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19 Investigates helps Cleveland Heights business with water shutoff notices because of bill it didn’t owe

Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 12:51 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A local business owner reached out to 19 Investigates, saying the water department keeps threatening to shut off his service because of an unpaid bill that he’s not responsible for.

Andy Gathy runs Heights Hardware on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights.

The business is about to hit 100 years in its building.

In that time, there have been a lot of changes to the neighborhood. Perhaps one of the biggest, Gathy says, was 20 some years ago.

“Back then, they put in planters and all kinds of new stuff,” he said.

The upgrades included an irrigation system. Gathy says the city put a meter for the water that would run through it in his basement.

It didn’t last long here though.

“It was leaking or had some sort of problem,” Gathy said. “It was completely removed from our building.”

He says the flowers in front of his building are watered by hand now.

And he took us to see that he only has one water meter in his basement for his building.

He also showed us proof he’s been paying his bills faithfully.

Each time the water department shows up, he says he convinces the workers that he’s not responsible for the account they’re after.

“They say they are going to tell somebody and then time goes by and we get another warning,” Gathy said.

So 19 Investigates sent the information to Cleveland Water.

“Hopefully, if you guys are reaching, out they will take it more seriously,” Gathy said.

Apparently it did, because mid-interview with Gathy, the water department showed up.

Gathy talked with the employee sent out to clear up confusion; even he told Gathy he knew there was a misunderstanding somewhere.

“There’s not even a meter here for you guys,” Gathy told him.

According to the water department, Gathy is right.

After 19 Investigates got involved, Cleveland Water tells us it took a while, but they connected the dots.

A spokesperson says Gathy’s business address was incorrectly assigned to the account for the irrigation line when Cleveland Water inherited it from Cleveland Heights in 2017.

Technically, Cleveland Water says the service to Gathy’s building was never in danger of being shut off.

But how could’ve he known that?

“I am glad they are taking this seriously since you guys reached out to them,” Gathy said.

Cleveland Water tells us it zeroed out the balance in the irrigation line that’s no longer in use and closed the account.

The notice Gathy received last week said the department would be back this Monday to turn off service.

We checked and they did not show up Monday.

Gathy says a crew did come out on Thursday afternoon, but did not leave any new shut off notices.

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