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Cleveland Water bill investigation, new details

Posted at 8:11 PM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 20:11:15-05

It’s a NewsChannel 5 continuing investigation into the Cleveland Water Department and its billing.

Recently, we brought you the story of a Cleveland man who was facing a $6,500 water bill and liens against his property. We now have new details about his fight with the city.

“This manhole was opened,” said Francisco Vazquez who was standing outside of his business building off of West 34th Street.  He told us it’s been busy around his business as of late. “After Channel 5 came here and talked to me, we’ve had 3 different crews come out here.”

Vazquez explained the Cleveland Division of Water investigated the connections leading to his building. “When they opened the shutoff valve, not a drop of water came from here to inside that building,” said Vazquez while standing in the street.  He said he was not surprised.  “It was shut off. It’s been shut off for 30 years. They should have had records of it.”

Yet, he still has a $6,500 water bill for the business and additional charges for the houses he owns on both sides of the building.  “They charged me $2,700 and this one is $3,000 for water I have never used,” commented Vazquez.

We asked the Cleveland Division of Water for an interview today, but we were denied our request. Water reps said they have to look further into the history of the properties and work with the fire department.

After we contacted the Division of Water today, reps called Vazquez. “If Channel 5 had not been here, they would have never done nothing for me. Nobody cares!” exclaimed Vazquez.

He’s still waiting to find out how this will all wash out, but his frustration level is a 10.  “If I charge somebody for a service I have not done, it’s a scam.”

Just this afternoon, water reps admitted the fire line leading to the business is not working and that there will be an adjustment to Francisco’s bill.  They’re not sure just how much yet, but we will stay on top of this story. They also said any activity involving liens has been put on hold until they can investigate further.

If you are having problems with your water bill, feel free to contact Investigator Jonathan Walsh: Jonathan.Walsh@newsnet5.com.