Giovanni Caliendo: Attempts to help veteran clean his property fail

Even after Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey S. Katz, the city's vice mayor, and dozens of volunteers stepped up multiple times to help a handicapped veteran clean his property, Boynton Beach Code Enforcement officers continue to find issues.

"I was shocked! I said how can it possibly be," Giovanni Caliendo said.

Caliendo admits his art studio has fallen into disrepair.

He says he stopped working there after his daughter tragically died. He is also disabled and has a very sick wife.

Over the past two months, a number of cleanups have been organized.

The most recent was on Sunday. But when code compliance officers checked Monday, the home was still not meeting their inspection requirements.

"In my opinion it is one hundred percent better, but it is not my opinion that counts unfortunately. It is the code department that matters," Boynton Beach Vice Mayor Joe Casello said.

Casello has participated in the cleanups.

He says the city's code enforcement department is just doing its job, but it is frustrating from an outside perspective.

"Every time we think we see the light at the end of the tunnel, there are more things that impede us," Casello said.

According to paperwork WPTV received from the city's code compliance department on Tuesday, the property is still overgrown, the fence needs repair, and there are paint issues.

"I think they have more important things on the table right now than whether or not my grass is two or three inches," Caliendo said.

The vice mayor says he stands by the code department, but he says he is also going to stand with Caliendo to make sure the cleanup finally meets code.

"We can nitpick him all day and there will never be an end to it. But hopefully we can come to some kind of happy ending and resolve," Casello said.

Caliendo says he will meet more volunteers this week to continue the cleanup in hopes he will finally meet code compliance requirements.

His fines with the city are nearly $10,000 and continue to increase by $100 a day.


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