Should my friends seek legal counsel.

LovesTimone

Christmas Day 2017
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Here's the short version. My Friend and her wife they have been together about 20+years only married the last couple years, they have 3 kids. They have lived in the same neighborhood for about 10 years without ever a problem. They have a new HOA board member who is basically harassing them. The guy is new to the neighborhood and is constantly sending them threating letters, over the stupidest things, like their garbage cans where left out at the road to long after pick up. The trash can were not even left out at the road over night. Something about their gate being unlocked and pool screen needed to be fixed??...which I said how did he know that their gate was unlocked and the pool screen needed to be fixed, the spot that is torn is a bottom screen on the bottom of that screen on the opposite side from the gate and can not be seen from the street. You would have walk up their little road that goes to their house they live on 8 acres, go through the gate into the back yard and walk all the way around the left side of the house, to even see the pool. They leave the gate unlocked for the lawn guy to mow on Wednesday's. There has been other comments from this guy, but during a HOA meeting that got heated over the cost of light poles for the neighborhood, he told my friend to shut up and used a bunch of not so nice words, and called their kids unnatural, and said he would have never bought in that neighborhood if he knew that her kind lived there. Which the president of the HOA threw him and his wife out of the meeting, and dismissed him from the board. Since then they have had their trash can dumped all over the yard a couple of times, something hit their mailbox, and knocked it off of the post. They have called the police and have reports, but without hard proof it was him there is nothing that they can do. They are really worried about their families safety.

Any suggestion would be appreciated.
 

LovesTimone

Christmas Day 2017
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
First thing I'd do is set up cameras to get the hard proof. They need that for the police and also in order to get a restraining order.
Our friends went out a bought a couple of those game camera, and my DH is going to put them up this weekend for them. They also updated their alarm system adding in cameras inside and out. They are looking at fencing in more of the property and possible adding in a security gate, but the back of the property backs up to a canal that leads to the river.. so a lot to figure out, plus they have a lot of wildlife that treks thru the yard, deer, turkeys, all kinds of birds. They don't want to loose or harm the animal by fencing in everything. The HOA president has sent out letters and emails advising all the resident of the vandalism happening in the neighborhood, and that they police are aware and will be driving through more often and if they see something out of the ordinary to call them.
 
  • SorryI'mNotSorry

    The human world... it's a mess.
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2016
    I would set up cameras, like the previous poster said. I would also send a cease desist letter to the HOA person requesting that he/she stop sending them letters, and request that all correspondence be sent certified mail by the HOA Attorney. I'm sorry that your friends are dealing with us. How ridiculous!
     

    Westcoastwild

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2016
    So it's going to sound awful.

    But the only way they can absolutely be sure that their family will be safe from this guy is to move far far away and not leave a forwarding address.

    I don't know what I would do in their position but the neighbors sound crazy . There's a time to stand your ground and there's a time to get the heck out dodge.

    I would have said years ago to stick it out, put up cameras, document everything. But then not to long ago ago, a neighbor got shot in her backyard by an ex. She knew he was obsessive and unbalanced- she moved to my part of town without leaving a forwarding address, and got a lawyer, filed complaints with his employer, filed a restraining order. It was all documented. She thought she was safe. It had been months. But he must have seen her car and followed her home and then just waited for the right moment to sneak up on her when she was smoking on her back steps.

    Sometimes the threat of punishment is not enough. It does not sound like the guy is rational.
     

    Shanti

    Momketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2015
    The only way they can absolutely be sure that their family will be safe from this guy is to move far far away and not leave a forwarding address.

    I don't know what I would do in their position but the neighbors sound crazy . There's a time to stand your ground and there's a time to get the heck out dodge.

    I would have said years ago to stick it out, put up cameras, document everything. But then not to long ago ago, a neighbor got shot in her backyard by an ex. She knew he was obsessive and unbalanced- she moved to my part of town without leaving a forwarding address, and got a lawyer, filed complaints with his employer, filed a restraining order. It was all documented. She thought she was safe. It had been months. But he must have seen her car and followed her home and then just waited for the right moment to sneak up on her when she was smoking on her back steps.

    Sometimes the threat of punishment is not enough. It does not sound like the guy is rational.
    There's a big difference between a scorned romantic ex and a bigoted neighbor. You can dodge the former by moving, but trying to move away from the latter would likely leave the couple in a new neighborhood with another bigot. Also, the level of passion is completely different. Romances gone bad are much more likely to lead to violence than dislike between neighbors. Although it's true that anything can happen in life, this case is not extreme enough to warrant living in fear or running away. Bigots & jerks are everywhere, unfortunately.

    This guy obviously is trying to retaliate for being embarassed at a neighborhood meeting & kicked off the HOA board (even though it was his fault), but I doubt he wants to face the risk of life in prison or the electric chair to get his revenge. By contrast, some scorned lovers become so obsessive about their lost love that they don't care about their own futures anymore.

    I agree that the couple should set up cameras, document everything, and go from there.
     
    Last edited:

    Annadesu

    Splash Mountain Addict
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2011
    Yeah, as others have said... set up cameras. You could also have more friendly neighbors peeking out the windows for you, and letting you know if they see something. Eyewitness accounts can help in court, too! You don't have to buy $500 worth of equipment. Putting a regular camcorder on a tripod, and having it face the window while you're not there would work. Just make sure it's plugged in so it won't lose power.
     
  • Westcoastwild

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2016
    There's a big difference between a scorned romantic ex and a bigoted neighbor. You can dodge the former by moving, but trying to move away from the latter would likely leave the couple in a new neighborhood with another bigot. Also, the level of passion is completely different. There are lots of harassing neighbors, but it rarely escalates to violence. Romances gone bad are much more likely to lead to violence than dislike between neighbors.

    I agree that the couple should set up cameras, document everything, and go from there.
    I understand that there are bigots everywhere but most bigots usually don't come that close to the house or act out in such a way that they get thrown out of HOA meetings or actively vandalize property. Someone calls my kids unnatural and I'd be worried about letting them play outside unsupervised. His initial behavior is nuts enough that I would seriously worry about escalation. Unless there is more to the story than you know or are posting, I would be really concerned that the guy has a few screws loose.

    But on the bright side the guy has been exposed as a bigot and doesn't have the excuse of being on the board to be sending them theeatening letters anymore. I suppose that is something.
     

    Shanti

    Momketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2015
    I understand that there are bigots everywhere but most bigots usually don't come that close to the house or act out in such a way that they get thrown out of HOA meetings or actively vandalize property. Someone calls my kids unnatural and I'd be worried about letting them play outside unsupervised. His initial behavior is nuts enough that I would seriously worry about escalation. Unless there is more to the story than you know or are posting, I would be really concerned that the guy has a few screws loose.

    But on the bright side the guy has been exposed as a bigot and doesn't have the excuse of being on the board to be sending them theeatening letters anymore. I suppose that is something.
    I guess I just lead a less-sheltered life & have had more exposure to bigots. We probably also come from different parts of the country...In my experience, bigots use nasty words like that all the time. It's unpleasant & stupid, but doesn't mean they're homicidal.
     

    Westcoastwild

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2016
    I guess I just lead a less-sheltered life & have had more exposure to bigots. We probably also come from different parts of the country...In my experience, bigots use nasty words like that all the time. It's unpleasant & stupid, but doesn't mean they're homicidal.
    Oh people use nasty words like that here, just usually avoid being openly bigoted in public settings like an HOA meeting.

    Mostly I just find it creepy that he must have been snooping on their property (the open gate). I can handle the unpleasant and stupid people, but the few creepy and unbalanced people I've had as neighbors luckily were evicted or arrested before I reached the point of moving. And I would have moved for sure if I'd had young kids at the time. Pets are enough of a risk. I don't like feeling unsafe in my own home.

    But if this is normal neighbor behavior where you live then fair enough, I'm sheltered.
     

    Shanti

    Momketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2015
    Oh people use nasty words like that here, just usually avoid being openly bigoted in public settings like an HOA meeting.
    Same here but it happens. You said you'd be fearful of someone who calls the children of homosexuals unnatural. That kind of comment is bigoted, nasty & dumb, but not so uncommon or extreme as to indicate the person saying it is a threat.

    This debate has gotten off the OP's topic, so I'm going to drop it now.
     
  • lorenni

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2012
    So the good news is that the HOA president called out the bigot and gave him the boot, so it does sound as if your friends have allies in their neighborhood. That is huge and makes a difference to me.

    As other have stated, legal counsel can't do much until they have proof. So the cameras are key, as are friendly neighbors keeping their eyes open.

    Other things they should be doing, or should continue doing:
    1. Keep a log, photos of all incidents small and large
    2. Continue to alert the police of all incidents, small and large - being able to prove a pattern matters
    3. As soon as they have proof, in whatever form, go get a lawyer and send a cease and desist letter.
    4. While they are at it, once they have proof, go get a restraining order.
    5. If they have friends who are real estate agents, perhaps some strategic solicitation would be helpful. Maybe the bigot would like to sell and move? ;)

    Good luck to them and please keep us posted.
     


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