LOCAL NEWS

Shattered glass. Holes in walls. South Jordan man sues city for wrecking his home

Dec 8, 2022, 11:16 PM | Updated: 11:18 pm

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — Firefighters conduct training exercises on homes when they can.

For that to happen, they need the owner of the property to sign off on it, releasing them from any liability on damage done.

Greg Young told KSL Investigators it came as a shock to discover firefighters had gone room by room through his newly purchased home last July, shattering glass, hammering through walls, and swinging axes into the roof and ceiling.

“A family member drove by and saw a bunch of commotion [at the house],” Young recalled. “There were firetrucks outside and kind of called and asked me if we were demoing the house.”

Young claimed he gave no one permission, nor was he notified of training done at his house by South Jordan Fire Department, just a month after he purchased it.

“I never spoke to anybody, let alone sign something, or text or email. Absolutely not,” said Young.

Young says he was leaning toward demolishing his home but wasn’t ready to pull the trigger just yet.

“I don’t really make decisions… until I know what the whole cost would be,” he said. And he was still weighing whether to remodel and rent out the home in the short term.

“Really just every option was on the table,” said Young.

Clues in the paper trail

The KSL Investigators started digging to see how this could have happened. We received multiple emails and documents through a public records request to the City of South Jordan.

Those documents show a trail of intention by Young to eventually demolish the home and rebuild, including requests and confirmations by Young to shut off utilities, completed asbestos testing, and a permit application to construct a single-family home.

In that application, Young wrote, “planning to tear down existing home.”

There were also two other documents: a demolition notification to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, and a signed “Release of Liability and Authorization to Damage Structure” to the City of South Jordan, dated July 22.

Problem is, Young’s signature is not on the release.

Instead, on a line marked “property owner,” another name appears, that of Mark Powell. It’s also his signature at the bottom of the form.

Powell owns a demolition company and is listed on the demolition notification as the demolition contractor. Young claims he never hired Powell to do the job.

“We got a couple of demo bids,” said Young, “hadn’t submitted for a permit or anything.”

KSL Investigators reached out to Powell to ask why he signed the liability release. He declined an interview, and by text wrote, “This is something that ksl tv don’t need to get involved in waste time between owner and city. Always two sides to story”. [sic]

New city policies

With the alleged demolition contractor not offering up his side of the story, we went to South Jordan for theirs.

South Jordan City Fire Chief Chris Dawson told us they don’t have a “written policy per se” when it comes to getting permission to train on private residences.

In fact, when KSL requested the signed liability releases for six other homes used for training since 2020, we were told “no such records were found by the city.”

Dawson said this experience with Young’s home means getting that release signed, and verifying it is signed by the property owner, “certainly happens every time now.”

South Jordan City would not comment on specifics of this situation, because Young filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city, claiming a violation of the “Fifth Amendment,” which “prohibits the taking of ‘private property…for public use without just compensation.’”

Lawsuit from Greg Young by KSLTV on Scribd

Young asked for “damages,” including “the cost to repair the property and the diminished value of the property,” which he believed amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The city claimed the home was already in disrepair before training occurred, with cabinets, the railing, and some of the flooring already removed. They claim numerous windows were already broken, describing the damage in their response and counterclaim to Young’s lawsuit.

In that counterclaim, South Jordan alleged Greg “hired a demolition contractor” and that contractor, Mark Powell, gave the city “permission to conduct training activities in the home,” acting as Young’s agent.

The city wrote “[Young] has in the past via verbal agreements utilized [Powell] for demolition work. Due to past history of working together, and the verbal conversations and emails Plaintiff’s Agent was confident he had actual authority…to facilitate demolition.”

KSL Investigators requested any evidence of a contractual agreement between Young and Powell in which Powell was hired to demolish the home from all interested parties. No documentation proving that Powell had been hired has been provided.

Additionally, the city claimed Young was at “the home when the Fire Department was conducting training.” Young adamantly denied that claim to KSL.

Young said he tried for weeks after the training to obtain a permit to demolish what’s left of the house. That permit was granted days after the KSL Investigators inquired about its status.

Young said he still hasn’t decided what he plans to do with the property.

“It’s probably going to cost more to fix than maybe it’s even worth,” Young said.


Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

FILE: The Utah State Capitol (Jason Olson, Deseret News Archives)...
Shelby Lofton

Utah lawmakers introduce school safety bills

Lawmakers have unveiled a number of school safety bills after hearing concerns from their constituents.
18 hours ago
...
Ashley Moser

Utah fifth grader successfully petitions to allow hats at his school

Manila Elementary School's policy allowed students to wear ball caps only on designated days. James Cope, 10, was not fond of that rule, so he started a petition.
18 hours ago
(SLCPD)...
Eliza Pace

Man stabbed to death in SLC

A man was killed in a stabbing Thursday on Main Street in Salt Lake City.
18 hours ago
Follow @KSL_AlexCabrero...
Alex Cabrero

Sandy officials looking for solutions dealing with ski traffic blocking roads

Traffic can be backed up in the canyons for miles, especially on big ski days. Some of that traffic in Little Cottonwood Canyon is even spilling out into Sandy, which is causing a lot of problems.
18 hours ago
Salt Palace convention hall...
Larry D. Curtis

Salt Palace to host temporary liquor store during NBA’s All-Star activities

To accommodate visitors to Salt Lake City for NBA All-Star festivities, Utah will open an additional liquor store downtown.
18 hours ago
Lauri Markkanen #23 of the Utah Jazz celebrates a dunk against the Chicago Bulls during the second ...
Ben Anderson, KSL Sports

Lauri Markkanen named to first All-Star team

Lauri Markkanen will represent the Utah Jazz in front of a home crowd after being selected to his first All-Star team.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Shattered glass. Holes in walls. South Jordan man sues city for wrecking his home