We stood up - spoke out, didn't back down, and won! - The Tai and Adele Aguirre Story
Our nightmare began back in 1995. After receiving approvals from the local zoning board, Putnam County Department of Health and the town-building department, we used our hard-earned savings and took a construction loan from a bank to renovate our home.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection suddenly informed us that we faced "legal action". Why? Because they said that: "even though your septic is working perfectly, some day in the future that septic could break down so we're suing you now. That's right! They sued us in Putnam County Supreme Court. We realized we would lose our house and our livelihood if we lost this unjust case against us. The NYC Environmental Police began entering our property unannounced and taking pictures. The harassment increased almost daily with letters and phone calls.
We had only 20 days to respond to their lawsuit. We worked day and night. We did not have the resources to fight the bureaucracy of NY. We were frightened. We were hurting but we knew we were right. We asked ACLU, and other so-called civil rights legal entities. We were turned down. However, helped by a growing property rights movement, we connected to a prominent legal group Atlantic Legal Foundation in Manhattan, which adopted our case because of its broad legal issues.
Now we were able to challenge the City's attempt to create a potential injury precedent by basing our defense on the real rather than a theoretical, impact of our renovation.
Yes, we succeeded in forcing the City of New York to capitulate and drop their legal action. So why all these years of harassment and waste of taxpayer money? Maybe our experience and victory will help someone else. So don't give up!
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