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Mounds of Junk, Years of Feuding

The city’s latest investigation of a longtime junk-related feud between several Granada Hills residents and their neighbor on a small cul-de-sac has yielded a court order--but not the one residents had sought.

Thomas Pruett, a senior inspector at the city’s Department of Building and Safety, visited two houses owned by Los Angeles Unified School District employee Mary Mahony last week. After viewing scrap metal, wood and abandoned furniture piled several feet high in the back of her home in the 17800 block of Tulsa Street, he ordered Mahony to clean up the yard within 30 days.

While only one neighbor had complained about the Tulsa Street house, a property owned by Mahony two miles away on a Horace Street cul-de-sac adjacent to the 118 Freeway has drawn neighbors’ complaints for several years.

Contending that their health, safety and property values have been compromised, cul-de-sac residents last week asked Pruett to do an inspection. They showed him boxes full of photographs and court documents detailing their battle with Mahony.

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After a series of criminal court citations that neighbors say proved ineffectual, Mahony was sued successfully last summer by a neighbor and was ordered to pay $4,000 in damages. Among its allegations, the suit said that Mahony kept numerous inoperable vehicles and campers filled with old papers and bric-a-brac.

In a tearful interview last week, Mahony acknowledged violating city building codes but maintained that her Horace Street house was no worse than those around it.

“I don’t know why they would bother an old lady who’s done nothing to them,” said Mahony, 65. “I’m the one being harassed and stalked.”

Pruett said the Horace Street house was not in violation.

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“It may not be the most attractive looking in terms of landscaping,” he said, “but there’s nothing legally wrong with it. Orders have been issued [previously], she was brought into court, and, as far as I can tell, she complied.”

But neighbor Bob Capodieci, who videotapes and photographs Mahony’s house almost daily, disagreed.

“She lives in a world of her own and lives by her own rules,” he said. “Nothing we have done has made a dent.”


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