Condemned Trailer Park in Path of $55 Million DOT Project
Property Owner Hires Team of Attorneys to Challenge City's Land Grab
The owner of a condemned trailer park is calling foul.
The people here are being booted from their rental property in regular Grinch like fashion.
The owner tells First News exclusively it’s not about the park’s living conditions. It’s about how the property sits in the path of a $55 Million Dollar Department of Transportation Project and who will profit from the land.
We first met Caleb Walsh a year and half ago when he purchased the distressed property on Farr Road. The Fort Benning Estates was so run down there was no running water for tenants.
Since that time, records show he’s invested $250 thousand dollars on property maintenance issues but a few months ago the Florida based real estate owner says he was singled out by Codes and Inspections
Noting there are neighboring properties in far worse condition.
“It caught us off guard. We’ve never had a single code violation up until this point not one single one. You know we deal with I go in and I deal with cities across the nation . I know how it works to make sure a property is kept good,” Walsh said.
The city he said is in an accelerated process to condemn the property in a matter of weeks which just so happens to sit in the middle of a multi million dollar DOT project to transform the property as part of a new I 185 Interchange in South Columbus.
“And my lawyers pointed out they said this is highly suspicious with this $55 Million dollar project. Caleb it looks like somebody wants your land.
Eminent Domain would be the proper way because you’re given fair market value for your property. What it seems like here is that someone’s trying to score a big win for the city,” Walsh said.
Construction for the TSPLOST project is set to begin in one year.
The value of the property suddenly and dramatically increased Walsh said.
The city condemning the property is in plain English the first step to taking ownership
and leaving him high and dry he said.
“I have a team of attorneys that is really about to you know raise holy hell on what’s happening here uh kicking my tenants out of their home,” Walsh said.
“It’s not a Christmas. It doesn’t even look like a Christmas for us this year,” tenant Artaga Murphy told First News.
“I mean it’s stressful, it’s tiring you know. I mean it doesn’t seem like anybody really cares that you know nobody really has anywhere to go,” Katie Eberly said.
Phrases like TSPLOST projects and Eminent Domain are meaningless rhetoric to these families forced to vacate the premises on a whim.
Caleb Walsh said he has hired a team of attorneys to file an injunction to stop the condemnation.
Walsh says he will settle the controversy in court.
City Officials did not respond to multiple calls for comment on this investigative report.