Judge orders partial closure of mobile home park


By Ann Marie Shambaugh

More than half of the tenants at Zionsville Mobile Home Park are being forced to relocate after a judge ordered parts of it shut down because of what it deemed broken sewage systems.

“The eastern and central sewage systems were failing, causing health concerns for the residents,” stated Corey Elliott, press secretary for the Indiana attorney general’s office, in an email.

But the mobile home park manager, Laura Lei, denies those claims. She said that the septic system is aged but not failing and that none of the residents have experienced any health issues or other major problems as a result of sewage problems. If anything, they’re feeling “miserable” and “depressed” from being displaced, she said.

“Everybody is very upset,” Lei said. “They said they have no (drain or sewage) issues and (wonder) why the court ordered them to go.”

Lei said the problems stemmed from three clogged pipes – a problem the homeowners were required to fix but didn’t. She said she hired plumbers who successfully unclogged the drains and that the system is working as it should.

“We fixed the issue,” she said.

But Boone Circuit Court Judge Justin Hunter ruled Jan. 30 that all but 12 of the 31 tenants move out of the park at 9111 E 600 S by April 30. As of early June, some of the tenants required to move were still on the property, according to court documents. Lei said June 15 that she believes all of the tenants but one were gone.

Hunter ordered Jan. 30 that Lei provide the Indiana State Dept. of Health with “proof that all sewage materials that have discharged from the ground surface under the unoccupied home on lot 6017 has been bagged and hauled to a sanitary landfill and that lime has been applied to the contaminated ground.” The state said it did not receive proof as of June 6 that Lei had met that requirement, but Lei said she cleaned up the site as required.

Court records show that Lei and the mobile home park have been ordered to pay $279,950 in restitution and that the park is operating without a license. According to the ISDH website, its license expired at the end of 2015.

Lei said she sent in the fee for the license but that the state has been refusing to renew it until the sewage problems are fixed. She said the state is refusing to acknowledge the work she’s done.

Zionsville Director of Communications Amanda Vela said that the town is providing financial support to displaced Zionsville Mobile Home Park tenants without the resources to accomplish the relocation of their homes through its public assistance program.

Lei said that the court order required the people to move, not the mobile homes. She said the park has an innkeeper lien on most of the homes, as their owners are behind on lot rent payments, and she doesn’t believe that that the town should have spent approximately $15,000 to help former tenants relocate.

“The people can move out to rent an apartment or another house/home,” she stated in an email. “They don’t have to and shouldn’t have taken their mobile home with them due to the existing innkeeper lien against their mobile homes.”