David vs Goliath case: A young family is claiming they are the victims of the latest “abuse of power” scandal by El Dorado County — the Goliath trying to take away their property.
Bruce and Claudia Wade, a family with two young children, purchased a property by the river 14 years ago and lived there in harmony for 7 years. That changed when El Dorado County purchased adjoining property and allowed the American River Conservancy (ARC), who has been squatting on the property, to harass the Wades. At first everything seemed fine, the Wades were in talks with the County (department directors and Board of Supervisor members) about a land swap that would work out for both parties. The County also said that they would do something about the harassment by ARC. But then this solution was put on hold due to changes at County management and staff at the County and then was dropped altogether as problems mounted.
The County started demanding unrestricted access to the Wade’s property. This allowed strangers to walk around the property and scare their two young children. Fearing for their family’s safety they did what any parent would do to protect their children, they tried to restrict access – and that is when their nightmare got worse. The Wade family has documentation that they have been harassed by the ARC. The family has been unjustly accused of crimes and visitors to their home were turned away or force to pay at the ARC kiosk to enter the property. Profanities were commonly used to try to bully them – even in front of their young children. The County allowed ARC to install surveillance cameras that were aimed directly at their property, taking pictures of their young children, a clear invasion of privacy.
When the Wades tried to protect themselves from this bullying they found out the only way they could do that was to sue for harassment. The County struck back and counter-sued. In proceeding with this counter-suit, the County didn’t follow guidelines of disclosure necessary to spend public funds. The County is now throwing everything they can into this lawsuit to discredit the Wades and cover up their actions.
The Wades are struggling to juggle the cost of home ownership with their mounting legal costs, their pockets are not deep. In fact, when they first moved to the property they lived for 12 years in a mobile home, while they built their house piece by piece to make their dream of home ownership a reality.
Now the County is threatening to take all that away. Even though the previously agreed upon land swap with the County makes more sense long term, the County has spent over $150,000 to date and is trying to use Eminent Domain in order to take the land away. The County is using taxpayer money, which they allocated illegally, to wage this war to bankrupt the Wades. The Wades are wondering: “What can we do? We are just a small family trying to live peacefully in the home we worked hard to build with our own hands. It’s really sad to think our own tax dollars are being used against us and for no good reason. We have a solution, developed by previous County engineers and County directors; it doesn’t have to come to this.”
Ask yourselves, should this be the role of government?
The lawsuit (Case number: PC20120264) is scheduled to begin on November 9, 2015 at the Cameron Park Courthouse. The Wades are urging your help: spread the word, show up to court, and call your supervisor to tell them to stop this action.
This has happened to other families in the county, however the Wades are one of the few speaking up. The Wades are in the process of establishing a Government Anti-Bullying Campaign Fund to spread the word and provide financial aid for those who don’t have the resources to defend themselves against government tyranny. For further information, you can e-mail the Wades at StopGovernmentBullies@gmail.com