LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. – It has been seven months since a massive house and garage were picked up, moved and then dumped on the front lawn of a Larimer County farm.
Property owner Michelle Dickinson broke her silence on Tuesday. Dickinson owns Mountain View Farm, where the house has remained since early September.
She told Denver7 she was fed up with the city of Loveland and Larimer County for not doing much to remove the home.
Dickinson and her family have owned the farm for more than a century.
She said the job already comes with its own complications. However, the house left behind by Gary DeJohn with DeJohn Housemoving Inc. is a problem she didn’t anticipate.
You can see the house from a mile away, along North County Road 9.
The state’s Department of Public Health and Environment has ordered the house not be removed until asbestos abatement is done, or until proper permits are granted. These are tasks that have fallen on Dickinson’s front lawn.
“I'll own part of it because I did let him leave it here,” Dickinson said.
However, after many failed attempts to get answers from DeJohn himself, Denver7 visited his Greeley home.
He didn’t answer the door, but he took our call.
When asked when the house was being moved off of Michelle Dickinson’s property, DeJohn said he was currently working to get that done.
Before disconnecting the call, DeJohn said he was actively working to get the proper permits to finally move the house for a potential buyer. When Denver7 called back, DeJohn said he didn’t have the time to explain.
“I don't know how he doesn't have time to explain it,” said Don Overcash, with the City of Loveland. “He had plenty of time when he was in jail for trespassing.”
Overcash is the Loveland Mayor Pro Tem and Councilman for Ward IV.
He explained the city of Loveland had dealt with DeJohn for years.
Denver7 previously connected with Vincent Junglas, the attorney who prosecuted DeJohn’s previous case in late 2016, and who now serves as the assistant city attorney in Loveland.
“There was a house on somebody else's property that did not belong there, and there was no permission from the owner,” Vincent Junglas said. “For me, that's textbook trespassing.”
Junglas explained, “Mr. DeJohn was cited quite a few times for the same conduct.” Eight times to be exact.
“Each day of the violation was a continuing violation. So, each day counted as a separate, distinct offense,” he clarified.
Junglas pointed to DeJohn’s jail time. “He was sentenced to the 30 days in jail and had to pay a $1,000 fine on January 5, 2017.”
DeJohn also failed on following conditions that followed that initial 30-day sentence and spent 90 days in the Washington County jail in May 2017.
A court-ordered complaint was issued on June 22, 2017.
“He’s not to have any further violations for a period of 12 months from the date of that disposition,” Junglas said, which would put this latest offense on that timeline. However, Junglas followed up and said, “Our code is not applicable outside the corporate limits of the city.”
However, it’s the city’s prior knowledge of DeJohn’s actions that has Dickinson frustrated.
“I would like some help from the county and the city and the state,” she said. “To say, ‘Yeah, we all have a part in this.’”
Dickinson told Denver7 she has already spent nearly $20,000 on combined legal fees and testing on the house. She is pushing for the city, county and state to assist in this matter.
A formal complaint filed on Nov. 10, 2017 details how Loveland ordered DeJohn to remove the abandoned home by Labor Day. He obliged and moved the home to county property.
DeJohn allegedly told Dickinson he would be back the next day to take it off her dairy farm.
Seven months later and the house remains. Neighbors, none more than Dickinson, want the house gone for good.
Larimer County Code Compliance officer Tony Brooks said the home was originally located at 3421 Valley Oak Drive when DeJohn was contracted to remove the house. The structure was first left on the corner of N. Boyd Lake Ave and East 37th Street.
The home was then moved to 3890 Emerald Shore Circle, before being shuffled to a vacant lot at the corner of Medford Drive and N. Boyd Lake Ave.
Now, it sits at 6875 N. County Rd 9.
Brooks said that to move the wide load, a special Public Works permit is needed through the engineering department. However, DeJohn does not have the proper permits to move the house.
He added DeJohn was very aware of what permits he needed to do so.
Brooks said a 15-day notice of violation went out from Larimer County to Dickinson on Sept. 6, 2017.
Dickinson responded five days later, saying she needed direction and was unsure of what to do.
The county’s business process requires going through the property owner, which is why Dickinson was initially served the notice.
Brooks said, “It was clear Miss Dickinson was a victim.”
Now, the county is working toward a resolution.
“It's hard to imagine someone being so thoughtless as to consistently violate a number of laws and take advantage of a number of people for their own personal gain,” Overcash said.
However, no one knows why DeJohn has been towing this abandoned house around for so long. It hasn't been said why DeJohn is seemingly dumping the home at locations without permission.