4-block, 4-story Cleveland dump has residents fuming and courts demanding answers

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Is a growing pile of dirt and stone from construction sites in Cleveland threatening to become another burden on taxpayers, much like the one in East Cleveland that put residents on the hook?

For neighbors who have to look at the stories-high piles of rubble and live with the dust and mud that stretches from East 165th to East 169th Streets, it is personal.

"I don't like it in my neighborhood. It seems like it just grows and grows and grows. Just like the one in East Cleveland," said a nearby resident.

At the headquarters of ProTerra on St. Clair near East 165th, a woman answering the door told us that either Jon Varselli or Mike Szychowski, who she identified as owners, would be back to talk to us in 10 minutes.

Then, a mysterious emergency popped up and they were unavailable.

"They're not gonna be back for a while," she said.

They did not return a request for comment.

There have been 11 lawsuits filed against the company in the past five years, and there is a current criminal case before the Cleveland Housing Court where fines of $77,500 were levied last month, and two years of community control were ordered.

"It wasn't a mountain last summer. How much has it grown in the past month or so? Oh, Lord. Ten, twelve feet and how high are they legally allowed to go?" A resident asked.

For reference, the homes nearby are full, two-story homes with attics.

And that pile is about double that tall.

The feeling among neighbors is that they've had enough of the dust, mud and runoff problems.

One was asked if they'd like to see it gone. He answered simply, "Yes indeed."

The company has been forced to use a wheel wash pit and hose down the piles.  Both are methods that had proved largely ineffective in the past.

The business owners are due in court next week for a violation of community control.

In effect, they will likely be forced to sit down and figure out how to mitigate the mess.

Cleveland 19 will be there.

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