Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

November 29, 2012

Homeowner files for bankruptcy protection

Filing delays town action against Osgood Street property

By Dustin Luca
Staff Writer

---- — Town health officials are still working to take action against Susan Odle over the state of her two homes, but a recent bankruptcy filing is delaying the process.

Any efforts to force Odle to clean up either of her two Andover properties — a historic home at 116 Osgood Street and a condominium unit at 38 Michael Way — will now need to move through bankruptcy court, according to Andover Health Director Tom Carbone.

Last year, Odle filed for bankruptcy protection as a court case brought against her by her condominium association moved forward.

“They had to get relief from the bankruptcy court first, which they did,” Carbone said.

After that, the Michael Way condo was cleaned out, with Odle’s belongings being put in black trash bags and thrown into a dumpster.

Within a couple weeks, those bags started piling up in front of her Osgood Street property.

The town is moving forward with action on Osgood Street, though the bankruptcy protection will slow their progress, according to Carbone.

“My understanding is when you file for bankruptcy protection, all of your assets are essentially frozen,” Carbone said. “That’s put on there so the person filing can’t try to pay off just one person. It’s supposed to give them an opportunity to recognize or set up a payment plan.”

In the meantime, the condominium association on Michael Way is reaching out to the Board of Health for ideas.

“They were notifying the town that there seems to be some activity there, and they were looking for us to take action,” Carbone said. “They’re making some assumptions. They may be right assumptions, but we would never take action on assumptions.”

Carbone also said the association will likely have better success dealing with Odle’s Michael Way property in court. “Because they took the last action and were able to get the injunctions, they would be the appropriate party to petition the court,” he said.

Odle wasn’t available for comment. A woman at Odle’s Michael Way condominium declined knowing who Odle was.

Paul Sauerbrunn, who lives nextdoor to Odle at 36 Michael Way, says he knows she has returned, though he hasn’t seen any evidence of hoarding taking place at the property.

“I’ve just seen her in the driveway. It doesn’t seem to be much of an issue, at least as much as it was earlier,” he said. “It isn’t like it was before. Her car is not filled up like it used to be.”

Sauerbrunn also didn’t know the association was seeking advice in how to deal with Odle now that she has returned, but “I’d be supportive of the board trying to make sure they take proactive steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Meanwhile, the town is “kind of in a holding pattern” in addressing the conditions on Osgood Street, Carbone said. The town has been working with the Attorney General’s Office to resolve the issue.

Part of that wait is on the shoulders of a leinholder on the property, which Carbone said is reviewing its options.

“The only place we’ve got action on right now is Osgood Street,” Carbone said. “Conditions out there have not changed.”