Accused hoarder suing Lewis County for nearly $400 billion

Accused hoarder suing Lewis County for nearly $400 billion »Play Video
CENTRALIA, Wash. -- Neighbors say an eyesore is not only hurting their community's image, it's costing taxpayers money.

Lewis County says a so-called "hoarder's" properties are such a disaster that they're risking the health of neighbors.

Neighbors say they feel like they're living next to a junkyard, as there's rats and mice all over the place.

But this is actually the yard and home of Victor Bonagofski. According to court documents, Bonagofski's two properties near Centralia have been the subject of legal cases for about nine years.

The county put a lien on some of the land and a judge ruled the defendant must clean it up. It's been declared a fire, safety, sanitary and health hazard.

But now it seems, this property owner wants to fight back. Centralia's The Chronicle newspaper reports Bonagofski is filing a claim worth nearly $400 billion -- yes, billion -- against Lewis County claiming violation of his property rights. He figures it's for every vehicle, appliance, screw, nut, bolt, nail and piece of cardboard, scrap metal and lumber Lewis County has removed from his two Centralia properties over the last seven years, the Chronicle reported.

The prosecutor has no paperwork on that appeal yet, but says the case has already cost untold thousands of dollars.

This is not the first time Bonagofski has been told to tidy up -- he was forced to clean up 15 years ago.

"It's a mess down there," neighbor Phyllis Dalquist said.

A spokeswoman with Lewis County Sheriff's Department says deputies will provide security as needed, if the health department goes in to clean up the properties.