Town demolishes veteran's house while he has surgery

WEST HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — A Long Island man who went to Florida to have knee surgery returned home about six months later to find his house had been demolished.

Philip Williams says he went to Fort Lauderdale for a knee replacement in December. When he returned to his West Hempstead neighborhood in August, his home was gone.

After neighbors complained, the Town of Hempstead tore down the two-story, cream colored cottage. Officials claim they made attempts to reach him and held a public hearing. They say the home violated the town's code and was dilapidated.

The 69-year-old Williams says all of his belongings, including his late wife's engagement ring, are gone.

The U.S. Navy veteran is now entangled in a legal battle with Hempstead and wants reimbursement for his home and belongings.