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Landlord threatens action against city over sinkholes



Staff Writer


A Lincolnton mobile home park owner is taking action against the city this week.

Lincoln County resident Martha Finger says she has struggled with an overflowing creek nearby and storm water running down Elizabeth Avenue and flooding her property, causing extensive damage to her mobile homes. She has served as the owner of the rental homes since 1989.

“I’m at my wit’s end,” Finger said. “I’m 79 years old and I don’t need to being dealing with this.”

Finger’s Lincolnton property, located at the intersection of Carpenter Street and Elizabeth Avenue, currently houses seven mobile homes, five of which are currently inhabited. She said the remaining two are currently uninhabitable due to damage directly related to overflowing storm water.

According to Finger, one of her former residents threatened to sue her because of the damages.

“One of my residents moved out because of the mold and mildew and threatened to sue me for $30,000 because of the floor and ceiling damage,” Finger said.

The resident opted not to pursue a lawsuit.

Sinkholes have also been created as a result of the excess storm water.

At the 305 Elizabeth Avenue residence, Finger said the city waited months to address the sinkhole, allowing it to grow to the size of a car before they took action, putting a metal grate inside it. At the 301 Elizabeth Avenue residence, the city has since filled that sinkhole with tar, but Finger said there are still sinkholes that remain on the property.

In a letter sent to City Manager Jeff Emory, Arthurs and Foltz attorney Travis G. Page stated that over the past several years, Finger had voiced complaints to the city concerning storm water running down Elizabeth Avenue and flooding her property. Due to the periodic flooding by the city storm water, extensive damage has been dealt to the mobile homes on her property.

“The city is clearly liable for its inability to manage its storm and runoff water, and any legal proceedings will serve only to increase its expenses,” Page said in the release.

Should the city fail to compensate Finger for her losses and correct the storm water issue or make arrangements to do so by 5 p.m. today, she is prepared to begin proceedings against the city for claims of trespass, continuing trespass and negligence.

Lincolnton Mayor John Gilleland responded in an email addressed to the Times-News.

“I will not be able to offer any information,” Gilleland said.

“We have received a letter from Mrs. Finger’s attorney, so it would not be appropriate to comment.”



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