Woman set to sue City Hall for uninhabitable home

Fed up with her home looking like what she calls a "disaster area" for the past five months, 70-year-old Esther Woltz is starting a legal showdown with the city of Atlanta.

In May, Woltz received a $31,543 grant from the city's Housing Bureau to correct building code violations at her Adair Park home. The contractor the city selected was supposed to be finished July 10. Instead, only two of Woltz's seven rooms are habitable; the rest are unfinished and frequently filled with construction debris.

In a story last week, city officials admitted to Creative Loafing that the home rehabilitation program had problems. At least seven other Atlanta homeowners have complained that the city-hired contractors bungled repair jobs.

But neither Atlanta City Planning Deputy Commissioner Tim Polk nor Atlanta Housing Bureau Director Philip Smith would specifically address the problems Woltz had with her contractor.

Soon, they'll have to. After months of complaining to city officials to no avail, Woltz hired an attorney, Gary Leshaw. On Nov. 9, Leshaw sent Mayor Bill Campbell a letter declaring Woltz's intent to sue, which is required by law before suing the city. Leshaw's letter demands $300,000 for breach of contract.

The mayor's office did not return phone calls as of press time.??

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