Las Vegas Sun

August 29, 2014

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Property owner arrested, removed from duplex where hoarding is alleged

A Las Vegas man whose Sun City Summerlin home has been the site of a massive cleanup operation for the past week was arrested Friday on charges relating to his hoarding.

A team of government workers has spent the week clearing out the duplex of Kenneth Epstein, 55. The duplex, 9517 Gold Bank Drive, was filled from floor to ceiling with possessions and mountains of trash in an apparent case of hoarding. A total of 55 cats, 15 of which were dead, also were found in the house.

Neighbors had complained to the city and the homeowners association about the odor emanating from the house and the debris piling up outside.

Epstein was charged Friday with six misdemeanors, including failing to register a pistol, unjustifiable injury to animals, failure to have a cat fanciers license, violating the fire code and two counts of public nuisance.

In a statement, the city of Las Vegas said Epstein was arrested because it was in the best interest of his safety. Officials and Epstein’s family hope it will be the start of an intervention process, and Epstein will undergo a psychiatric evaluation within the next three days, according to the statement.

Epstein’s home was declared an uninhabitable health hazard last week and he has been sleeping on the back patio since, even though the city offered him temporary housing.

An administrative search and abatement warrant was issued Oct. 4 allowing city staff to enter Epstein’s home and rid it of health hazards including dead animals, feces, rodents, decaying food and other contaminated possessions.

A second warrant was issued Oct. 11 allowing for the removal of contaminated dry wall, insulation, ductwork, flooring, windows and window frames.

So far, 41 tons of material have been removed from the home, the city said.

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  1. "So far, 41 tons of material have been removed from the home, the city said."

    Shine -- I seriously doubt even the entire building weighs anything close to 82,000 pounds. The city had better check its facts.

    "All news is an exaggeration of life." -- Daniel Schorr

  2. @ KillerB

    No, you really could get that much debris out of home where someone has been hoarding. Especially if things are soaked with fluids such as water from a leaking pipe, or urine. Plus there were also piles of debris outside as well. Now you've got to consider other contaiminated items to be removed such as appliances and furniture.

    Besides that, what does the weight of the home matter? A 54' tractor trailer fully loaded can have a Gross Vehicle Weight of 80,000 itself. A 27' Uhaul truck as an example as well can haul 7,400 lbs. of cargo. During the preliminary estimates, 1-800-GOT-JUNK who were contracted by the city to take over the clean up were quoting something like 12-14 of their trucks to haul everything away. If their cargo capacity were the same, that would be well over 103K lbs. or 51.8 tons of material.

    So yeah, 41 Tons is indeed quite a believable figure.

  3. "No, you really could get that much debris out of home where someone has been hoarding."

    DMC -- I spent a past life as a heavy haul truck driver. I know what "41 ton" feels like and looks like. Not dissing you, just an opinion. But then again this is govt we're talking about and exaggeration is a useful tool to excuse trespassing on a citizen's property.

    I wouldn't bother with this except for seeing that recent article here showing several of our tireless public oppressors -- cop, code enforcer (just another cop), and others knocking on doors looking for violations. The intimidation factor, especially with Metro's well-deserved bully reputation, is strong.

    In this case, of course, with the neighbors' complaints the public authorities were justified to a point executing nuisance and abatement.

    "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from your government and I'm here to help.'" -- the late President Ronald Reagan

  4. "But then again this is govt we're talking about and exaggeration is a useful tool to excuse trespassing on a citizen's property."

    This house was so packed with material that it could not be entered from the front door. Water weighs 8.35 lbs per gallon, and paper and cardboard holds water like a sponge. Neighbors said they had to avoid walking by the house because of the smell.

    If someone wants to live in filth, I agree they have that right. But that right ends where another's nose begins.

    KNPR aired a good segment about this situation:

    http://www.knpr.org/son/archive/detail2....

  5. "If someone wants to live in filth, I agree they have that right. But that right ends where another's nose begins."

    James_P -- no argument from me

    "The struggle for liberty has been a struggle against Government. The essential scheme of our Constitution and Bill of Rights was to take Government off the backs of people." -- Columbia Broadcasting Sys., Inc. v. Democratic Nat'l Comm., 412 U.S. 94, 162 (1973), Justice Douglas concurring