June 28, 2007 at 6:44 a.m.
Charles Frederick Vogel sat in the courtroom last week before Judge Edward Bearse, thinking he'd be able to convince the judge to give him more time. Vogel was in the final days of a one-year probation window he'd been granted to address the junk on his homesite in east Wyoming.
Vogel stated he felt he was making headway on the court-ordered cleanup. Vogel said he considered his efforts so far to be a "big improvement" on the appearance of his property.
Judge Bearse clearly thought otherwise. He'd driven out to inspect this parcel and told the court he was amazed to find it's "...every bit as bad as law enforcement" described it to be. Judge Bearse added that the site is "...in a nice neighborhood, I would think the neighbors would want the city to get this situation addressed. By and large the place is still an incredible mess. I am not convinced if given more time you'll do anything."
And, with that said, the judge revoked probation and remanded Vogel to custody. Vogel was led to county jail at the end of the hearing to serve 120 days. At the request of Wyoming there will be no work release privileges.
Charlie Vogel represented himself in court. The city was represented by Sean Stokes of Eckberg Lammers law firm. The county prosecutor was also at the hearing June 22.
Stokes explained that the city will pursue an injunction while Vogel is in jail, in an effort to keep him off the property on East Viking Boulevard. It's believed that Vogel's been staying in a camper-trailer on the site, as the house has been boarded up, deemed inhabitable. Following receipt of the injunction, Stokes said, Wyoming will get an abatement order and if Vogel doesn't live up to the terms of probation and get the lot cleaned up-- the city will. Judge Bearse also granted the city permission to access the Vogel property.
"The city is analyzing civil remedies," Stokes told the judge. If Wyoming is successful in "sealing off" the site, "... at least the property stays no worse than its current state," said Stokes.
The sentence the judge put in motion last week allows Vogel to get out of jail after 60 days, if he can demonstrate to Wyoming there is a contract in place for site cleanup.
The judge also allowed the city to recoup costs associated with the property as "restitution." The city, as Vogel's generic "victim" will file for restitution with the court.
Judge Bearse asked Vogel for any final remarks and Vogel quietly told the court, "I have nothing to say."
In the early 1990s Wyoming spent some $60,000 cleaning up the Vogel parcel. The city got no money to cover these expenditures because, according to Stokes, Vogel filed bankruptcy in 1995 and the debt to the city was discharged. The property gradually became a dumping ground for old vehicles, barrells of unknown materials, appliances, debris, etc.
In 2002 Vogel was convicted of outside storage violations and served 30 days.
The jail time was apparently no deterrent, however, and in July 2006 Vogel pled guilty to 12 counts of about 30 counts against him, again for public nuisance offenses, and also violations related to structural problems with the home. The hearing last week was to consider the probation from this 2006 action.