] property. The acts are not allowed by any order from any court.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk denied Husek’s motion in a three-page decision also filed on Friday.

“Husek failed to provide this court with any of the factual background that has led to the city’s destruction of his property,” the judge wrote. “In the most basic terms, he has not provided the court with the who, what, where, when and why of his story. It is clear from his motion that the city did not just appear on the scene and begin destroying his property.”

Last week, Bangor Public Works employees converged on the Husek home at 18 Eighteenth St. to clear debris from the property. City Code Enforcement Officer Dan Wellington said the action was the end result of a lengthy legal battle with the homeowners over violations of Bangor’s property maintenance code, which requires property to remain safe, clean and sanitary.

For years, the property has been littered with old cars, motor homes and other vehicles, all filled to the top with additional items, including appliances, televisions and computers. The city first filed a court complaint in 2007 against the homeowner. That order was appealed twice and denied twice. In both appeals, Husek defended himself.

Although the city contended it had legal permission, Kravchuk wrote in her decision that not all removal of personal property needs a court order.

“For instance, in cases involving filth that is potentially injurious to health, due process is afforded in Maine, which calls for notice from a local health officer, followed by a 24-hour opportunity to cure the private nuisance, but not for a hearing,” she wrote.

The city conducted a similar court-ordered cleanup on the same property in 1994, when it was owned by Husek’s father, John Husek. The elder Husek transferred the property to his son’s name a few years ago, Wellington said last week.

There was no listing in the phone book for Aaron Husek. Additionally, no one answered Monday at a Bangor phone number listed to John Husek.

Wellington said the cost of last week’s cleanup could exceed $10,000. The city will send Husek a bill for the work and, in the event the homeowner cannot pay, would attach a lien on the property.

In her decision, Judge Kravchuk said the property owner could proceed with a civil action if he so chooses, provided that complaint “states a cognizable cause of action and sets forth a basis for federal jurisdiction.”

She indicated that Husek would have until June 15 to file such a complaint.

erussell@bangordailynews.net

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