Poop in Paradise

(Editor’s note: News releases are published as submitted unless there are errors of fact.)

Town of Paradise Valley Drowns Longtime Residents in Over Two Years of Legal Proceedings After Spilling Thousands of Gallons of Raw Human Sewage and Wastewater onto Property Ruining Home and Property Value

(PHOENIX) July 25, 2019 – It has been two years since a Paradise Valley family faced devastating flooding to their home after a Town of Paradise Valley-owned and operated sewage system malfunctioned and flooded their residence with thousands of gallons of human waste and sewer wastewater.

Even though town authorities were contacted on July 30, 2017 about the sewer issue, the situation was not addressed and the sewer problems continued to July 31.

Well after midnight on July 31, 2017, wastewater personnel from the City of Scottsdale (who is contracted to maintain the Town of Paradise Valley sewer) arrived and discovered that thousands of gallons of human waste and sewer wastewater had flooded the property and home of local business owners (and longtime residents of the Town of Paradise Valley) Tim and Mirja Riester.  The City of Scottsdale concluded that a “rain guard,” which is designed to prevent storm water from entering the sewer through manholes, had fallen into the main sewage line and clogged the system. When Tim Riester spoke with a City of Scottsdale representative, he was told to submit his receipts and costs to the Town of Paradise Valley for reimbursement.

Instead of helping the longtime town residents, the Town of Paradise Valley essentially ignored the Riesters’ requests for updates and meetings, who waited multiple months for help from the Town of Paradise Valley. After finally meeting with the Riesters in February 2018, the Town of Paradise Valley “lawyered up” and advised the Riesters to sue the Town of Paradise Valley.   

Since then, the Town of Paradise Valley has fought the Riesters throughout the legal process, employing multiple lawyers and causing the local family and business owners to incur hundreds of thousands in legal fees to recover the costs and damage that the Town of Paradise Valley and the City of Scottsdale caused to the Riesters and their home and property.  

“The Town of Paradise Valley promotes itself as the wealthiest community in Arizona with a Mission ‘to provide high quality public services’ with values that include ‘Professionalism, High Quality Customer Service, Teamwork, Respect, Transparency and Accountability,’ said Paradise Valley resident Tim Riester.  “However, their behavior after damaging our property has not lived up to the Town’s reputation. For a local resident who did nothing wrong, it is hugely disappointing and frustrating.” 

“When we finally met with the Town of Paradise Valley attorney to find out what was going on, he told us that he made multiple attempts to contact the Town’s insurance company, and they would not respond to him either,” said Riester’s attorney Brian Foster. “The town’s attorney advised us to file a lawsuit to help expedite the matter. That was about 18 months ago.”

Since the sewage flood, and with the guidance of engineers and contractors, the Riesters have had to raise the foundation of their home to avoid future sewage flooding. That process involved delivering 38 commercial truckloads of dirt to raise their property significantly higher than all of the nearby manholes and building a new home free of sewage. Although the Riesters are not asking the Town to pay for the cost of the new home, they expected to at least be reimbursed for the decreased value of their home that was flooded with human sewage and sewer wastewater, as well as repair and displacement costs.   

“It’s impossible to sell a house that was flooded with raw human sewage,” said Riester. “So, we had to either sell our home at a huge loss or replace it with a new one that could avoid any future problems from the Town’s sewer system. We ultimately chose to stay in the neighborhood we have loved for the past 17 years, but we no longer feel like we are living in a town deserving of the name ‘Paradise.’ We just want a reasonable outcome here. I don’t think that is a lot to ask given the entirety of the situation that occurred.”

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