|Bob Hurt, Freaked over Arrest|
I read your arrest press release regarding Joel McNair of Sarasota, Florida, for his alleged scheme to defraud and grand theft.
I also read articles in the Tampa Tribune and St. Pete Times about Mcnair.
One of these reports heralds McNair as a kind of homeless-savior, who yearned to help suffering people during his years in prison back in the 1980's. To paraphrase Erin Sullivan, the reporter who wrote the last article above, you could characterize McNair's ambitions as
"I Have a Dream..."
of providing affordable, available housing to the poor and destitute. It looks like McNair has started living that dream, walking that talk, similar to the way Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., did just before an apparent agent of government assassinated him. I guess helping others sometimes comes at a heavy price.
I understand from your press release and the news reports that McNair performed Adverse Possession of several abandoned houses, and helped others who needed a home to live in them. Abandoned houses diminish neighborhood property values, become eyesores, and invite crime into a neighborhood. Getting someone to live in them seems like a good idea. One of the links above reads:
"The sheriff's office said he ran a business called "Homes for America" that finds houses in foreclosure and leases them out. The victims pay a membership fee to his company and money to lease the property, not knowing he does not own it.Contrary to the opinion of Captain Jeff Bell, this kind of adverse possession seems in keeping with ancient tradition inherited from England. It puts the property to its highest and best use. It serves both the community AND the rightful owner. It protects the real estate from infestation by termites and other vermin, invasion by gangs and vandals, and occupation by drug dealers, dope growers, or crack users. It prevents deadly mold from growing in the house and ventilation system, and it keeps the house in good repair.
"Investigators says McNair believed he could lay claim to abandoned land if he cares for the property and paid the taxes under a so-called "adverse possession" concept.
""There are a number of ways people try to manipulate the system and this legal doctrine has clearly been misused in this case," said Captain Jeff Bell. "The suspect has no right to these homes, no right to change the locks, and no right to lease them to anyone.""
How on earth could any State Attorney who someday might seek re-election endorse such a frivolous, misguided, abusive, and unjustified arrest? It seems to me that you and the State Attorney would honor the principle of adverse possession for the good of the community, and you would EMPOWER men like Joel McNair, not harass them and jail them to take them away from their salvatory task.
By arresting Joel McNair, you actually thwarted the will of the Florida Legislature. The adverse possession law and tradition exist for a reason. And what Joel McNair does constitutes one of those reasons. I feel amazed that you don't see that, but instead you howl in your press release like Rampage Jackson over one of his octagon conquests.
It struck me as curious that anyone would arrest a citizen for adverse possession without a complaint from the alleged rightful owner, particularly in these strange foreclosure times with thousands of abandoned houses in Florida.
So, I want to know why you or your deputies consider adverse possession equivalent to grand theft, and in what way McNair defrauded anyone with respect to the adverse possession.
Did McNair fail to submit the DR 452 form to the county property appraiser to serve notice of adverse possession?
Did you receive any trespass complaint from an alleged rightful owner?
If so, did you approach the occupant and order the occupant out of the house?
If so, did the occupant refuse to leave, or did the occupant leave peaceably and promptly?
Did you verify the title through a proper search to ascertain that the alleged rightful owner actually does rightfully own the property and that the title has no cloud kind on it? You do know that a cloud on the title could mean the owner of record does not actually own, right? For example, you will find MERS as having a lien on many if not most houses under mortgage loans, but MERS does not actually have any beneficial interest in the note, and therefore no right to foreclose for nonpayment. You HAVE seen this in recent court rulings, right?
And you do know that all foreclosed property has two claimants, the mortgage servicer and the previous buyer of the property, right? That ought immediately to put you on guard that you should ignore a trespass complaint from an alleged but absent owner till you see proof of the unfettered ownership, and therefore of the right to complain.
Did McNair do as adverse possessors must in Florida Statute 95.18 by caring for the property, paying taxes on it, and so on?
Did McNair actually charge anyone RENT or a LEASE fee for the property, or did the occupants join some kind of Homes for Americans membership that entitled them to live in one of McNair's adversely possessed houses?
Have you received PROOF of such rent, such as a rental invoice or contract to rent?
Did you release McNair from your prison?
If you released him, did you charge him bail or did you drop or change the charges against him? Explain, please.
What "probable cause" did you have for making the arrest?
Did someone complain formally and in writing to you that McNair committed fraud against someone?
If so, please send me a copy of the complaint.
Did anyone WITNESS McNair's alleged theft of real estate?
If so, WHO?
Did anyone actually complain that McNair had actually STOLEN real estate?
If so, please send me a copy of the complaint.
How does one steal real estate when no one can pull out of the earth a huge wedge the size of the typical lot and carry it away?
I want a copy of the arrest warrant. I also want a copy of the accusatory instrument showing the sworn statement, penalties of perjury statement, and signature of the accuser. Please forward it to my address or by return email. I want to write a proper article about this incident, so I make this request and ask these questions under chapter 119 of Florida Statutes and Article I Section 24 of the Florida Constitution. I shall pay the appropriate 15 cents per page for the documents upon receipt. Please send me an invoice for the cost.
If you cannot answer these questions and provide the documents, will you please assign a deputy to confer with me about the case? I look forward to hearing from you immediately.
Thank you sincerely,