Investigation into Claremont property seizure ongoing
CLAREMONT — A city-funded private investigation is currently ongoing into the actions of city staff in the handling of a property taken for tax purposes.
Mayor James Neilsen and Assistant Mayor Victor Bergeron hired Jordan Ulery of Hudson-based Ulrich Litigation Support, LLC earlier this month, Bergeron said Monday.
The city has agreed to pay Ulery up to $10,000 for his services, but is required to report to Neilsen after every $2,000 in services are rendered.
Bergeron said there is no timetable for the investigation.
“We want it done properly and he hopes to do it as fast as he can,” Bergeron said.
Details of the investigation cannot be discussed, since it is a personnel matter, Bergeron said.
Because it is a personnel matter, Bergeron said, once Ulery gives his report to the City Council, members would then determine what details of the report would or could be released.
“We’ll have to determine that at the end to see what the report entails and involves,” Bergeron said.
In July, the removal of a resident’s personal property from a city deeded home called city procedure into question.
The home, located at 54 Windsor Road, was previously owned by Roy Hunter. The property was taken by tax deed last August.In early April, city officials told Hunter he could no longer live there. There is no running water and the building is in danger of collapse.Since then, city officials have been working with Hunter to have him remove his personal belongings from the property, Claremont Police Chief Alex Scott said in July.
However, the deadline for when he had to have all of his belongings out had not been formalized, Scott said.
On June 24, city finance director Mary Walter, with help from other city employees went to the property to take an inventory of what was in the home and decided to take some items that day.
The city employees took the property, which was mostly antiques, from the home and brought them to the Department of Public Works yard.
After learning items were removed from the property, Scott said he met with city attorney Jane Taylor and they both agreed they were uncomfortable with the procedure followed and asked the city workers to return the property immediately.
The property was returned on June 25, within 24 hours of its removal, according to Scott.
City officials say all of the property has been returned, but Hunter has claimed that some of the items were not returned.