Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Heritage House Conversation With Greensboro City Attourny Tom Carruthers

Or, A Primer In How To Make Pompous Lawyers Look Like Complete Fools

On Friday I sent the following e-mail to Interum Greensboro Police Chief Captain Anita Holder expressing my concerns about the situation that continues to unfold at Heritage House Condominiums located at 310 West Meadowview Road in Greensboro:

"Captain Holder,
Marcus L Dalton has done time in North Carolina and Georgia. His North Carolina convictions are for trafficking in drugs. I'm being told by Heritage House property owners that Mr Dalton has taken control of the home owners association. For starters: The old board of directors is still legally in charge until a new board of directors is voted in by the homeowners. This requires that all the homeowners be notified. Dalton is already working to remove the old board from the bank accounts. As Jeffery Faith, a Heritage House homeowner and recipient of this e-mail will attest, no one from the old or new HOA has contacted him. Therefore it is safe to assume a crime is being committed right now.

I don't yet know what all these charges are but never before have I seen an 82 page report:

 To add insult to injury, the City of Greensboro is dealing with Mr Dalton on this matter having given him access to the building just today.

Now don't go giving me that old line about it not being a crime without intent. If that were the case you could never prove a single speeding ticket ever written except for the crazies driving like 50 over the limit. As officers you have the discretion as to who you charge but you don't have discretion over which crimes you wish to investigate-- you investigate them all, charge them after you investigate if you see the need.

Or don't, Ken never did a thing I told him to do so why should you.

 Gang, say howdy to Assistant Chief Anita Holder, soon to be Interim Chief as Ken is headed to Greenville and won't have to put up with the likes of us any more. Captain Holder has been with GPD a long time, worked hard and done a great job. And she rides motorcycles too so she can't be all bad.

And Gang, go easy on Anita, she really needs to retire here without getting run off. She has a son on GPD the Council would go after as well if she crosses Council. When I'm out and about and run into young GPD officers it usually only takes me about a minute to get them to open up to me. Then I warn them they shouldn't be telling civilians stuff like that as politics in this city have ruined more good cops than every other reason combined. You can see fear in their eyes when I tell them. I do it because I want them to do well and forget what they tell me. Experienced cops won't talk with me unless they're out to get someone. Politics suck.

City Council would rather she did nothing as they're in over their heads but if she can figure out a way to fix it without getting fired she'll do it.

And finally, since I think this is my first e-mail to you in my "official" capacity.


-Billy Jones, your friendly, freelance neighborhood Tyrannicide at your service."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not faulting Captain Holder, there are lines police officers can't cross and agreeing with me-- even if she does-- is one of those lines. Politics place undue constraints on police officers and police departments that pretty much make investigating white collar crime impossible. Hence, the Greensboro Police Department's ongoing stance that no financial crime has taken place at Heritage House. Captain Holder's reply:

"Billy, I think there may be some confusion about civil versus criminal violations, and GPD only addresses criminal ones.  I assure you that our officers can and will investigate active drug complaints at Heritage House or any other location.  The issue of opening up Heritage House to a HOA to allow repairs, is civil in nature and is related to the City’s commitment to getting this situation resolved.   I’m copying the City Attorney here to make him aware of your concerns.

 Thanks for taking the time to share this information,


Exactly the reply Anita's bosses wanted her to give me. As a matter of fact, Anita Holder forwarded my e-mail to Greensboro City Attorney Tom Carruthers who quickly took the bait hook, line and sinker just like Mujeeb before him:

"I appreciate the input of all our concerned citizens.  I advised and the City cooperated with legal owners of units at the Heritage House who wished to enter the building last week.  We also permitted the former tenants to enter and retrieve additional belongings.

The City does not own the building, we condemned the building.

We remain hopeful an HOA will take responsibility and affirmatively act in the interests of the common ownership rights of Heritage House.

- Thomas Carruthers"

Apparently one doesn't have to be very intelligent to go to law school. How Mr Carruthers handles what happens next will show you why I say that.

Thank you for your reply. Believe me, there is no confusion on my part as to civil vs criminal matters. It might be there are not letters behind my name but I assure you my IQ has tested well above 145 and little escapes me. (Well except for the fact that the world is run by idiots. That one I can't quite fathom.) Fraud and embezzlement are criminal charges and I am in possession of evidence that I have not yet shared with GPD that suggests both have gone on. Had GPD investigated this incident from the start you might have it as well but for some strange reason GPD has chosen to look the other way even though Sonny Vestal has twice been caught having embezzled funds from homeowners' associations.

Saying this is a matter for the NC Real Estate Board is not sufficient as their solutions have allowed Mr Vestal to continue stealing. It's time police stepped in.

But alas, I realize that you as a GPD Captain and interim Chief, like Chief Ken Miller before you, have bosses who tie your hands in such matters so I hold neither of you to blame. Having held jobs I've been there, it sucks to be you right now. Do what you must do to survive until your retirement and realize myself and others won't hold it against you. Greensboro's Fascist administration has made doing the right thing a crime as was witnessed by Chief Wray a few years ago. Who for those who might not know, is now in charge of the Charlotte Region of the Transportation Security Department of the Federal Homeland Security Department pretty much proving everything the City claimed about him was a lie.

And just so you know, It was I, not Ben Holder, who sat David Wray down at a table with a group of Greensboro's bloggers all those years ago and let him tell his side of the story. That was the turning point when everything fell apart for the City. Getting back to the point.

Mr Carruthers,
You, on the other hand, have already retired how many times from the City of Greensboro? Surely getting fired is not of any concern to you. You can make far more dabbling in the practice of law than your salary as City Attorney and yet you keep coming back to bail these idiots on Council out-- why? Never mind, I know you'll never answer that question.

But what I would like for you to address is the seizure of 177 deeded private properties collectively known as Heritage House from its rightful owners. Please cite chapter and verse of City, State and Federal laws and regulations that allowed the City of Greensboro to LOCK property owners out of their properties for ANY length of time. I'm sure as an esteemed member of the NC Bar you are well versed in law and will have no problem getting back to me very quickly, therefore I expect an answer in 24 hours whereby I will post said answer along with this series of e-mails to my blog.

Or I will post without your answer-- your call. But if you lie to me or evade the question my commentary will rip you to shreds just as I'll be doing Councilwoman Hightower in just a little bit.

Thank you

-Billy Jones, your friendly freelance, neighborhood Tyranicide"

Now Tom Carruthers is forced to tell the truth or play the hand he's dealt, show me some evidence that the City of Greensboro acted in accordance with the law or on Wednesday I make him look like a liar.  What does Tom do? He plays his only card-- a deuce:

"Here you go Billy.
Attachment: Heritage House Notice of Condemnation

To which I sharply reply:

You must surely be an idiot to think I would fall for such a juvenile trick. Read the first line of the document you sent me, "Notice of Condemnation and Order to Vacate Building" It does not read "Order to Seize Property" or anything of the sort.

Condemnation gives the City of Greensboro the legal right to enforce vacancy. The document even says so. But please if you will, show me where it says on the document or in City, State or Federal law where the City of Greensboro had the right and authority to lock property owners out of their property for even 1 hour barring an actual structural flaw in the building of which none were found and/or reported by City of Greensboro building inspectors.

Residential properties are condemned every day of the week but control of the properties remains in the hands of the rightful property owners unless the City FIRST takes the property owner to court. NOT ONE HERITAGE HOUSE PROPERTY OWNER WAS TAKEN TO COURT.

You're a lawyer, Tom, I expect chapter and verse, not stupid lawyer tricks. Your roll in this, while probably not enough to see you disbarred, won't look favorable upon you with the NC Bar to which I plan to forward all our correspondence. Might I remind you as I keep reminding everyone else that lies of omission are lies just the same and you, Sir, are attempting to peddle a lie to me and everyone reading this e-mail knows that to be true.

Now Sir, chapter and verse or your admission that the City of Greensboro engaged in an illegal seizure of 177 private properties. After all, you've already admitted that fact to numerous people, why not admit it to me as well?

-Billy Jones

PS. Interim GPD Chief Holder, Unless Tom can produce chapter and verse proving me wrong we now have proof before us that a person or persons representing the City of Greensboro used their authority to seize private property illegally. I do believe an investigation is very much in order. Can I count on you to follow through should the City Attorney not be able to provide chapter and verse? You might also want to call the police attorney as well for his read on the document."

Of course I fully understand Captain Holder cannot answer that question-- she still has bosses. The problem for Tom Carruthers is that I've had the Notice of Condemnation for weeks now and plenty of time to study it. Nowhere is seizure of property mentioned.  Tom continues to play silly word games without realizing the strength of his opponent. Here we witness yet another dumb move by Tom:

"Billy, glad you agree that our condemnation powers give us the right to vacate the property.

- Thomas Carruthers"

In case any of my readers are confused as to definitions. From

"In the context of landlord-tenant law, vacate means to leave the premises, either voluntarily or involuntarily. A landlord generally may not evict a tenant from a rental unit for any reason, other than for nonpayment, unless he or she has served the tenant with a valid written notice to vacate. Local laws, which vary, govern the notice requirements for a landlord seeking a tenant's vacancy."

Also from

"Seizure is the act of law enforcement officials taking property, including cash, real estate, vehicles, etc., that has been used in connection with or acquired by illegal activities. Property may also be seized to satisfy an unpaid judgment, as long as proper notice of the amount due has been served. A court or civil authority decides what is to be done with the property, such as selling it at a sheriff's sale. In the event of a "not guilty" verdict, assets are returned to the owner."

But already the City of Greensboro has given the property back-- an admission of guilt-- and attempting to take the property again.  I twist the knife. The bleeding is now profuse:


Vacate but not seize, not lock property owners out. Avoidance is a tactic of the guilty. Please answer my questions, please provide the legal statutes that gave the City of Greensboro the right to lock property owners out of their lawful property as this is what you'll need to defend the City of Greensboro from the upcoming ACLU lawsuits as has been announced by Emily Mary Brown of the NC ALCU:

Seriously Tom, if you can't out lawyer a boy from Bessemer (East Greensboro) with only a falsified high school diploma from Greensboro's James B Dudley Sr High School, Class of 1974, how in the Hell are you going to out lawyer a team of American Civil Liberties Union Attorneys out for blood and Greensboro tax dollars? Lots of tax dollars. The answer: You're going to recommend the City settle out of court-- right Tom?  And the ineptitude and corruption that has long been Greensboro governance continues to thrive because men like Tom Carruthers haven't the balls to put a stop to it. Or you're in as deep as the rest?

Please Tom, Chapter and verse-- are you stalling because it doesn't exist?

And don't even bother with condition #3 on the warrant as it is too vague for enforcement. The City of Greensboro ASSumed it meant the City had the right to seize the property but if you'll go back and read it again you'll see it could have just as easily meant the property owners were ordered to keep the property vacant. Where did you find the drunk magistrate or judge who wrote that warrant for you?

Or did the City of Greensboro's legal department write it all up and hand it to the judge to sign? These things won't weigh in your favor in a court of law, will they Tom?

Remember Tom, this entire e-mail thread goes on the blog tomorrow with or without your references to the laws that cover the City of Greensboro's inept, overreaching, overzealous and stupid actions. And it's not going to help your case that City Council members-- morons that they are-- are on record in print and video saying the City of Greensboro intends to sell the property to a single buyer.

Kinda looks like a land grab, doesn't it Tom?

Time is running out.


PS. And Tom, Lawyers from the ACLU aren't the only lawyers reading my blog while preparing their cases against the City of Greensboro. "

In a last ditch effort Tom Carruthers tries to change the subject:

"Billy you are aware the owners who have requested access have access to the building. You even criticized the City for allowing this.

- Thomas Carruthers"

Instead the City Attorney guides my hand to cut the City Council's collective throats:

I am aware that property owners now have access. But they didn't have access for how long? As a matter of fact: giving the property back helps to make my case that the City's seizure of the property was illegal to begin with. It was only after pressure from lawyers representing some of the slum lords that the City backed down and gave owners access. You know that and I know that. Everyone reading this e-mail knows that.

Criticized the city for giving the property back to its rightful owners? I'm sure you would like to accuse me of that but that is hardly the case. I pointed out the fact that the leader of this new HOA group is a known drug trafficker and that all the City's efforts and all the money spent, the Civil Rights violations, the media circus, the politicians like Mike Barber trying to score points for his bid for Mayor next time around, the shenanigans of Ben Holder and Mayor Vaughan were all for naught because the very same drug dealers are back in Heritage House just as soon as the property reopens. That's what I criticized. I criticized what I always criticize, the corruption and ineptitude that people like yourself take oaths to fight but knowingly allow to continue.

But as usual, you and your kind prefer to spin the message rather than give straight answers to simple questions. Chapter and verse, Tom. You're a lawyer, I'm giving you a chance to do what lawyers do. I plan to post this entire conversation tomorrow. Will the readers believe me or you?

Yes, it's the court of public opinion and not a court of law but it's in the court of public opinion that politricksters get elected or run out of office. And with all the other bloggers gone I'm the only game in town.

Again, Tom, avoidance is not making your case-- perhaps you should hire a lawyer.

-Billy Jones, your friendly freelance, neighborhood Tyrannicide"

I never heard from Tom Carruthers again. I even gave him an extra day to respond. I can only assume there are no laws, no case history and no judges on record as ever having backed up any similar government seizure of private property in the history of these United States of America. As a matter of fact the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution reads:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

And the 5th Amendment:

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

There was no probable cause to enter individual units as the problems were in the commons areas, no due process was ever served and now Heritage House property owners are facing Double Jeopardy with the City's announcement that it plans to take their property a second time. But like Mujeeb Shah-Khan before him, Tom Carruthers, an officer of the court sworn to uphold the law, wouldn't know a Constitution if it bit him on his pompous ass. Today the City is attempting to steal the Heritage House properties by declaring them blighted but in doing so the City of Greensboro only proves itself guilty of perpetuating the blight.

The American Civil Liberties Union only needs 3 people to file a class action law suit. I suspect they'll have no problem in getting 3 people to sign up. After all, there's no charge for their services and even rich landlords can apply.

Get the entire Heritage House story including all the links to documents Tom Carruthers and the Greensboro City Council would rather you not see by clicking on Heritage House story and and reading the 60 plus posts and counting that make up this infringement on the Civil Rights of American Citizens living and owning property in the City of Greensboro, North Carolina where Fascism is the rule of law.

It also doesn't help that since Tom and I had that conversation it has been pointed out that the $60,000 water bill-- the reason the City of Greensboro gave for turning off the water and condemning the property-- turned out by Tom's very admission, to be a lie.