Every few months I’ll come across a story that I have to read twice. Not because my reading comprehension skills are lacking — I can read on at least a 7th grade level — but more so because of the illogical line of events that seemingly led to the incident in which the article was written about. Sometimes the world somehow accidentally avoids all checks and balances, and this would be considered one of those times.
Philip Williams, a United State Navy veteran, had some serious medical issues that resulted in surgery in the state of Florida. While he spent six months recuperating in Fort Lauderdale, the town of West Hempstead, New York was busy clearing his lot, home and all.
All of this was unbeknownst to Williams, who laid in a hospital bed assuming he’d have a house to return to once he was able to overcome his complications. It’s a reasonable request, in my opinion. A man goes off to have surgery, I’d say in most circumstances he deserves to not have his house bulldozed by the city’s crew of private sector rejects. West Hempstead didn’t give a damn, though, and made that lot smoother than my sack (a feat of which I am quite proud).
From Washington Post:
Back in New York, officials in the town of Hempstead deemed his modest two-story home unfit for habitation and knocked it down.
The 69-year-old has waged a legal battle against the suburban New York town. He wants reimbursement — for the house and all the belongings inside.
“I’m angry and I’m upset. It’s just wrong on so many levels,” he said. “My mortgage was up to date, my property taxes were up to date . . . everything was current and fine.”
The city claims neighbors were complaining and said it was abandoned. They also swear that they sent out all of the proper notices and followed protocol before leveling the man’s abode. But we all know you can’t trust the government.
Williams says he was never contacted and believes town officials thought his house was a “zombie home” — a dwelling abandoned after foreclosure proceedings begin, but one not yet seized by the bank — and rushed to demolish it.
“The town basically took everything from me,” said Williams, who is staying with a friend in Florida and has only two suitcases of belongings.
Williams had lived in the house since he was 6 months old. He said he lost his late wife’s engagement ring, photos of his six children growing up and a model train set he had since he was a child. He lost clothing, a bicycle he had just purchased, dishes, silverware and other housewares.
And that’s the truly depressing aspect of it all. A house surely holds sentimental value. The many years spent within those walls are obviously chock full of memories. It’s the irreplaceable mementos, though, that really take this from “that sucks” to “fuck the government.” Williams is filing suit against the city, as he should.
I’ll be looking forward to the judicial ass kicking about to be delivered against that shithole town..
[via Washington Post]
Image via Pix 11