Blight, trash pileup in KC neighborhood blamed on squatters who refused to leave house

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- City investigators are blaming squatters for trash and junk piling up in an eastside neighborhood near 31st Street and Stark Avenue.

FOX 4 reported in August that neighbors were frustrated by all the garbage and bulky items left on private property by a man who claimed to be living in a home as a legal tenant. After the news report, city investigators learned the man was actually a squatter.

Property owner Joe Williams says he hired the man about a year ago to do clean up work at the house. The man never left.

Williams claims he's been trying to evict the man and his friends ever since. However, it wasn't until FOX 4's story about neighbors' frustrations with the blight that illegal dumping investigator Alan Ashurst started issuing tickets directly to the squatter.

"I feel for a lot of property owners," Ashurst said. "There are a lot folks out there, not just this one, a lot of folks will give somebody a hand up. They make all the promises in the world, but they do the exact opposite because you are dealing with a lot of addiction and mental health."

The city boarded up the vacant house, but there's evidence the squatters tried to return.

Now the property owner has brought in dumpsters to clean up the mess on the land. He'll also board up the doors and windows again and try to make it more difficult for the squatters to return.

Williams estimates he will spend thousands to clean up the property, just to come into compliance with city property codes. Unfortunately he said he couldn't take any action until those squatting on his land left.

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