Computer glitch gives resident two houses, gets her in trouble w -

Computer glitch gives resident two houses, gets her in trouble with city

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

ST. LOUIS ( -- A computer glitch led to a bizarre demand from the City of St. Louis, and left an elderly resident baffled.

Mary Brown received a letter from the city asking her to cut down a tree on her property. She was at a loss, as she didn’t own the property in question, and in fact had never even seen it.

“I don’t even have trees in my backyard,” Brown said. So when she got the letter from the city to demanding she remove a Siberian Elm tree, she called and tried to sort it out.  “I couldn’t get any consideration from talking to them on the phone,” she said Her next move was to call News 4. Chris Nagus met with Brown and saw form himself.

It had her name and her address, but it also said she lived in Atlanta. Brown has lived in her home on Degiverville for nearly 47 years.

It said the tree was located at a home she also owned on Walton, but she doesn’t own that house, and never has.

Even if she did own the property, the tree seems like the least of the city’s concerns. The property is in severe disrepair. The grass has become overgrown, there’s graffiti and boarded up windows on the structure.

So News 4 contacted the Forestry Division, and found out it was all due to a computer hiccup.

“It’s clearly a computer glitch, and it’s rare that happens,” said Commissioner Greg Hayes. In fact, it seemed to be a communication glitch all around. Hayes was under the impression one of his staff members already had the issue resolved.

Hays also promised to follow up with the City’s IT department to find out what caused the glitch, and  said a letter had already been sent out to the rightful owner of the tree to take care of the problem. 

As for Brown, things appear to have returned to normal. She may no longer “own” a house in Atlanta, but Hays said she is no longer responsible for the tree. He also said he would follow up with the Codes Department concerning other possible violations with the property.


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