Resident’s tell of lies with grant program

Published 7:52 am Friday, June 18, 2004

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS -- Cassopolis residents unhappy with their experience with the village's housing grant programs finally got their chance to be heard at a special meeting Tuesday evening.
After receiving permission to speak beyond the allotted three minutes residents may use, Sue Ameigh gave a listing of how she and her husband Jim of 224 W. State St. returned grant money after learned late in the program rent amounts were set along with an income level for the renter. They already had a renter who was willing to pay more.
She also told of how land which the council agreed to purchase for $8,000 wasn't sold due to a deadline being ignored by Village Manager Art Sciorra. They accused Sciorra of hold their grant money hostage, if they refused to sell the land after their deadline.
Sue said she called Village President Julia Bell saying the grant program and the sale were unrelated, but bell never got back to her.
Later Jim was investigated by the State Police, Sue related. Eventually a lien was filed against their property, even after the money had been returned and she had been told no lien would be filed.
She accused Sciorro of telling the council the price for the land had been increased, when it had not and that "Art was blaming us for problems" with the grant program.
Tim and Sandy Swenor also said they were told things from representatives of Community Housing Initiative (CHI) and Sciorra which later where denied.
Sherry Williams of 512 E. Water St., who was to be helped by CHI in the 2 for 1 program for rehabilitation, said she had nothing but headaches for over two years, with problems with her contractor on her repairs, which is still not solved.
Other residents voiced disappointment with the council, with member Michelle Andrews questioning why they only heard "bits and pieces," before this.