Annalyse and Joe Victor believed they’d found their perfect home in the Town of Eagle. Before they bought their nearly 10 acres of rural property, Joe, a truck driver, noticed that the previous owner had parked his large trucks on the land. Reasonably believing they could do the same, and, after speaking with the neighboring property owners, the Victors bought the property and Joe began parking his trucks there. That is, until the town cited the Victors for multiple violations related to their trucks.
The Victors made every effort to come into compliance as quickly as possible, but their efforts weren’t good enough for the town. The town filed a complaint to enforce the fines in court, where an $87,900 judgment was entered against the Victors without their knowledge since the town did not properly notify the couple of the hearing. The town’s attorney even went so far as to ask the judge to threaten Annalyse with up to six months in jail if the Victors failed to promptly pay every dollar. This judgment, which far exceeds the Victors’ ability to pay, now hangs over their head, preventing them from obtaining a mortgage so that they can move away from the town and make a fresh start.
First Amendment | Private Property
Small Wisconsin Town Weaponizes Code Enforcement to Enrich a Private Law Firm and Target Its Critics
The town of Eagle, WI works with a private law firm to punish residents who speak out against town officials by hitting them with excessive fines and fees through the code enforcement process. Victims of…