KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) - Mona Lisa Entingh said, " This is the molehill that turned into the mountain" as she showed 2 NEWS On Assignment's Pam Elliot the damage outside and insider her Kettering business.
For two years, Entingh and her husband have tried to keep their heads above water. The Entinghs are in the business of selling water from 4548 Gateway Circle, but ironically it's water that now stands in their way of success, and Montgomery County isn't bailing them out.
Mrs. Entingh said, "It's come to a point where they're either forcing us to close our doors or endure the hardship and expense of repairing their problem, the damages they have caused to our property."
The damage Entingh is talking about is tied to a sewer main collapse in 2010. She described the "sinkhole" as 20 feet deep. She said in May of 2010 she started calling the county for help, specifically Montgomery County Water Services.
Frustrated by the lack of response, she called the City of Kettering. City Manager Mark Schwieterman told 2 NEWS all he could do was notify the county administration. Elliot asked him about the response he got.
Schwieterman said, "That it had already been addressed from the standpoint owner had contacted them as well. They were aware of it and their water department was handling the situation from there."
But it wasn't until November of 2010, 6 months later, that a contractor began making repairs. That's when Mona Lisa's problem got even bigger. Entingh says the crew did not reinforce the dig site and the county had to stop excavation.
Entingh said, "All the area underneath the exterior of our entrance as well as several feet back into our property foundation literally collapsed. Now the Entinghs are left with doors that won't shut, shifting and cracking foundation, separation of the front of the building, and a concaved parking lot.
After their property sank, the Entinghs sunk tens of thousands of dollars into experts and studies to go along with their loss claim to the county. They hoped to avoid court, but in October they filed a complaint in the Common Pleas Court of Montgomery County claiming county commissioners, the Department of Environmental Services, CK excavating, and Ohio Mutual Insurance company are at fault.
2 NEWS On Assignment looked at lists of claims from the past three years and out of 173 claims only 8 % ended up with him. They range from property damage to alleged assault. In 2010, The county paid out more than $143,000. In 2011, more than $182,000, and so far this year, about $66,000.
In the case of Simply Water, 2 NEWS On Assignment obtained a letter to the Entinghs dated March 28 of this year. It indicates the county was prepared to settle the claim for $50,000.
The Entinghs say contractors told them repairs would cost more than a quarter million dollars.
Elliot asked Prosecutor Mat Heck, "Did the county drop the ball in this case?" Heck responded, "I don't think the county dropped the ball on this case. Again, when you look at the issues something happened out there. Something incred-, something did happen or there wouldn't be a I wouldn't classify it as a sinkhole, I would classify it as some kind of water problem out here."
Entingh put it this way, "Our prosecutor's office acts like I'm public enemy number one and my husband and I are just trying to do a good thing and make a living in our community. It's time for this to end. I need some help."
Heck said he's not been out to the site himself. A spokesperson for Montgomery County Environmental Services told me no one from that department would be commenting because this case is now a "matter for the court." County commissioners also declined comment.
If you need to file a claim with the county , start with this number 937-225-4694, that will get you the risk management office.
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