Dear Friends of Reddit and others,
1. In 1996, the year Dana Sullivan became County Councilman, Roper Mountain Estates subdivision blocked its main entrance that was near Sullivan’s house, creating high traffic on our private road, but allowing him to live on a quiet cul-de-sac. (RME subdivision developers had made one of their roads align with our private road, called Luest Road or section H-82.)
2. Instead of reopening their main entrance that was blocked with a pile of dirt, most RME Subdivision residents wanted to widen our narrow private road, saying it was too narrow. In late 2000, residents of RME subdivision had been trying for many months to persuade Greenville county to take our road for their benefit. They had been unsuccessful because neither they nor Greenville county have any right-of-way on the road. So while resident Dana Sullivan was on the County Council, Greenville County made a deal with nearby restaurant Bucky’s Barbecue to dig on the road and install a sewer in it without consulting us. Who gave permission? We’d like to know too. Our FOIA request made in January for information from this sewer department has been denied with no explanation.
3. Greenville County Engineer Judy Wortkoetter admitted in the 2001 Greenville News article that the County owns no right of way on this part of the road (referred to as H-82). So why in 2000 did the County ignore our property rights and put a sewer for Bucky’s Barbecue in our road on which they have no right of way.
4. Greenville County shouldn’t have asked us to go to court to help them sue Bucky’s Barbecue to force them to pay for the sewer. They should have been more careful with taxpayer money in the first place.
Residents of Roper Mountain Estates Subdivision, are there any teachers, bankers, highly educated engineers who work at GE, BMW, Michelin, or other upper- or middle-class people who know right from wrong? Are there any churchgoers living in Roper Mountain Estates Subdivision who have read the Ten Commandments which say:
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”… “Thou shalt not steal… Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” (Exodus 10:15-17)
Luest Road (H-82) has always been narrow, and you knew it was narrow when you closed your subdivision’s main entrance on Meadowsweet with a pile of dirt in 1996, where Greenville County Councilman Dana Sullivan lived. So you knew that the road you planned to steal was too narrow and would need to be widened. But instead of reopening your own entrance, you made a deal with the County to have Bucky’s BBQ install an illegal sewer into this road on which the County has no right of way in order to claim some kind of right of way on the road and to connect with your subdivision. So who is to blame for the dangerous condition?
County engineers all know that. County Engineer Ed Hughes suggested on Sep 21, 1999 (see doc #17), and County Traffic Engineer Kurt Walters suggested on May 16, 2008 (see doc # 35), that our road should be closed to through traffic and the main entrance on Councilman Sullivan’s Meadowsweet reopened.
Greenville County, on 1989-07-18, you took all roads of Roper Mountain Estates Subdivision into your inventory (see doc #7), so you definitely can reopen the main entrance on Meadowsweet Lane.
In this video, the Metro Sewer worker admits that the sewer was illegal and that Metro Sewer doesn’t dig sewers. The Greenville County digs the sewers. These letters were duplicated and signed by over a hundred residents of RME subdivision, which proves the deal that Greenville County had with Bucky’s Barbecue to dig an illegal sewer on which they had no right of way.
There are so many nice and helpful people working at the Greenville County offices. It’s only a few bad apples that can do so much damage and ruin the reputation of Greenville County. Can the County have some honest people tell Leslie Smith in Roads and Bridges the meaning of: “The County owns no right of way” on a road? It means that it is a private road. So she should take down the one-way sign that was put on our entrance in 2008. Leslie, if you really took pride in your work, then even if Governor Haley lived in Roper Mountain Estates (RME) Subdivision and wanted you to make someone’s private road into a one-way street for the benefit of her subdivision, you would hold to your principles and the law, and refuse her. (But Governor Haley would not do that.) Jim Burns is just a county councilman. What other favors has Jim Burns asked of you? Lots of county employees know the H-82 section of Roper Mountain Court (Roper Mountain Court is comprised of H-134, which is in RME subdivision, and H-82, which is a private road that used to be called Luest Road) is a private road and should not be changed into a one-way street. But Leslie Smith’s department did it anyway, even though as Judy Wortkoetter informed residents of Roper Mountain Estates on October 19, 2000, according to the South Carolina Constitution Article I Section 13 entitled Taking private property, the county cannot legally work on someone’s property without their permission and without compensating them for their property. Now it’s getting even worse. They plan to cut a large part out of our yard to make our private road a two-way street for RME subdivision to use. And the county never gave us any notification of this. Quinn, in Land Development, explained the markings on the road to us and told us that we should talk to Leslie Smith and that he would have a meeting with her the following Tuesday. A week later, when we went to talk to him, we were told that he no longer worked there. When I talked to Leslie, she gave me the following form for me claim my losses:
5. In 2008, County Councilman Jim Burns, Chair of the County Roads and Bridges Committee, who not only lives in RME Subdivision but was also back door neighbor to previous Councilman Dana Sullivan, instead of reopening the subdivision’s main blocked entrance, he, with the help of Leslie Smith’s department, put a one-way street sign up on our narrow private road. They ignored County Engineer Ed Hughes’ warning on September 21, 1999, that turning our road into a one-way street would be “NOT FEASIBLE and would restrict residents living on the narrow segment of road [we are the only ones referred to here] and create more problems than it would solve” (All caps in the original). They also ignored the May 16, 2008, recommendation of County Traffic Engineer Kurt Walters to cul-de-sac Roper Mountain Court and reopen Meadowsweet. The County knew that it “owns no right-of-way on the road,” as Judy Wortkoetter admitted in the Greenville County News. They made it illegal for us to come to our own home by any means.
6. We recently found out that our Pakistani neighbor, Javed Ahmed, sold an easement to developers from India to build a new subdivision behind both of us, but the developers, RJR Venture Group, are now about to tie in to the illegal sewer tap on our property. As part of this latest investigation of the new subdivision plan, we learned that the claim made to us by Greenville County back in 2000, that we had no right to stop them from digging up our road, was completely false.
Metro Sewer, every time you help business people rob neighboring land like you did to us, how much do you charge? Did you get collateral when you illegally installed a sewer in our road? Greenville County asked us to be witnesses in their suit against Bucky’s Barbecue when Bucky’s wouldn’t pay for the sewer work. Did RJR Venture Group give you collateral this time? Is Metro Sewer a criminal group? Judy Wortkoetter knows you had no right of way, but you put the sewer in anyway. Do you not serve the public? Do you only serve councilmen like Jim Burns who “consult” for real investment companies? Someone needs to investigate how many people are involved in this type of practice. Why did Greenville County approve a subdivision with only 1 entrance. This is the second time they’ve taken our land. How many others have they done this way? Is the law in Greenville County only for the subjects, not for the Dukes.
For projects like this, isn’t there an application process? Who approved this?
“Probably the most frightening words a person who is interviewed by Congress can here is, ‘The Chair recognizes the Gentleman from South Carolina, Congressman Trey Gowdy.'” (Source) Congressman Gowdy said: “The law … makes the rich respect the poor; it allows the powerless to challenge the powerful…” (see time 0:18-0:39). But something seems to be missing somewhere — lots of money, the right lawyer, and lots of sleepless nights…
Yes, our Spartanburg/Greenville district elected Trey Gowdy who represented all Americans in the Benghazi investigation, but County Councilman Jim Burns and Dana Sullivan were also elected here — the opposite of Trey Gowdy. Jim Burns, who oversees the County/State/Private Roads, Bridges, and Sidewalks Maintenance and Infrastructure Management committee and who lives in Roper Mountain Estates subdivision), has made it impossible for us to drive to our home without breaking the law. Our home is effectively under siege by Councilman Burns and his Roads and Bridges department (in 3800 of the County Building).
It’s peacetime in America, but Greenville County, South Carolina, has laid siege on an innocent citizens’ home. The County has made criminals of citizens with coveted property.
Before all this happened, Roper Mountain Estates subdivision closed its larger entrance (on Meadowsweet Ln) with a load of dirt (previously County Councilman Dana Sullivan lived in the same subdivision near the now closed entrance), and that forced masses of people to use our narrow private road. Curiously, this was after the required number of entrances for the subdivision had just mysteriously decreased from 2 to 1 (see meeting minutes) (By the way, why didn’t they close the smaller 50-ft wide entrance instead of the 140-ft wide entrance? Well, that would have defeated the purpose; Councilman Sullivan didn’t live on that street). Traffic eventually became dangerous, and instead of reopening their entrance by bulldozing the dirt away, someone influential in the subdivision (as mentioned, County Councilman Jim Burns also lives in the subdivision) had the County commandeer our narrow road and declare it to be a one-way street. That was no small feat because as Greenville County engineer Judy Wortkoetter admitted in the 2001 Greenville News article, the County has no legal right of way on the road.
We elected these two councilmen to serve our district, but they’ve made our district into their own Dukedom, and us into their subjects. Their benefit and convenience come first; other people don’t matter. And Greenville County appears to submissively rubber stamp it all.
We learned about the change to a one-way street after it was done. No warning to us. So now it’s impossible for us to return home without driving over a mile through convoluted paths all the way through their subdivision – a trip we could avoid by driving literally two seconds on our own road (see the green path below).
But the long way home is also illegal for us! See the “NO THRU TRAFFIC” sign below. But when we have tried to get to our house using our own road (the short green path above), some people in the subdivision have tried to hit us or run us into the ditch. They do it to others as well. Now that they feel they own the road, it’s much more dangerous than when they were “borrowing” it from us when it was a two-way street.
So there is no legal way into our property.
With the stroke of a pen, can County Councilman Jim Burns steal our road, so that we need “$10k for starters” to try to get it back?
Councilman Burns, we’re tired of driving through your subdivision to get home. I want to use my own road to get home. Please don’t use my private road anymore. Greenville County has no right to put a DO NOT ENTER sign on my road and keep me out of my house.
What is the recourse if a county and councilman are guilty of corruption? Is there a criminal case against them?
Greenville County can have all the hearings it wants, but the landowners on Luest Road have never signed over their right of way to the County. And nothing has changed; or if it has, they must have forged documents. In 1999, Greenville County and Metropolitan Sewer illegally dug up this road in front of our house and put in a sewer for a nearby restaurant at taxpayer expense. Someone must have gained something for that illegal move. We have complained about this and asked for an explanation and were never answered. The only response we received was a letter from Professional Engineer Ed Hughes on January 28, 2000.
After Greenville County put a sewer into the road in front of our house on which it had no right of way, it then put a sewer tap in the front corner of my property (there was no easement for them!) Now we’re led to believe that the County has mysteriously acquired some sort of easement there. If so, I instantly lost a wide strip of my front yard. The County acts as if it owns the road and will use taxpayer money to make it a two-way street for RME where Burns and Sullivan live. I see how that’s wonderful for their subdivision, but how is that good for Greenville County taxpayers? How much will that cost the taxpayers? $2000? $20,000? $200,000? $2,000,000? or $2^n? Is there money there to pay for it, or are they going to raise your taxes next year and each year after that? Isn’t this why your property and other taxes in Greenville County have been steadily climbing for the past 10 years like a jet airplane taking off, higher and faster? And with the County spending money for the rich and powerful friends of those in office, it will always keep climbing and never reach altitude. The problem is, while these county taxes keep rising, our salaries are not rising. So isn’t that putting us in a hole? Doesn’t that force us to give up groceries or go deeper into debt? Not all of us can tap into this increasing money pool by “consulting” for real estate investment companies.
Greenville County shouldn’t use taxpayer money for private developers’ sewers and later claim that both sides of that sewer is the county’s property especially since they don’t have a right of way. Why is the County willing to be a thief for developer RJR Venture Group and for the County Councilman living in the subdivision, stealing our land and stealing taxpayer money? (See the RME Homeowners Association rep https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50krudbJFpw). What are the regulations or rules made RJR Venture Group qualify to use taxpayer money for their project? … and to pretend to have County authority to confiscate private property to benefit big real estate companies?
The previous time when the County put a sewer for Bucky’s BBQ in a road in which they had no right of way, what made Bucky’s qualify to use Greenville County money? I tried to find time to investigate this and clean this up. Jim Burns, I’m tired of going through your subdivision. If Bucky’s paid you, they didn’t have any right of way.
Greenville County can take private land only when it is for the public good (which means everyone in the County will use it), and it must give fair compensation. (Granted, that’s still immoral, but this discussion is for people who can’t see a distinction between “legal” and “moral.”) How are benefits for County Councilman Jim Burns’ subdivision for the “public good,” especially when the public is ordered to “KEEP OUT”?
The County shouldn’t later claim that the sewer is theirs and that they now have a right to take more of my land as an easement. You don’t think they’ll do that? I just explained above how they’ve done it to us before. And they used taxpayer money to make our small one-way road into a two-way street and to maintain it. How is that good for Greenville County taxpayers?
They’ll probably also try the same trick to turn the new sewer way into a second entrance for the new subdivision. Every subdivision needs two entrances, and right now this new one has only prepared for one entrance (off of Roper Mountain Road). There’s no way that the land for RJR’s new subdivision can have two entrances without taking some else’s property. It’s locked in on all other sides. See below:
Why did Greenville County use taxpayer money to pay for an illegal sewer on a private road? If it claims that Bucky’s Barbeque’s reimbursed them for the sewer, why did Bucky’s not have to purchase an easement from the land owners on Roper Mountain Court for the sewer work? We had appealed to Greenville County in the past when we declined in 1999 to give them an easement to put a sewer in our private road in front of our house for the restaurant owner (the County Engineer admitted in the newspaper that the County has no right of way on the road, which used to be called Luest Road and which had a gate dividing it from RME subdivision). But Greenville County and Metro Sewer ignored us and had it put in anyway. If that’s not a crime, what is? Shown below are business cards we received from three County workers who came to our property at different times before 2000, before they installed the sewer:
One morning we woke up and saw that our road was being worked on for this sewer.
Even if they had a right of way on our narrow road (and they did not), Metro Sewer put the sewer tap right on our property illegally. They did NOT allow a 15-foot permanent easement, nor another 15 foot temporary easement on our side.
We found out about the sewer work as we watched the workers digging up our road which was now closed to traffic. Some time later a county employee asked us to go to court for them because the restaurant owner refused to pay them for the sewer. We didn’t want to help either side because the whole thing was illegal. Someone should find out who paid this bill. The reason we didn’t want a sewer to run under our private road is because we suspected something like the can of worms they have now opened upon us… because not only did they not follow Greenville County code by acquiring a 15 foot permanent easement for the sewer and a 45-foot temporary easement for it, they actually put the sewer tap right on our property! (Incidentally, the County occasionally ties crap to our fence when we’re not looking, like a dog who thinks he owns some territory just by urinating on it. Does this mean they want to widen our private road by taking this much of our property for the benefit of RME subdivision, and all at taxpayer expense? Why doesn’t the money go to pot holes near YOUR subdivision or on YOUR way to work?) They may get away with it because nobody knows about it, and even if a few people know and care, what can they do? What have councilmen like these got to lose? Is there no deterrent? But hundreds of families in the subdivision and thousands of people, young and old, have to circle an inconvenient and unsafe route day in and day out because of these two county councilmen.
We asked Congressman Trey Gowdy’s Greenville office for help, and Ms. Turner wrote down our information and said she would read our story and get back to us. A big Thank You to Trey Gowdy’s office! They say that even a strong dragon can lose to local snakes. (See “Councilmen in Trey Gowdy’s district use County power to improve their subdivisions:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50krudbJFpw) We’ll find out. Congressman Gowdy is a legislator, but he is also a citizen of the district, so like any of us, he has the right to speak about corrupt councilmen in the district.
I’m not sure that the law in District 21 causes the rich and powerful will “respect the poor,” as Trey Gowdy said. Something seems to be missing somewhere … astronomical amounts money, the right lawyer, and lots of sleepless nights.
It’s hard to believe that a County councilman can abuse his power and arrange things so that every time a citizen comes in and out of his property, he’s breaking the law. What kind of county councilman and county puts its citizens under siege during peacetime?
Greenville County and Metro Sewer seem like entities to help investment companies set sewers wherever they want to get land for them — that their main function is to install a sewer when they need to rob a landowner… at taxpayer expense.
Residents of Roper Mountain Estates, don’t give up your right and spoil public servants who abuse their power and interfere with your daily life so blatantly. Don’t sit back; you should demand back your main large entrance for your children’s safety when riding the school bus, for your own convenience, and for your property value.
Remember what has been said about creeping corruption: When they came for this group and that group, I didn’t say anything because I was not a member of those groups; so when they came for me, there was no one left to speak for me.
See the articles at the left.
We’ve been fighting for this for more than 15 years. Up to now, the local news wouldn’t help, Greenville County and government officials wouldn’t help, and church members wouldn’t help. Looking back, it’s probably best because now we can let the whole world know and put hidden cameras around our home.
We also sent this information to:
Ned Sloan, South Carolina Public Interest Foundation
James Carpenter, Carpenter Law Firm
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson
South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
Letter sent to Greenville County Sheriff:
Dear Greenville County Sheriff,
We have complained on our blog (unveiledtruth.org) about corrupt practices of Roper Mountain Estates Homeowners Association, former County Councilman Dana Sullivan, County Councilman Jim Burns of District 21, both of whom lived in that subdivision (near me) when in office, and Metro Sewer. (Robert Arms and David Scott 864-277-4442 are at Metro). If anything should happen to us, please start your investigation with this blog.
We will constantly update as we learn more. By the way, if anybody knows any lawyers out there who will take this case on a contingency basis, please let them know about our case.