That's the lesson to take from the actions of a former District Judge, who has managed to make a couple's land worthless, while he and his lawyer wife tie up a good portion of the property in court.
Don't worry if you're thinking this is entirely implausible. As the author of the following article noted:
The story is so absurd, so unfair, so ludicrous, I had a difficult time believing that it could actually happen - even in Boulder.
The couple had purchased the land in the mid 80s and took care of it over the years, paid taxes etc. but that would not be enough. Unfortunately, an unscrupulous man and his wife, who have more connections, decided they wanted it for themselves.
Former Boulder District Judge, Boulder Mayor, RTD board member - among other elected positions - Richard McLean and his wife, attorney Edith Stevens, used an arcane common law called "adverse possession" to claim the land for their own.
All McLean needed was to develop an "attachment" to it.
Undoubtedly, his city connections couldn't have hurt, either.
In the court papers, McLean and his family admit to regularly trespassing on the Kirlins' property.
They created paths. They said they put on a political fundraiser and parties on it (though not a single photograph of these events surfaced in court documents).
This habit of trespassing developed into an affection.
If we take McLean at his word, he should have been treated appropriately: like a common criminal. Instead, the former judge demanded a chunk of the land for himself - and implausibly he got it
The land is currently tied up in court and so far has cost the Kirlin's $100,000 in legal fees. McLean conveniently received a restraining order to stop the Kirlin's from constructing a fence on the property in 2-1/2 hours.
All of this adds up to District Judge James Klein ordering the Kirlins to sign over about 34 percent of their 4,750-square-foot lot to McLean and his wife last month.
"Now the lot is just about worthless," explains Don Kirlin. "We estimate the land was worth about $800,000 to a million dollars. Now, we can't build anything on it."
Surely, that was the goal.
The Kelo decision was bad enough for property rights. Yet, the McLeans have apparently decided to show everyone that as bad as that decision was, they can one up that stupidity with their criminal trespass and entirely unethical abuse of the law by way of their connections. Even if the Kirlin's fight off the criminal McLeans, they are out at least $100,000. Is there any legal recourse for them to recover that money? Doubtful, but even if there is, can they afford to pursue the matter?
It's too bad the Kirlins are probably not as unscrupulous or connected as the McLeans. If they were, they could just walk on the land they were forced to give up and eventually claim an attachment to it. After all, they owned and cared for it since the 80s. But this just brings us back to the incredibly absurd nature of the story. They already had more attachment to it than someone acting like a common criminal, and look how that's worked out for them.
Perhaps a grassroots movement can be started up in Boulder Colorado, wherein people traipse across the property of the various sleazy politicians and government functionaries that are part of this story. Eventually, they can use the "adverse possession" law and claim an attachment to those properties. Sometimes turn about really is fair play.
Filed under: NewsPolitics
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