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To use a metaphor situation for the possible abuse scenario is as follows. If the answer to my scenario is YES then I will continue with the whole story for further evaluation......My question is this: If a person pushes a person off a hypothetical financial "Cliff" so to speak by taking money directly from there bank account they can be held liable for those actions, I know that for sure but what if a close 20yr. long neighbor and friend to an 85 year old woman just stands back and let her walk off that cliff same cliif without helping prevent it from happining and then profit from that fall to the tune of $80,000?

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I wasn't thinking crime, but there does to me sound as if there has been a clear abuse of trust. Yes, I agree that the purchaser was backing himself to push through the permit application, but given his standing with the city that was a safe enough bet - and a calculation I really doubt he explained to the elderly vendor.

If this ex-city councilman has a reputation he is keen to protect, I don't know, of course, but I'd be thinking of explaining to him that an ex gratia payment of whatever percentage of the net profits seems fair might be something he'd like to consider, before the elderly lady's story goes out as a cautionary tale to others in her position. You need to steer very very clear of threatening him, as such, obviously. But the PR benefit could be worth a fair bit to him without anyone's having to get nasty about it.
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The city could easily tell the new owner to tear it down. Also if dad knew what he was doing and did build it to code 20 years ago codes have been updated a lot during that time and the city could demand it be brought up to present day code before they would even consider a varience. The purchaser made a $9 bet and only the future will tell if he wins or looses. I am not saying whther he behaved ethically or not but I don.t see a crime except possibly and I stress possibly elder abuse
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Municipalities often don't look aggressively for offenses until the house is ready to be sold, then pops up the issues of no permits, no licenses, no inspections, illegal set-backs for the footprint of the house, County/city/town building Codes overlooked by the owner when building, yada, yada, yada.

The new owner is taking quite a risk, the house would be set too far forward and would need to be moved unless a variance is filed and approved.... and previous electric/plumbing will need the walls opened up to see that it was done to Code. If not done to code, all the electrical and all the plumbing need to be replaced. The attic joists may not be to Code, thus those would need correcting. Maybe the foundation isn't to Code, it would need to be redone.

Usually a home is found to be illegal when someone is trying to purchase the house and a FHA or VA Appraiser inspects the house and notices construction mistakes, and the red flags start to pop up. The new mortgage is declined. The Realtor finds the house is too difficult to sell.

Did the elder owner do the right thing in selling the house? Maybe yes, maybe no. But what elder wants to fight City Hall at their age? It would take years to get everything approved. Easier to take the money and go onto the next chapter of their life.
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Mistakes were made 20 years ago. Mistakes were made by the seller in not retaining an attorney. No crime here, but a lot of dumb mistakes.
People throw away vacuum cleaners when the hoses plug up. I retrieve them, clean them, and they work. Does that make me a thief?
Re: the house. The city may allow it to stand, but the banks may still refuse to lend on something that can't be insured because it won't meet codes and there is no occupancy certificate.
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What did the guy do wrong? Mom found out she couldn't sell "the house as a house." (He can't either.) He offered her $9,000 for the land. She took the deal. He to this DAY doesn't know if he's bought a pig in a poke. The city/town is refusing to grant him a building permit for a residential home.

He had absolutely no fiduciary duty to mom. None. And, still, he may have spent $9,000 on something he will never even be able to use.
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I would like to stress that he was just not a stranger but a close friend and neighbor that was part of their lives for 20 years. He plowed snow, cut grass fixed their house when needed etc., he could have or I say should have, offered to exert the time and effort and influence he ultimately did use into helping her make it legal. Also, it never went to court.
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He did nothing wrong. That's the question you asked. That's my answer. I read the article. The guy's got to fight for a zoning change. They are NOT okaying the house that's on the property. He can't rent it. He can't sell it as a single family home. He's in no different position than mom, except he's fighting for a zoning change,

Mom or her family could have done the same thing.
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Actually my calculations were off. The city had the home assessed for $94,000 all those years and the woman was paying property taxes on it too. So he made at least $85K on the deal. The scum-sucker actually went to the local paper for solicit simpathy For your reading enjoyment sunjournal/comment/154105#comment-154105
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I think he's just a bottom-feeding scum sucker.

Your mom or her representative could have done the same thing he did. She chose not to. She "found out" from the Realtor. Realtors don't speak for town zoning committees. Properties are grandfathered all the time. The woman's daughter can't reject the deal unless she holds guardianship over mom.

For all you know, it took $20K in legal fees to get the house "legal" . . . and for all you know, mom could've done it herself.

I don't think the guy's broken the law. He took advantage of an opportunity. He had nothing to do with the Realtor telling mom what she told her. Nothing to do with the city council finding in favor of the homeowner. If it's a good ole' boy network, even THAT isn't against the law.
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No, thats why I'm here to determine if it is an actual crime that has been commited, or if he is just a bottom-feeding scum-sucker.......
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It stinks.

And HOW interesting..!

Have you considered taking the story to the local press?
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The womans husband died and they were living in a home that her husband built 20 years ago with out a permit. She tried to sell it for $133K to start with then gradually reduced the price down to $98K then she found out from the realtor that the house could not be bank financed because the city considered it an illegal home. In steps the friend and long time neighbor who happens to be an ex-city councilman. He offers her $9000 for the prorerty since he knows it is not a liveable house.The woman's daughter rejects the deal but she goes through with it any way. The neighbor then sues the city because the house had been there for 20 years and the city hasn't complained about it and he wins. Now the home is worth $89,000 PLUS!!! Smells fishy to me...
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How did the neighbour net 80 grand on the deal? I think you'd better describe this cliff so that we can get the picture.
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Could he be held lible for the at that point?
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