Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"Your Move"

I have an interesting update on the situation with my father’s house and the lawsuit. As you know from a post on April 2nd entitled "Human Fallibility in the Legal System", my father was in a lawsuit with a man with whom he was supposed to build a house which they jointly owned and lived in. The other party breached the contract after my father worked for three years building the home and tried to oust my father from the house by selling it on the market and taking the increase in profits from my father’s labor and hundreds of thousands in expenses for himself. The matter went to court and my father lost everything. The court ordered the house partitioned, and it was forced to go on the market for sale.

My father tried to buy the house himself, although the other party was blocking him from doing that because he did not want my father to have any pleasure from the work he put into the house. (I feel it is necessary to also mention that my father was the one that put money into the house and was the one who actually built the house while the other, although he was supposed to share equally in the expenses and in the labor [and to my fathers dismay and confusion] did not participate in either.) When the other party went to court and declared that he wanted to buy the house himself, the court saw through the scheme to oust my father and ruled that if anyone should have the privilege to own the house, it would be my father because he built it. My father closed on the house last Tuesday.

Even though the other party is still benefiting to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, my father is relieved that at least he will be able to live in the house he built with his own hands.

This brings us to today. The money for the house is now in escrow, and the other party is supposed to move out by next Tuesday. To prevent him from destroying the structure or removing structures that do not belong to him, my father set up security cameras around the house to monitor what goes in and what goes out of the house. This morning as I was coming home from davening Shacharis (morning prayer), I saw an unfamiliar man walking around the premises with the wife of the other party. I figured him to be an inspector of some sort to give witness to the condition of the property as one gets an inspection for damages when returning a rental car or checking out of a dorm room. I sat at my desk to write the entry about my wonderful experience last night and the power went off, along with my internet access.

My first thought was "no power, no security cameras… no eyes". My father was blind to what was about to happen. I looked around for signs of danger and saw the man rush into his car and drive away. I looked around for a reason for the other party to cut power. Coming towards the house was a large moving truck. "Smart" I thought. "He’s cutting off my father’s eyes so that my father will not be able to see or record what he was doing". I went downstairs to flip the switch to turn the power back on but nothing happened. When I went around to the front to ask the wife why the power is not on, she told me with a large grin that the man who was here was an electrician, and he cut the power wires to the house. If my father wants electricity, he will have to call the company to get them to install new wires which will take at least a few days to schedule and repair. (I thought that was just enough time for them to move out undetected and unseen by the cameras.)

I called my father at work to let him know of this development, and my father was unusually calm. He told me that the money is in escrow, and they can do whatever they want. If there is any damage to the house, or if there is any structures missing, he will replace them or repair them, and the money for the repairs will come from the escrow.

Right now I am watching the other party haul wooden crates with large locks on them into the moving truck. I wonder what is inside and why the contents needed to be hidden the way they were. They have already taken my father’s washing machine and some other furnishings. While I know that the other party is usually strategically a few steps ahead of my father (i.e. thinking of a trick like this to blind my father, winning in court with fabricated receipts, etc.), it seems like my father knows what he is doing. His calm seems to be justified, as if he has declared "your move." I feel calm too because aside from the constant possibility for repentance and change, a criminal will always be a criminal, and will keep breaking the law because he derives pleasure from the criminal act and feels a compulsion to continue. He cannot stop himself. There is always a day when they trip up and get caught.

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