UPDATE: Attorney Eric M. Dixon, who was listed as one of the owners of the company filing the lawsuit, said he is not involved.
Dixon contacted The News Journal Wednesday, saying he had no part in Circle Drive Realty, LLC.
In an initial search on the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website Dixon was listed as one of the officers of the company along with David O. Smith.
However, when the listing was examined on Thursday, Dixon’s name had been removed.
A Corbin attorney has filed a lawsuit seeking to force the City of Corbin to demolish the home at 811 Phillips Lane.
Circle Drive Realty, LLC., which according to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website is co-owned by local attorneys David O. Smith and Eric M. Dixon, has filed the suit in Whitley Circuit Court, naming the City of Corbin, Mayor Suzie Razmus, Commissioners Trent Knuckles, Andrew Pennington, Brandon Shepherd and David Hart, along with the property owner, Jackie Rawlings, as defendants.
The lawsuit claims that the city has been negligent in permitting the home on Phillips Lane, located off of Seventh Street, to fall into total repair and become a blight upon the area.
Smith said Tuesday that he owns a home across the street, which he leases to a tenant, and has seen the property in question continue to deteriorate.
“There is no back door. The septic tank in the yard is falling in. The roof is caving in,” Smith said. “This place is a real blight and it has been a blight for years.”
Smith said before filing the lawsuit, he and other neighbors, made numerous attempts to contact the city about the condition, but received no response.
For several years the neighbors have complained and nothing was done,” Smith said.
“In 2018 I wrote letters to the building inspector (Mike Mahan) and city manager (Marlon Sams). I followed up in December, and nothing has been done.”
In particular, the lawsuit claims that the property has been occupied despite not having adequate indoor plumbing.
Smith said individuals, likely squatters, have been seen in and near the home. In addition, the home appeared to be occupied for a short period during the last summer. However, the occupants were seen sleeping on the front porch.
“I don’t think they had electricity,” Smith said.
Smith said he has also sent a letter to the property owner, whom the Whitley County Property Valuation Administrator’s Office has listed as Jackie and Dan Rawlings.
“Several of the neighbors have talked directly to them with no results,” Smith said.
“The City of Corbin has a duty to condemn said structure and cause the demolition of said structure, to cause the surrounding property to be cleaned, mowed, and to cause the property to be in compliance with the laws, regulations, and ordinances of the City of Corbin, Kentucky,” the lawsuit states.
“For the City of Corbin to do otherwise means that it has chosen to discriminate against property owners, and enter into selective enforcement of its laws.”
Smith said filing the lawsuit is nothing personal against the city or the property owners. It is simply the last resort for him and the other neighboring property owners.
“I don’t want to buy it,” Smith said noting he has taken on properties requiring extensive renovations in the past, and believes the house could potentially be renovated as opposed to demolished, if someone was willing to take on the project.
Dan Rawlings did not return a phone call seeking a comment about the situation.
Mahan and Corbin City Attorney Bob Hammons said they could not comment on the lawsuit.
Hammons said the city would be filing a response within the 20-day window it has to do so.
The News Journal has submitted an open records request seeking any action the code enforcement office has taken on the property.