Sunbury PA, 20th March 2013
Mayor Persing is fanatical in his devotion to the sport of softball, but when it comes to personal ambition, the ball he uses is of a considerably harder variety.
Not The Item was alerted to the situation in Race and Vine Streets, close by the brand new Degenstein-financed $400,000 extension to the mayor’s state-of-the-art softball training complex. We uncovered a trail of ripped-off property owners who could well have received better deals at the hands of Tony Soprano than the ones being offered by our illustrious leader.
“They Almost Destroyed My Home!” – Linda
Linda Metzger, 67, lives with her disabled husband at #327 Race St. Persing’s contractors have caused severe structural damage to her home, some of which is still to be resolved, and now she relies on Xanax to soothe her shattered nerves.
Linda’s property was built around 1850 – part of the historic fabric of our city. Linda was brought up there and has lived there on and off for the last 62 years. She has fond memories of her late father, a plasterer, who did much to renovate and improve the building’s interior.
#327 abutted to #325, both houses sharing a common dividing wall which was sealed by them from the elements. Having acquired #325 the mayor brought in a company to demolish it. They caused so much damage to this wall that it fell down by itself, leaving all the internal walls of Linda’s house exposed during a period of intense rainfall. Large cracks appeared in her living room wall and water ran into her basement.
Meantime, the adjacent excavated area for a new sidewalk had begun to fill with rainwater. One night, with a terrible roaring sound, the pressure from the water succeeded in breaching her basement wall, causing further damage and severe basement flooding.
In both cases neither the ASA nor their contractors were of much help, and left a 67 year old, recovering from a recent heart attack, largely to her own devices. In order to plug the hole in her foundations she was obliged to somehow carry countless heavy bucket loads of fill up from her basement and dump them outside her house.
$10,000 – Derisory Offer!
Mayor Persing offered her $10,000 for her property – $10,000 for a house which she had just bought the previous year for $50,000 – and despite the fact that he had paid his friends, the Shipmans, $76,000 for their property – the one which had been demolished!
Complaints to the City received little sympathy. Linda, they said, should have been better prepared – she had, after all, been given a whole year to get ready – get ready for what, her house being destroyed?
Code officers Swope and Rhoads appeared on the scene during the reconstruction of the wall. The contractor told them, in no uncertain terms, that Linda had suffered more than enough at the hands of their employer, and that any building fees due should be paid by the mayor out of his own pocket. They left and did not return.
Linda has to date paid out $4100 to fix her house – to repair damage caused by others and which should have been repaired by them too – this has cost her the inheritance she received from her mother, which she was keeping for a rainy day – no pun intended. Her basement still floods every time that it rains. We believe she has a very strong legal case for compensation.
Not only that. The Center is in daily use from 6 am until 10 pm, and the inadequacy of its sound insulation means that Linda has to put up with constant noise – the boom, boom, boom of balls bouncing from walls and floors – so loud that it even disturbs her neighbor in #329, who happens to be nursing a young infant. She is dreading the coming of summer with the necessity of keeping windows open to cool her house. The mayor would appear to enjoy immunity from enforcement of the city noise ordinance.
Is this really the way in which we want our city to be run – where those who stand in the way of the mayor’s ambition are so ruthlessly swept to one side. Surely our city council should be standing up for the little person, the poor, the old, the infirm and the needy, rather than taking such wanton advantage of their unfortunate circumstances.
We fear we have only uncovered the tip of the iceberg with this investigation. The mayor already has a list of at least 25 “blighted” properties scheduled for demolition, and is looking at extending it to many more. He alluded to this fact during his recent State of the City address where he mentioned the possibility of replacing entire neighborhoods, and in the process destroying even more of the unique fabric which makes up our community.
To be continued.
Give Us Your Story
Our investigation is on-going. If you know of anyone who has suffered similar experiences at the hands of Mayor Persing, or indeed have yourself been a victim, then please use the Contact Us form to pass on your information. We will need a contact name and phone number or email address to get back to you but rest assured that such information will remain totally confidential and will not be shared with anyone else.