First Rep. Laura Richardson was having problems making house payments, defaulting six times over eight years.
Then after a bank foreclosed on her Sacramento house and sold it at auction in May, the Long Beach Democrat made such a stink that Washington Mutual, in an unusual move, grabbed it back and returned it to her.This week, in the latest chapter in the housing saga, the Code Enforcement Department in Sacramento declared her home a “public
The city has threatened to fine her as much as $5,000 a month if she doesn’t fix it up.Neighbors in the upper-middle-class neighborhood complain that the sprinklers are never turned on and the grass and plants are dead or dying. The gate is broken, and windows are covered with brown paper.
“I would call it an eyesore,” said Peter Thomsen, a retired bank executive who lives nearby.
The city action was prompted by police action.
Police were twice called to investigate reports of a suspicious person in or around the house, perhaps a homeless man squatting there. Officers called the Code enforcement Department, which boarded up a broken door.
Code enforcement inspectors visited the house twice in July, finding “junk and debris” in the driveway and “rotting fruit on the ground in the rear yard which creates rodent harborage,” according to department documents.
Ron O’Connor, operations manager of the Code Enforcement Department, said homes in the Curtis Park area seldom were tagged as a public nuisance.
“It’s a really nice neighborhood,” he said.
Asked about the house, Richardson’s office released a statement that said: “Neither Congresswoman Richardson nor her attorney have received any information referring to this matter. Any additional information will be provided at a later date.”
Richardson has few worries in the November election. The 37th District is so solidly Democratic that no Republican is running against her. Democrat Peter Mathews, who has sought the seat several times before, is mounting a write-in campaign.