A woman in Omaha, Nebraska may soon be collecting a large payment from the city after her home was demolished against her wishes.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, the city of Omaha is set to pay a $232,000 settlement to Loan Nguyen and her brother William after Nguyen accused the city of wrongly demolishing her home and arresting her brother when he pleaded with crews to stop.
Nguyen and her brother filed a federal lawsuit against the city, and the city has denied the allegations. A public hearing at the city council is set for Tuesday to vote on the settlement.
The dispute between Nguyen and the city began when neighbors complained about a strong odor coming from Nguyen’s house. According to reports, Nguyen’s brother works at a meatpacking plant and had been storing meat in the house’s garage freezer.
Later, when Nguyen and William were not living in the home, the property’s power was shut off by Omaha’s public electric utility. The meat in the freezer began to rot, and by springtime neighbors complained to the city about the stench. The Nguyens claim they were unaware that the power had been shut off.
According to a report from KETV, neighbors said it smelled like “rotten meat” and a “dead body.” Besides the stench, there were also complaints of flies and maggots.
After neighbors complained, the City of #Omaha knocked down a house that smelled. But they did so after the smell had been addressed.
— Aaron Sanderford (@asanderford) March 14, 2018
On June 9, a demolition order was issued to the Nguyens from the city.
According to the lawsuit, a few days after the demolition order was issued, the Nguyens made an agreement with the city inspector to have a crew remove the meat. They also scrubbed and disinfected the garage floor.
The Nguyens claim that despite their efforts to comply with the city, and assurances that the order would be lifted, “the city sent a demolition crew anyway,” KETV reported.
A letter from Assistent City Attorney William Acosta-Trejo explained to the city council why they settled for $232,000:
“The lawsuit seeks to recover expenses and compensation for pain, inconvenience and on-going injuries they allege were incurred during the incident along with the demolition of the property. They City and all employees deny the allegations and have prepared a defense for trial, but litigation always involves risk of loss and the law under which this lawsuit is brought allows a successful plaintiff to recover a sum far greater and attorney fees, which can be substantial.”
But according to KETV, neighbors aren’t pleased with the settlement amount.
“They shouldn’t be paying it out. Who they should be paying is the neighbors around here who had to put up with that,” said one neighbor.
See the local news report below:
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