Methuen mayor's wife owns decrepit building in Lawrence
METHUEN, Mass. (WHDH) -- Methuen Mayor Stephen Zanni is cracking down on troubled properties, but it turns out his wife owns an example of what he's trying to eliminate in nearby Lawrence.
Mayor Stephen Zanni’s wife co-owns an eyesore just over the city line in Lawrence with her two sisters.
The triple-decker is a mess; neighbors say squatters have used the floors as bathrooms. Police have answered a dozen calls in the past two or three years for things like gun shots, drug activity, even a young man using it as a tattoo parlor.
“I think it’s pretty bad for the neighborhood because you got a lot of children going inside,” said Joan Garcia, a neighbor.
Until a recent clean up, there was trash strewn all over the property, and thick weeds overtook the front side walk. The mayor admits it’s an eyesore, but:
“There’s nothing that was done wrong here. The house was boarded, it is secure, there are no health issues, it has been cleaned, it’s up to date on taxes, there is insurance on the property,” said Mayor Stephen Zanni, Methuen.
For decades, the property belonged to the mayor's mother-in-law, but she died three years ago, and since then it has been unoccupied. Her children have been trying to decide what to do with it.
The mayor says there have been long discussions her possessions in the home -- who gets what. He bristled at the suggestion he should have urged his wife to pack up her mother's things, move them out, sell the property and then sort it out.
“I think you don’t know women then. If you take three women, three sisters together, and you decide that you tell them to move the stuff. I’d like to see if you had three sisters at home…see how fast you get them to move things to sell when it becomes an emotional issue,” Mayor Zanni said.
Back at the eyesore on Pennington Street, the people who have to put up with it don't buy it.
“I think there’s something wrong with him because if you want to make the city look better, try to make better your own stuff, your own house,” Garcia said.
Mayor Zanni says he and his wife got a couple of offers on the property yesterday. He’s hopeful it will be sold and fixed up soon.