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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Congressman John Lewis says he's sorry for failing to maintain 'unsafe and unsanitary' property

Congressman John Lewis has fought for Atlanta residents' interests for nearly three decades in Washington D.C. But apparently not all is well on the home front. The longtime U.S. representative's former neighbors are upset with the deteriorating condition of a home he owns. They say the southwest Atlanta property has become an eyesore.

Fox 5 reports that Atlanta officials in March slapped Lewis with a housing code violation for his former Venetian Hills residence that he lived in until 2006. Since then, the residence has fallen into disrepair with growing piles of litter and mold spreading on the lot. More recently, neighbors say homeless people have broken into the house. After numerous complaints, city housing inspectors deemed the property "unsafe and unsanitary" for human habitation and issued a citation.

Michael Collins, Lewis' chief of staff, confirmed with Fox 5's Morse Diggs that the congressman received a citation on March 20. Collins, who notes that the Lewis family left the house in good condition when they moved out, says the elected official will fix up the property to avoid further penalties from the city.

"The Congressman would want his constituents, his neighbors of southwest Atlanta, that he's worked and fought so hard for, to know that he apologizes for the condition that they see the home in," Collins said. "It is his intent to make sure that all of those violations are corrected."

Despite his intent to comply with city codes, some neighbors are still upset with the fact that Lewis' office hasn't returned their messages. On that point, Diggs dishes out some advice to Lewis: "Rule No. 1, and I know the veteran congressman knows that, is to pay attention to your constituents. When they call, call them back." Tell 'em, Mo!

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