SCRANTON – Local businessman Bob Bolus’s litigation against the city for the alleged wrongful condemnation of his home is now back on after negotiations with the city broke down, he told City Council on Tuesday.
Two weeks ago, Bolus said that he had a “productive” conversation with city solicitor Paul Kelly, Jr. regarding his East Mountain residence, which received extensive water damage after a water hose burst in his home and flooded the basement and first floor.
The city condemned the property based on complaints from his neighbors, Bolus claims, instead of inspecting the inside of the house, which he said is “definitely not uninhabitable” after staying there himself.
Bolus was ready to take legal action against the city until speaking with Kelly and was “very close” to a written agreement, he said previously.
On Tuesday, he claimed that “politics take a precedence” after Kelly presented a brief containing what he called “false allegations” in court. He hoped an emergency hearing would be called to resolve the issue, but that did not occur.
Bolus also criticized Councilman Bob McGoff for stating several weeks ago that the city should “let it go to court,” saying that he should encourage the city to avoid litigation at all costs to “save taxpayer money.”
“I will campaign as vigorously as I can against you and anybody else that would allow taxpayers in this city to be subjected to the abuse that we are taking, especially from the law department,” Bolus told McGoff.
McGoff responded later in the evening, saying that he has never taken a side in this matter.
“It seems Mr. Bolus wants to use the podium here in city council to argue his court cases. For the record, I am not a party in any of these issues that he has or any of these court cases, so I don’t know what it is that he expects or wants me to do,” McGoff said.
“The truth is that it’s his taxpaying neighbors that have asked, and are asking, the courts to have Mr. Bolus abide by the law and be a good neighbor,” he added, referring to Bolus’ ongoing dispute with his East Mountain neighbors.
“This isn’t a political issue.”
Over the last year, Bolus’ neighbors complained that he had continually blocked sections of their property with his trucks and trailers, but Bolus said these trailers stored his damaged goods and tools for repairing his home at 1531 Birch St.
Bolus claims his neighbor was allowed to build on city-owned property near his private easement, which led to the flooding and condemnation of his residence after a cement truck used in the construction of the property allegedly crushed water pipes underground.
The pipes then leaked, he said, leading to the water hose behind his washer bursting. A judge eventually ordered Bolus to remove his trailers, but litigation with his neighbors and the city will continue, he confirmed.