March 1, 2005 ©Homer Kizer

Commentary — From the Margins

The Final Episode

as Far as the Township is Concerned

Yesterday afternoon, after business hours and as a major snowstorm was beginning, Norman Scott Edwards, accompanied by his grown son Joel, Bill Buckman, and Carl Krull descended upon white-haired Kathy Byrne, home alone, and threatened with tools in hand to turn her water off if she did not pay Edwards a questionable water bill. She contends that she paid the bill December 16th, and she had her checkbook there to dispute Edwards' claim that she was more than sixty days delinquent. But Edwards would not leave without either another check, or without turning her water off. He—there is no better word—extorted another check from her before heading to Philip Frankford's residence where he attempted to turn the water off with six young children at home. Frankford used his cell phone to call the sheriff's office. The deputy who took the call told Edwards to cease and desist. But undeterred, Edwards left Frankford's and next went to Ray Heins' building, which has not had water service for years (Edwards was billing Heins for water and sewer usage, and for obvious reasons, Heins wasn't paying). There, Edwards broke the shutoff valve, causing both himself and Heins needless grief as darkness and the storm hampered repair.

Edwards' authority to bill for water and sewer usage is concocted on purloined good will and a computer-generated letterhead. He claims his authority resides in his refiled Assignment of Land Contract and Purchasing Agreement, dated September 17, 2004, and identified herein as Liber 1073. He claims he, as the sole trustee (he has neither authority in law nor by contract to remove the other three signatory parties from the Purchasing Agreement) has signed a contract on October 19, 2004, with himself, dba Hillview Water & Sewer Coop, by which he can collected water and sewer usage fees from Hillcrest Condominium Association and from Pleasant View Condominium Association. I have attempted to locate a copy of that contract, if one actually exists, and have been unable to do so. Likewise, I have attempted to ascertain if Hillview Water & Sewer Coop operates in the manner of a normal business, with a Michigan business license for 2004, a taxpayer identification number, a sale tax number, and being bonded and insured. So far I have been unsuccessful in all areas. Hillview Water & Sewer Coop seems to be a fictional entity into which Edwards has incorporated Bill Buckman so that the moneys collected will become personal income to Buckman, thereby relieving Edwards' tax burden. Edwards is paying his workman, Carl Krull, under the table, without paying Social Security taxes, Unemployment, or Workmans' Comp. He pays Krull $300/month, for he needs Krull's water board certification. And Krull earns his money, for the work he performs is essential to Edwards' attempt to collect for water and sewer usage. By IRS definition, Krull is not an independent contractor.

But the central legal issue is whether Edwards has any standing in law as the sole trustee for the Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community, a Sacred Purpose Trust (PASCC). The central moral issue is why would Edwards attempt to turn white-haired Katherine Byrne's water off? Does a hundred dollars mean that much to Edwards? Are his donations—he does no work for a living—down so much that he has to coerce money from elderly women? Apparently they are. Actually, we know they are, for he went back into Dorm #3 during January's fire to save a handful of donations. Not photos or family memorabilia, but cash paper-clipped to envelopes. Maybe a hundred dollars in bills all together, according to witnesses.

The township of Port Austin has had enough. A person doesn't bully money from elderly women, home alone, without incurring the wrath of man and God. Apparently as far as the township is concerned, it is time for this whole lot of intruders that first arrived with Arthur Hawkins in 1999 to be gone. And with reluctance, the club that they have hesitated to wield will soon come fully into play…the entirety of the former Air Base is zoned B-2 General Business. To live within the zone requires a variance in the form of an occupancy permit. Apparently Hawkins and Eternal Life Bible Institute never bothered to inform the four trustees of the Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community (PASCC) that they would need to obtain a permit for everyone living on the property, including for each student.

The township, after yesterday's intimidation of Katherine Byrne will probably use the January fire in the uninsured Dorm #3 as justification to evict everyone not living in a building specifically constructed to be a single family residence from the former Air Base. Their authority to do so will come from the need for a zoning variance. And they will simply refuse variances until such time as the whole cast of intruders who have besmirched Port Austin are gone, and no longer retain any interests in buildings on the former Air Base.

I suspect that Marvin L. Goretski, in his official capacity as Supervisor of the Port Austin Township, will send notices to everyone living on the properties described in Liber 1073 that for safety reasons, enforcement of the B-2 General Business zoning provisions will begin. This enforcement will probably force the eviction of Edwards and his family, Anna DeLong, and Bill Buckman from the upstairs rooms of Windy Hill, the former medical facility for the Air Base. These upstairs rooms were never intended for permanent occupancy. Plus, this enforcement will probably also cause Terry Williams and his 86-year old mother, who live in the remodeled downstairs apartment, to vacate. And with the removal of occupants from Windy Hill, the township will finally be rid of the worst of Hawkins' legacy.

But to protect itself from a charge of bias, the township will, most likely, also require Philip Frankford and his family vacate (as far as residing in is concerned) the building known as Little Caesar's. Paul Drieman has tentative plans to do ministry work elsewhere, so he will not be adversely affected by an order to vacate the former Commissary, where my shop is located. (Paul and his wife have literally been camping in shop facilities since Edwards forced their removal from Dorm #1.)

So the end is in sight: a game plan exists. The township has to rid itself of those who would bully elderly women, a reoccurring situation. Glen Goslin as ELBI's first site manager also bullied this same elderly woman as well as a neighboring widow.

Edwards bravely threatens a white-haired woman, who is his neighbor. Suppose he will be so brave in his judgment? Apparently he doesn't fear God. But then, as he told Katherine Byrne, someone has to pay for the water.

Within the village of Port Austin are two churches, a large Catholic congregation and a Protestant Church for everyone else. The Sabbatarians who came to Port Austin to do a ministry will be remembered for how one of them collected water bills. The little bit of good that has been done won't be remembered. Rather, four grown men threatening white haired Katherine Byrne will be the story told about those who came to Port Austin to represent the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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