Florida City Tried to Steal Man’s Home for not Cutting Grass
Article from Reason by Brian Doherty.
The city of Dunedin, Florida, wants to foreclose on a private home because the owner, Jim Ficken, owes the city over $29,000 in fines. The crime for which he is threatened with home loss? Having his lawn grass be too tall (over 10 inches) for a period of eight weeks last summer. The city fined him $500 per day of violation, with no warning.
Ficken is 69 years old and lives on a fixed income. He was unaware that he was racking up the daily fines, but cut his grass within two days of finally being informed by a city code inspector that there was a problem. In a sane world, Ficken’s explanation for neglecting his lawn and the fact that he remedied the problem as soon as he learned of it, would seemingly resolve the issue. No harm, no fine.
But the Dunedin government is apparently not sane. Because Ficken was also cited for overly tall grass in 2015, the city—unbeknownst to Ficken—classified him as a “repeat violator.” This classification doubled his daily fine from $250 to $500 and relieved the Code Enforcement Board of providing him notice. Because Ficken cannot afford the fines he didn’t know he was accumulating, the city of Dunedin insists that it can now take his home to pay off his debt.
With the help of the Institute for Justice, Ficken is suing to prevent the city from stealing his house. Earlier this year in the case of Timbs v. Indiana, the Supreme Court showed a willingness to give teeth to the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on excessive fines, even when not involving direct federal action.
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: liz west [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
I have read that the whole idea of property taxes is rooted in Communism, and is based on a belief that you should never get to own your property. This sounds like a similar mentality. Government bureaucrats appear to have decided that the individual has no rights and they have been anointed with the right to enforce the “greater good”, even and especially if that means stealing from a senior citizen on a fixed income. Where I come from some neighbor would have already mowed your property for you and not said a word. But they are Christian; a faith in who Jesus is that Big Gov Progressives hate. When Mr. Ficken became aware of how much trouble he was in he remedied the problem in 2 days. This was probably money he could not afford. Now you insist on stealing his home to pay you back for what? Shame on you bureaucrats of Dunedin, FL. You are only parasites who live off the taxpayer teats, including the man whose property you are trying to steal.
They can’t do anything withthe illegals problem so why not pick on a senior citizen.
Sounds like another corrupt city Government!
They need his property to house illegals, that’s the price you pay. because somebody has to take care of all of them.
Here’s an idea: PROVIDE FREE lawn maintenance to Mr. Ficken for NOT taking the city board to the cleaners, THEN vote the board out of office next cycle.
I have seen the Local Govts of Florida destroy our state in 40 years. They are OUT OF CONTROL! The constantly rezone swamp land to get more property tax, they steal YOUR old zoning without your permission and sell it to your neighbor. They want money and taxes. OUT of control. Anonymously YOU can call and bust YOUR neighbor for code violations that they make to gain fines and money. ANONYMOUS? Nobody calls! THEY use this as an excuse to make money & inspect your property and levy a fine