Cambridge Woman Struggles With City Over Failing Roof - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cambridge Woman Struggles With City Over Failing Roof

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 CAMBRIDGE, Md.-  On a day like Tuesday, some parts of Geraldine Kinnamon's house are far from watertight.  But her grandson tells WBOC that the city hasn't been helpful in fixing her leaking roof, instead only making things worse.

Brandon McMullen admits his grandmother's roof is not a pretty sight.  She received a letter telling her she was being fined $100 a day for not repairing the roof when asked by the city in March.  But it's not the fines that has McMullen annoyed, it's the way the city has gone about the problem.

"The biggest problem for me is not that it needs to be fixed, it obviously does, but the biggest frustration is that I feel like she is getting bullied into paying these fines and fees, basically a 'poverty fee' because she doesn't have the money to afford it, so they are going to charge her for it.  That's the issue that I had that there were no other alternatives or suggestions. It was just straight to fines and fees." said McMullen.

But public works director Odie Wheeler says that is not the case.  He says she was told to fix the problem in 90 days starting in March, and they gave an additional two months before the first fine was levied.

"We felt like we were now five months down the road and we had no real information, nobody coming in and saying can we work together until the fine was levied." said Wheeler.

McMullen and his grandmother have come up with a solution, although he says it is painful for both of them.

"She basically had to forfeit her house to me.  the house she's lived in since before I was born she had to sign over to me, and I had to take out a loan to finance these repairs that the city of Cambridge has not offered to help with and has kept charging her money for money she doesn't have." said Wheeler.

Mrs. Kinnamon was not available to speak with WBOC.

"We will work with them if they need some extra time.  We will not issue any more fines as long as work is actively being progressed.  We have a contract in hand which they have given us.  We are in a mode right now to work with them" says Wheeler.

Wheeler tells us so far she has only been fined 100 dollars once for the property, and further fining has been suspended because McMullen has said repair work will begin on Monday.  He also says this is just part of the city's effort to maintain their neighborhoods, although this is not the first time a homeowner has had issue with the department's enforcement.



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