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Lake Geneva resident fined $4K for blight; officials try to get him to clean up
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Lake Geneva resident fined $4K for blight; officials try to get him to clean up

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A Lake Geneva resident said he wants to be a good neighbor and clean up his property after receiving multiple city citations.

Wayne M. Rogers, 58, of Lake Geneva has received at least 12 citations for blighted buildings and premises for vehicles, furniture and other debris located on his property, 1790 Conant St., from July 24 through Sept. 1, according to city records.

Rogers estimates that he has received about $4,000 worth of fines from the citations that he has been issued.

He said police officers have come onto his property several times to issue him citations and he understands they are just doing their job.

“If they don’t their job, then they get in trouble,” Rogers said. “I understand it’s a domino effect.”

Building and Zoning Administrator Fred Walling said Rogers keeps receiving the citations, because he has not come into compliance as far as cleaning up his property.

“Compliance had not been met yet,” Walling said. “We keep moving forward with citations.”

Code Enforcement Officer Jim Flower and representatives from the Lake Geneva Police Department did not want to comment on the citations because the cases are still pending in municipal court.

Where it comes from

Rogers has installed a dumpster in his driveway where he plans to dispose of the items.

He said cleaning up his property has been a slow-going process because he currently has a pulled hamstring and other health-related issues.

“There’s so much going on, and I can’t devote 24 hours to doing this,” Rogers said. “I’m a one-man operation. You can only do so much every day.”

Rogers said several items on his property have been given to him by area residents, because he is a member of the Lake Geneva Knights of Columbus and he often donates items to people who are in need.

However, he said the vehicles that he often uses to transport the items have not been in working condition during the past few months, so they have accumulated in his yard.

“If I know somebody who is down and out, I just give them stuff,” Rogers said. “I have toys for kids, a little bit of clothes, but mostly furniture and stuff like that.”

Rogers said he also transports items that are given to him to warehouses he owns in surrounding communities, which he then sells over the internet, but he has not been able to so during the past few months because of issues with his vehicles.

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He said he also receives items from people who are cleaning up their home.

“Especially now with the corona stuff going on, people are redoing their homes, and they just want to change the motif of their house,” Rogers said. “They’re literally giving away perfectly good furniture. I’m getting sectionals, chairs, tables— all kinds of stuff.”

Rogers said he has recently told people to stop giving him items because of the citations and because he is unable to transport them.

Several of Rogers’ neighbors did not want to comment on the issue.

Alderman Ken Howell, who represents the district that Rogers’ lives in, said he has not received any complaints or reports regarding the property.

“Not that I’m aware of,” Howell said when asked if he has received any complaints related to Rogers’ property.

Alderwoman Cindy Flower, who also represents the district, could not be reached for comment.

Looking for progress

Rogers said some of his neighbors have sent him letters offering to help clean up his property.

“That’s the kind of people who live around here,” Rogers said. “It’s a nice community, because everybody watches out for everybody.”

Rogers said he does feel; however, that a couple of neighbors have contacted city officials about the items on his property.

“I know there’s a couple of apples that spoiled the whole bunch,” he said.

Walling said the goal of issuing the citations is not to punish Rogers but to encourage him to clear his property of the debris.

“Issuing citations is the last option,” Walling said. “We don’t want money. The neighbors just want to look out and see a beautiful yard.”

Rogers said Walling and other city officials have told him that if he at least attempts to clean up his property, some of the fines would be reduced or eliminated.

“All they’re looking for is progress,” Rogers said. “The city told me, ‘Just do it.’ I said, ‘I know. I just can’t do it quick enough.’”

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