RED BANK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There’s a battle brewing in New Jersey over a yard filled with junk.
Bennett Craft walked CBS2’s Meg Baker through the bushes to see his neighbor’s yard.
“This residential-zoned house has now become a commercial junkyard. Yet they wouldn’t tolerate it on other side of town. A tale of two cities — white side and black side or Hispanic side.”
William Poku is the homeowner.
“I’m not a hoarder, not a hoarder,” Poku said.
Chopper 2 flew over the property on Bank Street and showed the full expanse of the trash thrown on the property. There are nine cars all stuffed full and black trash bags thrown everywhere. Out front, there’s an old red tow truck and bucket truck.
When asked if considers any of it trash, Poku said, “No, I do not consider it trash. Well, I live here and practice my hobbies.”
Poku said he is an electrical engineer. Neighbors said the yard is overrun with animals and bugs.
Poku said he is being targeted because of racial prejudice.
“It’s a gentrification trend with people moving into neighborhood trying to change the character of the neighborhood,” Poku said.
Red Bank business administrator Ziad Shehady told Baker this is not a racial issue.
“Absolutely not. It’s disingenuous to say that. It’s harmful to the real discourse of racism to use that as an excuse,” Shehady said.
The business administrator said Poku owes more than $4,000 in fines, adding the town cannot just go onto private property and clean up the mess.
“At every turn he filed motions to try to hold that up, get municipal employees deposed records subpoenaed. He has filed lawsuits against two judges, police offices, the police department and numerous employees here. It has gone all the way to federal court system,” Shehady said.
“If I have to cut my grass or get a ticket. Why is it you can allow junk scattered all over front yard?” Craft added.
Neighbors said they have offered to help clean things up. So has the town. Most hoarding cases involve mental health issues. The administrator said the town is also looking into offering those services.
The town is currently in litigation with Poku to get into the house to check the safety of the structure, but has not been allowed on the property.