Brookfield trustees have asked a judge to find Tommie Phillips and Kathy Norris Phillips in contempt of court for failing to cleanup their property at 8085 Warren Sharon Road, and to allow the township to go onto the property to remove vehicles and debris.
Trumbull County Common Pleas Court has a set a telephonic hearing for Dec. 8 before a magistrate.
The trustees and the Phillipses signed a settlement agreement in October 2019 that calls for the removal or out-of-site storage of “inoperable, junk or unlicensed vehicles” and “junk, garbage, refuse, litter and debris stored outside.”
The Phillipsses were supposed to do the work themselves by Nov. 1, 2019, or the township could move in and do it.
Township officials and a contractor went onto the property on Nov. 27, 2019, and hauled off a boat, while Tommie Phillips drove away a car on his own, but the cleanup effort was aborted due to wet conditions.
Township officials and another contractor returned July 16, 2020, but Tommie Phillips argued the township had taken too long and the settlement agreement was no longer in effect. He gave the township an undefined window of time to haul away vehicles, but officials said Tommie Phillips had changed the terrain of the property. The contractor said he could not get a Dumpster onto the property, and that the job would take a lot longer than what he predicted when he submitted a proposal. Township officials left so they could consider their options.
The township on Nov. 1 filed a motion seeking a court order that would allow it to go onto the property and “remove junk motor vehicles and other materials referenced” in the settlement agreement.
The township asks that Brookfield police, the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Department, the Brookfield Road Department and/or a private contractor assist in the work.
The township also is seeking reimbursement for the removal costs, the time police are on site and attorneys fees incurred to file the contempt action. If the Phillipses do not pay the bill, it would be added to their taxes.
The Trumbull County Sheriff’s Department filed a nuisance violation against the Phillipses over the condition of their property in July 2015. Each pleaded no contest, was fined $100 and put on probation, and was ordered to clean up the property. Subsequent probation violations resulted in Tommie Phillips spending 10 days in jail in June 2018.