Elderly Man Evicted from His Land for Living off the Grid

By Rady Ananda

July 1, 2011 UPDATE: UK family living off the grid evicted from their own land

CLASS WAR FILES: On Nov. 30, the Madison County (Indiana) Planning Commission evicted a 72-year-old man from his 38 acres, reported  Wish TV. County Prosecutor Thomas Broderick says the Alexandria resident, Richard L. Thompson, broke all kinds of laws — no electricity, no septic system, no running water, and (lions and tigers and bears!) he lived in a camper on land he bought from his parents.

In what is clearly a land grab, since not much tax can be assessed on unimproved land, the authorities promised to come on November 30th, but did not show. However, that day Mr. Thompson agreed to sell his land and move. “I want to get the hell out of here now. There’s too much hate here.”

According to its website, the Madison County Planning Commission advises the Board of Commissioners on development regulations and implements those regulations which govern land use and building construction in the unincorporated areas in Madison County.

The Planning Commission also has the power to waive the public sewer and/or water requirement, which it refused to do in this case.  Instead, it filed suit against Thompson in July of this year in Superior Court 2.

Global Political Awareness posted this contact info:

If you would like to contact the Madison County officials to express your outrage please click here.

To contact Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels office, please click here.

Phone Contact:
Madison County Community “Justice” Center at  765-649-7341
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels  1-317-232-4567

People have been calling the various government offices and several plan to attend the Madison County Commissioner’s meeting next Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 10 AM in the Commissioners Courtroom in the Madison County Government Center, 16 E. 9th Street, Anderson, IN 46016.

One person who called the Planning Commission (765-641-9480) said that it issued the following statement, prepared by the county attorney:

“A zoning violation was filed against Mr Thompson by the planning dept after an investigation commenced. After two hearings in superior court, the court entered an order that Mr Thompson vacate the recreational vehicle as his permanent residence. Mr Thompson has the right to appeal through the courts. As of Nov 30 Mr Thompson said he was moving out of the RV. That doesn’t mean Mr Thompson can’t go back on the property to feed and water his horses. Also Mr Thompson can park his RV on the parcel; he just cannot reside there as his permanent residence.”

Prosecuting Attorney (765) 641-9585 Thomas Broderick Jr

Just over 130,000 people live in Madison County, which covers 453 square miles in central Indiana, per Wikipedia. Alexandria has 5,600 residents with an average household income of just over $40,000 a year, per City Data.

Madison County Board of Commissioners are elected in staggered terms, each serving a four-year term. The current seats are held by:

Jeffrey L. Hardin (D, 2009-2012). Hardin was arrested last year for allegedly beating up his daughter. In 2008, LaSalle Bank began mortgage foreclosure proceedings against him.

Paul F. Wilson (D, 1999-2010). Wilson lost his re-election bid to Republican Stephanie Owens in last month’s election. Owens will take office in January.

John M. Richwine (R, 2009-2012). Richwine also serves as a director of the Chamber of Commerce for Anderson and Madison Counties, and is a board member of Workone Central, covering eight counties.

The Planning Commission comprises nine members, five of whom are local residents appointed by the Board of Commissioners. The other four are drawn from local government: a County Council member, a County Commissioner, the County Surveyor and the County Extension Agent.

Current Planning Commissioners include Wesley Lickens, Paul Wilson, Phil Isom, Larry Crenshaw, John Simmermon, Mark Gary, John Orick and Patrick Manship.

Evictee Dick Thompson owns a bird, a dog, and a couple horses. “I’m a country boy,” he says.

40 responses to “Elderly Man Evicted from His Land for Living off the Grid

  1. what’s bizarre is their objection to his lack of a septic system. He’s got 38 acres, two horses and a dog — why is his shit worse than the animals on all that land?

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  3. I guess my long distance phone bill is going to go up, because they are going to hear from me allrighty. Stupid shits.

  4. I am so outraged on his behalf. Like codes matter on 36 acres of obviously agricultural land????? Likely Monsanto wants to plant Frankenfields there…

    • I looked into possible reasons for targeting him and the only plausible thing I could come up with — based on reading thru over 40 meeting minutes was that his land may be ideal for a wind farm. But I could find no specific discussion of that in his home town… only in his county. So, I didn’t speculate.

      I wish the blogosphere had gotten ahold of this info in July when the story first broke…. but it wasn’t until he gave up that we all first heard about it. Back in July, we could have mounted a huge internet campaign … like what’s being done now. Now is too late, tho.

      • You are so right………If we had know earlier. We have to post and re-post this story with a note…..”If we had know eariler” then perhaps it will help someone in the future.

  5. He should have moved, but kept the property. They cannot make him update or do anything to the property if there is no one living on it. Running water and electricity is not required if no one resides on the land. I would have held on to it just to stop them from getting it. I know that would be expensive, but sometimes you have to go the extra mile to show you will not be pushed over and around by big brother.

  6. He should simply start a church on it and they are powerless.. They cannot force a church to do anything.

  7. FIrst, I know of no law anywhere that requires electricity!!! What if her were Amish or Mennonite? Then, as for water, if he has recourse to potable water, or bottled water, what the hell is he violating…not paying into the County coffers for their flouridate water??? The sewage I get, but he doesn’t have a “permanent” structure on site, which is usually the dictum for all of these zoning things. So sad that he gave up – I’m with you Rady, if we had known early enough, we could have gotten the wagons in a circle.

  8. I have a feeling that if enough people stood behind Mr. Thompson, that he’d have a change of heart and would stand his ground. As of right now, I do not believe the Sheriff has served him with eviction papers, so Mr. Thompson is still living there. This isn’t over yet!

  9. Well, Don in Indiana! THis IS good news…how do we contact Mr. Thompson?

  10. I have just been on the phone to IN. The Madison County Comm. Justice Center told me that they get ALL of their info through COurt records, and they have NO idea about this case at all, after receiving 3 phone calls about this. I then called Gov, Daniels office, who eventually got me to the Planning Department, who told me the basic facts of the case, clearly from a pre-written script on her desk. She was nice, though. At any rate, she says that several neighbors complained; Thompson was given 5 months to comply which included removig all junk and debris from the property, and abandoning his trailer as his residence. I had a lengthy conversation with her in which I told her there were no laws that I knew of for a non-permanent structure that mandates electricity OR running water so long as there was potable water for the person’s health. She got a little tectchy the more I pressed her, but I finally got her to agree to pass on the message to the Commissioners that I was from out of state, and had GRAVE concerns that he was not being afforded his complete due process of law. When I said it sounds like a land-grab to me, she protested that it was the farthest thing from their minds. I left a message for theCommunity Liaison at the Governor’s office, whose name is Kristin King.

    This is just a report of what I have experienced, so I would humbly suggest that everyone who can, call the numbers listed above, and esp. if you are from out of state, make your concern for a Senior Citizen who owns his own land, etc. very clear, and press them to agree to file your comments. The Commissioners’ Meeting tomorrow may NOT have this issue on its agenda, so people who live out that way, call and demand it be added.

    So finally, is there a way to contact Mr. Thompson so he knows we are trying to support him, and that he is not alone?

    Roger wilco, Agent KMA FliptheBird99 over and out.

  11. yea, man…try calling. i know, it’s an investment which I can surely not afford but if it were me, I’d appreciate all the support I could get. This is agent KMATB99 signing off.

  12. Oops, correction from my previous post… I meant to say that the Sheriff has NOT been to Mr. Thompson’s property to serve papers. Sorry about that. The news says that the Sheriff can’t get close enough to the trailer to even talk to Mr. Thompson, but I don’t know how true that is. You know how the media is…

    Having seen the news videos online, I didn’t see a single neighbor in any of the shots. Now maybe I missed it, and maybe I didn’t, but that’s beside the point I think. The county is beginning to feel the heat. I have several people that I know making phone calls to the County and they have been calling all morning.

    Just for reference, I’m representing one of Indiana’s militia’s. I’ve have people ready to make camp on his property if necessary. I don’t want this situation to escalate to that degree, as I’m sure no one does. But there are enough non-militia type people in this state that are tired of seeing an over bearing, complacent, contemptible government telling us what to do with our own property. I find it disturbing that elected officials don’t understand that “Rights” can NOT be legislated away like this. Sorry, I’m ranting…

    I live about an hours drive away. I have people that are much closer. Other than driving up to Mr. Thompson’s front door, I know of no other way to contact him. Problem is, I don’t even have an address to drive to even if I wanted to.

  13. UPDATE 6:35 local time, 6 Dec:

    1. The source of these actions are coming from the County, and NOT the town of Alexandria. This was confirmed by the Mayor of Alexandria late this afternoon.

    2. Over the past several hours, I have learned that Brad Edwards with WISH TV Channel 8 out of Indy broke the story. I now have Brad’s cell phone number and will be calling him within the next 24-48 hours.

    3. I know now that Mr. Thompson has a cell phone, and I have his number! Mr. Thompson’s address is as follows…
    Richard Thompson
    1269 Highway 28
    Alexandria, IN 46001

    4. The word I’m hearing is that Mr. Thompson’s property was annexed into Alexandria, and it was done for typical Government “land grab” reasons, and NOT for the reasons specified. Once acquired. the property was going to be handed over (sold?) to a local developer and turned into something that pulls in more taxes. It’s believed that the developer is buddy-buddy with someone within the county. Go figure!

    5. If you all recall, there was US Supreme Court ruling a few of years ago that basically said that it’s ok for local governments to evict people and develop their property WITHOUT “compensation”, as long as it’s for the greater economic good of the community. Well, that case started right here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In Fort Wayne’s case it was flood water that kept flooding the houses, and people refused to move. I wonder how long it’ll be before Madison county tries playing that card? Might be tomorrow, December 7th!

    6. An email that I just received… “Sir, There is a commissioners meeting in the morning in Anderson, addressing this issue. Jeff Hardin is the comm. in control in this district, I THINK. The Atty’s name is Leann Kirkwood. I hope this helps, please let me know if their is anything I can do to help.”

    • “2. Over the past several hours, I have learned that Brad Edwards with WISH TV Channel 8 out of Indy broke the story. I now have Brad’s cell phone number and will be calling him within the next 24-48 hours.”

      For the record, I gave credit to the news program that broke the story, and included the video with Brad Edwards.

  14. I hope many people can attend… this is pretty horrific what they’re doing to that man.

  15. I told the Planning Department’s person (Liz) yesterday that it sounded like there were no legal grounds to remove this man from his property, and it seemed like “a good old fashioned land grab” at which point she stuttered, went ‘off’ her script and assured me (and I DO quote) “Oh well we certainly have NO intentions of anything of that nature!” (emphasis hers). Don, get your militia over there and protect Mr. Thompson!!!!

  16. Don, also please update us if you hear anything new today!

  17. One of my guys made a trip to Mr. Thompsons property this morning. The is a “For Sale By Owner” sign stuck in the front yard. My guy sat out front for 10 minutes honking his horn trying to get him to come out and talk to him. No luck. My guy didn’t want to walk onto his property. I suggested that a letter may be the next best thing. I’d like to line the road with about a hundred Gadsen “Don’t Tread On Me” flags. hehe

  18. What? Nothing since the first week of 12/10? What is the latest, as 1/11/11 ? Please respond, with “something”, or “nothing.” Thanks

  19. Since this story broke, I’ve been in contact with Brad Edwards, TV channel 8 out of Indy. He was the man who first broke this story. Mr. Thompson put up a for sale sign on his property some time between the first and second news cast. Here’s a link to the second…

    No one knows if Mr. Thompson has taken his for sale sign down, but it’s believed that he has. Reason being is that after the first news story, letters of support and even money started coming in. Much of this can be seen in the YouTube video.

    Brad informed me that the people originally responsible for pressuring Mr. Thompson have received so much negative attention that they’ve backed off, a lot! There’s still several local people monitoring the situation and if anything develops, it’ll get broadcast pretty quick.


  20. Now my only wish is that he stay put and that we get those assholes who want his land to STFU.

  21. What’s the latest? Any news about Mr. Thompson?

  22. Has anyone heard any more on this?

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  27. I’m on pins and needles about this fascinating saga. Are there developments? Would love to hear, far from Madison County Indiana.

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  29. I am very interested in hearing about the outcome of this story. I am from Massachusetts and my elderly husband (70 yrs) and a 37 year Veteran of US ARMY diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome, was denied installation of water to his garage to be used for Spa therapy as prescribed by his doctors to treat his Gulf War Syndrome condition and better his quality of life. The City of Lynn Zoning Board of Appeals would not allow a variance to install water for this personal use of his property. Wish we had people like you around here for support. We now have to file suit against the city which will cost more money which we don’t really have. This is America?

  30. Pingback: UK family living off the grid evicted from their own land | Sovereign Independent

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