Abandoned property slated for demolition

Posted

By Carleen Wild
Moody County Enterprise

A dilapidated residential property, long considered a nuisance violation and growing safety concern in a downtown Flandreau neighborhood, will likely be scheduled for demolition later this spring.
A judge recently ruled in the City’s favor in the case of the City of Flandreau versus Rudy’s Welding & Machine Shop, Jeffrey Weigel, and the Estate of Curtis Weigel, and all persons in possession.
The case, decades in the making, went before Judge Patrick Pardy on Thursday, January 18th at the Moody County Courthouse.
Weigel, after years of ignoring ongoing citations for city ordinance violations on multiple properties, represented himself in court that day. In a previous hearing, he had requested from Judge Pardy a change of venue, stating he felt there were conflicts of interest in the case, that he wouldn’t receive a fair and impartial trial, and that he wasn’t fairly represented.
Judge Pardy explained to Weigel why he believed his concerns weren’t valid and reminded him, through repeated outbursts by Weigel, that he had had plenty of time to hire an attorney, but that he failed to do so.  

Weigel was escorted out of the courthouse shortly after for belligerence in the proceedings.
The property referenced above is a residential property at 204 E. Park Street, which is located in the heart of a downtown residential neighborhood. No one has lived in the home however for more than 40 years.
The last time the utilities were connected at the property was 1980.
The City has tried for decades to work through peaceful and lawful means to get Weigel and his family and businesses to abide by local property maintenance codes and city ordinances.
In November of 2020, the City removed some of vehicles that were part of a court order from 2001. That order stated that Weigel could not store vehicles and other items in the city right-of-way.
Heavy equipment was used to move a dirt berm that had been built to prevent some of the vehicles from being taken.
Weigel, in that case, was arrested after attempting to block the removal of the vehicles from the property.
In 2022, Weigel applied for and was granted a demolition permit for the home. He told City officials he would remove any item of value and demolish the property that summer.
It remains standing with most of the windows now broken out, the roof caving in, the wood structure itself rotting, and a snow fence lining the property to keep trespassers out due to safety concerns.    
Those safety concerns were elevated after a group of young children recently entered the home and posted their exploration on YouTube.
Given the evidence, Judge Pardy granted the City its request to abate the property and recover the costs associated with it.
A court order has yet to be signed. Once it is, Weigel will have 30 days to appeal the ruling. If no appeal is granted, a contractor will be selected along with a date for the removal of the home and other dilapidated structures and items on the property.
“The Court, after hearing witness testimony, reviewing photographs of the property over time, and seeing the records of the steps the City took to attempt to bring the property owners into compliance, granted the City’s requested relief.  The Court authorized the City to demolish the structure and the City shall have a judgment against the property owners for the reasonable costs to do so.  The City appreciates the Judge noting the efforts the City exerted to be accommodating to the property owners.  Finally, the City is pleased that this nuisance issue is reaching resolution,” said City Attorney Corey Bruning.
Additional violations and concerns remain at the adjacent Rudy’s Welding property. City officials intend to follow up on those citations once the residential structure is removed.