Back in 2007, at the time I ran for the five year term on the Planning Board, an individual contacted me and informed me that selectman Earl Johnson illegally conveyed a town owned 12.41 acre landlocked parcel of land to his mother in law. With the help of engineers which fabricated a right of way and the help of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and the Planning Board of Holland (PBH) the Johnson familie illegally subdivided the parcel and turned the parcel with little value into three valuable building lots. This individual encouraged me to run for the five year term and said that it would be time that someone with integrity would stop the corruption. This individual provided me with the information that formed the basis for my research which result was a “press release” that I mailed to major newspapers in the area. The claims I made in the press release were so implausible that no newspaper was willing to touch the issue just days before the election back in 2007. I lost the election, Christine McCooe won, and only a few people ever learned about Earl Johnson ‘s illegal self-serving scheme that he set in motion more than 28 years ago. To read the press release about the Johnson land-gate case and view supporting documents, click here!
In 1998, I started building a garage or accessory building that you can see from the lake. As I was busy fighting the corrupt town officials, I had not the time to finish the building. For six years, 2002-2008, the PBH denied me my right to divide the parcel of land that forms the peninsula that jets into Hamilton reservoir off of Maybrook road. Once I had filed the appellant’s brief in the Appeals Court of the Commonwealth and also a separate appellant’s brief in my separate appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, I drew the plans for the superstructure that I was going to build on top of the foundation that I started 10 years ago. Our building inspector Jack Keough was reluctant to amend my building permit for no obvious reasons. He eventually admitted that Earl Johnson would pressure him not to issue the building permit. The position of the building inspector is an appointed position.
While Earl Johnson and the rest of the PBH denied me my “entitlement to an ANR endorsement” (opinion of the Appeals Court,) and I was fighting for my rights, Earl Johnson with the help of the rest of the PBH illegally divided the property he had illegally obtained back in 1980, and created three building lots one for each of his three sons, Carl, Eric, and Brian Johnson.
I don ‘t know what the reader would have done; I decided to inform the residents of Holland what kind of “leader” Earl Johnson is. The best way to do that in my opinion was to file a lawsuit that would expose his and his cronies ‘ illegal conduct.
First I had to exhaust administrative remedies pursuant to the zoning act, M.G.L. c.40A, s.15, by filing requests to enforce the zoning bylaws and the laws of the Commonwealth. I filed two separate requests for each of the illegally built homes for Earl Johnson ‘s son Carl and Eric. Brian Johnson is the owner of the third illegal building lot that is still undeveloped. Click here to read the request for Carl Johnson ‘s house, click here to read the request for Eric ‘s house.
Then I had to appeal Jack Keough ‘s denial within 30 days to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), click on the names to read my appeal for Carl ‘s house, and Eric ‘s house; see also M.G.L., c.40A, s.15.
The ZBA was mandated to hold a public hearing within 65 days. Instead the ZBA mailed me a letter. I responded to the letter with my letter. The ZBA than had to file a written answer within 100 days and also file its answer with the town clerk. The ZBA failed to do that as well.
The public hearing the ZBA was mandated to hold would have been the appropriate time to question whether I have standing to bring this request to enforce the zoning bylaws and zoning laws of the Commonwealth. However, the ZBA mailed me another letter. The ZBA actually endorsed my check and did not send it back as stated in their letter. The town mailed me one of their checks 10 days later.
Chapter 40A, section 15 deems an appeal constructively granted in case the ZBA fails to act.
Kristin Laplante then had to issue a certificate to the effect that my appeal to the ZBA became constructively granted due to the ZBA ‘s failure to take action. She refused to do so following the advice of town counsel Vincent McCaughey. She instead asked me to file a written request which I refused to do in a letter.
I than had to inform in writing all interested parties of the constructive grant of my appeal and inform them that they can appeal the constructive grant if they are aggrieved by the constructive grant, M.G.L., C.40A, s.15. I did so with a certified letter.
Not one member of the selectboard, nor a member of the ZBA, nor a member of the PBH, nor any of Johnson ‘s sons, nor any of the selectboard members, nor any of the abutters appealed the constructive grant within the 20 day period.
By this time, the constructive grant of my request to demolish the two illegally built homes was a legal fact and this according to the law that is known as the zoning act, c.40A, s.1, in more specific terms, according to section 15 of the zoning act.
It was time now to file a petition for an order in mandamus with the Superior Court to seek a court order which would declare my appeal to the ZBA as constructively granted, declare the two homes illegal, and which would request the moving, dismantling, or demolishing of the two illegal dwellings. click here to read the complaint.
As expected, the sixteen defendants through their three attorneys filed a motion to dismiss, supported by a memorandum. I filed my opposition. These documents are interesting to read as they show clearly that the defendants ‘ lawyers misconceived the legal situation they found themselves in.
Judge Velis dismissed the case as I expected him to do. Click here to see the clerks notice. We, the town and I, found ourselves in the same situation as we were before in the case Peter Frei v. Planning Board of Holland, Town of Holland. This is the case that was adjudicated in my favor on Appeal, the second case the town lost despite the fact that the town wasted tens of thousands of dollars attempting to deny me my rights out of spite.
Once again the town has blundered themselves into a situation were they will lose on appeal as the statute is unambiguous. Once again the town will waste tax payers money, this time in an attempt to cover-up their self-serving acts. While normal people work hard to earn the money to buy a parcel of land to build a house, Earl Johnson helped himself and his family by conveying a parcel of town-owned property over to his mother in law instead of putting the parcel up for public auction.
The issue the Court of Appeals will have to decide is a very narrow one; the issue is whether I filed all the papers correctly. If I did do so, my appeal to the ZBA became constructively granted. The constructive grant pursuant to C.40A, s.15. is not pegged to any conditions other than procedural requirements. The constructive grant is not pegged to the condition whether I have standing or not. The language used by the legislator is unambiguous and mandates a constructive grant, see C.40A, s.15. Judge Velis argued in his decision that I would not have standing to bring this action before the court. In my opinion he is wrong for the reason I outlined above. Judge Bertha Josephson erred the same way in my case against the PBH; she did not apply the statute as the legislator wrote it too.
It is also important to notice that judge Velis ‘s decision does not deny that the two dwellings built by the Johnson ‘s are illegal.
There is no case law that even comes close to this case. Never before had a selectman so much help from different boards. The illegal permits were issued based on unanimous votes. Unanimous votes by the ZBA, and the PBH. The only official that did the right thing was Jack Keough. He denied the initial request by Eric Johnson for a building permit.
Everybody that will take the time to study this case will realize what kind of a man Earl Johnson really is.
The next step will be my notice of appeal as soon as a judgment is in place. I expect to have justice served and Earl Johnson and his corrupt cronies exposed.
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Comments:Posted on 16 Feb 2009, 10:30 by Clem
Welcome to Johnsonville
The reason these people get away with such self serving transparent corruption is because they all have their hands in the cookie jar. The Talbot’s take the cream for their families and friends, Lynn Arnold of the planning board has her house rebuilt in exchange for favorable waivers to New England Land and Lumber and also Escape Estates.
It is ridiculous for a Judge to dismiss this case for lack of standing. The Judge should have appointed a special prosecutor to look into the abuse here in Holland.
They all allow each other to be corrupt and the only way to fix it is to stand tall and adhere to the US Constitution in the manner it was written.
Corrupt politicians are enemies of our country. Lethargic public is the reason they continue to rob us blind and fill the air with lies.
Check out the “committees of safety.org,” here is the link:
Be an American and cleanse our public offices of the cancer that inhabits the town hall.
Posted on 19 Jun 2009, 7:41 by Watching & Listening
I Wonder why Peter Frei has not posted the appellate brief he filed in this matter. It is a poetic work of art that the 3 Lawyers hired by the 14 Defendants can not answer with a legitimate dispute. They have asked the Appeals Court for more time to answer.
Who pays all these lawyers ?(3 heavy hitters).
Brian, Eric, and Carl Johnson and their relatives they sold one of the illegal houses to are also defendants. They are not being sued in any official capacity but as private citizens. Who pays their legal fee's associated with this fiasco. Holland????? How many officials corrupted themselves to help the Johnsons violate state law?
How much has Earl Johnson and family cost our town with this selfish corrupt act known as Johnson Landgate. By the time it is done I bet it reaches the 6 figure mark for legal services paid by Holland for Earl Johnsons fraudulant conveyance of this town asset to his family, and Illegal construction.
Way to go Peety.