PINE LAWN, Mo. – Citizens and aldermen in Pine Lawn call the latest code enforcement action a “money grab.”

The FOX Files reported Wednesday how citizens on one street were getting code violation notices, no matter the condition of their home.

Now we’re finding that some residents are getting bills to the tune of hundreds of dollars. One school cafeteria worker received a bill for $361.

87-year-old Leroy Cannon, in the middle of rehab, got a bill for $277. He pointed to his deck, saying, “They’re working on it, but I got written up for chipped paint. And they ain’t through painting.”

Cannon didn’t think his grass was overgrown, but he mowed it right after getting a violation sticker. Yet he still got a letter later saying, “Fees due the City of Pine Lawn. $277.50.”

The breakdown includes:

  • $59 for high grass and a $33.50 processing fee
  • $59 for overgrown vegetation and a $33.50 processing fee
  • $59 for chipped paint and a $33.50 processing fee

Cannon says he’s lived in Pine Lawn for decades and has never seen this. “They never bothered me,” he said.

Anita Brown added, “What is the problem? She hasn’t received a bill yet, but says she was warned what it will be. ‘$500 for chipped paint and high grass.’ C’mon!! It’s a scam.”

Her neighbor got a bill for $361.50 in fines. $134 of that is in processing fees alone.

She couldn’t talk on camera because she was working her public-school job. Her alderwoman spoke for her. Regina Gathright said, “You’re targeting homeowners, and these are seniors. I’m trying to figure out where they come up with these fees.”

The FOX Files asked Pine Lawn Mayor Terry Epps, “What is a $33.50 processing fee for?”

Epps answered, “We have certified mail we may have to send out. There’s paperwork required to do, looking up that person. That’s something I could investigate, but I’m just thinking off the top of my head. It’s got to be affiliated with whatever it is to send out the notice.”

Epps contends the bills are not really bills, despite the fact they read “Fees due.”

“We don’t bill anybody,” he said, “Those are warnings to get it done.”

We asked, “It’s a $361 warning?”

“It’s not a bill,” he answered.

We followed up, “So why did Leroy Cannon get a letter that says he owes $277 when he did now?”

Mayor Epps answered, “If Leroy Cannon got a letter, it’s saying to him, this is a possible if you don’t take care of it.”

Leroy Cannon says it reminds him of an old dirty word. Politics. “I ain’t in that politics stuff. At my age, I’m kind of slow to find out things, but at least I know it ain’t right,” said Cannon.