News U.S. Navy veteran goes for knee surgery then returns home only to find it was demolished

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by dawg, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. dawg

    dawg In The Dog House Staff Member

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    WEST HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — When a U.S. Navy veteran traveled from Long Island to Florida for a knee replacement, his house was the last thing on his mind. But now his memory of it is all he can think about.

    Philip Williams' home was demolished in the spring by town officials while he spent about six months recuperating from surgical complications in Fort Lauderdale. 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 now 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."

    Williams went to Florida in December 2014 for the procedure, so a friend could help with his recovery. But he developed infections that forced further surgery and heart complications, leaving him hospitalized until doctors deemed him medically able to return home in August.

    When Williams pulled up to what should have been a two-story cream-colored cottage with a red door in West Hempstead, there was just an empty lot.

    "My first thought was there was a fire or something," Williams said.

    But there was no fire. According to town officials, neighbors had been complaining the house was in disrepair and a blight on the community. Hempstead officials, responding to those complaints, sent inspectors and determined the house was a "dilapidated dwelling" unfit for habitation. So they knocked it down.

    "The house was in terrible condition for a long time," next door neighbor Keylin Escobar said. "Nobody really lived in the house; the house was abandoned. Everyone who came over to visit, people always say, 'What's going on with this house?'"

    Kathleen Keicher, who has lived across the street from Williams for 12 years, said notices tacked to the front door of the home began piling up and the house had holes in the side and appeared unkempt.

    "I feel terrible. When we knew a house was coming down, it was sad," she said. "We thought the house was coming down, someone would buy the land, a new house would come up, a new family would move in. ... We don't want anyone to lose their home."

    Williams says he was never contacted and believes town officials thought his house was a so-called "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 now staying with a friend in Florida and has only two suitcases of belongings. "The town does not have a right to take all of my property, all of my possessions."

    Williams had lived in the house since he was 6 months old. He said many of the items in the home had been in his family since he was a newborn or had sentimental value, like 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 all of his clothing, a bicycle he'd just purchased, dishes, silverware and other housewares.

    Town officials say they tried to contact Williams and provided The Associated Press copies of letters they said they mailed to the home and to banks. They also held a public hearing before going forward with the demolition. But Williams contends he never received any of the notices and said he couldn't figure out why the letters were mailed to four separate banks where he never had accounts.

    "I have no idea who those banks are," Williams said. "But they never contacted me in any way, shape or form."

    And that's why his attorney believes that town's actions were illegal.

    "Under the law, it should not happen," his attorney, Bradley Siegel said. "It's un-American. It just doesn't seem believable."

    Williams has filed a notice of claim, the first step in a lawsuit against the town, and also is fighting for public records he believes may show what happened. Williams says town officials wouldn't tell him the name of the demolition company or the date the house was torn down.

    The town said in a statement that it "followed all proper procedure with regard to property owner notification." But town officials refused to answer any other questions, citing pending litigation.

    Williams has contacted police and the Nassau County district attorney's office and has asked for a criminal inquiry. A spokesman for the district attorney's office said the matter is under review.

    "You see people who went through a tornado or a flood and they say they lost everything, but that's not preventable," Williams said. "This was preventable. The town took my house."

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/11/28/veterans-house-demolished/76496424/
     
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  2. ice cream

    ice cream Well-Known Member

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    he's gonna get paid,especially a vet
     
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  3. DarkFriday

    DarkFriday Fired as a MOD...Twice. Gold

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  4. Beth143nacho

    Beth143nacho Well-Known Member VIP

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    Yeah, the government under Obama loves vets
     
  5. DuckDong

    DuckDong VIP Extreme Gold

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    If the place wasn't a shit hole it wouldn't have happened

    Veteran or not , if you drag down the value of others homes ,, get the fuck out
     
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  6. dawg

    dawg In The Dog House Staff Member

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    The town and his neighbors are at fault here yet you find a way to blame the President. Can you be anymore predictable?
     
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  7. Anyonenow

    Anyonenow Well-Known Member

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    The owner is also to blame.
    1st
    A simple mail forward at USPS would have gotten him his mail.

    2nd
    Keep up your home!
    If your house becomes an eyesore, damn right I will complain.

    On a side note. Nassau county moves slower than a slug. No doubt it was a shithole "before" his surgery.
     
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  8. newcastlefan

    newcastlefan גֵּרְשֹׁם VIP

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    they had this on the news last month: according to the town the house was severely in disrepair and they claim it was in danger of collapsing. The news confronted the owner about these claims and he said "sure it needed work but that was no reason to demolish it". it sounded like both parties were at fault but the town was over-zealous in their actions. i've seen this kind of shit when i lived in NJ: the town probably acted because some politically connected people in the town felt it was an eyesore and did not fit the kind of town they thought they should have. I had a neighbor who painted his house pink - i was never sure why. The people in the town decided that houses could only be colored brown or white and gave him 2 weeks to paint it an acceptable color or they would have it demolished.
     
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  9. newcastlefan

    newcastlefan גֵּרְשֹׁם VIP

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    this is probably the real issue behind it all.

    an added concern is that (in NY/NJ) if your home insurance company believes you have abandoned it or are not living in it regularly they will cancel your insurance. as far as the town was concerned it was an uninsured property and the neighbors would have to eat any damage that occurred should it catch fire.
     
  10. DuckDong

    DuckDong VIP Extreme Gold

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    Exactly ... just because this guy was in the navy doesn't make him a hero automatically. He could have been peeling potatoes for 4 years...

    Just don't be an asshole neighbor.
     
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  11. SouthernListen

    SouthernListen I don't follow the crowd. Sorry about that. VIP

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    Real maintenance freak.
     
  12. Stinkfist

    Stinkfist Well-Known Member

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    Would love to side with a shipmate, but it sounds like this guy's place was a blight.
     
  13. Mlaw

    Mlaw Quite Contrarian Gold

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    He had no one checking on the house, collecting the mail, doing snow removal? Was he paying the utilities? Something is not right
     
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  14. MadWoman777

    MadWoman777 Well-Known Member

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    West Hempstead? He should be receiving a check for the full appraisal amount, $1,281.05.
     
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  15. Rodney21a

    Rodney21a Well-Known Member Banned User

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  16. crackerjackson5

    crackerjackson5 Well-Known Member

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    He lived in this house for over 60 years. Why in the world did he still have a mortgage?
     
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  17. suckemnuckledus

    suckemnuckledus Well-Known Member

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    cant leave your shit unchecked and go away, come back and complain!! I did the same thing to my bullshit hippie wannabe grateful dead following roommates who decided to leave the cut with a nitrous tank. Return 6 months later expecting to live where they thought they could return without paying rent. And expect their hippy dippy shit to be cared for....This brother had a mega yard sale, made loot...Like the govt!! I fucking won...fuck them! No deposit no fucking return!
     
  18. UpInSmoke123

    UpInSmoke123 Well-Known Member

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    Dawg... if you need help writing coherent thread titles, I'd be glad to help.
     
  19. Night Ape

    Night Ape Well-Known Member

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    Probably took out a second mortage or something
     
  20. ScottBaiosPenis

    ScottBaiosPenis Well-Known Member

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    He must have pissed off Jaco