MOUNT VERNON — Robert Adams very much has an interest in the house at 1 Marion Street in Mount Vernon, contrary to a nuisance complaint that ordered it boarded up on Friday.
Adams has owned the house for 15 years, and has been trying to sell it for the last two. He hopes what happened Friday hasn’t put a stop to it.
According to a sale contract presented to the News by Adams, he located an interested buyer in late January, and they have worked out a contract with a closing date of Feb. 28.
For the past couple of months, Adams has permitted a handyman and his daughter to live at the house rent free in exchange for repairs to the floor. The flooring had been a sticking point in a previous attempt to sell the house, Adams said.
Friday, the handyman told Adams that the house had been raided by Mount Vernon Police serving a warrant for alleged drug activity. It wasn’t until Sunday that Adams found out the house had been boarded up under a court order sought by Knox County Prosecuting Attorney Chip McConville.
Adams said he contacted police about the nuisance order, and was told it would be posted at the house. The order was not there when he checked, Adams said.
The order, filed hours after the MVPD raid, claimed that Adams had told MVPD Det. Jessica Butler on Feb. 12 that he no longer owned the house, having completed a short sale. The order states that Adams told Butler the new owners were trying to evict the current tenants.
McConville used this interview to claim that Adams “is no longer taking any role” in the house, necessitating the property to be boarded up to keep further alleged drug transactions from taking place.
Adams told the News he didn’t speak to Butler, as claimed in the complaint, but talked to Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy Det. Terry Wolfe, who is also named as being involved in the investigation that led to the house being raided for drugs. He said he didn’t tell Wolfe that the house was sold. Monday was the first time Adams said he has seen the order.
Adams was at the house Feb. 12 because his Realtor had been through the property and observed more people living there than the handyman and his daughter.
Adams is named in the nuisance order because he is the property owner of record. According to McConville, Sarah Gordon, 35, was involved in drug activity at the house, and charges are pending against her.
Adam’s interest in the house includes $10,000 he owes as part of a $40,000 Kno-Ho-Co home improvement grant. The grant required residency for 15 years; the balance owed reflects his moving out before the 15 years was up. The house is in the early stages of foreclosure, and the short sale will satisfy the debts, Adams said.
The courts were closed Monday. Adams said he has yet to be informed of a court date for a hearing on the nuisance, which must be held within 10 days. He plans to attend the hearing with documentation to prove he still owns the house.
Adams owns a small business, S & S Hauling, and said he wants his customers to understand that he had nothing to do with any alleged drug activity at the house. He wants to see the sale go through.
“Hopefully, the city can get their money, the buyer can get the house and I can get out from under this,” Adams said. “I don’t know what the judge is going to say. I don’t want to be implicated (in what may have been going on at the house).”
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