Here is a story by Susan Field posted in The Morning Sun website on 7/12/12 with comments where appropriate. Sue’s report is in bold and indented. Our replies are followed with Response:
Sue called me for a comment on the Isabella County Democrat Party’s endorsement of Sheriff Leo and I told her that I had actually been expecting the Democratic party to endorse Hall as opposed to Leo and that I was expecting it to take a little longer. Email between Visner and our two term elected sheriff…
To read Sue’s story without my comments click here…
Story by Sue Field:
In what’s described as a very unusual move, the Isabella County Democratic Party has endorsed Republican Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski for re-election.
Either Mioduszewski, a Republican seeking his third term in office, or Republican challenger Robert Hall will face Democrat Ted Visner in the general election.
Isabella County Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Barker said the endorsement came after Mioduszewski made a case before the group that the sheriff’s department is more law enforcement than political.
In announcing the endorsement of Mioduszewski, the party also endorsed a slate of Union Township Democrats running as the “Team for Excellence,” Barker said.
“Although there are the other candidates running for those positions, we feel it is important that local Democrats who are not as politically involved understand that there are significant differences between the candidates,” Barker said. “We have examined and vetted those who are running for these positions and feel the best choice to serve our local community happen to be these people we have endorsed.”
Local parties do not normally endorse candidates before the primary election and very rarely endorse candidates from the other party, Barker said.
Party rules call for two-thirds votes for these endorsements, she said.
Response: A two thirds vote means like 5 or 6 individuals.
Visner is suing the sheriff, Prosecutor Larry Burdick and others in Isabella County Trial Court, seeking damages in excess of $3.9 million and says the county was negligent in allowing him to be evicted from his home in 2010.
Response: This is supposed to be Sue Field’s retraction that she promised yesterday if she were to find her own allegations misleading or inaccurate from her first article published on June 16, 2012. This “so-called” correction starts off with the same propaganda that her last article contained. “says the county was negligent in allowing him to be evicted from his home in 2010” Visner & Smith are suing and have named: Isabella County, Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Steinert, Under Sheriff Tellis, Sheriff Leo, Shelly Sweet. All of these people are Isabella County employees or elected officials. All of these people are part of the conspiracy to deprive my family of our civil rights when they took our home in the absence of due process. The government Defendants named in our civil suit did not allow us to be evicted because we never were evicted and therefore they are not negligent for allowing something to happen that never did happen. The Government Defendants named in our civil suit are negligent for acting pursuant to a court order that never existed.
He is suing on 16 civil counts, including breach of contract, breach of duty, conversion, trespassing, negligence and violations of his civil liberties, according to court records.
Visner declined to comment on his party endorsing a Republican, but said that Isabella County Trial Judge William Rush cancelled eviction proceedings against Visner and his wife, Kathy Smith.
Response: I did not say that Rush canceled the proceedings. Sue Fields told me that her previous story that was full of lies she obtained information about an eviction from our civil suit against the county which was the wrong place to be looking for details of any eviction proceedings. Sue didn’t even know or care to know that the summary proceedings involved a Judge other than Judge Chamberlain.
Rush did cancel a Sept. 28, 2010 eviction hearing pending the outcome of Visner’s bankruptcy case.
Response: Judge Rush did not cancel the proceedings. The proceedings were canceled by Sweet on September 29th.
Visner voluntarily filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in August 2010, according to court records.
Visner’s dispute over the eviction came about a month later, when he called Isabella County Central Dispatch Sept. 27 to report a break-in at the home in question.
Response: Visner (me) did not dispute any eviction because their never was an eviction to dispute! What Visner (me) was disputing was the fact that our Sheriff’s Department was evicting us pursuant to a court order that did not exist. (For folks that might not know this I will explain.) Eviction proceedings are called “Summary Proceedings” when a landlord wants you out of a property they can initiate these proceedings to evict you. This is due process. As their are a million and one different reasons to evict there are as many reasons why you can’t evict. Regardless of the claims or allegations of either party these issues are heard by a judge and the judge rules for either the landlord or the tenant. In our case, summary proceeding were initiated but then administratively canceled by the plaintiff Sweet prior to any conclusion of Due Process. The commencement of Due Process is not the completion of Due Process.
The Sheriff’s Department is “tasked” with carrying out orders of the court as one of their primary functions. Normally the Sheriff’s Department does carry out court ordered evictions. In our case, the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department executed a non-existent court ordered eviction seizing our home and it’s contents for an employee of the Sheriff’s Department. Pretending to have a court order signed by a judge and actually having one are two very different things.
Also a-foot and brought back to light in Sue’s report is her claim that Judge Rush canceled the Defendant’s Hearing on September 28th??? Does this seem normal to people? Do our Judges arbitrarily cancel Motion Hearings on the day they are to be held without ANY notice to the parties? Someone canceled it because we went and it had been removed from the schedule by someone and no one told us. We stayed and asked the clerks and no one at the court house could explain how or why the hearing had been canceled. Before we left we had the clerks time and date stamp our documents to prove that we were there on the date and time the hearing was scheduled.
If we had been evicted like the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department claims, then why haven’t they filed a copy of our eviction order? Why hasn’t Sue Field published this order. Why did Under Sheriff John Tellis force us to prove that we had not been evicted instead of requiring his Deputy or Sweet to prove that we had been evicted? Come on here folks! This is a one page document!
Visner and Smith called central dispatch numerous times that day between 1:38 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., reporting that the home they had rented on East Walton Road had been broken into, their property was missing and the locks had been changed, according to information obtained from the sheriff’s department through the Freedom of Information Act.
Dispatchers sent a deputy to the house, and the deputy determined that the dispute was between the landlord and tenant, therefore a civil matter in which the sheriff’s department did not have jurisdiction, according to police reports.
Response: Did not have jurisdiction? Did not have jurisdiction with regard to Michigan law? It is illegal in Michigan and almost every other state to lock anyone out of their home. The law in Michigan is referred to as the “Anti-Lockout Law” and is MCL 600.2918. The Sheriff’s Department maintains that they were acting pursuant to a court order that simply does not exist. Breaking and entering, grand larceny, and other assorted allegations are not allegations of a civil matter.
During one of the calls, Smith said the two were due in court the following day for an eviction hearing, apparently indicating that the dispute was civil.
During another call, Visner reported the break-in and was told a deputy was already on his way.
Another call, this one by the landlord, Shelly Sweet, came at 2:54 p.m. that day, with Sweet telling dispatchers that she was on her way to the rental home and that Visner and Smith were there, according to police reports.
Response: Throw in “according to police reports” and all the sudden you have everyone’s attention. Shelly Sweet was the first person from the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department to respond to our 9-1-1 calls for help. She came disguised as a civilian and maintained that disguise that day and for over a year with the help of the Sheriff’s Department, it’s employees and it’s administrative staff and even their lawyer.
Remember, Under-sheriff John Tellis told us to prove that we had not been evicted in order to get our house back. The only proof that we could find was the Hearing notice in the summary proceedings that was scheduled for the following day. Proof that we had been evicted in the first place never existed but we were tasked with proving that we were not and the motion hearing notice was all we had. Think about it… What proof do my readers have right this second to prove that they are not evicted right now?
“Clearly, this is a civil matter,” Undersheriff John Tellis said.
Visner called again at 4:52 p.m., reporting the lock change and said there were “unwelcome” people at the home.
Six minutes later, Sweet called and reported that Visner and Smith would not leave the property, according to police reports.
Response: I believe that Sweet’s call to 9-1-1 was to report me as a stalker. I will just publish the police reports again here (for accuracy) for the people that are interested. My call to 9-1-1 was from a position off the property on on Walton Rd. I had just left the Sheriff’s Department after talking with Under Sheriff John Tellis and was returning to the venue at his direction. When I arrived at the property I saw Shelly Sweet and her boyfriend coming out of the front door of our home with armloads of stuff and heading to their vehicle with it. (Stealing my family’s personal property from inside out home).
Visner at one point that afternoon went to the sheriff’s department to lodge a complaint, and Tellis told him he had to deal with the matter at the court hearing the following day.
Response: I attempted to file a written complaint and got about half way through it when I was met by Under-sheriff Tellis. I was very civil and I told Tellis that I was not a complainer and that I felt bad for having to bring a very troubling matter to his attention. After telling Tellis that Deputy Steinert had just executed my family’s eviction without a court order he immediately got defensive, stood up and told me that his deputy had done nothing wrong and that I should sue him. I was then issued back out to the lobby where I was told to wait. After about 10 minuets, tellis came out and while shaking my complaint in his fist told me that I could fill out complaints until the cows come home but that his deputy had done nothing wrong. Then he sat beside me and in a calmer voice told me that he had just talked to the PA and Tellis then told me that if I could prove that we had not been evicted that we should be able to get our house back.
Visner called again at 6:31 p.m., again reporting the break-in and theft of his belongings, telling a dispatcher he knew “exactly” who took the items and the deputy allowed the culprits to leave.
Response: Sue Field may have spent 15 minuets going through the 360+ paragraph complaint filed by us on September 28, 2011 (YESTERDAY) but my family has been living this hell for over 22 months.
In a later call, Visner said he wanted to speak to a state trooper because the deputy “doesn’t like me,” according to the police report, which includes audio recordings of the conversations.
Response: All of our 9-1-1 calls of the day were recorded and are being requested (subpoenaed) and will become a part of this blog. I did not ask to talk to a state trooper, I asked dispatch to dispatch a state trooper and dispatch refused. After they refused, I asked dispatch to give me the non-emergency number for the Michigan State Police and they again refused. It was obvious to us on September 27, 2010 that we were not being handled appropriately by the Sheriff’s Department and at the time we were clueless as to why this was. Asking for State Police involvement should have been granted and should have changed the course of the events on that day. Ask anyone that you know if it is alright for you to lock someone out of their home and take their property.
In a later call to dispatch, Smith said the missing items were part of the bankruptcy case and that she had to have a police report to show what happened to the belongings.
Response: This isn’t true. Deputy Steinert flat out refused to give us a police report for his first and second visits to the property. 95% of the contents of our home were stolen and Deputy Steinert refused to write a report of any kind until after he arrested me later the same night. Smith never claimed anything being part of a bankruptcy case. What was said and what you will hear is that in trying to rationalize with dispatch and deputy Steinert as to how any insurance claim could be made in the absence of a police report. Even then the police report was kept from us for four months due to the County’s investigation into the charges against me for misuse of 9-1-1.
Again, dispatchers said it was a civil matter and that police could not help.
Response: Knowing the difference between civil and criminal needs to be understood by the law enforcement officials tasked with protecting the county’s citizens!
In a 7:30 p.m. call, Visner apologized to a dispatcher and said he had just spoken to the FBI, who said his only course of action was to file a civil liberties violation, according to police reports.
Response: These recorded 9-1-1 calls are important, Here Sue Field claims that I apologized and I did but for much different reasons than her story would lead you to believe. This was my first call to 9-1-1 where the dispatcher I was talking to told me that I should be calling on the “non-emergency line”. Yes, I did apologize and I also asked him if he would like me to call back on the “non-emergency” line and he chuckled and told me, “No, it’s ok… we are not busy tonight”. It was immediately after this call to 9-1-1 I was arrested for misuse of 9-1-1 by the same deputy that I had filed a complaint against earlier that day. The same deputy that sanctioned our unlawful lockout, the same deputy that allowed his co-worker Sweet and her boyfriend to leave our property with a vehicle full of stolen property.
When asked whom he spoke to, Visner first said he had the information in his truck; then, when asked again, he questioned why the agent’s name was relevant, then said he couldn’t remember the name when a dispatcher explained that he needed the information to provide to the deputy.
Response: Right… The name of the FBI Agent that I spoke to somehow became of much more importance than the fact that my family’s home and it’s contents were stolen.
Visner also said during the calls that he didn’t know who took his property and that he thought it was the landlord.
Response: Obviously our allegations really suck for the county but refusing to address them does not make them go away. I called to report a burglary and the Dispatcher told me that Deputy Steinert told him not to respond to any calls from us. Of course I thought it was Sweet (Employee of the Sheriff’s Department) and her boyfriend because earlier in the day I saw them walking out of our home with our stuff. Dispatch was asking me to solve the crime over the phone instead of responding to a burglary complaint.
(Susan Field can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/#!/susan.k.field).
Sue Field’s “story” above starts out about the democratic party endorsement of our two term incumbent, sheriff Leo and then veers into never never land mixing some truth with a lot of fiction with regard to our lawsuit against the county.
We didn’t ask for this fight and we tried to avoid it. Every opportunity was given the leaders of the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department to do the right thing and they refused.
Sheriff Leo should have, on his own initiative, asked the Michigan State Police to step in after he realized that our complaints were directed at members of his staff. Sheriff Leo knew though at the time we didn’t know that Sweet was also his employee and elected to continue and further that disguise.
The Sheriff’s Department continues to pretend that we had actually been evicted and have, throughout the entire course of these events, shared our dissatisfaction with others in law enforcement about having been evicted knowing that a claim “eviction” would stop any and all of our attempts to find help.
In a letter from Gary Nix, he says he would like to help us but claims that he can do nothing about our eviction when there never was an eviction. Who told Gary that we were evicted? Do you think that Gary called Leo? I would have. Since Gary was still under the impression that we had been evicted, I contacted him again in an attempt to set the record straight. I told Gary that we had not been evicted but still lost our home and it’s contents. I also gave Gary the the court case file related to the summary proceedings knowing that he hadn’t actually checked the file himself. <<< 10-1885-LT >>>
Two Simple facts Remain:
#1. My family lost our home and it’s contents to the Sheriff’s Department
#2. No Court Ordered Eviction ever took place
There is a lot of “gobbly gook” intertwined in this mess but it will never change the two simple facts above.
“Wrongful Eviction”, “Unlawful Eviction” and “Lawful Eviction” all still mean EVICTION “period”.
In both counts someone was evicted. Evicted in a court of law and at the conclusion of Due Process but that the process actually took place and finished.
Larry Burdick knows that we were never evicted, lawfully, wrongfuly or unlawfully because these three words are adjectives all describing something that never happened in the first place “an eviction itself”.
People say that I must really hate this County and that couldn’t be further from the truth! What I do hate is to see this county being trashed by a few different administrators that are here for themselves over it’s citizens. I am fighting a large lawsuit against the county right now and before I decided to file suit I looked into who would have foot the bill for the sheriff’s department’s ignorance after we won. I discovered that losses like this are paid by insurance. My focus of this research was to make sure that the people of this county would not be forced to pay for the ignorance of the sheriff’s department administrators.
While the citizens of Isabella County will be asked indirectly to keep paying the bill for increased insurance premiums, they are somewhat sheltered from the actual damage awards paid out. It would be interesting to know what legal fees have been paid out in our case alone that is only part way through litigation. Lawyers we have interviewed that were willing to take our case, on average wanted a monthly commitment of $25,000 to take us on as clients.
Email from our two term elected sheriff…