Woman claims East St. Louis demolished her house - KMOV.com

Woman claims East St. Louis demolished her house

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Howard's home prior to demolition. Howard's home prior to demolition.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

Monica Howard said the St. Clair County Government stole her home by demolishing the house she had purchased at an auction.

Howard told News 4 she bought the home and had plans to rehab the property, but before she could, the city tore it down.

"It was stolen," Howard said.

St. Clair County officials said they warned Howard to clean up the property, "or else," but News 4's Craig Cheatham wanted to know if she was given a fair shot at improving the property before it was demolished.

After buying the home at a public auction in January 2011, Howard fell behind on the property taxes, which were past due when the home was demolished in December 2013.

County officials claim they warned Howard by sending two notices in the mail a few months before tearing it down, but Howard said she had recently provided an updated address and they sent the notices to the wrong address.

Howard believes that her house, which she planned to rehab in 2014, was torn down because the home had good bricks which could be sold, unlike rundown wood houses in the same neighborhood which have not been demolished.

"I got bullied, they took my house," Howard said. "They stole my house and they said, 'What are you going to do about it?'"

The county has defended the demolition as part of a beautification project and blames Howard for the property's poor condition and late taxes.

On the other hand, Howard's supporters say that with all of the derelict homes in East St. Louis, which have remained the same for decades, there is no reason the city should have demolished Howard's home instead.

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