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Official's rental property called a 'drug hole' | News

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Official's rental property called a 'drug hole'
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Tampa, Florida --The windows and doors on the houses at 1908 and 1906 Mitchell, just off Palm Avenue in Tampa, have been boarded up. Code Enforcement head Jake Slater says the dilapidated houses doesn't meet code and are a danger to the community.

We asked Slater if it is true that the house at 1908 is basically a crack house and he said that is what he has been told. But the owner of the houses, Tampa Council Member Curtis Stokes, won't take any of the blame for their condition.

Stokes says the home got into such disrepair, because the family living in it tore the house up.

When we told Stokes Code Enforcement says they have been in disrepair for a long time, he said it has only been like this since June. When we reminded Stokes that was six months ago, he didn't seem top think it was a problem.

Stokes says by having workmen board up the house and posting "no trespassing," signs he is doing his civic duty to keep the neighborhood safe.

We asked the council member if it bothers him to be at the point where the houses are in such condition and the code enforcement had to be called out, he told us he didn't know what was so bad. We told Stokes, three code enforcement officers had to be called out and Tampa Police said the property was a "drug hole." Stokes disputed the claim and said it was just part of a nice, quiet neighborhood.

Tampa Police contacted code enforcement following complaints from neighbors and officers who patrol the area. When an investigation was started, drug paraphernalia and condoms were found strewn around the inside. Slater says all he can say is what Tampa Police told him, and that the problem had been going on for a long time and the police were concerned.

But Stokes doesn't appear concerned, and the council member -- who isn't embarrassed by going back on his word to seek re-election to his appointed seat -- doesn't seem to be embarrassed by his property problems either.

When we asked Stokes if he was at all embarrassed that Code Enforcement had to be called to his property, he told us Code Enforcement is all over town, and it is no big deal.

Stokes will receive a letter this week telling him what he has to do to keep the structures from being condemned and torn down.

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