Correction: In the original posting of this story, we misidentified property owner Bill Tezak. Lassen News regrets the error.
Yesterday evening, Wednesday, Sept. 6, as the Susanville City Council held a series of public hearings to approve cost reports of “unpaid administrative citation fines” and then consider the recordation of liens against the properties involved, local property owner Bill Tezak disagreed with the process the city has followed and put the city on notice of his concerns and his intention to take the city to court.
According to a coversheet of a notice of intent to sue for civil rights violations and non-legitimate governmental intrusion/purpose, municipal employee fraud and crimes of extortion and slander to title Teak filed with the city’s public works department Tuesday Sept. 5, and provided to Lassen News at the meeting, he intends to sue the city of Susanville, the city of Susanville Administrative Department, the Susanville Planning Commission, mayor Quincy McCourt, mayor pro tem Thomas Herrera, city councilmembers Kevin Stafford, Mendy Schuster and Russ Brown, City Administrative Officer Dan Newton, code enforcement officer Cody Loflin, city planner Kelly Mumper, building official Dow Davis and Does one through 20.
According to the notice, Tezak alleges Civil Rights Claims Declaratory Judgment: (count 1 — conspiracy against rights; count 2 — deprivation of rights under color of law; count 3 — attempted extortion under color of law; count 4 — extortion under color of law; count 5 — trespass under color of law); Civil Rights Claim (Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief); Civil Rights Claim 4th Amendment (unreasonable search and siezure); Civil Rights Claim 14th Amendment (violation of procedural due process rights); and Civil Rights Claim (violation of equal protection rights).
During the public hearings, Tezak threatened even more legal actions against the city, its officers and its employees, including an FBI investigation into corruption within the city.
Cody Loflin, the city’s code enforcement officer, told the council and the pubic in attendance that the information regarding the properties was based upon the city’s administrative citation process, and this is the culmination of all the steps the city had already taken in these matters.
He said the process “typically begins with a complaint from the community.” The code officer investigates and determines the validity of the complaint. If the complaint is found to be valid, a notice of public nuisance or notice of violation is issued to the property owner. One of the next options is the “administrative citation.” The property owner may accept the citation and correct it or pay the fine or appeal the code enforcement officer’s determination within 21 days. The Administrative Appeals Hearing Board (the Susanville Planning Commission) hears testimony from both sides and determines the validity of the citation. The planning commission then makes a recommendation to the Susanville City Council for the final determination, including the possibility of some other decision on how to proceed.
“We’re not here to argue on the merits of the citation, the violation or the case itself,” Loflin said. “It’s just whether or not there’s an approval of the cost … The other part that comes after that is whether or not we would place a lien onto the property.”
Tezak addressed the council during each of the public hearings on cited properties, threatened more lawsuits and the FBI investigation.
“I’m going to take this opportunity to explain something,” Tezak said during the first public hearing on someone else’s property. “I’ve been doing 40 years of litigation, and a lot of that’s been based on municipal law litigation. Mr. Loflin has not understood that public nuisances are generated based on statutory law in the California State Legislature’s codes, and he’s preempting those statutes because you can have a nuisance on a property — that’s a given — but it doesn’t rise to a public nuisance unless it meets the statutory requirement of a substantial number of people having either been affected by their health, their general welfare or their safety. Those are the three conditions. A perfect example — the Dixie Fire. On the Dixie Fire we had smoke. That affected the health of the community at large. That is something that is statutorily connected with a public nuisance. You can have other situations that affect the safety based on a dangerous condition. That also fits within the statutory scheme.
“At the local level, I understand the regulation aspect of it, but if you have trash on your property or some vagrant drops trash on your property, and all of a sudden this guy’s ready to jump on you and do policing for profit. That’s what’s been going on in this community, and basically the administrative citations are an attempted extortion of what’s going on. And then, if you put a lien on somebody’s property to disparage the title, based on these fees, you’re slandering the title. That’s another cause of civil action against any of you guys that actually sign the resolution. They’re setting you up.”
McCourt asked Tezak to kindly lower his voice just a little.
“I talk loudly so that you hear me,” Tezak responded. “I do the same thing in court.”
“I will have to cut this off if you don’t calm down a little bit,” McCourt said.
Tezak said he’d speak during the next public hearing, and he did, addressing the council regarding each of his properties. During the public hearings, he frequently alleged the city had violated his civil rights and denied him due process.
When it came to a property he owns at 801 Main Street, Tezak said, “This one here is really a special one to me for the fact I’m going to litigate the hell out of this one. If you guys approve this one, you’re really going to be in trouble on this because this is a situation where it was actual criminal harassment. This one went so far beyond the realm of what an administrative citation would be, plus there was absolutely no due process on this one at all … there was a broken window on the first citation that wasn’t even connected with 801 Main Street … It’s bogus. This is such a sham one. I love this one to be able to put in front of a judge … “
After nearly two hours of public hearings, Herrera thanked city staff for all their hard work and apologized to them for having to “endure all this.”