FROM “IN DEFENSE OF RURAL AMERICA”
by Ron Ewart, ©2018, President, NARLO
In June, Kay Council of High Point, NC came home one night to find a note from her husband, Alex: “My dearest Kay – I have taken my life in order to provide capital for you. The IRS and its liens, which have been taken against our property illegally by a runaway agency of our government, have dried up all sources of credit for us. So I have made the only decision I can. It’s purely a business decision… You will find my body on the lot on the north side of the house.” At the end of a nine-year battle over a disallowed tax shelter, the IRS claimed that the Councils owed $300,000 in taxes, interest, and penalties. When their financial resources were exhausted, Mr. Council committed suicide to provide Mrs. Council with $250,000 insurance money to continue the battle. Ironically, Mrs. Council eventually won a court ruling that she and her husband owed the IRS nothing. Mrs. Council, 48, said, “I was cheated out of growing old with the man I love.”
Dateline Columbia River, Washington State: _.. —.. –… ..— .—
Raven bought her land in 1999, not knowing the horror she would endure at the hands of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) and two non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) known as the Columbia Land Trust (CLT) and another NGO, Ducks Unlimited (DU). Armed with millions of dollars of federal grant money, USFW and the two NGO’s set about to restore the Grays River to its pre-human days, in the pursuit of salmon habitat recovery. From Raven’s own words:
“CLT, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited and USFW, began immediately. A 36-inch tide gate was replaced with two 13-foot culverts. Sloughs were filled in. In 2005 CLT asked me to give them my land. I refused. More sloughs were filled in, a county road made lower in some areas and higher across my property. Trees with Eagles nests were bulldozed. The only thing left alive, were the mosquitoes. The chum salmon get swooshed onto my fields where they flop around and die. The rivers depth went from 21 feet to 9 feet due to the increased sediment and debris thrown into the river, thus destroying fish spawning areas. Much of their so-called restoration work was done in the dead of night so that it would go unnoticed by the locals.”
“On December 31st, 2005 my home, property and barns were flooded. My home and the out buildings stayed immersed in water until March 17th 2006. My utility room flooded, destroying my freezer, all the food, linen, and all supplies that were stored there. With each high tide, the water got deeper and the property itself stayed flooded until late June. Almost everything was a total loss. No automobiles ran, classic cars destroyed, a professional automotive shop and all the tools gone. My home had extensive damage. CLT requested I give them the property. Again, I refused.”
“I repaired what I could. It took me two months to get enough money to buy a used van. In the meantime I had to hitchhike to work. My minimal insurance would not cover anything because the insurance company determined my loss was from third-party error. The ‘third-party’ refused my demand for damages.”
“When my property flooded, I had three-to-four foot waves crashing on to my house. It sounded as though I was at the beach. I live 25 miles inland. The water filled my property, then headed east, flooding Altoona highway and the Scott’s Bed & Breakfast. Since USFW and the NGO’s started this salmon recovery project, my property has flooded eleven times. I am out of money and have nothing left to fight with. The government agency and the NGO’s don’t care. It appears to me, that neither does anyone else.”
Raven eventually gave up, abandoned her land and moved to Idaho to live with relatives, having lost everything.
Dateline Gig Harbor, Washington: _.. —.. –… ..— .—
John (not his real name) owned a few acres of land in Washington State, about a half-hour’s drive from a big city. John’s neighbor had a minor grievance with him over some work along a common boundary, and instead of working it out man-to-man, the neighbor called the county land use authorities (CLUA) and filed a complaint. The CLUA came out, looked at what John was doing and said they didn’t see any problem. John didn’t need a permit and CLUA went away. That wasn’t good enough for John’s neighbor and he kept bugging CLUA until they came out to the property and told John that he needed to cease and desist. But John had already ceased and desisted with the ditch cleaning. That wasn’t good enough for CLUA, thanks to continued bugging by John’s neighbor, and CLUA finally filed misdemeanor charges against John for continuing to do allegedly illegal work that John had already stopped. Essentially John’s activities consisted of cleaning out some areas around a ditch and burning the slash, for which John had gotten a burning permit.
John ignored the CLUA warnings for several months and thought the whole issue had gone away. But behind the scenes John’s neighbor kept pressuring CLUA and the county prosecutor to “get” John.
CLUA and the county prosecutor dragged John into District Court on misdemeanor charges for filling in a wetland. John elected to represent himself for what he thought was just a minor land-use violation that he could make go away. No such luck. The prosecutor and the District Court Judge decided to make an environmental example out of John by thwarting every legal attempt he made to defend himself to the point that the judge found John in contempt of court and sentenced him to 150 days in jail on a full cash bond of $20,000 each for five separate contempt-of-court charges. Not having $100,000 to pay the court, John was forced to sit in jail with thieves and murderers for over 60 days before a third party filed a writ of Habeas Corpus in Superior Court and had to fork over $20,000 in cash to get John out of jail on appeal.
The wetland charge was made by creating the wetland AFTER John had done his clearing and burning. There was no wetland designation in the area anytime before John did his work. In other words, the prosecutor drummed up the charges by creating a wetland violation after the fact. That’s how they “got” John.
While out on appeal John used every legal trick he knew to get the case dismissed but the court clerk would fail to file and record his motions. Some motions were lost, others ignored. The District Court judge literally thumbed his nose at all of John’s efforts. When John filed a motion to get his case elevated to Superior Court because according to the state Constitution, the lower court has no jurisdiction in real estate cases, the District Court judge derailed that, too.
John filed motions in Superior Court to get the lower court decision rescinded. The Superior Court refused to hear the case. The transcript screamed of the District Court Judge’s environmental bias against John and he was going to “get” John any way he could.
Finding no help in the two lower courts, John filed motions with the state appellate court. No help there, either. John went to the State Supreme Court. They refused to hear the case.
Finally, just days before the District Court’s order to send John back to jail for another 90 days and pay a fine of another $1,000, John filed for clemency with the Governor of the state. The Democrat Governor ignored John’s plea. John tried to get the District Court to give him credit for time served and for good behavior while in jail for the first 63 days. The District Court judge said emphatically NO! and John went back to jail to sit with thieves and murderers again, essentially for doing maintenance on his property.
John was forced back to jail for another 90 days for a charge of clearing out a wetland that didn’t exist before the act of clearing. John became a sacrificial lamb in the name of radical environmentalism. (Full Story)
Dateline California: _.. —.. –… ..— .—
A man and his wife in California bought some rural acreage that had a home and outbuildings on it. After they bought the land, the local Land Use Agency said that one of their buildings was not in code and filed a code violation against them. But it turns out that the Land Use Agency had filed a code violation on the property 12 years ago against the previous owner for the same reason, but the code violation did not show up on the Title Report for the new purchaser. Nevertheless, the new owners were still responsible for the old code violation and had to fork over $28,000 in fees and fines to bring the property inot compliance. They also discovered that there is no statute of limitations on land use code violations.
Dateline Georgia: _.. —.. –… ..— .—
A man and his son had all the permits necessary to fill in a portion of the waterfront property. Along came the Army Corps of Engineers and hit them with a criminal violation of filling in a wetland and took them to Federal Court. The judge would not allow the landowners to enter into evidence their permits and sentenced the man and his son to 21 months in a federal prison, with the further requirement to restore the property when they were released.
Dateline Los Angeles County, California: _.. —.. –… ..— .—
In Antelope Valley, a very rural area of Los Angeles County, the rural landowners are being faced with fully-armed SWAT teams that haul the landowner off to jail or court if they haven’t moved fast enough in clearing up a code violation. Los Angeles County calls the SWAT team a “nuisance abatement team.” America has become a police state?
Dateline Ohio: _.. —.. –… ..— .—
A rural Ohio family, with a going family business, faced the same dilemma with the Army Corps of Engineers. They were also criminally charged with filling in a wetland. The Corps took them to Federal Court. But the hitch was, they hadn’t filled in a wetland. However, that didn’t stop the Army Corps from pursuing the case. The family first tried to defend themselves in court and quickly used up their savings in the process. They were then approached by the Ohio Farm Bureau, which offered to help them with their case. All they had to do was to put up their land as collateral for the Farm Bureau loan. The Farm Bureau lost the case and then took the farm from the family to repay the loan, including most of their possessions on the farm. This proud Ohio family, with a going business, was left penniless for a manufactured environmental violation. (Full Story)
Dateline Idaho: _.. —.. –… ..— .—
An Idaho couple bought a lot in a completed subdivision with homes all around them and applied for a building permit to build their dream home. The lot was over 500 feet from the nearest body of water. That didn’t stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which came on their property as the couple was clearing and leveling the lot for the foundation, and slapped them with a non-compliance order for, you guessed it, filling in a wetland. The EPA then told them that they would have to restore the property to its original condition, at great cost, they couldn’t build on it and if they didn’t comply, they would be faced with a $37,500 per-day fine.
_.. —.. –… ..— .—
Ladies and gentlemen, stories like these are going on all across the country every day but you never hear about them. If all of these thousands of stories were taken in total, made public and told all at once, the outcry could spark an uprising or even a revolution. Whether it is the IRS, FBI, BLM, DOJ, EPA, USFW, or thousands of state and local bureaucracies, this isn’t just a matter of a little injustice; this is outright intimidation, domination and condemnation under law, one American at a time, by an out-of-control, narcissistic and cold-hearted government that has lost all allegiance to its solemn duty to protect our individual liberties and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help them God!
Besides the massive abuse that the IRS inflicts on Americans, rural landowners are also getting hit hard all across America by land use and environmental dictatorial edicts. If you are a landowner, you would be wise to contact the “National Association of Rural Landowners” and check out their defenses and offenses against government abuse.
Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property rights issues and author of this weekly column, “In Defense of Rural America.” Ron is the president of the National Association of Rural Landowners (NARLO) (www.narlo.org), a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State, acting as an advocate and consultant for urban and rural landowners. Affiliated NARLO websites are “SAVE THE USA” (http://www.stusa.us/). Ron can be reached for comment HERE.