This story is so fucked up it made me mad reading it. It figures a dirty judge would be the one responsible for it. Fuck judges, fuck lawyers and most importantly, FUCK THE POLICE! Here’s the article:
Property right wrongly taken
The story is so absurd, so unfair, so ludicrous, I had a difficult time believing that it could actually happen – even in Boulder.
It’s about a couple named Don and Susie Kirlin. They moved to the city in 1980. A few years later, the Kirlins purchased a plot of land near their residence, hoping to someday build a “dream home.”
“We took advantage of the market in the early ’80s,” says Susie Kirlin, almost apologetic for making a smart investment.
Children interfered slightly with the master plan – three of them in the next few years – postponing any development of the property.
As the children began to make their own way in life, the couple decided it was time to finally develop the property in late 2006.
By then, it was too late.
Despite owning the land, despite living only 200 yards from the property, despite hiking past it every week with their three dogs, despite spraying for weeds and fixing fences, despite paying homeowner association dues and property taxes each year, someone else had taken a shine to it. Someone powerful.
Former Boulder District Judge, Boulder Mayor, RTD board member – among other elected positions – Richard McLean and his wife, attorney Edith Stevens, used an arcane common law called “adverse possession” to claim the land for their own.
All McLean needed was to develop an
“attachment” to it.
Undoubtedly, his city connections couldn’t have hurt, either.
In the court papers, McLean and his family admit to regularly trespassing on the Kirlins’ property.
They created paths. They said they put on a political fundraiser and parties on it (though not a single photograph of these events surfaced in court documents).
This habit of trespassing developed into an affection.
If we take McLean at his word, he should have been treated appropriately: like a common criminal. Instead, the former judge demanded a chunk of the land for himself – and implausibly he got it.
How did the Kirlins learn this travesty was afoot? Susie Kirlin was warned about it at a Boulder High School football game. Be cautious, her neighbor warned, someone has designs on your property.
“I laughed when I first heard it. I really didn’t know that anyone had an emotional attachment to our land,” Kirlin tells me. “I was quite surprised. I was even more surprised that someone could claim our land. But my neighbor told me this was a well- connected person and I should take it seriously.”
When the couple began building a fence on the land – which is within Boulder city limits, not out in the wilderness – McLean was able, according to the Kirlins, to obtain a restraining order in an exceptionally speedy 2 1/2 hours.
Boulder District Judge Morris Sandstead, who served with McLean, issued the restraining order quite swiftly.
Serendipity, I guess.
All of this adds up to District Judge James Klein ordering the Kirlins to sign over about 34 percent of their 4,750-square-foot lot to McLean and his wife last month.
“Now the lot is just about worthless,” explains Don Kirlin. “We estimate the land was worth about $800,000 to a million dollars. Now, we can’t build anything on it.”
Surely, that was the goal.
To add insult, the case, which the Kirlins are appealing, has cost the family over $100,000 in legal fees.
Property rights, one of the foundational ideas of this nation, mean less and less these days. Abusive eminent domain cases are popping up all over the county. This, a bit different, is probably one of the most absurd cases I’ve heard.
Boulder has a reputation of being a, um, quirky town. Some of this is indisputably deserved. Judging from the angry reaction up there, however, most citizens are outraged. And that is certainly heartening.
Attempts to reach McLean were unsuccessful. His lawyer declined comment. McLean’s legacy, we can only hope, is sullied for good.
But what lesson can we all learn from this episode? Easy. If you fancy some undeveloped property – and have no scruples – keep walking on it until you create a path.
Have a party.
Eventually, the land can be yours.
You can view the original article here.