Homewood High School
We've established that Mike McGarity, the troublesome neighbor who launched our legal travails, has a criminal record. We've provided a summary of McGarity's criminal history, courtesy of documents from various courts in the Birmingham area. And we've provided insight into the dysfunctional family environment that produced McGarity.
For good measure, we've noted the irony of McGarity being a long-time employee at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, a company that serves as a Medicare contractor and is supposed to follow stringent federal guidelines for employee screening. Koko Mackin, a spokeswoman for BC/BS of Alabama, has been quoted about the company's commitment to ensuring the integrity of member health information by, presumably, weeding out questionable characters among its staff. One can only wonder how a guy with McGarity's criminal record slipped through the cracks.
Let's take a closer look at a couple of incidents from McGarity's past, one involving a sex-related offense and one involving a violence-related offense. These are classified as misdemeanors, but they show that McGarity's law-breaking tendencies are deep-seated and ugly; they go beyond the kind of offenses for which one might receive a citation or pay a small fine. These offenses show a disrespect for other people, and they go a long way toward explaining why Mrs. Schnauzer and I found it impossible to deal with McGarity, almost from the moment he moved in next door to us in December 1998.
Our experiences, we hope, will serve as a cautionary tale for others. In the almost 10 years we had owned our house before McGarity moved in, we'd never had a significant problem with a neighbor. But our peaceful existence was showing signs of changing radically within hours of his arrival.
Here's a Schnauzer suggestion: If you ever encounter a neighbor who seems extraordinarily difficult, unreasonable, and belligerent, check your local courthouses and law-enforcement agencies. You are likely to find the individual has a criminal record, and it might help you deal with the situation. At the very least, it will let you know that the problem isn't just in your head.
What was the most troubling information we uncovered about Mike McGarity? First, we will look at a sex-related offense. The second truly disturbing incident also involved sex, in a roundabout way, but it was more about violence. We will look at that one in an upcoming post.
Court records show that on November 11, 1977, a vice unit from the Birmingham Police Department arrested McGarity, then 18, for soliciting prostitution. He also was charged with a narcotics offense on the same episode.
An incident report indicates McGarity got nabbed as part of an undercover prostitution sting. (See full report at the end of this post.) The report states:
Def. arrested after he gave a B'ham Police Dept. employee a marijuana cigarette.
The PD employee apparently was posing as a prostitute. The drug charge wound up being nol prossed (not prosecuted).
As for the prostitution charge, records from Birmingham Municipal Court show that McGarity was convicted of an offense called indecent proposal. Here is how the incident report describes the offense. (Language alert: Some readers might find the following passage offensive.)
Def. arrested after he approached a B'ham Police Dept. employee and asked her several times how much it would cost and that he wanted to fuck. Def. gave the Police Dept. employee a marijuana cigarette when she got into the car.
Having seen McGarity in action for about 12 years now, a couple of items in the police report jump out at me:
* The narrative doesn't say a lot, but it appears that the female decoy was doing her best to let McGarity go. Perhaps the operation was trying to nab older guys, those who likely had been violating the solicitation law for some time. But McGarity was persistent, and the report says he asked the decoy several times "how much it would cost." If the price she quoted was beyond his means, you would think a normal guy would just go on and leave her alone. But I've seen numerous signs that McGarity enjoys bullying people. And it appears he just would not leave the decoy alone.
* McGarity's use of harsh, foul language, and his general rudeness, got him in trouble. I'm guessing that McGarity easily could have avoided this arrest, but he made it clear that he "wanted to fuck." That kind of stupidity and ugliness sounds an awful lot like the Mike McGarity I know.
* McGarity exhibits a disrespect toward women, something Mrs. Schnauzer picked up on early in our dealings with him. In fact, when I was defending myself against our "neighbor's" bogus lawsuit, McGarity's thuggish attorney, William E. Swatek, spent much of the trial trying to bash my wife on the stand. Mrs. S. was not even a party to the case, but they spent far more time attacking her than they did going after me. (I'm proud to say that Mrs. S. handled the assault well, and I suspect the strategy wound up backfiring on Swatek and McGarity.)
As for the second disturbing offense, it shows that McGarity has a history of disrespect not only to women but toward anyone he perceives as perhaps different from him. It also shows that he either is hiding something--or he has a tendency to go out of his way to find trouble.
(To be continued)
Mike McGarity Prostitution