Previous homeowner warns buyers of meth house

Published: Sep. 10, 2012 at 10:23 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2012 at 9:58 AM CDT
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HOLDEN, LA (WAFB) - A house in Livingston Parish that has tested positive for meth is back on the market.

The bank foreclosed on the house, but bought it back. Now, the previous owner is taking some serious action to make potential buyers aware.

The small wood-framed house in Holden has been at the center of attention for more than a year.

The graffiti on the front claims the house is being condemned because the soil won't support the house, it is contaminated by meth and mold, has bad electric and a bad foundation. It also lists a YouTube address where anyone can view video of its interior.

Katherine Doughty, the former owner of the house, said she is behind the brazen warnings.

"We had our fireplace lit this winter and the doors blew out at 2 a.m., glass shattered all over our living room," Doughty said.

That's what Doughty said last August after learning the house she said she bought from HUD had been exposed to crystal meth and other dangerous chemicals.

Doughty and her family stayed in the house, but have since been taking steps to get it condemned. She said Citi Mortgage suddenly stopped accepting her payments, the house went through foreclosure and she and her family were evicted in July. The house is back on the market.

"I was shocked. I could not believe that they would want somebody else to live in that house. It needs to be torn down," Doughty said.

Last year, Chuck Vincent the building director for Livingston Parish, sent the Doughty family a letter regarding his inspection of the house. He wrote, "There appears to be mold/mildew...the flooring in several of the rooms is rotten to the point of falling in. He added, "after he left his eyes started watering and burning and I developed a headache."

Doughty said she thought the parish was working on getting the house demolished. But now, she is not so sure.

"We are not getting our calls returned anymore. We were told to let it go and let someone else deal with the problem," Doughty said.

Doughty said the last letter she got was on April 13, 2012. Sam Digirolamo, Livingston Parish Planning director, wrote, "The house was to be condemned, demolished and disposed of."

Six months later, the house is for sale.

"It's a three-bedroom, two-bath in the Livingston Parish school district. I know it's going to sell to a family and I don't want another family to go through what my family's been through," Doughty explained.

Parish President Layton Ricks said the house was never demolished because the complaint never went to the full council for a vote. He added, the parish is in the process of reworking how it condemns property to speed up the process.

A spokesman for Citi Mortgage, the current owner, said the company is looking into the history of the property.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.