City says outspoken neighbor it wronged didn’t use settlement money

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The back and forth between the City of Albuquerque and a man building his dream home in the Heights has spanned over several years.

Johnny Robinson’s very public grievance with the city began in 2011, when the city ordered him to stop work on his grandiose two-story dream home at the corner of Boone NE and Topke NE.

At the time, the city claimed Robinson didn’t have the proper permits to build, related to his new home’s proximity to his neighbors.

Four years, several signs in his yard, and one lawsuit later, the city owned up to its mistake.

Robinson was given permission to go ahead with the construction in 2015. But he said he didn’t have the money to finish the home due to the legal fees from the fight against the city.

At that time, his lawsuit was still pending. It argued the city should be held liable for the years-long, expensive hullabaloo.

Now, KRQE News 13 has learned Robinson and the city reached a settlement agreement in January 2016.

“He agreed that he would drop his lawsuit, and in exchange for that we wanted to see him complete his home,” said Brennon Williams with the City’s Planning Department.

The agreement was that the city would dish out $100,000 in total, in installments.

The city says the first $30,000 was given to Robinson and the next $30,000 would be given contingent upon him completing his roof within 30 days. Yet, that never happened and the roof remains unfinished.

“That certainly is a concern, that we’ve got somebody that’s not living up to their end of the deal,” Williams said.

KRQE News 13 tried to get Robinson’s side of the story, but he was not home Tuesday. Multiple calls to his listed business number also went unanswered and were forwarded to a full voicemail.

The city says its last contact with him was in August, and that the city’s legal team is trying to get a hold of him to figure out what happened with his end of the settlement agreement.

Frustrated neighbors who have been forced to look at the home for the last several years feel defeated again, just when they thought the end was finally in sight.

“It doesn’t look right, it doesn’t look good,” one anonymous neighbor of 10 years told KRQE News 13. “It is an eyesore. And I wish he would just get it fixed and we could all move on.”

Another anonymous neighbor of 13 years, who enjoys walking outside often, said, “We want our neighbors to be good neighbors, and he took the sidewalk out and left it out for all these years.”

KRQE News 13 asked the city if the home violates any city codes. Williams said because it is structurally sound and utilities are legally hooked up, it is fine.

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