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from Ideastream Public Media: Lake County mobile home park residents say they’re tired of sewage, alleged racial discrimination

Posted June 26, 2024
10:40 pm

By Gabriel Kramer

Residents of two Lake County mobile home parks say living conditions have worsened and allege discrimination from management against Mexican American residents persists, despite filing a lawsuit against the property owners two years ago.

Residents of the Perry mobile home park and the Fairgrounds United mobile home park said their landlords continue to ignore unsafe and unhealthy conditions at the parks despite their pleas for repairs during a press conference Wednesday.

Residents filed a lawsuit in September 2022 claiming that the owners – Jones Estates Fairgrounds, LLC and Jones Estates Perry, LLC – violated state laws and took advantage of the residents.

Claims by the residents include refusal to provide lease agreements, charging unlawful amounts for utilities, failure to maintain common areas and rent increases multiple times over the course of a year.

The lawsuit also says park management and water utility company, 5 Star Meters, are to blame for excessive charges.

Residents have most recently been experiencing sewage odors and flooding of rainwater and sewage, causing nausea and other illnesses, said Veronica Dahlberg, executive director of HOLA Ohio, a local nonprofit dedicated to assisting Latino families, workers and immigrants. She said HOLA paid for a family to stay in a hotel because children were getting ready for school in a nearby gas station bathroom due to sewage and plumbing issues in their home.

“You just have leaking human waste and the smell is overpowering,” Dahlberg said. “Health and safety regulations — why aren’t they applied here?”

The residents are represented by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, a nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services.

"There's just no one who should have to endure living in the home that they own and smelling sewage odor. All through the day, all through the night, making them sick,” said Legal Aid attorney Abigail Staudt. "Nobody's coming to repair it. And if they ever do send somebody to take care of it, it takes a long time."

The residents are predominately Mexican American families and Dahlberg said they have reported experiencing racism and discrimination from property management because many are immigrants and Spanish-speaking.

"The manager said to an individual, 'You guys throw diapers in the toilet.' And [the individual] said, 'What?' And [the manager] said, 'Yeah. All you Mexicans do that." And obviously they don't do that," Dahlberg said.

Like many mobile home parks, the residents own the homes, but not the land where their homes stand.

The property is owned by Jones Estates, based out of North Carolina. Ideastream Public Media attempted to contact Jones Estates several times for comment but has not heard back.

Source: Ideastream Public Media - Lake County mobile home park residents say they're tired of sewage, alleged racial discrimination 

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