Price of Crime: Landlord ordered to pay steep bill after tenants arrested in drug raid

(WSVN) - A Fort Lauderdale landlord was shocked when he found out his rental home was being used as a marijuana grow house. Shock turned to outrage when authorities came after him. The Nightteam’s Nicole Linsalata showed us how he’s paying the “Price of Crime.”

In the early morning hours of July 12, police converged on a quiet Fort Lauderdale neighborhood.

Neighbor #1: “It’s quite the scene here.”

Neighbor #2: “I’m shocked. I woke up, and this is what was in front of my house.”

7News was there as Broward Sheriff’s Office and Fort Lauderdale Police raided the home.

Two men, Brian Delsandro and Eric Lubin, were arrested on charges of growing $500,000 worth of marijuana.

Charles Geib, owns home: “I believe this is where their growing business took place.”

Geib had been leasing the home to Delsandro for the last two years with no problems.

Charles Geib: “Here’s some type of special hose for their operation.”

Geib lives and works in Stuttgart, Germany, and was shocked to see the news reports of what happened inside his house.

Charles Geib: “I see all these people swarming the area, and it turns out that this was a huge pot grow house. It’s truly remarkable that somebody could do something like this and just like, ‘OK, this is the way we roll.'”

Then, more bad news. During the bust, police thought their undercover officers had been exposed to toxic material from the operation and called hazmat to the scene.

Neighbors were evacuated. The officers were decontaminated. And Geib got the bill.

Charles Geib: “The City of Fort Lauderdale sends me a letter here that says, ‘Hey, we had our hazmat team out to your place, so kindly send us roughly $5,000. Thanks.'”

The itemized hazmat bill totaled $4,852.05.

Charles Geib: “I don’t think that I should be paying because I had nothing to do with this.”

The customer information was blacked out, but you can still see that Geib’s name is not on the original bill.

Charles Geib: “Eric Lubin’s name is on the bill, so it looks like they might have sent him the bill first, and to boot this ordinance that they cite specifically states who is to pay when the hazmat team rolls out, and it’s the person who causes this.”

But the City of Fort Lauderdale disagrees. 7News requested an interview, but the city responded with this statement that read in part, “A property owner is ultimately responsible for costs and damages associated with their property.”

Charles Geib: “I was 6,000 miles away, and that’s the infuriating part. I believe this is unjust, and I understand the city needs to collect. It just needs to collect from those two.”

The bill is due soon. Geib said he will continue to plead his case to the city, hoping he ultimately doesn’t have to pay the “Price of Crime.”

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