Volunteers take time to help hoarder
NORTH MIAMI, Fla. (WSVN) -- Residents came to the rescue of a so-called hoarder who came very close to losing his home.
"I praise the lord first for his mercy and grace on these issues, " William Kleinschmidt said.
Sixty-two-year-old Kleinschmidt has been fighting a battle with his neighbors, the condo association and the courts for more than a decade. The problem? Cleaning his condo. But on a judge made a key decision Tuesday.
"It wasn't that I didn't want to clean it up," Kleinschmidt said. "I was basically too tired and depressed from my mother's death."
Litigation after litigation. After piles and piles of paper, boxes and scores of scrap filled his apartment several feet high. There were floods of back flows of sewage from a mainline, so that didn't help the issues. Not just one, many times, and in large quantities.
The debris and sewage backups would lead to a roach infestation and unsanitary conditions, and a judge would then order him to clean it up or surrender for jail time, effective Tuesday.
That's when 7News' Patrick Fraser stepped in, calling on Luis Valdeon, who helps homeowners in distress. "He was going to jail today, and I didn't want him to go to jail," Valdeon, a Miami-Dade Foreclosure specialist said. "I wanted for him to get his life started again."
Luis and a team of volunteers wearing hazard jumpsuits swung into action over the weekend cleaning out most of the mess. Filling several dumpsters, taking pictures to prove to the court cleaning was in progress. "It took us three days, and we had three containers," Valdeon said.
"The debris in here was about seven feet high," Valdeon said. "You could tell just by looking at some of the markings here on the walls. "If you take a look at the apartment now, most of which is pretty much cleaned up but there is a second phase of this cleanup project that has to take place. That is plumbing, exterminating and painting."
Tuesday, Judge Peter Lopez lifted the contempt order and ruled for the clean-up to continue. "Mr. Kleinschmidt, good luck to you, sir," the judge offered.
Now, Kleinschmidt does not have to go to jail, still has his home and a lot to be thankful for. "Thankful for a second chance," he said.
And he says he owes a lot of it to Mr. Valdeon and ... "I need to thank Patrick Fraser too and Help Me Howard," Kleinschmidt said. "I'm sure without them, this would probably be a different outcome."
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)