The nightmare on Eagle View Lane, Kingman
Arrested development north of MCC an annexed eyesore for Kingman
Glass crunches under your feet as you navigate through 4-foot-high weeds and strewn stacks of pamphlets into halls punctuated with holes, exposed electrical wires and animal excrement.
You're in one of the seven homes that were to be part of the Eagle View Estates, a "green" development north of Mohave Community College where construction ceased sometime in the summer of 2008.
The development had been annexed into Kingman, and at one point, a couple of the homes were finished and being used as model homes, with the others in various stages of completion. Now, the homes, which would have been worth between $285,000 and $500,000 at the time are all destroyed and completely uninhabitable.
Henry Neth, one of Eagle View's developers, was arrested in Pahrump, Nev. in 2009 for allegedly bilking investors out of more than $2.4 million in Nevada, California and Arizona. At the time, an arrest warrant was issued for one of Neth's partners, Kingman resident Eric Frye. It is unclear whether or not he was ever arrested.
According to a 2009 Miner story, investigators with the office of the Nevada Secretary of State claimed that Neth and Frye purchased land that was to be used for a development built around the intersection of Stockton Hill and Jane roads. The bought the land under their own names (instead of the LLC created for the development), let it fall into foreclosure, and diverted the remaining money to the construction of Eagle View Estates.
The diverted money evidently wasn't enough, as multiple sources confirmed that the Eagle View Group went belly-up around the time of Neth's arrest.
This story, however, is less about Neth and Frye, and more about what has happened since the development came to a screeching halt.
Kingman Building Official Dave Hattrick said by the end of 2008, nothing of value was left on or in the homes, as unpaid contractors tried to recoup some losses by stripping the homes of materials. Thieves played a role as well, ripping the electric wiring out of the walls to get the copper, he said. Since then, much of the additional damage is simply vandalism.
Anything made of glass, including windows and mirrors, has been destroyed - their remnants now litter the floors.
There is evidence that the homes have been used as flophouses, as empty cans and shattered beer bottles can be found throughout the development.
Less than a year ago, a group - which Hattrick cannot recall the name of - ended up purchasing the homes when they bought a block of foreclosed properties. The city asked the company to put up fences to at least discourage people from going inside, and the company obliged. The fences, however, do not completely block the properties off. And "no trespassing" signs are nowhere to be seen.
Hattrick explained that the Kingman Building Dept. often meets with companies to discuss purchases and plans, but it's not until these companies actually move forward with the permitting process that their names and information is recorded.
"There is some activity (with the development)," Hattrick said. "But it's rather slow."
On the Mohave County Assessor's website, the owner of the property is listed as RES-AZ Kingman, LLC, which has a Miami, Fla., address, no phone number, and cannot be tracked down via the Internet. While the Miner explored the remains of the homes, a man who wished not to be identified arrived and said a company called Intermountain had contracted him to take some measurements of the homes. The information he provided could not be corroborated in time for deadline, as Intermountain Properties - a Mesa company - has no listed phone number.
Kingman Police Department Capt. Rusty Cooper said the police haven't had problems with the area lately, but confirmed that contractors going back to get materials when the company initially went belly-up caused some problems.
"But since then, it became a non-issue for us," Cooper said.
When informed of the state of the buildings now, Cooper said it definitely sounds like a public safety issue. He explained that instituting an abatement action, which could allow the city to board the properties up, demolish them or place a lien on them, is an extensive process.
City Attorney Carl Cooper, who is on Kingman's abatement committee, said there's no money to tear these things down. There's about $5,000 in the city's abatement fund right now, Carl said. Also, the property owner would need to be contacted, and Cooper is not quite sure the city knows who that is.
"You can't just go on the property without permission," Carl said. "Even with a court order, you must notify someone."
Issues such as these are often left alone unless people complain enough, Carl said. But even then, there's no guarantee the city has the resources to do anything, he added.
Broken down homes left as is isn't necessarily a common occurrence, but it does happen. On the way up to Hualapai Mountain there is a large home on the left side of the road that was partially burned a few years ago, Carl said. There it sits today, still burned and vacant.
"There are some unfinished homes around," Carl said. "But they're not in the same state of disrepair (as the ones at Eagle View Estates)."
As far as the city stepping in before the property owner, Hattrick said it would take imminent danger such as smoke coming out of one of the roofs to prompt a response.
The fact that someone was out there taking measurements is a good thing, Carl said. It means that something is being done with the properties - even if it's happening at a snail's pace.