Homeowners said fences, garages and personal property have been damaged by city of St. Louis garbage trucks. But getting reimbursement from the city for that damage seemed impossible, even for an attorney.
Attorney Jane Hogan said she has pictures, and even three witnesses who saw a city garbage truck drop a dumpster onto her new fence. But eight months after it happened, she said she has yet to see a cent from the city.
"I heard this big crash and I looked and said 'Is the fence gone?'" said Jane Hogan, a attorney and south St. Louis homeowner.
The fence wasn't gone, just crushed under a dumpster. Standing in front of the damage, a confused looking refuse truck driver. Hogan approached her back fence and immediately took pictures.
"I was surprised because the guy came out and said 'Did you see how that thing jumped off the truck?' I was like 'Really?'" said Joseph Leo Palermo, a witness.
"It's ridiculous how these refuse truck drivers drive, how they handle the dumpsters," Hogan said.
Hogan said there's no question the city's garbage truck carelessly dropped her dumpster onto her fence. The damage total was low- only $800 . But the attorney wanted answers.
"My initial phone call [to the city] was made within an hour of it happening and I've gotten the run around since May," Hogan said.
Staff in the City Counselor's office, which handles these damage claims, said they approved Hogan's claim. Instead of issuing her a check so she could fix the damage, they said they would credit her current unpaid property tax bill. That's the standard procedure.
"I want to be paid. I kept calling and nobody ever called back, and I kept checking, it was not being credited to our taxes, we didn't get a check," said Hogan.
Hogan said she's now considering legal action. And she has a message for others dealing with a similar issue with the city.
"They know they're dealing with an attorney and they have no problem doing this [to me]. So what are they doing to people who don't know? who don't have the wherewithal to fight with them? Don't give up. Don't let them batter you down," said Hogan.
The city counselor's office told me Jane's $800 credit is still being processed.
To report damage claims like this to the city, contact the Citizen Service Bureau at (314) 622-4800 or here.