Angela Mary (Groome) Stonebraker and her family were thrown out of their home onto the dirt by the Boston Red Sox and the City of Fort Myers, Florida.
The government likes to call it “eminent domain.”
It’s a corrupt practice that the Red Sox and the City of Fort Myers have used to devastate families. Angela Stonebraker is one of the 800+ people who will be filmed as part of the movie, Lawless America….
This is Angela Mary (Groome) Stonebraker’s story:
Please read my story…”Eminent Domain….In The Face of Bullying” and how they took our home for a spring training stadium for the Boston Red Sox and how the court with a 24 hour court order to get out, put me, my husband and two young school age children out into the street without another home to relocate to…by the same judge who “took” our home to begin with in the Order of Taking. We were severely abused through the whole process, with abuse, intimidation, harassment, threats, lies, coercion, bullying…and even terrorism.
Eminent Domain……In The Face Of Bullying:
There are two kinds of abuse in eminent domain abuse. One is the abuse of the misuse of the law, where the law does not apply to take your property. This type of abuse IS addressed in the courts.
The OTHER type of abuse is HOW they take your property USING abuse of power, tyranny, threats, intimidation, where they abuse you with bullying, strong-arm tactics…….This has NEVER been addressed in the courts and so therefore it has been allowed to continue as though, it sits above the law and it runs rampant, because no one is stopping it. It is a “hidden part” of eminent domain abuse. It is a very serious issue, if not more serious than the taking of the land itself. Our Forefathers warned us that government would use tyranny. Lawlessness!
My name is Angela Stonebraker, and I wanted to let you know about “My Little House on Edison Avenue” the well-told story that was reported to Washington DC, Civil Rights, to the attorney general, Janet Reno, Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, Institute of Justice, Goldwater Institute, multitudes of attorneys, multitudes of protection agencies, the State Attorney, Senator Dudley, Senator Foley, Congressman Porter Goss…and the list goes on and on….. a severe eminent domain abuse process I went through in 1992, long before Susette Kelo went through it. A well-told story that made headline news in four national major papers and multitudes of small town papers.
In my case, 110 homes were taken in Fort Myers, Florida, to enable the city to put in a winter practice ball stadium for the Boston Red Sox. We were “severely” abused in this process. We had no protection under the law. We were railroaded, threatened, intimidated, coerced, bullied. No where in the law or ANY law does it exercise the “right” to use this type of behavior, tyranny.
Everything I speak about here is recorded either in newspapers, video, pictures, or court documented. I did not get Due Process.
There is much more to this story, than I will be able to put down here, as this is very lengthy and I pray that you will read this, that you will hear me. You see, Susette Kelo, had protection, she had the protection of the Institute of Justice, a powerful organization who seems to be a very selective organization, only taking high profile cases. There are hundreds of “me”, if not thousands, whose cases fell by the wayside, who had no protection. These are the REAL victims.
In 1992, I received a letter from the city that they were sending a city appraiser to my home to inspect it with a date of his arrival. They sent a man by the name of Mr. Geraci and he introduced himself to me and my husband as a city appraiser. He measured my home, room to room and after he was done, he came up to me to tell me we had a beautiful home, which we did, as it was listed by the city as in excellent condition, an old army barrack from World War 2 that we completely refurbished inside and out, using $22,000 dollars to do so, inheritance money, my mother left to me, upon her death, part of the hard earned money my father left to her when he passed away and which she saved so frugally for her children for 30 years.
I told Mr. Geraci, that I heard that the city was offering $7 a square foot for the homes downtown. Mr. Geraci came up closer to me, pointing his finger in my face, calling me honey and telling me in a very harsh voice, the dirt under my house was only worth $1.57 cents a square foot and if we did NOT cooperate with them, we would be put out of our home in ninety days with a check slapped on top of our belongings and IF necessary, we would be put out on a stretcher. I stood there in total disbelief hearing him talk to me like this. I told him he had no right to talk like this in front of my two young children, Joby and Sara, who were ten and seven years old at the time. I asked him to remove himself from my home and property. He went to the door chuckling and turned around and said “I have one more thing to tell you before I leave…..this block was not in the original plans of the taking. Our original plans were in the block west of the stadium, when a lawyer in that block told us he would fight us to hell and back before we took his property and he would tie us up in court for twenty years. So we came over to this block instead as there are no lawyers in this block to stop us” Out the door he went, laughing. He entered a value of my home into the city books, as $40,000
It wasn’t too long after this, a city worker came by our home, Jim Stanfield, to tell us that this Mr. Geraci was NOT a city appraiser, but was a big business owner downtown, Geraci Travel Agency, and that we should go to a council meeting and address this to the Mayor. I did. I got up and I asked the Mayor, Wilbur Smith, what right did this Mr. Geraci have to come into my home, posing himself as a city appraiser, measure my home and then giving the city books a value of my home? The Mayor quickly looked down at some papers on the table in front of him and was silent for a long minute when he looked up at me and said “I don’t know, why don’t we ask him”? He called out for Mr. Geraci to stand up and asked him “Are you a city appraiser”? Mr. Geraci said “No, I am not” Then the Mayor said to me “Anyone has a right to an opinion of value.”
This was the beginning of the railroading, lies, deceit, threats,breaking the law, the bullying
The Order of Taking
The next thing that happened was the Order of Taking. We all got a notice to appear for this Order of Taking. Judge Wallace Pack presided over this. All the homeowners were present for this. None of us knew what this was all about. We had no clue. Most of us didn’t even know what eminent domain was except a few of us who thought it was used for roads, schools, hospitals and things like this. We had never heard of a baseball team using eminent domain for a stadium.
The lawyers didn’t even explain to us what it was all about except that we HAD to be there. The judge read an amount $$ that was being offered by the city, to each homeowner. After he was done, he banged the gavel down real loud and SHOUTED real loud…..TAKEN! We just looked at each other in confusion. What just happened????? Everyone was getting out of order, asking their attorneys …what just happened??? The attorneys began to tell us this: “As we are speaking to you, your land titles are being transferred over into city records and you no longer own your home”. At this point, we had not received one penny. Everyone went into an uproar…and then the police came in and made everyone leave the courtroom and go home.
Arbitration Detention (where they held me against my will and abused me)
I was made to go to a mediation with the city. I did not want to go. I was the lone holdout. By this time of the process I was sick from what we had endured in the two years. My husband was sick, my children were sick. Homeowners left overnight, abandoning their homes. Many of them were elderly and ended up in nursing homes. Many were of poor speaking English or could not understand English very well. We found out from many of them, that they were being threatened, “twenty thousand or twenty days to get out”. I was horrified. I told them NO…they had the right to an attorney, but they left anyway, they were scared. The homes around us stayed empty for months and months. The vagrants and winos moved into these buildings without any running water and electric. Windows were smashed, doors were removed, and electrical wiring was torn out of the walls for resale.
While they were moving in, the rats, dumpster rats were moving into our home from all the trees being torn down, and buildings. The rats started running…and nested inside of my walls, by the dozens. I called the city to complain about this, I could hear the men on a speaker phone, in the background laughing. I told them that if one of my children were to be bitten by a rat, there would be such a law suit ….to the point of where there would be no town. The next day, an exterminator came out with glue traps. Fifty of them. Horrendous when you see rats try to pull themselves out of the glue, pulling themselves right out of their own fur. My children were petrified and slept with us for 8 months in a double bed with me and my husband. They refused to go into their rooms for anything.
For 8 months I complained about the rats…all documented in the news and for 8 months they did nothing about this. For 8 months I complained about the vagrants moving into these empty buildings, going to the bathroom on the floors and how unsafe it was for my children to go outside to play for 8 months. I reported this to Internal Affairs….and nothing was done until I threatened a lawsuit about the unsafe environment they put my children into with broken glass everywhere, vagrants, rats, when they started to tear down these buildings around me. They all wore protection suits against asbestos, with hoods covering their face, goggles for the hands…hands were covered, body was covered. We were given no warning for flying asbestos.
This mediation was held at a big round table in the court house. There were eleven city people, including the city appraiser, the mediator, my female attorney (attorney number 2), Elizabeth Woodford, and myself. The mediator started out by introducing himself to me, stating that he came from another town, Sarasota, two hours away from Fort Myers and that he was “old college buddies” with the city appraiser, who was also sitting down at the table with us. This mediation went on from 8am in the morning to 8pm in the evening.
The discussion was all between them and my attorney. They finally came to a fairly reasonable agreement, to move my historic home to another piece of property and to give me $80,000 for my property. I was tired, disgusted and just wanted it to all end. Prior to this, the city gave me a list of five VERY run down homes to choose from (remember my home was listed as in excellent condition…it was a three bedroom, two bath home, with a screened in front porch and a screened in back porch with a sunken brand new jacuzzi) The landscape was also listed as in excellent condition to which the city dug up most of the “tropical” plants I had and planted them in the Thomas Edison Estate. I “refused” to pick out one of these houses out. This made them angry. I was not “cooperating” with them.
They moved me to a smaller room to sign the papers. It was just me, my attorney and the mediator. They handed me a very sloppy, hand scrawled contract on two pages. When I got done reading it, I was appalled as it was a “gag order” stipulating in part that I would not be allowed to discuss the agreement or eminent domain to the public. I got up and told my attorney and the mediator that I refused to sign the agreement and that I was see them in court. I told them I was leaving. I was feeling very sick, to my stomach. As I approached the door, the mediator, Mr.Solomon, a BIG burly man, threw himself against the door, screaming at me in an unGodly loud voice, telling me to SIT down and listen to my counsel.
All of a sudden I became very frightened. I sat down and looked at her. She was shaking her head back and forth, and pathetically said to me “I am very sorry Angela, but this is the way it has to be, you have to sign those papers.” I looked over at the mediator who was very agitated, running his fingers through his hair, cussing under his breath, punching his fist together and telling me to “sign the damn papers.” I looked at my attorney and I yelled at her “NO…you ARE a mother of children, WHY are you doing this”? Again, she told me she was very sorry but this is the way it has to be. I got up and said “NOT with me, it’s not.” Again, I went to leave, when again, the mediator threw himself against the door to keep me from leaving, when this time he shoved me back on the upper part of my chest, hard, to push me back away from the door and told me I wasn’t going anywhere.
In those next few seconds, minutes, I don’t remember much, but I found myself pushing this mediator out of my way and got the door opened enough to get my body out of the door. I ran to the escalator with the unsigned “gag order” in my hand. My attorney was right behind me, chasing me down to the first floor, begging me to sign the papers. I turned around and screamed at her, that it wasn’t enough that they TOOK my children’s home, or that they gave me a list of five very run down homes to choose from, and now this……stripping me of my freedom to speak with a gag order!!!!!!! A form of bribery! I told her to get away from me.
I went into the police station to call my husband to pick me up. I went home and picked up the phone and fired her!
In the next few days, I told a neighbor what happened. She was horrified. She helped me write a complaint against this mediator and went with me to turn it into the “head of mediation,” Mr. Waditich, in the same courthouse where they violated my rights and where they abused me. After reading my complaint of what happened to me, they way they abused me, he laughed right in my face and told me this “Mediators are immune to punishment, they cannot be touched and that they “sat above the law.”
I was very outspoken about this. I blew the whistle on this town, by revealing to the news what was done to me and my family.
This was a few days before Thanksgiving. I decided to paint a big sign on my very long wood privacy fence on both sides of my home “On This Day of Thanksgiving, Be Thankful That Your Home Was Not Taken By The City Beast.” I had to let the people of this town know, what the city was doing. The truth.
The next day, Thanksgiving Eve, I was washing dishes in my kitchen which now faced the newly-built stadium (they wanted my property for parking). I looked out over the vast empty land which once housed a whole neighborhood. I saw way on the other side, near the stadium, huge tractor trailer trucks that once housed all of the electrical equipment to build the stadium and then I saw three men in the field, with white dress shirts, hard hats, approaching a white city utility truck come speeding into the field. The men were talking to the driver, who I could not see. Then the truck sped out of the field, the three men were waving to the trucks. I quickly called my husband to come to the window and look to see what they were doing. He looked at me and said….”Oh my God….they are coming here to block us in with the trucks.” I looked at him horrified and told him, “They don’t DO things like this in America,” and he went on to say “Well, it looks like they are here.” I told him that I had enough of their abuse, bullying, and I went out to meet the three men coming up the sidewalk with these huge semi tractor trailer trucks behind them. I went up to these men and asked them their names. They never looked at me as they kept pushing past me with the trucks following behind them. I asked them if this was “worth” their paychecks to do this to an American family and what about the future of their children and grandchildren…is this what they wanted for them???? Again, they never answered me, as they just kept looking down to the ground, all three of them. They would not look at me.
Then all of a sudden my ten year old son, Joby, came running out of the house, screaming and crying and pleading with these men not to hurt me. I remembered the abuse I went through a few days before in the mediation and I became very afraid. I quickly took my son into the house. The men left the trucks around our home and left. These trucks stayed for six months… blocking our view out of our windows, during Thanksgiving and Christmas and were removed right before the opening game of the new stadium in March. My son, Joby, started complaining of stomach aches about one month after they placed the trucks. I took him to a doctor and the doctor told me he had developed irritable bowel syndrome….where the nerves in the lining of the bowels were affected. I told the doctor about the trucks….as he was writing and he turned around and told me….”that will do it.” I have this medical document. My son was so ill with this that he had to drop out of school because he could not get off the toilet in the morning in time to make the bus and would have accidents in school.
What American, let alone a ten year old child, would NOT have become sick with this kind of government abuse? Even in having their home “taken” away from them, especially for private gain.
I asked the Mayor to remove the trucks as this was not a good “example” to show my children government retaliation. He refused to do this. He made a comment to the town newspaper that “Mrs. Stonebraker’s fight added flavor to his stadium experience.” I asked him “What flavor were me and my children supposed to be…Red? White? or Blue? He looked down to the ground with no answer.
One of the men, who brought the trucks up to the house, was Mike McTee, building supervisor for the Boston Red Sox. He told the town newspaper, “Yeah, me and my men brought those trucks up to her house, as we did not agree with what she was telling the public.” BUT…..what they DID agree to was to abuse me and my children through this whole process as though we were the dirt beneath their shoes.
My eminent domain trial was a kangaroo trial, which all of my evidence was withheld and none of my eleven witnesses showed up for trial of which four of these were the Mayor, two council members and my appraiser!!!!!
For Criminals Only
Being hearing impaired since I was a child, and all documented on medical records from John Hopkins Hospital, I requested “closed caption feature” so that I could read along on a monitor and understand what is being said. I can hear with a hearing aid, but not in a court room where the judge sits a mile away and the room echoes and everyone is talking at the same time. The Court Administrator, Mr. Hallam, who was also the ADA coordinator (Americans With Disabilities) for that county ( who never disclosed to me he was the ADA coordinator and who signed ALL of his papers as the Court Administrator ONLY and never signed it also as the ADA coordinator), never gave me that “right”) know that he represented the ADA, he withheld this information on purpose and told me in “writing” that I could not have this service in court because it was used for CRIMINALS ONLY. According to the Federal ADA Law manual at that time, in 1993, it stated “Upon request for open caption, closed caption, relay phone, head set, interpreter or whatever the means for “effective communication” it is mandatory under the law to furnish this. They denied me this. The ADA denied me this….the ADA BROKE their own law!!!!!!!!!!
An investigation was done on this Court Administrator and in this investigation it states: Had Mrs. Stonebraker been “requested” the accommodation, the outcome of her trial would NOT have been any different. WHAT????? The ADA CLOSED their eyes to this. What about them having to “obey the FEDERAL ADA law????? They ALL broke the law!!!!!! Not only did they abuse us by bullying, terrorism, kidnapping me, but they BROKE the law!!!!!!
On March 31, 1993, we were court ordered out of our home, into the street by the same judge, Judge Wallace Pack, who TOOK my home in the Order of Taking, who also presided over my kangaroo trial. We were given 24 hours to vacate. We had no home to go to. My neighbors across the street took us into their home and here the four of us, me, my husband and two school age children lived in one room, that was our bedroom, our living room, our whole world… and waited five months for our kangaroo eminent domain trial. It was all a LIE…just like the court reporter typed into my court transcripts…IT’S ALL A LIE.
As we packed our UHaul, my five children stopped me from packing to listen to the 7,000 fans in the newly-built stadium, in the first game of the year, stand up to say the pledge of allegiance to the flag, “for liberty and justice for all.” Little did these fans know that right across the street from this stadium an American family was being “thrown” out of their home into the street….and that we were NOT served with liberty and justice. Judges who put children out of their homes in the middle of the school year all in the name of progress are committing a form of child abuse. No American family should ever have to endure what we saw and went through.
The Five Attorneys:
Number 1 Mr. Robert Reynolds, was from Miami, two hours away from my home. Someone from the city recommended him to me. He was very late for our very first court hearing. He came in with a few buddies and they were all laughing and snickering. After it was all over, my husband and I met with him, and I told him that I did not appreciate him being late. He told me not to worry my “pretty little head” and commented on how nice I looked that day. I told him that I did not care how nice I looked, I was more concerned about my “children’s home.”
I went home and picked up the phone and “fired him.”
Number 2 Elizabeth Woodford, who permitted the mediator to abuse me. I fired her.
Number 3 John Seanor, who I found in the Tampa area, two hours away from me. I had a very hard time finding an attorney from the beginning of this process as no one wanted to “touch the case with a ten foot pole.” My sister and I went to see him for the first time in Tampa. He could not find my papers. He was very aloof, disorganized. My sister and I could not stop talking about him all the way home ….a nightmare.
He came for a deposition. He was twenty minutes late. He looked very flustered when he came in. After the deposition was all over, we went outside to speak to him. I wanted him to come to my home to see my home, my children’s home…what they were “taking from me, from us.” At this, the city attorney Mr.Ted Tripp, asked Mr. Seanor to step inside for a minute as they wanted to talk to him. When he came back outside, he was as white as a ghost, sickly looking. We were walking to our cars and again I was asking him to come to see my home, when he told me “no,” he just wanted to know the quickest way out of town. I went to the passenger side of his Mercedes and when he opened his car door, I jumped into the seat and told him to follow my husband….to the quickest way out of town which went right past my house.
He was livid. I refused to get out of his car. He followed my husband, dropped me off in the driveway, refusing to get out of the car. He backed up so fast, that he almost ran over my feet!! My husband and I just stood there looking at each other in TOTAL disbelief…..what?????? Then all of a sudden my husband said to me …”Oh my God……they threatened him.” I went in the house, picked up the phone, and fired him.
Number 4 Mr. John Renner. He was from Fort Myers, my town. A very nice man, very caring. He came to our home often, just to talk to us, to talk to our children. He loved our home. He had other clients in this eminent domain action. He did not like what they were doing. One day, four months later, he called me in the middle of the day. He told me he did not know how to put this, how to tell me, but he was very upset by it and he was going to look into it, but his “boss” gave him the ultimatum to drop me as a client or he would lose his job. I was speechless, horrified. I told him not to worry, that I did not want him to lose his job and that I would find yet….another attorney. He really felt very bad. He told me that the stadium left a very bitter taste in his mouth. He also told me he would help me find another attorney…and he knew of one in Miami…again two hours away….
Number five, trial attorney John Charles Luckas. My trial had no witnesses, no evidence. Mr. Luckas ignored what the Court Administrator told me that closed caption was for Criminals Only. When my sister questioned him as to why two council members did not show up for deposition, he screamed at my sister that he did NOT want to turn this into a “witchhunt.”
I turned him into the Florida Bar after my trial was all over. I sent them a huge packet of papers, showing them everything, including court documents to prove that none of my witnesses showed up for trial.
Five months later, the Florida Bar sent all of my paperwork back to me, telling me that they could not help me…..sorry. In the midst of my paperwork there were papers that did NOT belong to me. Someone put these papers in for me to “see”. It was my trial attorney’s billing statement to the city for his services. The city was listed as the “CLIENT” If the city was the client…..then who was I???? Who ever pays your wages…..is whom you work for. This attorney was NOT working for me. None of them worked for me, as they all were paid by the city!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When we first went through this, we were told by the city, “not to panic, or be afraid, that all we had to do was go out and find our own attorney and that all attorney fees would be paid by the city.” These attorneys were “working for the best interest of the city….and not the victim.” No wonder the city told us to go out and find our own attorneys and THEY would pay for them!! We were SEVERELY DUPED.
There is much more to this story…much more. This is only the tip of the iceberg. May God help all those who did these things. Everywhere I turned for help, no one could or would help me. I was an American who stood all alone. It all went “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” They ALL told me they could not help me….sorry.
Who do you turn to report government abuse? You can’t go to the government because it is they who are doing these things.
Eminent Domain…A Money Making Business
Months before anyone even knew of eminent domain coming in, the Mayor, his father, and all of their cronies, bought up properties in the taking area. Even the process server who served us our eminent domain papers, bought up property, two of them. One was just a few houses down the road from me. When eminent domain came in, they all paid themselves handsomely for these properties. They MADE A BUSINESS out of eminent domain!!!!!!!!!!! The process server used the house down the road from me as a “business” which it was NOT a business but residential…..and the city paid him business price. The property was listed in fair condition, had a smaller property than I had, my home was listed in excellent condition and I had a much larger piece of property. The city paid him $30,000 more than they gave me. He did NOT have a business license in the court records for this property. Many people reported all of this but this all went ignored.
May this never happen again to another American family and may God help all those who did these things. Thank you for your very valuable time.
I, William M. Windsor, am not an attorney. This website expresses my OPINIONS. The comments of visitors or guest authors to the website are their opinions and do not therefore reflect my opinions. Anyone mentioned by name in any article is welcome to file a response. This website does not provide legal advice. I do not give legal advice. I do not practice law. This website is to expose government corruption, law enforcement corruption, political corruption, and judicial corruption. Whatever this website says about the law is presented in the context of how I or others perceive the applicability of the law to a set of circumstances if I (or some other author) was in the circumstances under the conditions discussed. Despite my concerns about lawyers in general, I suggest that anyone with legal questions consult an attorney for an answer, particularly after reading anything on this website. The law is a gray area at best. Please read our Legal Notice and Terms.