In a slap in the face to the idea of property rights a robed man from Belknap’s “superior court” has ruled against A+ rated liberty state rep Mike Sylvia for living on “his” property. This week, nearly two months after a civil trial, James D O’Neill III issued a 15-page order, ruling in favor of the Belmont town gang, awarding them legal fees and further ordering Sylvia to no longer stay at “his” property.
I previously reported on this case here at Free Keene in 2018, but here’s a quick rundown on the case history: Sylvia purchased the property in question after the home burned down in 2009. The only standing building left was a garage. Sylvia parked an RV on the property as he worked on the property but soon found himself being stalked by a “zoning enforcer”, Steve Paquin. Paquin, apparently on orders from the city council to target Sylvia, would regularly drive by and creep on Sylvia, observing smoke coming from a chimney on the garage and footprints in the snow going from the RV to the garage. Paquin even speculated about Sylvia’s bathroom habits, his reports ultimately leading to the town gang issuing Sylvia threats demanding hundreds of dollars per day in fines for violating their precious zoning rules.
According to the “Town of Belmont” criminal enterprise, they have a right to destroy people’s lives and steal their wealth because some strangers wrote some words on paper and called it “zoning”. According to these arbitrary rules that none of us agreed to, the town gang says you must ask their permission before laying down to sleep in what you thought was your property, since you know, you paid for it with your hard-earned money.
But no, you don’t actually own your property. Ownership is proven by control. If you don’t control a thing, you don’t own it. Sylvia’s case proves clearly again that the group of strangers called “the state” actually owns all the property. You can’t do what you want without asking their permission, including simply existing on it. Asking permission is evidence that you are not exercising a right, but begging for a privilege. Begging is not the way of free people, nor the actions of an owner.
Sylvia acted like he owned the land. He, correctly, doesn’t believe he should have to ask permission to live a place he should have a right to be. Sadly, there are men with guns calling themselves “the Town of Belmont” and “State of New Hampshire” that have decided to force their beliefs down on Sylvia and all the rest of us who believe in property rights.
Judge O’Neill’s order prohibits Sylvia from “occupying the garage and/or recreational vehicle” unless he is given a permission slip from the town. He’s further prohibited from using a “water appliance or fixture” on the property until a “compliant septic system” is installed. The hundreds of dollars a day in fines the town has assessed against Sylvia and the property were ordered held in abeyance and will only be imposed if Sylvia disobeys the robed man. Sylvia has however been ordered to pay the town gang’s legal fees, for which they’ll present an invoice for some likely ridiculous amount.
What is the state gang’s excuse for their violence? Besides their obvious thirst for obedience, compliance, and control, they would argue that there’s some kind of danger to public health because the garage doesn’t have a septic system. Ignoring the fact that RVs have their own waste tanks that can be safely disposed of, the property is wooded. Sylvia even asked the creeping zoning thug during trial if he was aware of an old outhouse that was in the woods. Even if there isn’t an outhouse and Sylvia was pooping directly in the woods, so what? Are we supposed to believe that human feces is somehow more dangerous to the neighbors’ property than all the bear, moose, dog, and other animal dung that’s left throughout the woods?
Sylvia believes that he was targeted by the town gang specifically because of his actions as a state representative. One less-discussed responsibility of New Hampshire’s state reps is they also make up the “County Convention” which controls the county taxes. Given he’s an award-winning state rep, rated A+ for liberty votes, Sylvia is a threat to the county’s budget as he will not vote to raise taxes. Therefore he was targeted by the town gang for retaliation.
Arguing this in court didn’t help, of course, because the man in the robe is paid by the same state gang that targeted Sylvia in the first place. But no, that’s not a conflict of interest. Sylvia also argued that Paquin couldn’t prove he was actually sleeping or pooping on the property, but that doesn’t matter in civil court, where the court decides based on the “preponderance of the evidence”, not the criminal court standard of reasonable doubt. Therefore, the testimony of the sole creepy witness was sufficient for the court to rule against Sylvia.
Zoning is a nightmare for anyone who believes in property rights and the only solution is to abolish it entirely statewide. We’re going to need a lot more libertarian activists in New Hampshire before that can be done. Meanwhile, Sylvia has literally been kicked off what he believed was his own property by the people calling themselves “the state”, and thrown out into the cold.
Sylvia told me in an exclusive interview, “Property rights, according to the judge don’t really exist”. He says he was unable to find any cases where property rights have been looked at by the NH Supreme Court and is not sure whether or not he will be appealing the decision. He’ll be considering future action legislatively to address the corruption in town governments. You can read his response to the ruling here on his blog. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for any further developments in this case.
Here’s the full trial video and post-trial interview: