Gloucester County, New Jersey started a program last year to re-evaluate property values to ‘bring all home values up to the current market value.’ Notice it says ‘up to the current market value.’ With so many properties being worth much less than they were five years ago, it seems that many homes market value have gone down, not up.
In order for the county’s Office of Assessment and Appraisal Systems to re-evaluate a home’s value, they insist on inspecting the inside of the home as well as the outside. When they came to the home of Eileen Hart in Franklin Township, she told them that since her husband wasn’t home, she did not want the inspectors in her house with just her there. She also told them that it was religious reasons as well.
The inspectors left, however, when the Hart family received their new property tax valuation, it was rated a higher rate, even though the inspectors never inspected it. The same thing has happened to a number of other county residents who believe that the new system is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Hart and other unhappy residents then attended a public meeting on Saturday, March 9, held by Appraisal Systems Inc. When Hart was allowed to speak, she stated that her constitutional rights were being violated and began to recite the US Constitution to back up her accusation. Before she could finish reciting the Constitution, the Assessment and Appraisal Systems officials had Hart forcibly removed from the room for charges of disorderly conduct and harassment.
Hart described what happened to a local reporter:
“I didn’t scream, I didn’t yell. I have the right to air my grievances against the government in a public setting. I’ve never threatened anyone a day in my life.”
“She also wouldn’t let me speak and told me to sit down and shut up and listen as well. That’s when the young man came toward me. I knew he was going to put his hands on me. I saw him out of the corner of my eye. I said to him ‘Don’t you dare touch me.’ Then they threw us out of the auditorium. The young man from Appraisal Systems, Inc. was the one going postal, and I believe if he had a gun, he would have shot me (and my family) on the spot. I was calm the entire time.”
The man who forcibly removed her from the meeting followed her to the parking lot and began yelling at her. He took down her license plate number and screamed at her:
“See if you are able to pay your property taxes NOW!”
When Hart arrived home, she found 5 Franklinville police cars waiting for her. They informed her that the Clayton police wanted to talk to her about the threats she had made, so they placed her in a police vehicle. The police then searched her home and found two handguns. The police told her that she needed to turn the guns over or they would be confiscated and that they would hold them for safekeeping. If she refused to turn over the guns her bail would be so high that her family couldn’t pay it and she would sit in jail until her court hearing. Then they took her to the police station where she was officially arrested and charged for making terroristic threats and contempt. The complaint filed by the Appraisal Inc. people states:
“The Defendant was yelling and screaming and making the threatening comment. ‘If the door is locked. I’ll be back with a gun.’”
Both Eileen and her husband Keith deny that she ever made the threats that she has been charged with making. She surrendered the guns and was released on her own recognizance pending her hearing. When asked about her guns, Hart replied:
“I have permits for each of them. I applied legally, I got them legally. Now I can’t defend myself. I never said the word ‘gun’ at the meeting. None of those people would have known I was a gun owner.”
This form of government bullying and tyranny is not new to Eileen is both of her parents were survivors of the Jewish Holocaust in Nazi Germany. Eileen said this is like:
“Déjà vu all over again.”
If you live in Gloucester County New Jersey, be aware that the county’s property assessment system may violate your constitutional rights if need be in order to extort higher property values so they can gain more tax revenue. This is another clear example of how tyrannical our local state and federal governments have become.