Las Vegas Sun

January 31, 2015

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City puts lien on Summerlin house for cost of hoarding cleanup

A Las Vegas man who filled his home with tons of garbage, dozens of animals and other hoarded objects won’t be able to sell his house without first paying off a six-figure cleanup bill to the city.

The issue: The Las Vegas City Council considered on Wednesday whether to place a $123,925 lien on the home of Kenneth Epstein to cover cleanup costs at his Summerlin property

The vote: Approved 7-0

What it means: The lien gives the city added protection to make sure it gets paid, including taking the case to court if necessary to make Epstein pay for the cleanup.

Epstein was arrested in October on several misdemeanor charges after the stench from his home and the debris piled outside became too much for his Sun City Summerlin neighbors to handle.

When city inspectors entered Epstein’s duplex, they found it filled floor to ceiling with possessions and mountains of trash in an apparent case of hoarding. At least 41 tons of material were removed from the home, including 55 cats, 15 of which were dead and 19 that later were euthanized.

Working with the Southern Nevada Health District, the city led the effort to rehabilitate Epstein’s home, which required extensive work on the interior, including replacing contaminated drywall, insulation, ductwork, flooring, windows and window frames.

Epstein was given a suspended sentence in the case in November and will avoid jail time so long as he pays the city back for the work it did.

Included in the $123,925 bill is $25,432 for trash removal, $13,230 for interior demolition, $10,118 for pest control, $45,008 in code enforcement staffing costs and about $5,000 for tools, supplies and storage containers.

Councilman Stavros Anthony commended city staff for all the work they’ve put into rehabilitating the now-vacant home and said Epstein was getting help with his hoarding problem.

“(The house) was causing havoc in the neighborhood. It was a huge public nuisance,” Anthony said. “Today that house is safe. It’s ready

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  1. The city has put a $123,925 lien on a house worth about $125,000. Chances of them ever getting their money is slim to none. The bank is going to end up with this house and it will sit there forever.

  2. Why did the city wait so long to intervene?