So, first of all it's not a tank. Good job Gawker.
Second of all,
He also said what while Hoeppner was never considered dangerous, he was known to be argumentative.
So would anyone who has to "drain" their 401k because the town didn't like that they had shit in their yard. I would be argumentative if I owed the town $500 for not having a perfectly kept yard, much less $500 per day since last April.
I'm not going to get into the fact that arguing with the police can get you shot just as quickly as being "considered dangerous" but just know that I'm thinking about it.
Third of all,
The city sued him in 2008 because of the state of his property, which sits off of a major highway and is packed with wood pallets and land equipment. They complained again in 2010, saying he had not complied with an order to clean up the property, at which point a judge intervened. The city did not approve of adjustment he made to his land and in 2011 a judge authorized the town to take away some of his items. A final judgement was issued in April 2013, with Hoeppner receiving a $500 fine every day he did not comply.
Basically Hoeppner got sued because the town thought his property was an eyesore. Fine, it probably was, but this seems excessive. Especially since the fine made it up to $80,000. That's a lot of dough that is now gone, leaving a 75 year old man without almost half of his retirement money (apparently his retirement fund was approximately $200,000). Fuck that. What the town should have done when they realized he wasn't following their orders (and I use this word intentionally) was have it all removed and send him the big fat bill, with administration fees and whatever else tacked on top. That would have gotten rid of the eyesore and made a strong point without forcing this man to work until he's 85.
It's interesting to note that this town, Stettin, Wisconsin, has a population of less than 3000. The fact that this town is rather tiny raises even more questions, like who cares if some old dude has an ugly lawn and why the fuck does the sheriff's department in a town of less than 3,000 people have what Gawker is referring to as a tank? Here's a picture of his property from the road. No, it's not pretty. But is it worth sending in a SWAT team? I'm leaning towards "probably not".
There have also been reports that he's suing the county for $4.5 million for the reason of
... seeking damages for pain, suffering, emotional distress, damage to reputation and economic loss.
Every aspect of this story is excessive and dumb. Not only that, but he's payed the debt without any property being seized. Does that mean the pallets are still there? Does that mean he's going to owe $500 per day until he actually cleans it up? Maybe they'll just shoot him next time and this won't be a problem (/sarcasm).
Finally, if you know someone is adding $500 onto a bill each and every day you don't clean up your lawn, why the hell wouldn't you just clean up your lawn? All parties in this story are acting like jackasses. Welcome to America!