Swamp Thing Leaves Schley Avenue Worried

A Schley Avenue home has been a problem for years, but now neighbors say the property looks like it belongs in the Louisiana bayou.

The problematic house at 3011 Schley Avenue has become a weed- and mosquito-infested property. The property has been abandoned for about a yar, but the problem started long ago, neighbors said.

Since it was boarded-up last summer, neighbors have watched the home, owned by James Mau, disintegrate before their eyes. Mau, an absentee owner, tried to keep the property mantained, but now the house is well in disrepair.

Louis Ragusa, whose house on Hollywood Avenue borders the property’s backyard, said it’s a mess now. Besides mosquitoes breeding in the backyard, there’s often foul odor, as well as at least a foot of water in the backyard and a flooded basement.

“These problems began when the snow from the winter started to melt,” Ragusa said. “You can look through our house windows and see the backyard is all swamp-like. I would say within the last two years Mau just stopped caring about the house.”

A sump pump was always present on the property to help remove the water. According to Ragusa, that pump has not been working for several months now, and Mau has been missing in action.

Over the last year, Senator Jeff Klein has been working with neighbors, the city Department of Health, Fannie Mae, who holds the mortgage on the house, and J.P. Morgan Chase, who services the loan for the mortgage, to help locate its owner to have it cleaned. Mau, however, is harder to find than a needle in a haystack.

In the past, Klein has been able to have Mau secure the home by trimming overgrown vegetation, remove flooded water, and treat the stagnant water. Mau no longer cares for the home and according to Klein, it is not possible to move forward in fixing the property without Mau, until he is served with foreclosure papers.

“I am deeply concerned about the state of 3011 Schley Avenue,” Klein said. “From what I understand, the bank has been unable to serve Mr. Mau with foreclosure papers and, due to that, a legal proceeding has yet to occur. I will continue to monitor this situation and am prepared to help the neighborhood in any way possible.”

Neighbors hope the health hazard will be taken care of soon.

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