More Problems For Blind Home Buyer

By Charla Young

(LOUISVILLE, June 9th, 2004, 11:55 a.m.) -- A blind woman whose trust led her to believe she was buying her dream home has found herself living a nightmare. Lois Jackson didn't find out the home had serious structural damage and other problems until it was too late. Volunteers who heard her story have been pitching in to make repairs, but inspectors have found a new problem. WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Charla Young reports.

About a month ago, Ninth District Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh and Danny Flanagan from New Directions inspected Jackson's home, and Ward-Pugh called on the community for help. "Clearly, Ms. Jackson needs volunteers, she needs some help."

Lois bought what she believed was her "dream home" about a year ago directly from the seller, Mike Mackin. She says the house was never inspected. What the blind woman couldn't see is clearly visible to any sighted person: vinyl siding that's different colors, and holes in the walls. There's no insulation, pipes are exposed, and some boards look ready to collapse.

The sump pump is on a dirt cellar floor, and the chimney is literally falling into the living room. The back of the house is separating from the front and the bathtub sits in dirt.

A repair overhaul is now scheduled as a result of a phone call from the Troubleshooter. During one of the home inspections to prepare for construction, another potentially dangerous discovery was made. The furnace -- which was installed by a contractor hired by Mackin was not vented correctly.

"This is the vent for the furnace and it's going right into the flue," says Billy Jackson, Lois's brother. That has put Lois at risk for exposure to toxic fumes. "There's no vent coming outside of the office," Billy says. "It's vented right into the attic."

Recent blood tests confirmed carbon monoxide poisoning, which is no surprise to Billy. "I knew --common sense tells you -- carbon monoxide doesn't get vented out, you're gonna get it in your blood."

City inspectors shut the gas off since the furnace unsafe. Now Lois's family are more grateful than ever for everyone's help.

We spoke with Mike Mackin, the seller of the home, on June 8. He's not happy with our reports, but has refused to be interviewed on camera. At one point on the phone he did say he would give every penny Lois invested in the home back to her. However, when asked to confirm that offer he hesitated and asked to be called back on June 9.

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Online Reporter: Charla Young

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