Commissioner Williams claims no responsibility for cleaning up dilapidated property

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / March 5, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Deidre Reese made no secret about feelings on what she calls a dilapidated property next to her home on Olive Road. "Poor respect for community and keeping things clean," said Reese.

She said tree limbs, tree trunks, and even trash is piling up against her fence. "I just want to know how we can get this resolved as expediently as we could," said Reese.

The property has been cited for multiple violations including, having a junk vehicle, and for not taking away litter and debris. News 12 did some digging to find out who owns that property and who is responsible for cleaning it up.

Tax records name Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams as the sole owner. Williams said he is concerned about the mess too.

"I respect that I think she wants to keep her property up," said Williams. But Williams said the mess is not his problem. "It's somebody else's property," said Williams. Court records obtained by News 12 show the deed is in Williams' name and he pays taxes on the property. Allen Odom owns a maintenance company, and said he is taking over the property.

"When I bought it, when I got it from Mr. Williams, the whole back had been used as a dumping ground," said Odom. Williams said that makes him responsible for cleaning it up. "I tried to do some owner financing with him to help him get on his feet and get started," said Williams.

He said he and Odom are in the process of closing a deal that will ultimately give Odom ownership and full responsibility for cleaning up the property. "All that is on him," said Williams.

So ultimately, who is responsible for cleaning up the property? We took a closer look at the violation requiring a "litter free" property, and it is a bit vague about responsibility. It says "the owners, occupants and lessees are responsible for getting rid of litter." Williams said he is working with Odom and code enforcement. Meanwhile, Odom said he will get the property up to code in 30 days.