Today was the day my (our) house was to be sold on the courthouse steps in Columbiana, Alabama. What happened?
Well, I had the day off and was on the scene for what appeared to be a well-orchestrated charade. Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Bubba Caudill conducted the sale, and Bill Swatek (my neighbor's slimy lawyer) made the only bid--of $2,700 something dollars. Probate records show there is no certificate of judgment, no judgment lien, no lien of any kind on our property. By law, no sheriff's sale can be done under such circumstances.
But the law means nothing in Shelby County anyway. Was the sale for real? Don't know right now. Under the law, it definitely isn't real. In George Bush's America, who knows what will happen? We might be evicted tonight, for all I know.
Based on my understanding of the law, they can't truly sell our house anyway--it is jointly owned by my wife, who was not a party to the lawsuit. They can only get a lien on a tiny portion of my share of the house. I will write more on this in a bit.
I called Bubba Caudill this morning and told him that, under the law, he could not move forward with the sale. Bubba didn't seem to care what the law says. In fact, he seemed rather proud to be ignorant of the law. He must fit in great at Columbiana.
I told Bubba that he probably had committed a federal crime--wire fraud. He didn't seem to care. Guess he's counting on John McCain winning in November. If McCain doesn't win, Bubba and a few others folks in Shelby County might wish they had handled this situation differently.
The most interesting thing is this: I showed up with a video camera and taped the whole thing. I asked Bill Swatek if I could interview him on camera and he suddenly decided he had a meeting inside the courthouse and scurried away like a cockroach.
I asked Bubba if I could interview him on camera, and he refused--fine public servant that he is. Guess he doesn't mind holding bogus sales of people's houses, but he doesn't want to answer questions about it.
I followed him around the corner of the courthouse, like Sam Donaldson going after Ronald Reagan.
If I can figure out how to put the video on a computer, Legal Schnauzer readers will see all the action, live and in color.
Film at 11!
Maybe you could put it on youtube and provide us with the link. All journalist should take particular interest. Raw Story, Bobby Kennedy, MSNBC, Scott Horton, Naomi Wolf, etc. need to be made aware of the your story and be provided with the footage. You are a brave man. I watched a special showing of "To Kill a Mockingbird" on Law Day and had a nice conversation with Mary Badham who portrayed Scout. She and I both lived in Birmingham during the early 60's and I went to high school with "Jem". I told Mary about your blog and she said she would be sure to read it. I need to see what you filmed. Even seeing it unfold with my own eyes on youtube probably won't be enough to make it sink in that this is actually happening in the United States. If you didn't catch Bill Moyers on Charlie Rose it's worth watching online. Moyers has a theory why this is all happening.. everyone has something to lose.. so that is more important.. Thomas Paine is a hero of Moyers. Maybe Roger Shuler is the modern day Thomas Paine.
I think you may have a legitimate complaint to the Alabama Bar against Bill Swatek (your neighbor's slimy lawyer) who made the only bid--of $2,700 something dollars. This has to be in violation of attorney ethics. Especially if it can be shown that he had anything to do with bypassing the legal steps required.
Good idea with the video.
I want to see who these people are and watch them in action.
What's with the $2,700?
For a house?
Thanks for the comments and questions. Yes, I intend to put the video on YouTube and on Legal Schnauzer. I've never done that before, so I'm wrestling a bit with the technical side of that. But I know the video turned out in pretty good shape. Was windy yesterday, and the sound is a little difficult to hear, but hope will be better when I actually get it on a computer. I will be addressing questions you raised on upcoming posts. Not only did Bill Swatek almost certainly violate bar rules, but state tax dollars were used (about 4-5 deputies suddenly showed up when they realized I was there with a video camera). These are Alabama taxpayer dollars being used to conduct fraudulent business. Anyone who pays taxes in Alabama, regardless of political persuasion, should be outraged. I supposed Swatek was "buying" it on behalf of his client, my neighbor. But my neighbor wasn't there, nothing was said about it being "bought" on his behalf, and I'm not sure my neighbor even has an attorney-client relationship with Swatek anymore. Much more to come.
Your blog and your courage are awesome and very inspiring. Keep it coming. Truth indeed does have a place in Alabama and in the United States of America.
Good luck with filing that complaint with the Alabama Bar about this matter.
You know, it wouldn't surprise me if the attorney is trying to collect on past due attorney's fees owed him by your neighbor.
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