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Thread: APS representative Bob Bott is trying to steal my home by using Eminent Domain

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    APS representative Bob Bott is trying to steal my home by using Eminent Domain

    Today, you hear stories about people who are forced to move out of their homes over eminent domain issues. It has been a plague that has been blanketing this country for decades, and now it is getting to the point where anyone can easily become a victim of it. In the past you could at least be assured that you would get "just compensation" for your home if it was taken, but now the greed of some corporations is out of control and you are lucky to get pennies for your home or business. I know this because I am one of those victims.

    It all started on my birthday February 4 2004. I received a letter from our local utility company called APS about acquiring my property to run a 299kv transmission line and tower. These are the really big ones you see out in the middle of nowhere. They stand at a lofty 150' tall and carry enough power to light up a small city. We had agreed to meet the following week to discuss numbers on the value of the property, and at their request had the property appraised. It was valued at $123,000.

    We were not opposed to the idea of giving up the house so long as we received fair compensation, and were looking for nothing more than the value of the property. We met with APS's representatives Bob Bott, and Michael Bouche to discuss what we were looking for. Their offer at that time was a measly $70,000. That number came from what they assessed the value of the lot being vacant, and the cost of materials in the home. I guess labor, permits, blood sweat and tears, etc are free these days. We of course immediately turned them down, and were told we would receive another better offer the following week.

    After a long week had passed we talked with APS's reps Bob, and Michael. They said the offer this time had been mailed, and we would "be very happy with it". When the letter came we were shocked at the amount, it was for $35,000, half of their original price! This is when things became ugly.

    We were threatened to have condemnation papers filed if we did not take the offer, and could possibly end up with much less. They said the number came from a crack team of their best manipulators uh urr I mean calculators, and said that is the value lost for 60% of the property (portion of the property they are requesting) losing 75% of its value. That 60% by the way includes the entire home which is not allowed to be where the power lines are going so it would either have to be destroyed or moved. At least we would still be left with a sliver of grime real estate that is almost entirely in the fall zone of the tower. A fall zone is basically any area that the tower could hit if it were to fail and collapse. You are not allowed to put up structures in fall zones because of this hazard.

    Weíve been having many problems in our battle with this company, especially since APS is controlled by another company called Pinnacle West Corp. They are one of the biggest businesses in the state of Arizona and last year were valued at having over $9,000,000,000.00 in assets, yes thatís right $9 billion. Now thereís me, your average guy trying to eek out a living and support his family. My assets as of last year, $123,000. They want take away everything that I have been working so hard for in my life just so they can have a better bottom line. I wonder how they would feel if someone forced them to sell their company for 28% of its value.



    Well this is my story, or at least part of it, and I need help. Feel free to email me, or APS's public relations rep. at alanbunnell@pinnaclewest.com. I need all the help I can get so if you have any contacts, past cases similar to this etc, please send it my way. My email is shuddupfool@aol.com and my name is Ian Horvath. Thank you for taking the time to read all this.

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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    If you haven't already, get a good lawyer experienced with property rights cases and try to enlist the help of a national property rights group who often gets involved with eminent domain cases.

    http://www.castlecoalition.org/

    Can they really assess your home based upon the negative effect their project will have on it?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Yes you need a lawyer, this is a legal and not a planning issue.

    However, everything I know about condemnation says that they must pay you for both the land and the structure---even if they're going to just nock it down---and they must pay you current value, not some predicted future value.

    They're trying to make a sucker out of you by scaring you with condemnation. If it goes to condemnation, you'll likely to get paid something much closer to your assessment than their figures.

    But you need advice from someone who really knows the law.

    Get a lawyer.

  5. #5
    I agree with the previous posters that you need qualified legal assistance immediately. Does a private utility really have the power of eminent domain?
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Get an Attorney

    Get an attorney.....and make them pay pay pay for the legal costs also......

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Does a private utility really have the power of eminent domain?
    Yes they typically do.

    One thing you might want to consider if you don't have the money to pay the legal costs is to sell your property to a speculator. There exists a type of speculator who buys up land that's due to be condemned and then makes a profit by wringing as much money out of the condemner as possible. You could sell your place to one of these people, take your money and forget all about the mess.

    Of course since the speculator is trying to make a profit, he'll try to make a sucker out of you too, so pick a price below appraisal that you will not go below and stick to it. If they try to goad you into going lower just say "no way."

    You'll get less than you'd probably get in condemnation, but you won't have to deal with the legal stuff or pay the upfront costs for lawyers. And it may not be possible to get your legal expenses back from the power company so you may end up losing as much money to the lawyers as you'd lose to the speculator.

  8. #8
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    We have hired an attorney, and he has had expierience dealing with such cases, and has had good success, hence why we chose him. Unfortunately he is expensive, and my funds are running low, but I will do whatever it takes to stay in the fight. The other problem is we are up against one of the largest and most powerful companies in the state of Arizona and apparently they seem to have no values or scruples.

    We are preparing to send out letters to most of the local media, unfortunately APS is a major sponsor of many of the newspapers, and television stations so how effective it will be has yet to be seen.

    Not to mention we are getting in contact with our states representatives and are attempting to contact everyone from the local level straight up the governors office. Hopefully we will get at least some kind of response. Our biggest obstacle is the power of Pinnacle West Corp (company that is in control of APS).

    We have been putting up the good fight since February, and have found that their powers run very deep. They have trespassed on the property to start work on the new transmission lines even though we have not even seen a single court date yet over the taking.

    After they were caught red handed on the property and we threatened to press charges of trespassing APS Rep. Bob Bott responded, "we will continue to go on the property whenever we wish with your permission or not" And that has held true ever since.

    Over the course of the past few weeks we have had many problems with vandalism on the premises. One of the biggest concerns was when the irrigation gates were removed from the canal on the north end of the property and it was flooded with tens of thousands of gallons of water.

    It unfortunately caused thousands of dollars of damage to the septic and leach field. Not only were those gates missing, but so was the backup gate that shut off the water in the canal in case of such an emergency. These gates, which had been in place for decades, mysteriously disappeared the same time APS was trespassing on the property. It was an "amazing coincidence" according to APS Rep. Bob Bott

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    This does sound of an example of bad eminent domain. Perhaps the cause is legitimate, but it is being exercised in a willfully offensive manner.Could you set up hidden surveilance cameras to monitor parts of your property subject to vandalism. Catching these b*st*rds in the act could mean a hell of a lot to a jury. Ciminal charges against the perpetrators might be nice too, even if it is only for trespassing - but be certain they do not have legal authority to enter your property. If they do not, then post no trespassing signs, and have them arrested every time. Everything you can do to appear sympathetic to the jury will help. If they are the bad guys that want to steal your property, trespass, and vandalize your home, showing it to the jury is bound to win them over.

    Off-topic:
    The last potential eminent domain issue I was involved with, we had an appraisal at $80,000. We offered to exchange it for another property valued at $140,000. We were happy because we could still make a profit. The property owner was happy because they picked up $60,000 in equity. The village was happy because they did not have an ugly political issue to deal with. That is the way these things should work.
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  10. #10
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    A lot of people are wondering why so many people are having such widespread problems with Corporate America and local governments using eminent domain to steal peoples homes and businesses with reckless abandon, I for one think I have part of the answer, look at the information below:

    William J. Post
    Chairman and CEO
    Pinnacle West Capital
    In 2002, William J. Post raked in $1,563,426.00 in total compensation including stock option grants from Pinnacle West Capital.
    And William J. Post has another $414,630.00 in unexercised stock options from previous years.


    WOW thatís a heck of a lot of cash! So much so he wasnít able to use $414,630.00 from previous years. I wish I made so much money I couldnít spend it all. Just the excess cash is enough to buy the home they want from me three times over, with enough left over to buy a new Corvette! I should have grown up to be a CEO, oh wait a minute you probably donít get that much without throwing a soul in the deal.

    The point is simple. Pinnacle West Capital Corp has millions of dollars to throw at their CEOís to come and steal my home, but somehow not enough to actually just pay for it.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Private Right of Condemnation

    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Yes they typically do.

    One thing you might want to consider if you don't have the money to pay the legal costs is to sell your property to a speculator. There exists a type of speculator who buys up land that's due to be condemned and then makes a profit by wringing as much money out of the condemner as possible. You could sell your place to one of these people, take your money and forget all about the mess.

    Of course since the speculator is trying to make a profit, he'll try to make a sucker out of you too, so pick a price below appraisal that you will not go below and stick to it. If they try to goad you into going lower just say "no way."

    You'll get less than you'd probably get in condemnation, but you won't have to deal with the legal stuff or pay the upfront costs for lawyers. And it may not be possible to get your legal expenses back from the power company so you may end up losing as much money to the lawyers as you'd lose to the speculator.
    Colorado has a private right of condemnation process by which private land owners can condem anothers land for access to water or potentially other reasons.....

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    It sounds like they're trying to bankrupt you in court to me. They have much deeper pockets than you do so you can't win that game. I agree that it's pretty dispicable that a company that big would do that just to save a little money.

    If I were you, I'd find a third party (speculator) to buy the thing off of you and be prepared to sell it significantly below appraisal. The alternative is to keep trying to fight and give it up for peanuts once you can't pay your lawyer anymore and still be stuck with the huge attorney fees.

  13. #13
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    It is very tempting to take the easy way out, a speculator sounds like a viable alternative to risking everything, and at least I could walk away with something, but I am not going to. If everyone that got attacked by a large corporation, or local government just rolled over and took it then that will just help to reinforce their immorral actions.

    It is time for people to stand up and fight for what is wrong, and let these large companies, and local governments know that they can't keep doing this. I plan to wage war, if I lose, at least what happens to me may help others down the road in their own battles with similar issues. Raising public knowledge about these issues can only serve to aid everyone.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    If you plan on staying and fighting the fight then you should get to the media post haste. Local television stations will likely eat up a story like this and hopefully the coverage will shame the local government, if not the company itself, into doing something.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    If I were you, I'd find a third party (speculator) to buy the thing off of you and be prepared to sell it significantly below appraisal. The alternative is to keep trying to fight and give it up for peanuts once you can't pay your lawyer anymore and still be stuck with the huge attorney fees.
    That is a really, really bad idea.

    Case 1 - The property is sold at a low price. The "market value" is then established as of the date of sale, allowing the property to be taken at that price.

    Case 2 - you inflate the value in the sale, hoping to get a higher price. The courts look very disapprovingly on this and you are likely to end up with a lower price.
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  16. #16
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    It was my understanding that condemnations are always based on assesments, but I admit I don't know how previous sells affect assessed values. There is bit of speculation going on over the O'Hare condemnation, with a suburb trying to buy up properties and then lease them back to their owners in the hope of making a profit on the condemnation.

    My point is, though, that the power company is clearly trying to run him out of money, SLAPP style. There is no way he can win that sort of battle. He needs to offload the property to someone with deeper pockets.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    It was my understanding that condemnations are always based on assesments, but I admit I don't know how previous sells affect assessed values. There is bit of speculation going on over the O'Hare condemnation, with a suburb trying to buy up properties and then lease them back to their owners in the hope of making a profit on the condemnation.

    My point is, though, that the power company is clearly trying to run him out of money, SLAPP style. There is no way he can win that sort of battle. He needs to offload the property to someone with deeper pockets.
    No, he needs to stand and fight just like he is doing.

    Next, he needs to come to terms with the fact he may lose the battle, all his wealth, his family and his friends & even his life in this battle, but he will not lose his honor. He needs to document and publicize his plight and let others at the national level know he is willing to fight it all the way. He needs to explain to those he loves that fighting this war will be costly, but it is something he must do. He needs to let the local sheriff and city PD that he intends to act only within the law, but that he will defend his life, his property, and hispursuit of happiness against all that threaten it.

    Then, if he accepts that he may die or spend the rest of his life in jail from a corporate frame -up then he needs to get a hide built, some night vision cameras and a pair of NV goggles, and then he needs to catch the vandals -tresspassers, search them for weapons and ID, and then turn them over to the county Sheriff. He then needs to turn the film over to the right wing media.

    He needs to contiue doing this until they get the message that he is willing to play hard ball. If they bring a knife he should bring a gun. When they bring muscle, he needs to have more muscle.

    He needs to document his case so it can survive his passing and be carried on by others. He needs to fight the good fight, not drag his ass away happy that his check is for 50% of the fair value.

  18. #18
    Aps is up to some shady maneuvers.If their willing to go to such great lengths to save a little money with you it makes me wonder about these impending rolling black outs and the threat of rate hikes do to these substation fires. I mean, why should you have to pay for something they want to put on your property and why should we "the consumers" have to pay for their faulty equipment. Somthing is a little fishy with this company. Hang in there and good luck jim

  19. #19
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    APS applied to the corporation commission for a 10% increase before the fires. Now the commission wants public testimony from APS on the power failures. Think the corporation commission is going to feel like granting the increase? B-)

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    Well we are still giving it our best out here in our fight. The more time that lapses the bigger the problem seems to become. This company apparently has a lot of control within our local government and police forces. There have been many problems, but we are still hanging in there. We do have a site up, but there is much work to be done on it. Feel free to check it out, it will be much further along in a few days though, the address is www.billandbobsmoneymakingmachine.com. I wonder how long it will take for a lawsuit to come along?

    Thank you everyone for the information and advice, it makes the whole task seem a little less daunting when you get such great support!

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    Now for those of you who do not belive how bad things are getting, here is a direct link to the maricopa county recorders office for our case.

    If they win in court they get my home for $1.00!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is not a joke!!!!!

    I AM NOT A NIMBY!!!!!!!!!!!

    I JUST DON'T WANT TO LOSE EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!

    Here is the link:

    http://recorder.maricopa.gov/recdocd...?rec=200401896 18&pg=5&cls=RecorderDocuments&suf=&sar=UnOfficial&bid=&naf=0&bk=0&rec2=&pgs=&map=&bdt=1/1/1983&edt=7/31/2004&nm=horvath+ian&set=250&cde=&lnk=1&Pages=9

    As I have said all along, I do not have a problem with the taking, what I do have a problem with is losing everything I have worked so hard for so they can HAVE A BETTER BOTTOM LINE!!!!

    Email their public relations rep at alan.bunnell@pinnaclewest.com

    Or Post here to keep people informed and vist our website at:
    www.billandbobsmoneymakingmachine.com
    It is basic, but getting better!

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    The link to the recorder's office just gives me the message "THIS IMAGE IS BLOCKED: Use the browser's back button for the previous page". (It comes up in a new window, so there is no previous page.)


    Good luck, I hope you win. Any luck getting some sort of public spotlight on this?

  23. #23
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ian557
    If they win in court they get my home for $1.00!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think this link will work. (PDF)

    The way the document reads, you don't only necessarily get 1.00. The "and other valuable consideration" phrase is common. You see this alot when people don't want public records to indicate the price paid. Our commerical clients almost always use this method for deeds and easements. Good luck trying to beat the giant.

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    http://recorder.maricopa.gov/recdocd...&lnk=1&Pages=9

    Ok the above link is what you want, I am not sure why the other one stopped working, but either way here you go.

    Now as far as the "other valuable considerations" are concerned APS Rep. Bob Bott disclosed that amount and said it was $0.00. That means if they win they get the property for $1.00 TOTAL! Not even enough money for a BIG MAC!

  25. #25
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    That link is for a document granting an easement, not the property itself.


    Quote Originally posted by ian557
    http://recorder.maricopa.gov/recdocd...&lnk=1&Pages=9

    Ok the above link is what you want, I am not sure why the other one stopped working, but either way here you go.

    Now as far as the "other valuable considerations" are concerned APS Rep. Bob Bott disclosed that amount and said it was $0.00. That means if they win they get the property for $1.00 TOTAL! Not even enough money for a BIG MAC!

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