Illegal schemes in our parish

Published 9:05 am Friday, January 16, 2015

It seems Bogalusa and Washington Parish residents are the targets of more illegal schemes than you can keep a handle on.

There are almost too many illegal plots to count — schemes involving the IRS, overcharging handymen, phone scams and any number of pyramid schemes.These are all well-planned schemes that are an attempt to separate us from our hard-earned money. Folks in this area have little money to spare as it is, much less giving it to some smooth-talking con artists.

People really need to be on their toes and not fall for any false promises that seem too good to be true. If it indeed sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It is certainly better to err on the side of caution than to jump in and drown. People are so quick to make an easy buck that they don’t really do their homework or think things through and get burned. That is exactly what these scammers bank on. Hard working people are losing their life’s savings all too often. We all see the misery that causes to those who gambled and lost.

I’m hardly an expert in real estate, but I realize the market is driven by demand, however. I believe that asking exorbitant prices for rental properties that are falling in is a scam all unto itself. Bog-alusa has more than its share of those kinds of properties that fail to meet inspection code.

At the Jan. 6 City Council meeting, Bogalusa Public Works Director James Hall reported 32 properties around the city were brought into compliance the previous month. He said four property owners were issued citations for violations. Hall said property owners have so many days to bring their property into compliance before they are cited.

“We do have property in dire need of help,” Hall said.

That’s putting it mildly. On some of the properties I’ve seen, owners are asking more than $650 for rent, plus deposits. I’d be embarrassed to live in such dumps. Inviting family and friends over would be out of the question. It seems these slumlords don’t give a rip about people and the city’s reputation. They don’t clean up their property even to show it to prospects. That says to me they just don’t care. A lot of these properties just need to be bulldozed with the cost sent to the property owner. That might get these people moving toward having inhabitable places for people to live.

Rodney McGehee is the city’s code enforcement officer. He covers 10.5 square miles, which is a lot of work for one person. Suffice it to say he has more work than he can handle.

Trashy rental properties — and city blight in general — have bothered me ever since we moved here. If really cared about their fellow man and their community, they would change the way they do things. Changes are needed.

Randy Hammons is a staff writer for the Daily News. He can be reached by phone at 985-732-2565 or email at