$100,000 wasted taxpayer money
To the editor,
In 2010 volunteers built a Jesus sign on private property, with private funds approved unanimously by the Hawkins City Council. No government work or funds were used. September 2015 the city of Hawkins went into executive session without public input and made a motion to hire a private contractor to remove the Jesus sign from Croley’s property in 30 days to interrupt a purchase of the land by a church. This motion was illegal, borderline racketeering and without due process of the law.
The sheriff was contacted by the landowner and church trying to purchase the land. He informed the city to not violate the landowners’ constitutional rights.
November 2015 the church closed the real estate with survey and title work. The church made every effort to contact the city council and city attorney by phone and certified letters.
The certified letters to the city council were never delivered to the council members. They were signed for by the city secretary and blocked.
The church employed a citizen to hand deliver the letters – trespass warnings were given to him.
The letters had 1) proof of valid deed 2) proof of ownership and possession and 3) good news that all liability for the Jesus sign was accepted by the church and the city need not fear any atheist organization in Wisconsin.
Over 30 phone calls from the church and the church’s attorney announcing good news to the city’s attorney were not returned. Either greed, fear or control caused the city to sue the church – the reason in the lawsuit was “fear of Freedom from Religion may sue the city.”
The frivolous lawsuit claimed the church clouded the city’s title. District court proved the city had not fee simple title and had never had a deed. Prior to the lawsuit the city employed Dick Roberts and was told the same thing.
Appeals court ruled the church had clear title and deed to the land but gave a public road easement written in 1909 to the city’s control. An easement is not title but only an encumbrance against title for specific purpose and time. Testimony of the city showed no maintenance, construction no usage for over 108 years and no plan for future usage. Testimony also showed current usage, maintenance on the public road 214 feet west of the ign.
1994 abandonment of public road was established all the way to the church’s property.
The city has needlessly, wastefully spent by their own documents over $100,000 taxpayer money trying to destroy a Jesus sign, cross and American flags on church property.
The church attempted multiple times to get on the agenda and end the problem with a simple $75 filing fee and simple motion.
The mayor blocked the certified letter to the council members. The church attempted to send sealed envelopes by Councilwoman Klara Kay Feb. 20, 2018. The mayor picked them up and blocked them. The church must either have mayor’s permission to be on the council’s agenda or override his decision by three councilmembers.
We have not sued the city and want to save the taxpayers’ money and keep our monument to our savior and our location to praise, pray and evangelize on our church property.
We will be forced into more litigation both offense and defense if the discrimination continues. This will cost taxpayers. First Baptist, First Methodist, many churches, business signs, a councilwoman’s fence are all on public easements. Methodist youth building, 274 graves, oil company equipment, several businesses and even houses are on non-used public easements in Hawkins.
Give our church the same rights as given all other churches and businesses in town.
Administrative trustee for Jesus Christ
Open Altar Church LLC
P.O. Box 1511
(Editor’s note – the writer of this letter agreed to pay for the portion that exceeded the 350-word limit.)
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