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Mess in front of Cape Coral home deemed "public safety hazard" and cleaned up

Posted at 1:36 AM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 01:36:25-05

CAPE CORAL — We have a follow up to a story we first brought you last Friday.

A house that had the front yard filled with trash is finally clean. Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter said he saw our story Sunday morning, and reached out to City staff to take care of it.

"I came across your news clipping, and it was concerning to me enough for, I wanted to make sure later on in the morning that I went over and looked for myself," said Gunter.

When he got there, he saw the mess that had been sitting in the yard for months. Gunter says he immediately notified the City Manager.

"He decided to call public works out, because he felt that it was a life safety issue," said Gunter.

Now the trash has all been thrown away, at least in the front yard.

But while we were at the house Monday, a woman pulled up in a U-Haul and told us where we could find the homeowner, Michael Mann. The woman said Mann was staying at the Westin Hotel in Cape Coral. She also gave us his room number, so we went to that room and sure enough, Mann was staying there and we got to speak with him in-person.

Mann did not want to provide us with an on the record interview, but his lawyer Terry Cramer gave us a call and said Mann had been in jail for months for a battery charge.

During that time, Cramer said Mann's wife caused the problems at the house.

"She apparently invited these people over to the house and they just came by one day with the U-Haul and moved all their belongings and furniture and whatnot into the house, and then whatever they had that wouldn’t fit inside the house, they then put in the driveway, in the garage, and in the front yard," said Cramer, who works for the Wilbur Smith Law Firm.

Cramer said they tried to get the mess cleaned in a timely manner, but he said the people living there weren’t cooperative.

"We had to get a court order to remove these people, these squatters at the house, and then once we were finally removing them, they kept coming back," said Cramer.

Gunter said, now that the saga is almost over, he wants to take a look at City policies to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

"We have to make sure that all of our policies that we have here in the City, that we can minimize the timeline and the effects to the community when you have something like this that is a possible public safety issue," said Gunter.

Cramer told us on Tuesday they’re going to have a dumpster at the house because apparently the inside is still full of trash. He said once they get that cleaned up, Mann plans to move back into the house permanently.