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Judge allows Minn. city to oust problem homeowner after 350 complaints over 20 years

Gilbert Mancheski lost a legal battle and will have to sell this Maplewood, Minn. home and leave the city forever. St. Paul Pioneer Press file photo

MAPLEWOOD, Minn.—After 20 years as the focus of complaints, police calls and code violations, Gilbert Mancheski lost a legal battle and will have to sell his Maplewood home and leave the city forever.

The suburb north and east of St. Paul first took action to oust Mancheski in March, when it offered to buy the house.

"They pretty much said, 'Either you sell, or we harass you ... till you do,' " Mancheski said in June.

He grudgingly agreed to the $150,000 sale price — $9,000 more than the 2017 Ramsey County tax value listed for the house.

But shortly before closing, Mancheski discovered his mother had a mortgage on the property and he would gain only about $6,000 from the sale. He skipped the closing

"I'll take nothing before I take ($6,000). I'm willing to donate that house; I don't care," Mancheski said in August. "I'm just going to make (expletive) difficult for all of them."

The city sued Mancheski in August, and the decision came back in its favor Monday. Closing is scheduled for Nov. 27.

Mancheski's neighbors' complaints have ranged from barking dogs and loud noises to stolen property and multiple fires. The property has been the subject of nearly 350 police and fire calls in the past decade.

The house "is actually a blot on the city and what we allow," Maplewood City Council member Kathleen Juenemann said earlier this year.

Mancheski fought the lawsuit without a lawyer, contending that the city had been "harassing him for some time" and "seeking a way to get him to leave." He pointed to the police reports the city had included in the lawsuit as evidence.

The city said that was simply proof that it was justified in trying to buy his house.

Mancheski also argued that the sale would cause him unreasonable financial hardship.

"He is without meaningful assets other than the home, or an income, and being compelled to sell his home would work a substantial hardship upon him," he wrote of himself in his answer to the lawsuit.

The city said the financial hardships were self-imposed errors.

"Those mistakes include entering into a mortgage in 2008 which, despite express terms that require him to make monthly payments to the mortgagee, he apparently never intended to pay back and, more recently, his failure to recall the existence of that mortgage when entered into a purchase agreement with the City," the city said in its response.

Neither the city attorney nor Mancheski could immediately be reached for comment Thursday.