The City of St. Louis allegedly engages in malicious and selective prosecution, civil conspiracy, abuse of process, and denied due process rights using the color of law to harass, coerce and inconvenience. The city appears to have a history of abusing judicial process to purposefully delay causing great expense and inconvenience to defendants and then filling nolle prosequi to avoid a negative ruling against the city.
Immediately after my publication of the red light camera material, the City of St. Louis began harassing me. I own three properties located in the City of St. Louis including the home where I currently live. Beginning in late May 2013 the city of St. Louis has used various city departments to unfairly and improperly target my properties including:
- Information and summons: (Property B) – Building and Municipal Divisions.The city filed an information on May 2, 2013, the same day it nolled my red light camera tickets, citing four alleged housing violations. My wife and I were never issued a notice or provided time to appeal or correct alleged violations as required by ordinance.
- High Grass and weeds notice: (Property A) – Forestry Division: I live across the street from Property A and the grass was cut at both properties usually on the same day. Excessive rain levels resulted in growth at higher than normal levels, but nothing to justify a citation or complaint.
- Dead animal remains removal notice: (Property A) – Division of Health: A Photo was attached showing dead animal remains, allegedly found at (Property A). The surrounding area shown in the photo did not resemble anything in the yard at this property. I found scattered skeletal remains that appeared to have been placed. St. Louis City's failure to remove any dead animal remains would have been a violation of ordinance 10.16.120, requiring city action within four hours.
- Grass and weed cutting bill for $108.00: (Property B) – Forestry Division: I had this lawn cut by a lawn service on May 9, 2013. The City of St. Louis alleges they cut the grass on May 30, 2013. I never received a notice for high grass or weeds at (Property B). As proof, I have email confirmation from LawnMowingOnline.com and payment receipts from Paypal.com which handled the payment for the lawn cutting transaction.
- The prosecutor requested and the municipal judge granted a $500 per count penalty ($2,000 total) the maximum allowed which appeared to be a punishment for defending against the City of St. Louis’ seemingly retaliatory actions.
- Fine for alleged property code violations: (Property A) – Department of Public Safety. On April 08, 2014, I received an administrative order assessing a fine of $150 for alleged property code violations from the City of St. Louis stating that
- Alleged failure to pay the assessment of fines within 30 days as required by ordinance 66857 resulted in doubling in cost and stating the city is authorized to attach a lien. I had not received any notice concerning Information and summons: (Property B) – Building and Municipal Divisions.The city filed an information on May 2, 2013, the same day it nolled my red light camera tickets, citing four alleged housing violations. My wife and I have never been issued a notice or provided time to appeal or correct alleged violations as required by ordinance. since June 2013 (the dead animal remains, high grass weeds). The letter is dated April 04, 2014 which was three days after I applied for trial de novo in the housing violation case.
The City of St. Louis appears to violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by engaging in unequal application of law.
Various developers in St. Louis have received many complaints from residents concerning properties owned by the developers. Many of those complaints are documented by local media and newspaper accounts.
- Those complaints include high vegetation growth, unsecured or missing doors and windows, and dangerous property conditions.
- Many of those properties are currently in much worse condition than Defendants’ properties.
- Many of those property conditions hare not been abated or subjected to legal action by the city.
- Some developers that violated ordinances have receive tax and other incentives; some provided by the City of St. Louis, instead of fines and even allowed to purchase large quantities of city-owned property.
Instead of providing tax credits and other incentives to wealthy, politically well connect large developers who do not deliver on their promises; maybe the City of St. Louis could spread those tax credits and other incentives to smaller developers and potential homeowners to rehab existing property and create new real development.
The City of St. Louis currently owns property in disrepair which is not being abated. It was recently reported that a city-owned property, which received a number of complaints, had partially collapsed causing damaged to another home.
I appeared in St. Louis Municipal Housing Court a total of six times concerning alleged housing violations, and have witnessed events in the St. Louis Municipal Housing Court which would lead any reasonable person to believe that the court is not fair or impartial. During each appearance, the court’s behavior was excessively rude; many Defendants were bullied and intimidated and denied the opportunity to speak and be heard in open court. The overwhelming majority of defendants were black and the court gave the appearance of being racially biased. Below are a few observations from my six appearances in the Municipal Housing Court:
- White Defendants were usually spoken to softly and politely and minority Defendants were often spoken to in a condescending manner, yelled at and humiliated.
- The fines of white Defendants were generally lower than minority defendants. The only defendants observed receiving the maximum $500 per count were minority. I did not observe any white defendant receive a fine over $100 per count.
- On September 18, 2013, a black woman who could not afford to pay her fine was chastised and humiliated so badly she broke down in tears.
- My 85-year-old father, a black disabled veteran of the Korean War, who was on the December 19, 2013, housing docket had to endure the embarrassing statement, “I guess we’ll have to wait all day”, as he approached the podium using his two canes.
- The judge asked a group of black women, all relatives who were listed together as owners of a particular property if they had read the information. One of the owners stated she had not and was instantly yelled at and asked why. The lady replied that she had never received a summons or information and that another relative phoned to inform her about the court date. The judge instructed the group, in a condescending tone, to step to the side to allow the defendant to read the information. Moments later, the judge noticed the group off to the side and abruptly chastised the group and asked why they were standing there. The group was clearly surprised by the judge’s reaction and reminded the judge that they were instructed to do so.
- I made several Missouri Sunshine Law requests, to access court records to verify whether the discrimination I had witnessed in St. Louis Municipal Housing Court was as widespread as I suspected. The replies I received stated; (1) These records are not subject to the provisions of Chapter 610. (2) No such records exist. (3) This is not a proper request pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 610. To date, I have not been granted access to the court records or any other information I requested.