Homeowner Speaks out About Thousands of Printers in Yard

After more than a year of complaints, still no relief in sight for neighbors in Salem, New Hampshire.

They’ve been forced to look at a property filled with thousands of printers piled up to the roof at 45 Maclarnon Road.

The property owner, Michael Bates has avoided making any comment about the situation, until Friday.

"I think everyone has the picture that I walked away," he told NBC10 Boston reporter Katherine Underwood.

His home is in foreclosure, he’s losing the property – but says he’s still trying to clean up the best he can.

"The house is going to auction, so there’s nothing to gain for me here, I’m just trying to do what’s right," he said.

For the first time since thousands of printers were dropped in his yard last spring, Bates is explaining why.

"I’ve had a really tough three years with a nasty divorce," he said.

He says the printers were supposed to be delivered to his liquidation company, but when that shut down abruptly amid the divorce, they ended up at his Salem, New Hampshire home. He was planning to recycle them, until it became too expensive.

"I’m not the person that everyone is saying, I’m a good guy," Bates said.

The town sued Bates and now has the right to go onto his property and clean it up. Neighbors were hoping that’d be the solution, but the planning board rejected the $20,000 proposal to remove the printers.

"I think they were looking out for the best interest of the taxpayers," said Health Inspector Brian Lockard. "They were concerned that if we spent all that money, we weren’t going to get it back."

So, even though Bates is hauling away some of the boxes, there’s still no solution in sight for the printer problems in Salem.

"That may be true, yeah, unfortunately," Lockard said.

Neighbors tell us Bates’ gesture is simply too little, too late.

The property goes up for auction on June 21st and the town is hoping the next homeowner will clean it up.

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