PALM BEACH, Fla. - This week the Town of Palm Beach took out an advertisement shaming those whom they say owe the town big money for code enforcement fines.
Thirty people are listed and their fines add up to about $2.7 million.
The biggest offender owes more than a million dollars alone, according to the town.
His yard is in disrepair, with clutter throughout the grounds of the home located on the 100 block of Chilean Avenue.
The town said the fines started in 2007 and have just continued to add up.
CLICK HERE FOR LIST OF FINES: Mobile users: http://bit.ly/13w7v3F
So why haven't homeowners paid the code enforcement fines? Town of Palm Beach Police Department spokesman Fred Hess gave an explanation. “Some people just completely ignore it,” he said. “They don't pay the fines. They don't appear before the code board and they just let the fine continue to accumulate.”
Most owe money because their homes are in disrepair.
According to the Town of Palm Beach, Erik Gilbertson owes the most. He owes $1.03 million and counting.
The town says he has a lawsuit against it.
He didn’t answer a knock at the door, nor did Susan Gibson, who owes $548,900 or Robert and Beverly Lowden, who owe $132,527.
However, Susan Lee did answer the door, but quickly said leave or she’d call the police. She owes $273,650 in fines, according to the town.
“It's not the code enforcement or the council's goal to just collect money from people they just want the problem fixed or whatever it may be,” Hess said.
Andrew Roddy disagrees. "Code enforcement tends to be overly strict," he said.
He owns a business in the town. He paid more than $100,000 in fines to code enforcement one time, he said.
"They don't really work with a property owner it seems to me that in my experience they work against them," Roddy said.
Roddy did admit he didn’t comply with the town originally asked him to do.
The town said compliance is all they want. Hess said if people who were delinquent came into compliance they might still be able to have their fines forgiven completely or at least have them reduced.
The town said it has filed liens against most of the properties on the list.
In some cases they try to foreclose on the properties, but Hess said Florida law prevents them from doing so in certain cases, which leaves them with their hands tied.
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