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Braden Woods residents wonder why a home in their neighborhood has been allowed to fall into disrepair.
East County Wednesday, Jun. 7, 2017 3 years ago

Braden Woods home in disrepair causes complaints

Local residents unsettled by dilapidated home in neighborhood.
by: Berkley Mason Staff Writer

Braden Woods’ Rick Askerud looked across his street and wondered what has gone wrong in his neighborhood?

The home at 6209 95th St. Circle E., has fallen into such disrepair the homeowners association is planning legal action and Manatee County has been issuing fines for code violations and sending landscapers to do yard work.

“It looks like something from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’” Askerud said of the home. “Things have started growing in the roof itself.”

Askerud’s wife, Kelly, said the home appears to be abandoned, although it is not.

The home is owned by Bernard Bruss, who failed to answer a letter left at the home requesting an interview. A telephone number has been disconnected.

Neighbors said the home once was the showcase of the Braden Woods neighborhood.

“When the previous owners lived there, we would go over sometimes,” said neighbor Glen Hudson, who has lived in the area more than 30 years. “It was a beautiful home. It was considered one of the best-looking houses in the neighborhood.”

Bruss purchased the home in April 2008 for $350,000. Neighbors say the property has gone downhill since.

Hudson said he has offered to help mow the property, but Bruss turned him down. The Askeruds said they have expressed interest in buying the home, and have placed letters in Bruss’s mailbox that have not been answered. “Once in a while, people will stop on our street and ask if anyone lives there,” Kelly Askerud said. “It is a big unknown. It is truly an odd deal.”

Manatee County Code Enforcement records show Bruss is being fined for broken screens on his lanai, violating structural standards. The lanai is barely visible through plant growth.

The homeowners association, which is managed by All Florida Services, said violations have forced it to turn the matter over to the association’s attorney, Becker & Poliakoff, for legal action. With legal action pending, the association would not comment further.

“This is not an abandoned property,” said Jeff Bowman, Manatee County Code Enforcement chief. “I guess he just goes there to pick up his mail and then he goes back to Sarasota, but it’s not abandoned.”

Bowman said code enforcement has sent landscapers to the property a number of times to mow Bruss’ lawn and then sent him a bill. If those bills aren’t paid, the county could eventually place a lien on his property.

“We are just as puzzled as the neighbors are about this,” Bowman said. “We do run into cases like these from time to time. Sometimes there are people who live in a house but just don’t want to maintain it.”

Local residents remain frustrated.

“We have been watching it deteriorate for years,” Nancy Hudson said. “This devalues our property. It isn’t fair.”

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