City wins jury trial on cleanup

A long dispute over a property cleanup issue ended Thursday when a six- person Municipal Court Jury found a Rockdale man guilty of violating a city cleanup ordinance.

The jury told Richie Thrasher to put a fence around property in the 1300 block of East Cameron (US 79) and fined him $1,000.

Thrasher said he would comply. “I plan to build the fence as required, with no appeal,” he said.

“After 20 years it has been determined by the city, not the state, that I run an illegal junk yard,” he said. “Trucks, trailers, propane trucks and even my business trucks were deemed junk by the city.”

“We are pleased with the verdict,” City Manager Kelvin Knauf said. “I thought the prosecutor (City Attorney Michelle Lehmkuhl) did an excellent job of presenting the evidence.”

The trial was held in Judge Jerry Waggoner’s Municipal Court chambers at City Hall.

The city and property owners had been embroiled in a long legal battle over the property, which the city maintains was in violation of a city ordinance.

K nauf said the city is also taking action against adjacent property—the site of a storage building fire— also owned by Thrasher.

“Is another big steel fence going to improve Rockdale’s image?” Thrasher asked.

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