5 On Your Side

Neighbors Complain About Former Erwin Official's Mess

Complaints by neighbors have prompted a former Erwin town commissioner to promise to clean up his yard.

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ERWIN, N.C. — A former Erwin town commissioner has promised to clean up his yard after years of complaints by neighbors.

Jean Sutton said she has reached the end of her rope after complaining to Erwin town officials since 2004 about mess on the property belonging to former Erwin town commissioner Robert Wilson, Jr.

Sutton lives next door to Wilson in a neighborhood a few blocks from downtown Erwin in Harnett County.

Five on Your Side visited Wilson's home and found a dilapidated pool, a junked car, piles of trash and a recently installed fence that was already crooked.

"It's a health hazard. ... It's just dangerous," said Sutton, who wants the mess cleaned up before her three grandchildren move in with her.

Sutton said that after her first complaint in 2004, a code-enforcement officer came out and took pictures. The town sent four letters to Wilson in 2005 and 2006, but nothing happened after he violated an order to clean his property by July 10, 2006, said Sutton.

In November 2006, Sutton said the Erwin town attorney Mac Hunter assured her the town would take care of the situation.

Sutton said she thinks that Wilson has used his old office to get around the town's demands.

"He served two terms on this town board as commissioner, and I think he just figures he can get around the system," said Sutton.

With the mess still on Wilson's property, Sutton called 5 on Your Side.

One of the current Erwin commissioners, Norma S. Ennis, met 5 on Your Side at Wilson's house.

"I'm gonna make sure it's done. I'll be so persistent, they'll be cleaning it next week. I promise you," said Ennis.

Wilson said that he was "blindsided" by 5 on Your Side's involvement in the case. He called the whole incident an "embarrassment" and promised to clean up the property by this past weekend.

Wilson also said that he was getting a new pool liner and had made "tremendous progress."

A visit to Wilson's house by 5 on Your Side Wednesday found some improvement, but an air conditioning unit remained in the yard, and the pool was still dilapidated.

Neither Wilson nor Ennis returned calls placed Wednesday seeking comments on their earlier promises to clean the yard.