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Neighbors raise concerns about severe hoarding, property owner says ‘they need to move’

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Homeowners in Georgia said they’re concerned about a neighbor’s property, alleging a severe hoarding problem.

“That is no hoarding. Look — last year alone, God allowed me to donate in food, funds and shoes — $21,000. Everything I bring here, I take and donate. That thing right there — that box spring,” said Winfred Shipman, property owner.

That’s how Shipman, a former mayoral candidate, explained the numerous cars, mowers, chairs and knick-knacks that cover his front yard. Neighbors said the items never leave, and it is impacting their lives.

“My property is not even worth what we bought it for now. It’s actually gone down,” said David Goldberg, neighbor.

Shipman said that’s not his fault.

“They need to move. Yes, they need to move. Don’t come in and try to run this on me,” said Shipman.

“We’ve had several realtors come in, and upon their arrival, they say they would love to sell our property, but not with the condition our neighbor’s property is in,” said Goldberg.

“It is just a smoke screen to make it look good,” said Shipman.

When asked whether there’s anything that could be done to try to reach a compromise with his neighbors, Shipman said “hell no! This has been going on for two years!”

Neighbors said they plan to continue pushing until something is done, not just for them, but for others living next to homes like Shipman’s across the city.

“If you graph the fines, they start at $50, then $75 and go up, then start coming down,” said Bill Hays, neighbor.

“I’d love to see changes in the law that would allow them to escalate the fines and ticket the home, even if he is not here, so we are going to try and press city council and our legislators as much as possible,” said David Holt.

The mayor said the condition of the property violates city law, and leaders are seeking an abatement to have some of the items removed.