House sale falls through, neighbor blames councilman for repeat problems
BATON ROUGE - A neighbor and a councilman are still at odds over property improvements completed without permits. Eugene Michelli filed a lawsuit over the problems claiming the improvements caused his house to flood.
Michelli is trying to put everything behind him and move on, but his case hit a snag. Last month, just two weeks before his hearing the judge assigned to the case recused himself. A new judge assigned to the case has recused himself too. Now he says that the dispute between him and his neighbor, District Six Councilman Cleve Dunn is back to square one.
"I don't know what else to do," Michelli said.
Two years ago, Michelli asked his neighbor not to install a fence.
"I asked him not to put that fence up because that fence would be on my property - he put it up anyway," he said.
Friday, it cost him the sale of his house. He found out at the signing.
"The title clerk said we cannot insure the title because that fence is on your property and he claims it belongs to him."
In 2020, Dunn started making a series of property improvements at his house, which is in district eight. A new pool cabana went up, the driveway was widened, and a new fence was installed. Not long after, Michelli's house flooded. It's happened twice and he blames the property improvements.
"I'm into my pocket over $40,000 of our savings," Michelli said.
The City-Parish took issue with the improvements too, failing Dunn's property on multiple inspections, saying the fence appears to be over the property line, a structure is built too close to the servitude, and the driveway is too wide. None of the projects were permitted either.
"He broke all the rules."
Michelli filed a lawsuit last December which asked Dunn to "follow the rules." Last month, the judge assigned to the case recused himself and now the new one is out too. Running out of judges and without a court date, Michelli's neighbor problem is dragging on.
"We just want to move on and we can't move on until this is settled."
Dunn told 2 On Your Side's Brittany Weiss last year that he is not responsible for his neighbor's flooding problems. The City-Parish says Dunn filed for a permit in September 2022 and that the application is pending.
Michelli's lawyer says that this is an "ongoing matter that needs to be resolved as quickly as possible."
Dunn nor his lawyer provided comment on Monday.
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