One city worker is accused of violating the codes she's paid to enforce - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Posted by: George Metaxas, 7/26/04, 5:50 p.m.

One city worker is accused of violating the codes she's paid to enforce

One city worker is accused of violating the codes she's paid to enforce. Code Enforcement Inspectors are charged with keeping property owners in line. But now one of those inspectors faces charges of her own.

Memphis and Shelby County Code Enforcement Senior Inspector Judith Larson showed up in General Sessions Court Monday, as a defendant, following complaints from neighbors, one of Larson's colleagues cited her back in June for not keeping up with several acres of overgrown property she owns in Frayser. Rose Bonds said, "For somebody that worked for Code Enforcement, I think she should have known better, especially in these large lots that we have."

Just two doors down from Larson is abandoned property. The house on it flagged, condemned by Code Enforcement. Neighbors say before officers cited Larson, her property looked just like the condemned one. Since then, Larson started cleaning the place up, but most of the property behind the house remains overgrown. Meanwhile, Code Enforcement's Administrator, says his division is aware of the case, but can't talk about it until the matter is resolved. Though he did say, "We expect our inspectors just as Police and the Fire Department to be examples for the City." But Court Records show, inspectors cited Larson back in 1996 and 2003 for the grass and weeds growing on her property. In the 2003 case, Larson eventually pleaded guilty to not following a judge's order to cut them down. Turns out the city doesn't have an official policy about code enforcers being code breakers. A judge continued Larson's case until next month. Our attempts to get in touch with Larson were unsuccessful. Her attorney told us Larson is making every effort to clean up her property.

Judith Larson also faces animal cruelty charges. Court papers show inspectors found 11 cats and six dogs on Larson's property. Inspectors say all of the animals were "grossly underweight." In addition to the cruelty charge, Larson was cited for not having proper vaccination or registration papers for the animals.

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