If you’ve been reading this blog for the last month or so, you know that the “City of Keene” has been threatening me over my tenants’ couch in their lawn. First, they sent one of their “enforcers” to threaten me with a $100 ticket. Then, one of the commenters here on Free Keene dug up a little dirt on their “enforcer” Carl Patten Jr. Early last week, my tenants snapped a photo of Mr. Patten snooping around and photographing the couch.
Here is the latest on the situation. The day after Mr. Patten was caught snooping, a letter arrived in my mailbox from Laurie Plankey, Accounts Receivable for the “City of Keene”. Here is a PDF and here’s the text:
September 16, 2008
On 8/26/2008 Carl Patten from Code Enforcement issued you ordinance violation # 1133 for a junk couch on the lawn at (ADDRESS) The violation was not paid within 7 days and has now increased from $100.00 to $200.00 and is now due. You can pay this fine on the 3rd floor, City Hall, 3 Washington Street, Keene NH. Please ask for me. Failure to pay the penalty imposed by the citation may subject you to court action.
PAYMENT OF FINE DOES NOT NEGATE RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROMPT CORRECTION OF VIOLATION.
Should you have further concerns about this matter, please call Carl Patten at City Hall at 603-352-5440. My telephone number is 603-352-1013, extension 6030. I am customarily available Monday through Friday from 8 until 4.
Accounts Receivable, Finance Department
Cc: Carl Patten
In response, I wrote them the following and had it notarized before hand delivering it in front of witnesses this morning September 26, 2008:
Conditional Acceptance for Value and Return for Discharge, Settlement, and Closure
Accounts Receivable, Finance Department
3 Washington St.
Keene, NH 03431
CC: John MacLean, City Manager; Thomas P. Mullins, City Attorney;
Dear Ms. Plankey,
I’m sorry that I have never met you, but I presume you’re probably a very nice person just doing your job. It is unfortunate that you have to deal with this matter. Let it be known that I as a sovereign seek only harmony with others. I reserve all rights and do not intend conflict with you or the “City of Keene”. It is to that end of harmony and peace that I write in receipt of your letter addressed to me, dated September 16, 2008.
I’m sure you understand that I can’t just pay my hard-earned money to just anyone who claims I owe them. Therefore, I accept your letter for value and will happily pay your “violation” when you or someone in your organization provides me with proof of my obligation to follow your “ordinances”. Satisfactory proof of obligation will require you or someone in your organization provide me with an original written agreement clearly defining the terms, conditions, obligations, and penalties, bearing my signature and a signature of an agent of the “City of Keene”.
Should you fail to provide proof of obligation within 14 days you agree to discharge this matter entirely. It will become known publicly that an agreement between us (the “City of Keene” and Ian Bernard) does not exist.
Please remember that I am a peaceful man and I want harmony with others. I am more than happy to pay for things I contract for and services I desire. For instance, I happily pay my water bills on time, because your organization’s water services are offered on a consensual basis, as all things should be.
As I’m a very busy man, my time is very valuable. Understand that if you or the “City of Keene” continue to send me more notices, or any other demanding papers, you agree to pay an assessment fee of $500 USD per page. (Your consensual water bills are exempt from this fee schedule.) I also noticed that in your letter you threatened me with possible “court action”. I’m a peaceful man and I do not intend conflict. If you have not provided proof of obligation and demand that I show up at your “court”, I will attend under duress, as it is my understanding that your organization will send men with guns to hurt me if I do not show up. Your organization agrees to pay a $5,000 USD appearance fee for each hour or partial hour or of my time, beginning the moment I open the front door of 3 Washington St. If the “City of Keene” sends men with guns to detain/arrest me for anything other than a crime committed against another human being or their property, the arresting agents will be guilty of kidnapping and the “City of Keene” agrees to pay me a $50,000 per day or partial day illegal arrest/detainment fee. Additionally, if Mr. Patten or any other agents from your organization leave anything upon my property, your organization will pay me $500 USD per item of garbage disposed of.
Again, if you or someone in your organization fail to respond within 14 days of the date of this notice with proof of obligation, you agree to discharge this matter in full. Silence upon your part confirms you agree with my above stated assertions and fee schedule.
Please respond to the address below via a service with delivery confirmation so you can be certain that my mailbox agents have received it.
Note that any correspondence is subject to being posted on the blog at FreeKeene.com
I look forward to your response,
Administrative Agent for
39 Central Sq. #313
Keene, NH 03431
After I served them with the above at about 8 a.m. this morning, I was down in the lobby of the building occupied by the men and women calling themselves the “City of Keene”, when the couch enforcer himself, Carl Patten Jr., entered the building. If you read the previous post on the blog, you know I was there to attend the triple civil disobedience event. Always polite, I greeted Carl with a “Good morning” as he approached. He held out a folded pink piece of paper, which I refused to take. He then committed battery against me by touching me with it on my shoulder and letting it fall to the floor. All this occurred in front of several witnesses. He smugly told me I had been “served” and continued on into the stairwell. The pink piece of paper turned out to be a “COMPLAINT”. See a PDF of it here.
As you can see, this is a “VIOLATION” demanding that I show up to their “DISTRICT COURT” and “ANSWER TO A COMPLAINT” in regards to one of their “ordinances” about “minimum property standards”. Unlike the ticket that he littered upon my property, this one is mostly filled out correctly, though it is not dated at the bottom or signed by a “Justice of the Peace”. Carl actually put my name on it this time and used his real signature! Last time he just scratched a small line in the signature area, and left my name off the ticket.
Considering the “city” will send men with guns to hurt me if I don’t show up, I will attend the “court”, under duress. Mark your calendars for, October 1st, at “District Court” in Keene. It is located at 3 Washington St., second floor. We will meet in the lobby at 8:15am. You are encouraged to bring recording devices and to stay seated when the “judge” enters the “court”. It should be interesting!