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Northern Kentucky family gets reprieve in fight over condemned home

Reprieve in fight over condemned Newport home
Posted at 4:19 PM, Jul 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 19:36:16-04

NEWPORT, Ky. -- A family who'd been living in a condemned home got a bit of a reprieve Tuesday: more time.

James Cooks and girlfriend Samantha Stevens don't own the home in Newport; they rent it from Stanley Turner, who also happens to be the mayor of nearby Wilder, Kentucky.

The roof leaks over the kitchen sink. There's a hole under the outside door big enough for Cooks' hand to fit through. Some windows don't open. He said there's no heat.

Cooks' three children lived in the home, too.

In January, a Newport city building inspector examined the property and required Cooks' landlord to repair a wall, the frame of the home, windows and more.

City records also show the mayor didn't have a license to rent the home.

There also was a dispute about the rent: Turner said Cooks and his girlfriend haven't paid rent, and that's why he didn't make repairs. 

Cooks said they've always paid their $550 a month rent, but Turner insists in receiving cash and stopped providing receipts after the city inspector ordered repairs in January.

Two weeks ago, the inspector determined Turner had done nothing to fix the house, so the city issued a condemnation order and required Cooks' family to move.

Turner's son, Stanley Turner Jr., represented his father in court Tuesday. He refused to talk about the home's problems with WCPO.

Campbell County District Judge Karen Thomas decided to give Cooks' family an extra week to remove their belongings from the home.

"Let the lady get her stuff out of it, and then if she's out, there's no need for the eviction and the matter can be dismissed," Thomas said.

After the hearing, Stevens said she's happy with the ruling and plan to move into a new home as soon as possible.

"I'm just happy that eviction is not on my record," she said.