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Old 08-04-2008, 06:16 AM   #1
Drysdale
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Default Put the guy in Jail for a few weeks or something!

But take his house over a parking ticket? It just goes to show you who the government thinks owns your shit...

http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=779234
Peter Tubic ignored a $50 parking fine in 2004, and on Monday, it cost him his $245,000 house.Foreclosure



Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

Among other health issues he's dealing with, Peter Tubic has had headaches dealing with his van, which is parked in his driveway without a license plates. He faces foreclosure on his home and is in a dispute with the city over citations he received for the van's lack of plates.
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A Milwaukee man received a $50 fine for parking a van with no license plates in his driveway. He ignored the ticket for more than four years, and last week the city foreclosed on his house.
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In what city officials believe is the first case of its kind, the city foreclosed on Tubic's house on W. Verona Court after repeated attempts to collect the fine - which over the years had escalated to $2,600 - had failed.

"Our goal isn't to acquire parcels," said Jim Klajbor, special deputy city treasurer. "Our goal is to just collect taxes. . . . It is only as a last resort that we would pursue . . . foreclosure."

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Richard Sankovitz technically stayed the judgment to give Tubic one last chance to explain why he hasn't paid or even responded, but Sankovitz ruled in favor of the city's foreclosure.

"The city was entitled to a judgment," Sankovitz told Public Investigator on Thursday. "There hadn't been an answer to the complaint."

Tubic takes the blame for disregarding the 15 or more notices he received seeking payment and warning of the pending foreclosure on the house, which was fully paid off, but says he had good reason.

He was physically and psychologically unable to handle the situation, he says.

According to the Social Security Administration, Tubic, 62, has been disabled since 2001. He has been diagnosed with psychological disorders that limit his "ability to understand, remember and carry out detailed instructions," according to documents from the administration.

In addition he suffers from chronic pain caused by degenerative diseases of the knees and spine, as well as chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and obesity, among other ailments.

In several lengthy conversations with the P.I. Team spanning two weeks, Tubic frequently grunted in pain and broke down in tears.

"They're trying to take my house away for a parking violation," Tubic said. "I know it was my own fault for letting it drag on, I've been under mental duress. I haven't been able to handle this."

Janine Geske, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and law professor at Marquette University, called the case a human tragedy and an example of how people can fall through the cracks in the system.

"It seems like a drastic remedy," Geske said of the city's foreclosure. "But on the other hand the city has to enforce its zoning laws. I don't fault the city for that.

"It's a shame someone didn't intervene to help him. . . . It would be nice if someone who worked for government would take the time and say 'let's look at this and see if we're doing the right thing.' . . . It would be nice if they would remember the human factor here."

Tubic first got the fine for parking his Ford E150 with no license plates in the driveway of the home, which belonged to his parents at the time . The radiator had broken and Tubic couldn't get his plates renewed unless the van passed an emissions test. He didn't have the money to make the repair and had more pressing worries, he said.

His father was suffering from dementia. His mother was battling cancer, and he was their live-in caretaker. He needed to shop, cook, clean, maintain the house and tend to his parents' needs.

The van repair could wait, he thought.

Then a man from the city showed up and told him otherwise. It was February 2004. Tubic would have to move the van or get license plates for it within 30 days, per city zoning codes, the man said. Somebody had complained.

Several days later Tubic's dad died. Tubic was overwhelmed, he said.

"It was a combination of things financial and emotional, my caregiving role, all heaped themselves on me at the wrong time," he said. "I still don't function well."

Month after month the city Department of Neighborhood Services sent an inspector to the house to see if the van had moved or had license plates. Each time a new fee was assessed. And a letter was sent to Tubic's home.

At no time did Tubic call or write to object or explain his circumstances, city officials said. So the bureaucratic cog kept turning.

Tubic's $50 fine escalated to $1,475, and after it was clear he wasn't going to respond, the city filed a tax lien. While Tubic paid the property taxes, he never paid the $1,475 for the zoning violation. With interest and penalties, he owed $2,645 before the city foreclosed on Monday.

Ronald Roberts, a code enforcement manager with the Department of Neighborhood Services, said the zoning code that prohibits people from parking unlicensed vehicles in their driveways is aimed at keeping residential properties from looking like junkyards.

The city issues about 1,500 fines for such "nuisance" violations - which also include illegally placed trash - every year. Many are for repeat inspections.

"Put yourself in the position of the neighbors," Roberts said.

Turns out in this case the neighbors weren't the ones to complain. Tubic had not been getting along with his brother, and his brother made the call. His brother, Jovon Tubic, said he called at the request of their mother, according to a letter from Jovon to Peter Tubic.

"One day in a very bad mood, Mom told me to get rid of the cars in the driveway right away," he wrote.

Peter Tubic, who ran unsuccessfully for the 97th District state assembly seat in 1996 and again in 1998, said he tried to explain to city inspectors that this was an internal family dispute but that inspectors "didn't want to hear it."

"If a violation exists, a violation exists," Roberts said. "We're going to enforce a violation.

"If someone says, 'I'm dealing with a death,' we're going to be reasonable and give them a 30-day extension," he said. "But $1,475, that's a lot of months mourning - not to be insensitive."

Roberts noted that every notice sent to Tubic had clearly written instructions on how to contest the fines.

Roberts said inspectors were not aware of Tubic's mental health issues. When contacted by the P.I. Team before the foreclosure, city officials appeared split over how to handle the case.

"If you're telling me we had a mentally anguished individual and that inspectors made no attempts to get at that, that can be considered," Roberts told P.I. "There will have to be some serious evidence. But if we were . . . deaf to that point, I would be willing to reconsider some of those fees."
Not much left to do

Don Schaewe, supervisor of the city's nuisance section, said he recently spoke with Tubic and that Tubic "provided a whole lot of excuses as to why he didn't comply."

"At this point," Schaewe said. "There's really not too much that would allow us to reverse those charges."

A court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11. If the city retains ownership of the house, Tubic can remain there as a renter until the house is sold, said Andrea Rowe Richards, spokeswoman for the Department of City Development. After that, the new homeowners can decide if they want to continue renting out the house.

Tubic said he set aside $2,600 in an escrow account "to protect the estate in case I die" but didn't want to use it to pay for the parking violation.

Judge Sankovitz called the case a shame and said it demonstrates the need for judges to have authority to appoint attorneys for people involved in civil litigation.

"If you were a criminal, we'd take care of the whole problem for you, get you an attorney," he said. "But if you're involved in civil litigation - in jeopardy of losing your house or your family . . . what we do is make you go out and find your own attorney.

"If we gave people the help they needed near the beginning of their problem, their problems wouldn't snowball the way they do."
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:07 AM   #2
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while im not familiar with the local laws there.

foreclosing a house. for a van. which isn't the house btw. seems a tad illogical.

if the guy has a 1/8 of a brain left he can fight that in court and win.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:39 AM   #3
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OK, granted the guy had hardships, but in 4 years he didn't have the time to phone the tax collector to work out an arrangement? Granted the foreclosure seems a bit extreme, unless the house is only worth $2,600.

What's really sad, however, is that law. They want to foreclose on this guy's house over a law that says he can't park his own property on his own property without a tag. What kind of fucked up law is that? Was his van not having a tag somehow causing his neighbors' property values to drop?
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:26 AM   #4
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The government doesn't consider your property your property. Simple as that.
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:49 PM   #5
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Certain states allow you to park your vehicle on your property w/o tags, and others don't.

Other places do the same to you if you're part of a home owner's association.


This guy received over 15 notices regarding the situation and refused to pay the fine. He even knew he was in the wrong, and that's why I don't feel for him.
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:55 PM   #6
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Oh, the guy was an idiot. But it's bullshit that they can take your house because of a $50 parking ticket, even if they have balooned it up to $2600. It's the priciple of the thing. The court should award a judgement against the guy and that's it. Or at the worst, he should get 90 days in county or something. Stealing (and yes, I consider this theft) his house is ludicrous. They don't have the right to do that, IMHO.

And sure, they might have appointed themselves the right, but that just means they've legalized their theft.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:04 PM   #7
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The "principle" of seizing assets when you refuse to pay your debt to society isn't a new thing, DD.

It's a fairly common practice. I don't consider it 'theft' in the least.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:52 PM   #8
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I'm with the guys saying this is a ridiculous outcome. If the guy owns/owned the home the van is parked in it isn't a town council/city hall public asset. Zoning laws I don't know about so much, not being American. But I would have thought, 'the car is not parked on the street, it's not a City revenue matter' in fact if the guy is paying Property Rates there's no reason requiring him to keep current Plates on his non-used vehicle as well. If it was somehow a genuinely enforceable Council grievance, and I do not have that opinion, the vehicle is the matter which is to be pursued. He could get rid of it, it could be seized, or he could scrap it or sell the thing. End of story.

No vehicle, no case to answer: how the residence becomes involved in the matter of unpaid parking fines (whilst the vehicle remained inside his own property) does not compute. Property values have changed, I think some people are just getting greedy and see an asset-rich mentally sub-par citizen as easy money. The Judge doesn't give a shit, and that's too bad I hope this comes back to bite him in the ass. He (that Judge/Magistrate) should consider the guy's legal status of diminished responsibility at minimum, and protect the poor bastard from shitty home stealing Council revenue grabbers.

For sure people are gunna get angry about the poor bastards fate.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by furo View Post
The "principle" of seizing assets when you refuse to pay your debt to society isn't a new thing, DD.

It's a fairly common practice. I don't consider it 'theft' in the least.
so sieze his fucking big screen tv or his van or his balls so he cant reproduce but dont make another fucking homeless person for us to complain about.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:24 PM   #10
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actually here even if it's tagged and insured, we still have to prove it is in runnable condition. Got into this with my old ford truck we used to haul wood. neighbor complained. I showed the city inspector the registration and insurance, I still had to start it and drive it around the block to avoid a ticket. I think taking the guys house is a bit extreme, I could see seizing the van.


Oh and it was parked in our driveway, which is concrete, and had the tags on the rear bumper where they are plainly visible.

Last edited by solicia; 08-04-2008 at 05:26 PM. Reason: forgot the oh part.
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:10 PM   #11
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towing the van would have been inconcievable?
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by solicia View Post
actually here even if it's tagged and insured, we still have to prove it is in runnable condition. Got into this with my old ford truck we used to haul wood. neighbor complained. I showed the city inspector the registration and insurance, I still had to start it and drive it around the block to avoid a ticket. I think taking the guys house is a bit extreme, I could see seizing the van.


Oh and it was parked in our driveway, which is concrete, and had the tags on the rear bumper where they are plainly visible.
sad without being really surprising that they would do that. Unless it's actually on fire, the valid sticker and tag should be enough since that's already the State's way of officially saying "this car is ok."
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by furo View Post
The "principle" of seizing assets when you refuse to pay your debt to society isn't a new thing, DD.

It's a fairly common practice. I don't consider it 'theft' in the least.
Then take his van. That was the offending item. Taking a man's home is a crime. Esp. over a $50 ticket. They don't have the right to take his home. It was paid for and had nothing to do with the "crime."
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:41 AM   #14
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We contacted our attorney, I don't have the specific city code this was a while ago. But according to her, the state requires tags insurance even if not being used and the city requires them to be in running condition. Thus the drive around the block, she said we didn't get a ticket let it go at that.
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:12 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Drysdale View Post
Then take his van. That was the offending item. Taking a man's home is a crime. Esp. over a $50 ticket. They don't have the right to take his home. It was paid for and had nothing to do with the "crime."
I'm sure there were probably other steps the city/county could have taken. I'm actually more in favor of the jail time myself.

But the principle of taking his assets away isn't uncommon is my point (even unrelated assets).

This is just an extreme case.
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:34 AM   #16
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Well, jail time would seem like the logical answer, except that we did away with debtor's prisons some time ago.

I'm vexed by this one - taking a house is very extreme and seemingly unconnected to the actual infraction.

But if you put yourself in the state's position, look at it like this -

You can't seize property the guy doesn't own: for example, if he makes payments on his truck, the state cannot seize it since he does not hold the title (that would be the lender). Note that impounding is not necessarily the same as seizing, as the state is not usurping ownership of the truck, just holding it: the violator is still responsible for making payments.

You can't seize the guy's assets for a non-criminal infraction (like a 401k, IRA, etc.). You can't garnish his wages, as he has none. The law is pretty specific in how the state can collect its judgements, and that is through liens. Liens are only viable against actual property, ergo if the only way the state can collect on its lien is through property foreclosure, and the only property the guy owns is his house, then the judgement has to stand.

I know, uncharacteristic of me to argue for a government entity, but citizens limit the government's actions through the legislature, and the law here is pretty clear.

It's sad, and my moral inclination is to take the state to task - surely, this could not have been the only outcome of this situation. But in the end, how else is the state to collect its judgements, especially after following the letter AND the spirit of the law?
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:30 AM   #17
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you can put a lien on the property. for a whopping 2600. But the house is worth 255k.

so... are you selling the guys house. giving him the 252k and keeping what you are owed?

or not. tack it on to property taxes. ive seen that before. owe the city lots of money? own the house? more taxes for a year or two to pay off the city.


taking the house is insane and sounds to me like a violation of property rights.
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:57 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by SupportTank
tack it on to property taxes
They tried that, actually. He didn't pay the extra.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:03 PM   #19
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Adding to his tax bill ... garnishing his wages ... sure seems a lot simpler AND MORE COST EFFECTIVE than taking this to court to get a judgement against the guy ... especially since it sounds like he wasn't there to defend himself and obviously the court was not on his side (out of court settlement / pretrial settlement anyone?)

Unless of course the guy is SO SCREWED UP that is irrational ... then unfortunately APPOINT someone to represent him and PAY THE DARN BILL!

GOD - sometimes this country is so litigious it makes me puke!
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