Lincoln man sent to jail for 5 days over mismanaged property
Jul. 13, 2018
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Lincoln business owner has served a five-day jail sentence after being ordered to court more than a dozen times in the past 20 years for property issues.
Roger Duerr, 78, was booked into jail earlier this month for not complying with cleanup orders at one of his Lincoln properties, Major Appliance, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. The business had fielded at least a dozen complaints from health and building inspectors in the past six years.
"It was nuts," Duerr said after he was released Thursday. "Going to jail was really a surprise."
Health inspectors found multiple nuisance code violations at Major Appliance last year, including piles of trash, evidence of illegal salvaging, appliances stored outside and brush and wood on the ground. Lincoln's Health Department and the city attorney's office sent Duerr certified letters notifying him of the violations and requesting that he immediately correct them. Follow-up inspections found no progress toward complying with city code.
Duerr, who owns 11 properties, said the property got out of control because he was slowed by a heart attack in late 2016.
"I couldn't work," Duerr said. "When you get sick and you can't work, things get behind. That's all there is to it."
The city leveled three misdemeanor charges against Duerr in December. He was accused of running a salvage operation without a permit, failing to maintain his property and allowing health and safety hazards.
"He's not the biggest problem we have, he's just persistent," said Chris Connolly, chief assistant city attorney. "He does not want to follow the instructions or advice that city officials give him.
A judge sentenced Duerr to five days in jail on June 21.
"The criminal charges themselves aren't that rare, but going to jail is," Connolly said.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com