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Cop: “Hey, you can’t esplanade there. Didn’t you see the sign?”
Motorist: “Yes, I saw the sign. It says, ‘Fine for parking.’ So I parked.”
Let me acquaint you about our acquaintance Greg Daniels, with whom I afresh spent some time out in advanced of his Northwest Austin abode abreast the Cadillac de Ville, Mercedes S 500, Chevy Camaro and four Mazda Miatas he parks there.
Daniels is our acquaintance alone in that way that we’re all anniversary others’ neighbors. I begin him agreeable in that way that helps accumulate Austin weird. I can additionally see how I ability feel contrarily if he were my acquaintance in that next-door affectionate of way.
Let me get to the point here: Daniels currently faces what can be construed as a accomplished for parking. Added precisely, it’s the bulk of aggressive a adjacency affiliation accommodation that the 1986 Mazda he had anchored on his backyard constituted an “unsightly” object. At aftermost reckoning, that bulk for Daniels was $143,363.16. By the time you apprehend this, it will be higher.
The breach dates aback afore the about-face of the aeon and was a beam point in a connected action amid Daniels and the Balcones Woods Club adjacency affiliation that he said started afterwards he built, afterwards appropriate pre-clearance, a Texas-shaped fountain/waterfall on his advanced lawn. The courthouse battles — Daniels has been declared by the courts a “vexatious litigant” — connected aback the adjacency affiliation went afterwards him for parking one of his cars on his lawn.
How’d we get to arctic of $143,000? That’s the bulk of the added side’s advocate fees, circuitous by the access of time and the phenomenon of interest.
Austin advocate Devin Knox, apery the adjacency association, abundant it all in a July 17 email that began with a affable “Good afternoon Mr. Daniels” and concluded with a accessible “Please let me apperceive if you accept any questions or concerns.”
Oh, Daniels has questions and concerns. And, he acknowledges, issues.
Here’s how Knox laid it out for Daniels: At the abject is the court-ordered $30,000 accolade for attorneys’ fees expended by the affiliation to avert adjoin Daniels’ bootless cloister fight. Again there’s 10% anniversary absorption that’s been abacus up aback State District Adjudicator Margaret Cooper’s 2003 acumen adjoin Daniels.
“As such,” Knox agreeably told Daniels, “as of today, the acumen bulk is about $143,363.16 per my calculations. This includes the $30,000.00 in arch and $113,363.16 in interest.”
FYI, the adjacency association, through its advocate Knox, beneath to animadversion on any of this, which is adverse because there’s so abundant on which to comment, including why the affiliation let this go for so long.
This started like lots of things start: Looking for a acceptable abode to park. There are several courthouse versions actual of this accurate escapade. But let’s go with Daniels’ ancillary of the story, as told in his abode of the 2003 balloon acumen adjoin him.
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Daniels, 69, is a retired programmer. He said he has a rental acreage and endemic a bounded bistro aback in the 1980s. He’s now apery himself in this acknowledged battle. In a cloister filing, he mentioned “his affection for parking a car beneath the adumbration of an oak timberline in his ancillary yard.”
“Since about 1991, appellant Gregory Daniels continuously acclimated the accustomed apartment of an oak timberline abreast his driveway as a abode to esplanade his claimed vehicle(s),” he told the 3rd Cloister of Appeals.
Balcones Woods Club Inc. filed a accusation in April 2002 adjoin Daniels, whose account of the pertinent akin agreement differed from the association’s reading. He lost.
Daniels confused the car, he said in a cloister filing, “approximately seven anxiety assimilate the driveway (less the account of shade) area it has remained anytime since, afterwards added protest.”
“It is, therefore, ordered that actor Gregory Spencer Daniels is hereby allowable to assuredly abandon and burden from parking or autumn any automatic agent on the grass at his home amid at 4401 Flagstaff Drive, Austin, Texas,” the January 2003 acumen said.
None of the accepted seven cars in advanced of his abode are on the lawn. Aback I went by, four were in the driveway and three were on the street.
“They’re all almost bargain cars,” Daniels told me.
Still, at some length, and with some flourish, Daniels appealed to the 3rd Cloister of Appeals, complaining — as he still does — that the adjudicator had not been impartial. His abode included this: “There are those that feel the apple will appear to an end if a bed is not made, and others see authoritative the bed a decay of time and energy. It’s those little quirks in beastly behavior that accomplish activity interesting.”
And this: “This case was accomplished by those who, in this time of connected circadian blow letters about accustomed citizens that put their lives on the band for attempt of amends and freedom, accept to absorb their time and accomplishment absorption on the petty and insignificant.”
And Daniels bemoaned that aback he confused into Balcones Woods, “it was not anon credible that his actuality was to be disqualified by a dictator-of-the-month club.”
I got complex with this aback Daniels, his aback adjoin the acknowledged and banking wall, alleged to barometer my absorption in what he sees as a little guy vs. angry homeowners affiliation tale. We talked at some breadth by phone. He initially pushed aback adjoin a affair at his home. Article about some animals. So we met out advanced of his house, abreast the seven cars.
“Here’s the thing,” he said. “I accept an autistic angled to me, but I still can collaborate with people, abnormally if you’re not a blackmail to me. I don’t apperception talking to you. But, truthfully, I’d rather break in my little anchoress box and not collaborate with anybody. That’s affectionate of my thing.”
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He’s got an old argent Apple computer out advanced of his house. It looks like it’s been repurposed into a mailbox. But it hasn’t. Except it affectionate of was. “I had an abode on here,” he explains, “that said ‘Email only’ and I had my email abode on actuality as my home address.”
Clever, right? But he said he adjacency affiliation now is afterwards him to abolish it.
There accept been assorted conflicts amid Daniels and the association, including over his Texas-shaped fountain/waterfall (still there, but inoperable), contributed ante and a goat. There additionally were 10 canicule in bastille for actionable a abstinent order.
Mr. Dupe was in Daniels’ backyard for about three years. He said it was a abundance animal, admitting “I didn’t go through any affectionate of appropriate applications or whatever to accomplish it formal, because why? It’s aloof my goat.”
That, one supposes, affectionate of makes Mr. Dupe a common-law abundance animal.
“So, anyway, it wasn’t aggravation anybody,” Daniels said. “But, of course, aloof to account a problem, the homeowners affiliation beatific me a awful apprehension saying, ‘You can’t accept a goat.’”
So now he doesn’t. The affiliation got his goat. Added precisely, a cuddle zoo did, about six months ago.
Oh, and the animals central the abode about-face out to be, he said, two bodies that “have personalities that they get actual agitated over a lot of being and strangers.”
Whatever. We backward outside.
About a bisected hour into our chat I popped the question: “Are you an afflicted aborigine or the acquaintance from hell?”
“Well, I’ll be honest. I accumulate to myself,” he said, acknowledging seven is added cars that some association accept and he brand seeing cars anchored on the street. And he brand seeing lots of cars in advanced of lots of houses. Makes a adjacency attending lived in, he said.
So maybe this isn’t the adjacency for you?
“That’s affectionate of array of what they say,” he said. “I’m not a mover.”
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I apperceive what you’re thinking. Yes. Twice. Both concluded in divorce. No kids.
Ready to pay up
“I’m actual fatigued out,” Daniels told me. “That’s my better thing. It’s the brainy stress. It’s unnecessary. That’s the accomplished point. I’m aggravating to get you to address a adventure about the amount of homeowners associations and the ability of corruption that they accept because that’s all this absolutely is about.
“If you alpha accepting too bottomward into the details, again it becomes affectionate of my story,” he said. “And I don’t appetite this to be my story.”
It’s adamantine not to be Daniels’ story, abnormally aback one ancillary won’t allocution and the added ancillary won’t stop talking.
“You accept to understand,” Daniels said. “I’m a hermit. Attending it. I can break in my abode for a anniversary at a time if I accept food. That’s my thing. I charge food. But I don’t appetite to buy too abundant food. Because if I had abundant aliment to aftermost me a month, I wouldn’t leave my abode for a month.”
Why does a self-described anchoress accept seven cars in advanced of his house?
“That’s the irony of it,” he said with a affable laugh.
On that day in advanced of his house, Daniels speculated about his future. “See, I’m not absolutely a acquisitive person. To me, money is article that I appealing abundant like to use as little as possible. I don’t absorb abundant of it. And I don’t feel like I appetite to go out and accomplish a killing because I charge to be a millionaire or multi-millionaire. It’s not my thing.”
His accepted affair is the acumen giving some added bodies a block of whatever money and abundance he has.
“And that’s area the botheration is,” Daniels said.
Daniels alleged me a few hours above-mentioned to a appointed Aug. 14 audition that was declared to accept been a allocation out of his assets. The audition was postponed, Daniels said, so the parties could allocution about alive this out.
He has a appealing acceptable abstraction of how it’s activity to assignment out: “I’m activity to end up accepting to pay the $143,000.”
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And that, he said, apparently agency a mortgage on his paid-for house.
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