Roaches, electrical hazards among 90 code violations found inside JCPD officer’s rental property

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – A Johnson City police officer, sworn to keep the public safe and enforce the law, received a notice of violations from codes enforcers for breaking city code and creating a safety hazard inside the apartment complex he owns.

Codes enforcers say they found more than 90 violations at Michael Butler’s six-unit rental property on Montgomery Street. Chief Building Official Jim Sullivan says the city documented roach infestations, electrical hazards and other safety and health concerns after a neighbor complained. Sullivan says he is now pushing for the building to be labeled unfit for human habitation.

“It’s a matter of neglect,” Sullivan said. “He’s required to follow the same rules as anybody else. There were live roaches visible. When you opened up electrical panels, ovens, you would see tens, hundreds of roaches moving around.”

Sullivan says the landlord has a history of violations at the location. In addition to the roach infestation and electrical hazards, Sullivan says the property in question has non-working smoke detectors, toilets and stoves, among other issues.

“Certainly, we don’t like to see living conditions deteriorate to that level,” Sullivan said. “The property is a safety concern.”

Butler declined an on-camera interview, but by phone told us he’s already made significant improvements, spending thousands of dollars on electrical repairs and pest control and blaming the problems on his tenants and manager.

“It was just something that got out of hand,” Butler said. “I thought it was being taken care of and it wasn’t.”

Butler says he believes the “bugs are gone” and says he has several different electrical crews working to make repairs.

“We’re trying to repair everything,” Butler said.

According to the city, Butler has until March 14 to correct the problems. Sullivan says Butler is cooperating now, but he says that wasn’t always the case. Early on, Sullivan says the city had to secure an administrative warrant to inspect the police officer’s property.

“Is it safe to say he didn’t want you going in there and inspecting it?” we asked Sullivan.

“I think that’s safe to say, yes,” Sullivan said.

Butler said he had to do that for legal purposes.

The Johnson City Police Department reports Butler has not received any discipline in the last five years.

If you are reading this on a mobile device, click here to take a look at photos from an inspection of the police officer’s rental property. 

Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.

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