Meanwhile, in Raleigh
The city police sergeant whose Southeast Raleigh rental houses repeatedly draw fellow officers on drug, prostitution and assault calls has filed for bankruptcy.
Court records show Sgt. Tommy Newman of Wake Forest and his wife, Deborah, will surrender seven houses and lots in Southeast Raleigh, plus an eighth in Zebulon.
On all those houses, they owe nearly $4,500 in property tax, and $22,000 in federal and state income tax.
Newman, a 24-year veteran of the Raleigh police force, declined to comment Tuesday.
His Southeast Raleigh properties are frequent topics at community meetings, where outraged residents describe a steady stream of prostitutes and drug dealers.
Newman earned $79,247 in 2007 and $119,185 the year before from his rental properties, his bankruptcy filing showed.
The story's hook is that the landlord happens to be a police officer, whose neglect of his properties, which appear to have netted him just under $200K the past two years, costs the city a lot of extra money in police resources.
Many Durhamites will recognize Tommy Newman's actalikes, landlords who live out of town, or out of state, and whose continued neglect and lack of involvement in the community places a burden, financial and otherwise, on the residents and taxpayers of our town. It doesn't matter to us whether they're police officers in their town or ours, or just former Duke students who happened to pick up a few distressed properties during their time in Durham 20 years ago and have been milking them for cash flow ever since.
Blight grew so bad at a row of Newman's duplexes on East Jones Street that the city bought them for $320,000 after photographing holes in the walls stuffed with squashed beer cans.
. . .
Since then, the council has considered adding tenants' criminal activity to a set of rules that can trigger fines and mandatory classes for landlords -- a debate that continued at City Hall on Tuesday.
Kudos to the Raleigh City Council for taking steps to place the financial burden for their actions on these landlords. Let's hope some members of our own City Council are paying attention.