An undated drone shot shows the collection of vehicles and trash in Poku’s backyard. (Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
The owner of a Red Bank residential property packed with rusting vehicles and other junk told a TV news program on Tuesday that he’s a victim of racial prejudice.
William Poku, whose property was the subject of a report by redbankgreen earlier in the day, also denied that he’s hoarding junk.
A view of Poku’s backyard from an adjoining property in 2016, and his front yard as seen last week. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
After redbankgreen‘s report, CBS2 sent a crew to Poku’s house, at 90 Bank Street. The New York station also sent a helicopter to get an aerial view of the mess, which surrounds the house on three sides.
In addition to nine rusting vehicles, the yard is cluttered with black plastic trash bags “thrown everywhere,” CBS2 reported.
Neighbors have also complained about a rusting tow truck, flatbed trailer and bucket truck they said never move from in front of Poku’s home.
Bank Street homeowner Bennett Craft told Baker that Poku’s yard has “become a commercial junkyard” that wouldn’t be tolerated on the East Side of town.
“A tale of two cities — white side and black side or Hispanic side,” Craft said. “If I have to cut my grass or get a ticket, why is it you can allow junk scattered all over front yard?”
Poku, however, told the station that he’s not a hoarder, and that the stuff in his yard isn’t trash.
Pressed by reporter Meg Baker on what he calls it, Poku replied, “Well, I live here and practice my hobbies.”
Borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told CBS2 that Poku owes Red Bank more than $4,000 in court fines, but said Poku constantly fights the town with litigation.
“At every turn he filed motions to try to hold that up, get municipal employees deposed records subpoenaed,” Shehady said. “He has filed lawsuits against two judges, police offices, the police department and numerous employees here. It has gone all the way to federal court system.”
As reported by redbankgreen, Poku filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the borough in May, 2017, in which he claimed that a “sham” municipal court case caused him to suffer “severe anxiety causing me to visit my doctor.”
Poku, who serves as an officer of the Greater Red Bank NAACP, told Baker a “gentrification trend” is fueling racism directed at him.
“People are moving into the neighborhood, want to change the character of the neighborhood,” he said.
Shehady disputed Poku’s claim of racial prejudice.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I think it is disingenuous to even say that, and it’s harmful to the discourse of real racism that exists to use that as an excuse.”
In August, 2016, Poku told redbankgreen that its questions about the conditions on his property were motivated by racial prejudice.