Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Supervisor plans to fight county citations
Woods wants property owner to stop dumping garbage

by Steve Targo

November 10, 2011

LINN — Does a Town Board member have the right to set foot on another person’s farm if it has a rotting pig carcass out in the open? Town Board Supervisor Terry Woods thought so.

Earlier this year, the 63-year-old first-timer on the Linn Town Board, who lives at W4854 State Line Road, walked onto the farm owned by his neighbor, Nickolas A. Janovski Jr., 38, W4766 State Line Road.

During a Nov. 3 telephone interview, Woods said he suspected the condition of the property violated a town ordinance. He took pictures of a dead pig left in the middle of the 45-acre property as well as piles of trash he claims Janovski dumps weekly on his own land.

But the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department issued Woods citations for trespassing and harassment after an incident Sept. 16. Woods said he plans to plead not guilty to these citations at a hearing Dec. 14.

Meanwhile, on Sept. 21, the County Circuit Court issued an order requested by Janovski which prohibits Woods from being on any part of the farm. For the order, Janovski submitted to the court a written complaint which makes several allegations against Woods.

“The fact Woods checks my doors to see if they are open and goes into my house scares me,” Janovski stated.

He also alleged that Woods opens gates on Janovski’s farm, releases his animals, moves things on the property and harasses him via Facebook.

“Woods is obsessed with me and over the past four years it has grown increasingly problematic,” Janovski stated.

The citations issued to Woods stemmed from an incident Aug. 28 at noon. According to the Sheriff’s Department citations, Woods entered Janovski’s property without permission “and began looking around the property, including the barn behind the house.” Woods has called multiple government agencies, including Walworth County Humane Officer Cindy Wrobel, to complain about Janovski’s property.

“Woods was told by Wrobel and Michael Cotter, Walworth County Health Office, that the property is acceptable,” the citations state. “This has been ongoing for approximately four years and has caused Janovski numerous hardships. Wrobel has repeatedly told Woods to stop calling and said that Woods admitted to her that he entered the property without Janovski’s consent to look around.”

But Woods said none of Janovski’s claims are true. Of Janovski’s complaint, Woods said “the only thing he left out was the Kennedy assassination.” He called Janovski “the most paranoid individual I’ve ever met,” yet said he doesn’t want to play games with him.

“I‘m not really trying to get into a contest with Nick,” Woods said. “I just don’t want to live next to 350 tons of garbage.”

He said he doesn’t believe this has affected his public image negatively. In fact, he said he doesn’t think he has a public image.

“I think everybody knows Nick and everybody’s seen the place,” Woods said.

But his capacity to fulfill his duty is another matter. Woods said he simply followed the town’s public nuisance ordinance -- which he claims allows him to investigate a potential violation on another person’s land — and received citations because of it.

“This whole thing has been very bizarre that I just don’t think the law has been very valuable,” Woods said.

Problems

According to Woods, he and Janovski used to get along. Woods even sold Janovski the land for his farm. He said he also offered to help Janovski with his beehives because raising honey was an interest they shared.

“Nick’s not a bad guy,” Woods said. “He just has some very weird ways of living.”

Woods said a rift began to form between them about four years ago, when Janovski started taking boxes of garbage and piling them along the edge of his property near State Line Road.

Woods said he tried to talk to Janovski about it, who he claims “didn’t see a problem with it.” He said then, the town of Linn police told him not to pile the boxes along State Line Road.

“He then would pile them out in front of his house … and then he would set it all on fire,” Woods said.

He also claimed Janovski dumps tons of garbage behind his house. The property itself has deteriorated, Woods said. He also said Janovski has been accused of abusing the animals on his farm.

In some cases, their carcasses are left to rot on the property, he said. “I’m living next to a landfill,” Woods said.

The garbage dumping is his main concern. “I just want him to stop,” Woods said. “I don’t even care if he doesn’t clean the place up. Just stop dumping garbage.”

Woods also discussed the incident which prompted his trespassing citation. He said two people working for him near the edge of his property smelled a stench. He said considering the garbage being dumped there regularly, this wasn’t entirely unusual. However, they had discovered the stench was a rotting pig on Janovski’s property. He estimated the pig weighed between 250 and 300 pounds.

Woods said this is a violation of a town ordinance and, as a Town Board supervisor, he has a right per ordinance to investigate.

He also said he wasn’t the only government official to do so, either. Woods said two agents from the Walworth County Zoning Agency took pictures of Janovski’s property and left.

“They didn’t get a ticket,” Woods said. “But I did.”

However, Janovski has received his share of tickets.

On Monday, Linn Police Chief Dennis Wisniewski said his department has issued nine citations to Janovski since 1999. In November 2010, Linn police, the Walworth County Humane Society and the State Department of Agriculture executed a search warrant on the farm. The town building inspector was also there, Wisniewski said.

Janovski received a municipal citation for cruelty to animals after the search.

“This has been an ongoing thing,” Wisniewski said about issues with Janovski’s property and farm operation.

According to Wisniewski, there have been more than at least 19 complaints concerning the farm, ranging from animal cruelty issues to burning, junk vehicle and noxious weed violations and animal at large violations.

However, Woods said at this point, he has elected to do nothing. He said the Linn Town Board discussed possible action against the property at a recent special meeting, but he told them not to do anything.

“There’s no sense in me creating more animosity,” Woods said.

He also said the property is in foreclosure and it’s a matter of time before the bank takes ownership. If this happened, it’s suspected the bank would clean up the property.