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Trailer court residents’ fate still uncertain

Residents of Tracy’s Cedar Lane meet with legal aid to resolve various issues; property is placed in foreclosure

August 10, 2012
By Steve Browne , Marshall Independent

TRACY?- Residents of the Cedar Lane Trailer Court in Tracy met throughout Thursday morning with Kerri Johnson, a representative from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, to try and achieve a resolution of problems with the owner. But all decisions came to nothing when the residents were served with notice the property was in foreclosure.

According to the foreclosure notice by Bayview Loan Servicing LLC, a Delaware company, the principal on the mortgage is $180,000. The amount claimed to be due on the mortgage to date is $232,000.

This past May, the city of Tracy briefly shut off water to the trailer park because of non-payment of the bill by the park's owner Meadow Ridge Development Company. The company is owned by Gene Stierns and has at various times had addresses in Mora, Pine City and Redwood Falls.

In May, the outstanding water bill stood at about $10,000. At present, the bill is about $15,000 according to figures supplied by Tracy City Administrator Roger Gorius.

According to Gorius, the last payment the city of Tracy received was $850 on June 19, or about 6 percent of the outstanding bill.

The meeting was organized by residents of the trailer park and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid after Stierns served residents with notice the lot rental was being raised $55 per month, from $240 to $295.

The mostly Hmong and Hispanic residents complained Stierns had failed to provide a number of services including snow removal, mowing common areas, removing or boarding up damaged abandoned trailers and leaving piles of garbage by the community dumpster. The Tracy postmaster had also notified residents they would have to pick up mail at the post office if the park's mail boxes were not repaired, and one lot allegedly has an unsafe electrical junction box.

According to Johnson, the Minnesota Department of Health had issued a 10-day compliance order for health code violations around the beginning of August.

"He's got lots of rules for us, but he doesn't follow any," said park resident Sharon Keiser.

Keiser said that when one abandoned trailer was removed, a water line was broken resulting in a continuous leak and a standing pool of water.

Attempts by the post office, the city of Tracy, and the Marshall Independent to reach Stierns for comment were largely unsuccessful.

Johnson told the residents legal aid would try to help them organize to pay their rent to an appointed representative who would use some of the money to address maintenance issues, and pay Stierns the rest to maintain mortgage payments. Then shortly before noon, Lyon County Sheriff's deputies arrived with the notice of foreclosure.

According to the notice, the property will be sold at 10 a.m. on Oct. 3, at the sheriff's office in Marshall. The notice further advised the obligations of landlord and tenants continue according to the terms of the lease.

Stierns has a six-month redemption period to pay off the mortgage, according to the notice.



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