LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- There use to be two boarded up homes at the 2800 block of Harrison street. One, scheduled for demolition, another declared unsafe and uninhabitable by the city. Now, one of them rests in ruins--the problem, it was not the one the city meant to destroy.
Jessie Vernon bought the home at 2800 Harrison street for just $2,000.
"I'm a carpenter. I was going to start wrecking walls and tearing stuff out and get stuff where it needed to go," says Vernon.
Now, it rests in ruins next door to the property the city scheduled for demolition.
"The structure that was incorrectly demolished was not codemmed. It had been declared unsafe vacant," says Andre Bernard with Little Rock's Department of Housing.
He says both homes were uninhabitable, but the excavator contracted to demolish 2804 Harrison Street made a mistake.
"Yeah, I obviously tore down the wrong structure. It was earmarked to be torn down eventually, no doubt in my mind," says Grant Youngblood with Youngblood Demolition and Excavating.
He says the home did not have a visible address.
"There were two houses side by side and I didn't look close enough to figure out which was which. One of them still had the utilities hooked up and the other one was completely disconnected so it clicked in my head, as then as my head works sometimes, that this is the one right here," says Youngblood.
After realizing his mistake, Youngblood says he offered to clear the property for free or buy Vernon another house, both offers he refused.
"The guy, in my opinion, has no concern for the police that have to go into those old houses looking for somebody, children that might be walking by and walk in on something going on in the house they don't need to see," says Youngblood.
Though he made an error, Youngblood says by the condition of the property, he did the city a favor.
"It seems like to me that Mr. Vernon is more worried about himself than his neighbors. He's had that thing for six years, not done any repairs on it and all of a sudden it's worth $50,000," says Youngblood.
"For mental anguish and the crap that I'm going through$50,000 then is no money," says Vernon who had plans to renovate the home and says he was complying with the city. Now, he won't get the chance.
"They screwed up but they don't want to own up to it and so they trying to find anything they can to try to discredit me when I'm not the one that did anything. I haven't made no mistake," says Vernon.
It is a mistake Youngblood says he learned from and will not make again.
"It was totally my fault for taking a few other simple steps but it's my first and I hope it's my last," says Youngblood.
The city of Little Rock says they instruct all their contractors to wait until staff is on site to verify the work that is to be done. They say Youngblood neglected to notify them before he began demolition and therefore is liable for the mistake. Now, Youngblood and Vernon say their attorneys are handling the dispute.
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