The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Another Boo-Friggin'-Hoo Story

This sad sob story is about a man who refuses to pay for a parking ticket, even if it means losing his house:

In what city officials believe is the first case of its kind, the city foreclosed on Tubic's house on W. Verona Court after repeated attempts to collect the fine - which over the years had escalated to $2,600 - had failed.


Month after month the city Department of Neighborhood Services sent an inspector to the house to see if the van had moved or had license plates. Each time a new fee was assessed. And a letter was sent to Tubic's home.

At no time did Tubic call or write to object or explain his circumstances, city officials said. So the bureaucratic cog kept turning.

Tubic's $50 fine escalated to $1,475, and after it was clear he wasn't going to respond, the city filed a tax lien. While Tubic paid the property taxes, he never paid the $1,475 for the zoning violation. With interest and penalties, he owed $2,645 before the city foreclosed on Monday.

Why would a man risk his home over a $50 parking fine? According to Peter Tubic, he just couldn't handle it.

Tubic takes the blame for disregarding the 15 or more notices he received seeking payment and warning of the pending foreclosure on the house, which was fully paid off, but says he had good reason.

He was physically and psychologically unable to handle the situation, he says.

According to the Social Security Administration, Tubic, 62, has been disabled since 2001. He has been diagnosed with psychological disorders that limit his "ability to understand, remember and carry out detailed instructions," according to documents from the administration.

In addition he suffers from chronic pain caused by degenerative diseases of the knees and spine, as well as chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and obesity, among other ailments.

Sounds so sad, right? But somehow, with all those problems, he managed this:

Tubic first got the fine for parking his Ford E150 with no license plates in the driveway of the home, which belonged to his parents at the time. The radiator had broken and Tubic couldn't get his plates renewed unless the van passed an emissions test. He didn't have the money to make the repair and had more pressing worries, he said.

His father was suffering from dementia. His mother was battling cancer, and he was their live-in caretaker. He needed to shop, cook, clean, maintain the house and tend to his parents' needs.

He was able to care for his ailing parents and maintain the household, but couldn't handle paying a parking ticket?

Now you may be thinking, "maybe this man just can't afford to pay the ticket right now..." The strange thing is, he has the money. He just doesn't want to use it to pay the fine:

Tubic said he set aside $2,600 in an escrow account "to protect the estate in case I die" but didn't want to use it to pay for the parking violation.

No explanation as to why he refuses to take responsibility for a legitimate fine.

Reading the entire article, the writer clearly blames the city for not being more understanding. Disturbingly, two judges commenting on the case aren't using any common sense. They have decided that real victim in this case is the very person who arrogantly ignored repeated attempts for a peaceful resolution.

Janine Geske, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and law professor at Marquette University, called the case a human tragedy and an example of how people can fall through the cracks in the system.


Judge Sankovitz called the case a shame and said it demonstrates the need for judges to have authority to appoint attorneys for people involved in civil litigation.

"If you were a criminal, we'd take care of the whole problem for you, get you an attorney," he said. "But if you're involved in civil litigation - in jeopardy of losing your house or your family... what we do is make you go out and find your own attorney.



#1 Cletus 04-Aug-2008
We are officially living in fantasyland
#2 Kevin 04-Aug-2008
"No explanation as to why he refuses to take responsibility for a legitimate fine."

$1,475 for a parking ticket is 'legitimate' to you? For parking a car in his parent's driveway?

Wow, I've never been so completely in disagreement with someone. Even a liberal!
#3 captainfish 04-Aug-2008
There is no reason why he should get a ticket for having a vehicle parked on private property without a tag.

Talk about the height of Commie-Control to mandate, that even a car that is parked and unusable, to have an annual paid tag is wholly wrong.

What, does the city not have anything better to do than to ticket a broken down vehicle parked on private property?

I could see it if the van was on the street and causing a traffic problem, or if he was driving it. But, it was in the driveway.

[i]According to the Social Security Administration, Tubic, 62, has been disabled since 2001. He has been diagnosed with psychological disorders that limit his "ability to understand, remember and carry out detailed instructions," according to documents from the administration.[/i]

Sounds pretty clear that he might have a case there.

Sorry, am taking his side on this one. Course, I am always anti-government anyway. We have a city here that will ticket you if you leave your SUV or truck parked out front of the house even if it is on your driveway. They have banned overnight parking of trucks and SUVs. Never mind that many SUVs and trucks cost more than the cars that are allowed to be parked out front.

And to think, their first recourse is to take his house? How about taking part of his social security checks? How about helping him get a tag for the van? Or file his van so that it does not need to be tagged (junked).
#4 Donkeyrock 04-Aug-2008
I'm with cap'n on this one. Why do you need a tag for a vehicle not being used on the roads? And then to get a parking ticket when it's in your own driveway (or the driveway of his parents' home) is ridiculous.
#5 captainfish 04-Aug-2008
To be fair, it was the city code. The fault lies in the city council for coming up with a code that demands all vehicles to be tagged, whether operational or not.

And, he could have made one phone call to see what he could do about the ticket or tell them to go shove it (which is what I would do).

But then, this whole thing chaps my arse. The current crop of council members need to be thrown out.
#6 DMartyr 05-Aug-2008
Kevin - Perhaps I should have used the term "legal." I don't agree with a parking ticket for a vehicle parked in a driveway, but if that's the law, he should obey it. No one is above the law and no one should be able to pick and choose the laws they agree with & are willing to obey.

A $1,475 parking ticket is outrageous. *Ignoring* a $50 parking ticket for months on end is just stupidity. All he had to do was get proper tags for the vehicle. Or, he could have challenged the ticket, but he choose to ignore it. His arrogance put him in this situation.

Captain - I'm not commenting on the city ordinances. There are plenty I don't agree with. But keep in mind, an unlicensed vehicle is an uninsured vehicle. If this guy thinks he's above the law when it comes to existing city regulations, what is there to assure citizens this guy won't be driving without insurance? And why should he be able to pick the regulations he agrees with, or ignore those he doesn't?

And I disagree about his disability claims. He may have issues. But he was able to care for his parents, maintain a household, and even cunningly establish an escrow to protect the estate should anything happen to him. Those things indicate he is quite capable of paying - or at least challenging - the ticket. Instead, he ignored it until it escalated out of control. There is no one to blame for this situation than the man himself.
#7 Donkeyrock 05-Aug-2008
"There is no one to blame for this situation than the man himself."

There would be no situation if not for the terrible law.

Certainly this is a murky subject. Yes, the man was wrong for not paying the ticket. But further, the city was wrong for having such an overreaching law on the books, and even moreso for taking someone's home via a tax lien for not paying the ticket and fines, a punishment which far exceeds the value of the ticket and fines combined. Hell, garnished wages would've been disgusting but more acceptable than liening the man's house out of his possession.

There's plenty of blame to go around in this scenario.
#8 DMartyr 05-Aug-2008
True, DR, but you don't challenge a terrible law by violating it and then refusing to take responsibility.

This man not only violated the law, perhaps unknowingly, but he chose to ignore all notices, and because of *that* action, the fine spiraled up until the city was left with one option. Had he paid the initial fine and then properly registered the vehicle, none of this would be happening.

What is the city supposed to do an individual decides he doesn't *want* to pay a fine, just drop it? Would that be fair to all the citizens who did pay similar fines? Does that send a good message - "If you don't agree with a fine, just trash it until you can gain sympathy through the media"?

I'm not saying the law is a good law. I am saying everyone should be held accountable. If he doesn't agree with the fine, or he doesn't like the law, take the proper steps to challenge it. Don't thumb your nose at the law and then later whine when it catches up to you.
#9 Donkeyrock 05-Aug-2008
DM, as I said, garnishing his wages, which would involve his disability check, would be more appropriate.

Yes, the guy is a dumbass, and I doubt he was protesting the law. WE are protesting the law. However, I don't agree that you should abide by a law if it's wrong. Hell, you can scrap the whole civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s if that was the case. If you're going to protest an unjust law, you should not abide by it AND try to change/remove it at the same time. This guy just ignored a ticket.

He's wrong, but he's being overly punished for his crime, and this unjust punishment is compounded by the fact that the law itself is unjust.
#10 DMartyr 05-Aug-2008
That's true, DR, it is a bit of overkill to take the man's house. I just can't help to take offense at this man for deliberately ignoring the violation when a simple reply could have avoided the whole mess.

As far as the civil rights, imo, you are comparing apples to oranges. I agree that laws violating civil rights should not be obeyed.

But this article refers to vehicle regulations - a legal privilege - not a civil or human rights violation. ;)
#11 Donkeyrock 05-Aug-2008
I consider vehicle ownership and use a right, especially since calling anything a privilege is just begging to have it regulated away from you (just as some greenies wish evil cars would be regulated out of use).

"The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by horse drawn carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city can prohibit or permit at will, but a common Right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." [Emphasis added] Thompson vs. Smith, 154 SE 579.
#12 Peter Tubic 21-Aug-2008
You weren't there and you don't know what taking care of someone you love day to day for years even as you know they will die does to you.

There is no logic to what I did because if there was I could explain it. I was living it and I don't understand it.

The $2,600.00 was in my checking account saved to pay taxes and I moved it to an escrow account in case I die before this is all sorted out.

I am only functioning slightly better because of the gentle prodding given me by the reporter that broke the story and the attorneys who offered to help me pro bono to keep my home.

I am not going to win anything out of this and no one is giving me monetary financial aid.

For the record, Mayor Barrett has not offered ANY KIND OF ASSISTANCE AT ALL despite what he says in the media.

Milwaukee is on its way to becoming another St Louis and the last one out will have to turn out the lights.

Peter Tubic
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