Where my house?
Our stock in trade as investigators are the bizarre and unusual. Thus, when a friend or family member has a problem that falls into the category of bizarre and unusual, we get the call.
As a property manager our sister is at the top of her game and specializes in difficult situations. We have seen her deal with fires, floods, and condemnations. And a Tongan barbeque!
The Tongan tenants dug a deep pit in their front yard, and roasted a goat and a pig. Neither the neighbors nor the police knew what to do, as apparently no law had been broken. Our sister rose to the occasion, came to the house, and suggested that in the future it would be better to do it in the back yard, and, at least for this day’s event, invite the neighbors and police for a bite to eat. The impromptu feast was a great solution. The Tongans loved every minute of the joy and company of their new neighbors in this strange new land.
But one problem really flummoxed her. She called us with a great deal of anxiety in her voice. “There is a home on some vacant land I manage. What do I do?” We picked up our sister, drove out to the piece of vacant land, and, lo and behold, someone had begun to trench for plumbing, built a small wall, and had a small house on a trailer looking like it was days away from being unloaded.
Late Friday is no time to find a judge, so this was time for self help, not time for the courts. We rented a bob tail, hooked up the house to the bob tail, and moved the house off the land and down the street. We checked the property daily for the next week, and nothing happened until Thursday evening, when the house was back on the land, with work on the property obviously continuing. We picked up the bob tail truck, and this time moved the house five miles away and dropped it on a side street. The police were notified. Not happy, but notified. We continued our daily checks of the property.
The next day Friday the police were at the property, along with a number of workers. The house was at the curb, no doubt having been retrieved that morning. We stopped in to see who was in charge and we met an irate and very puzzled Chinese gentleman. We introduced ourselves as the manager of the land and the ones who kept moving his house. The Chinese gentleman exploded into cursing in three languages, English, Spanish, and Cantonese, filling us with envy at his fluency. He then pulled out a map of the property and pointed to the police. “See, this my land!”
Our sister looked at the map, then looked at the surroundings, looked at the map again and said “See this? This is a street, and this street is over there.” Then she tuned the map 180 degrees to correctly orient the map, and pointed out to the gentlemen where his land was: Across the street from where he had been trying to build.
All was silent. He looked up at the house, down at the map, over across the street, then down at the map.
“Aw sit,” was muttered.
Our sister said, “We moved your house because we could not allow it to be connected. And that while we had tried to call whoever was developing the land, the city had no contact information. By the way did you pull permits and have city inspectors look at the construction?”
“Yes, these guys are inspectors” pointing to two red-faced men with city logos on their shirts.
In the end, the house was moved across the street, our sister and Mr. Shieh became fast friends and he retained her for future projects. Built on their proper lots.
And for the equally misguided city inspectors? They were never heard from again, and were not the inspectors used when the house was moved and connected across the street.