Saturday, July 9, 2011

Junkville, CA - A Man's Castle

Calif. oddity's creator ordered jailed by judge

Jul 08 2011

A 59 year-old retired phone company employee has incurred the wrath of officialdom by constructing a ramshackle dwelling over the course of 30 years that does not meet California building regulations.

Kim Fahey never sought building permits or followed other construction codes in erecting what he calls Phonehenge West, his home and the residence of other hangers on.

Fahey is shown in the above photo standing on his 'elevator,' a scissor lift, at its topmost extension in Acton, CA.

He has been ordered to dismantle the structure by a Los Angeles County Judge, Daviann Mitchell and to disconnect electricity and keep guests out but has failed to comply. So, he is being held on $75,000 bail in the pokey pending a hearing on the multifarious code violation citations.

Mitchell said Fahey's "blatant refusal" to demolish the structures and disconnect electricity put his family, the community and first-responders at risk because the buildings pose a significant fire hazard. The judge had allowed Fahey to remain free pending sentencing on the condition that he follow the order.

The case has turned into something of a fight-the-system cause celebre with more than 29,000 fans of a "Save Phonehenge West" Facebook page.

"He's like Simon Rodia, who built the Watts Towers. This is folk art," said Bill Guild, one of a handful of supporters who came to court Friday, referring to the Italian builder of the famed towers fashioned out of scrap materials in South Los Angeles. "It seems a bit punitive to me."

Fahey, wearing overalls and his long snow-white hair in a ponytail, told the court he has not had enough time to tear down the buildings after his conviction last month on a dozen misdemeanor building code violations.

People living in three of the buildings were told to move out as the judge ordered, he said, but "they come back when I'm asleep. What can I do? They have nowhere to go."

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