Contempt Over Clean-up

Failure to complete clean-up results in a contempt of court ruling.

In April of 2011, the Union Village Board issued a property cleanup directive to William Bescheinen on lots in Union, including the former schoolhouse property. After what it considered non-compliance, the village board filed a public nuisance civil lawsuit in district court in July of 2011.

The Cassgram reports the village requested that the court order building and window repairs, and that vehicles, equipment, trash and litter be removed from nine properties. The filing asked for fines to be levied. In January of 2013, Cass County District Court Judge Randall Rehmeier, who has since retired, wrote, “The evidence is clear and undisputed that the nuisances complained of by the Village of Union have continued and the only available remedy is granting the injunctive relief prayed for by the plaintiff.” Bescheinen was given 180 days to abate the public nuisances and the court order specified what needed to be done.

A $1,000 fine was imposed.

The issue was back in court earlier this month before District Court Judge Jeffrey Funke because Union was dissatisfied with the progress.

In the judge’s ruling issued late last week, it’s noted that Bescheinen owns a soil conservation company and owns the necessary heavy equipment to conduct the cleanup and has income that could be used to fund the cleanup. “The defendant has sold scrap metal from the properties for at least $23,000 and perhaps as high as $28,000,” notes Funke.

Evidence was presented that the defendant has removed 50 to 75 loads of debris from the properties and spent over $10,000 in materials and supplies in the public nuisance abatement. “However, by the defendant’s own admissions, debris still needs to be moved, more work needs to be done and the feed building and schoolhouse building probably need to be demolished,” writes Funke. Bescheinen had not asked for any extensions in complying with the previous 180-day cleanup order.

Funke found Bescheinen to be in contempt of court for failing to fully abate the nuisances. Sentencing is set for June 23rd.

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