Landlord Wrecks Occupied Home, Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor

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An Idaho landlord who used a tractor to tear into a home he owned -- while a family of renters with ties to political extremists was inside -- has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in the case.

Paul Fagerlie Finman pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace for using tractor-lift tongs to break into the home that he owns while a woman and her children were inside of it, The Bonner County Daily Bee reports. No one was injured in the 2010 incident, but the family, which was in the process of being evicted by him, told authorities that the experience was terrifying.

Finman, who originally faced three counts of felony assault, claimed that the family told him that they would move out of the rental by Sept. 30, 2010, according to The Herald Times Reporter. The landlord has been trying to tear down the house for 18 months, and the process has led to "substantial stress in his life," Finman's attorney, Jeremy Featherston, told The Bonner County Daily Bee.

But Bonner County chief deputy prosecutor Shane Greenbank told AOL Real Estate that there is "zero" evidence that Finman had told the family that he intended to demolish the rental home before he drove his tractor into it. Leading up to the incident, Greenbank said, Alexander Duncan Campbell, a resident of the home who is reportedly a member of a right-wing extremist group, had been trying to negotiate rent with Finman. But Finman, who had recently acquired the property that the house sat on, "wasn't cooperative," and wanted the family evicted, Greenbank said.

"He decided that driving the tractor through the house was a quicker process," Greenbank said, adding that Finman pursued the family with his tractor after they fled the home.

Finman was sentenced to 180 days in jail and must pay more than $400 in fines and court costs. But 178 days of his sentence was suspended and he received credit for two days he'd already spent in jail.

With a glut of foreclosed homes sitting vacant on a depressed housing market, bizarre incidents stemming from unwanted occupations have seemed to proliferate. In one of the strangest cases, authorities recently discovered two alleged squatters with 10 hand grenades, drugs, a firearm and a pig.

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Landlord Wrecks Occupied Home, Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor

Location: Trenton, N.J. 
Average Foreclosure Discount: 67.8 percent

Price: $198,500
Beds/Baths: 3/2
Sq. Ft.: N/A

Trenton ranks No. 1 on RealtyTrac's list of cities with the steepest foreclosure discounts. This single-family, whose price was slashed recently, represents one of the killer deals you can find in the city. 

See more foreclosed homes in Trenton, N.J.

Dating back to the 1960s, this Cape Cod-style home offers three bedrooms and two baths. Judging by the average foreclosure discount of New Jersey, the home could be running as much as $150,000 below market value. 

Location: Atlanta 
Average Foreclosure Discount: 49.67 percent

Price: $3.75 million
Beds/Baths: 7/10
Sq. Ft.: 22,000

Foreclosed homes in Atlanta are selling for a staggering 50 percent off, according to data from RealtyTrac. This vacant Mediterranean mansion offers a rather excessive four kitchens along with amenities that include a home theater, pool, spa, steam room and elevator. 

See other foreclosed homes in Atlanta

With its gleaming double staircase, the foyer's richly finished, sparkling-clean interior contrasts with the scene at many foreclosed homes, which often show neglect. 

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At a whopping 22,000 square feet, the home's cavernous interior is distinctly palatial.

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Location: Houston
Average Foreclosure Discount: 48.14 percent

Price: $4.29 million
Beds/Baths: 5/9
Sq. Ft.: 12,129

It may be hard to believe that $4.29 million is a below-market price, but given that this stucco Mediterranean is bank-owned and Houston's foreclosure discount approaches 50 percent, odds are that the home could be quite a deal for a well-heeled buyer. 

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The home has a stone exterior and tile roof, along with a courtyard, pool and outdoor kitchen. The interior stretches 12,129 square feet. 

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After weaving around columns and through arched doorways, you reach the home's library or its fully-contained suite, accessible through its own entrance. 

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Location: St. Louis
Average Foreclosure Discount: 54.61 percent

Price: $89,900
Beds/Baths: 3/2
Sq. Ft.: 1,342

This brick-built home, which dates back to 1930, probably hit the market at a reduced price to begin with, but now is running even lower, having just undergone a price cut. The home offers stained-glass windows and wood flooring along with a spruced-up kitchen. 

See more foreclosed homes for sale in St. Louis.

Pictured here is the home's updated kitchen. The residence is even more of a deal if you factor in its purported HomePath Mortgage status. That means if you've got the right credit, you could snatch it for as little as 3 percent down. 

See more foreclosed homes for sale in St. Louis.

Location: Lansing, Mich. 
Average Foreclosure Discount: 44.31 percent

Price: $124,900
Beds/Baths: N/A
Sq. Ft.: 2,228

Squeezed into a condo community, this historic home stands out in the neighborhood because of its stately portico. The home has a long residential tradition, but could go commercial if the buyer so chooses: The house can serve as an office, according to the listing. 

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The home's portico gives it a tinge of the pastoral era in which it was built. The classic was constructed in 1855. 

See other foreclosed homes in Lansing, Mich.

Location: Grand Rapids, Mich. 
Average Foreclosure Discount: 43.45 percent

Price: $289,900
Beds/Baths: 4/4
Sq. Ft.: 4,339

You get a lot of bang for your buck if you buy  this four-bedroom contemporary. Located on a cul-de-sac, the home spans a generous 4,339 feet and offers a three-car garage. At under $300,000, that makes it an affordable luxury residence.  

See more foreclosed homes in Grand Rapids, Mich. 

Along with its expansive interior, the home also boasts its own heated greenhouse, along with a theater and office. 

See more foreclosed homes in Grand Rapids, Mich. 

Location: Flint, Mich. 
Average Foreclosure Discount: 21.55 percent

Price: $109,600
Beds/Baths: 4/3
Sq. Ft.: N/A

Purchase a foreclosed home in Flint and you're likely to enjoy the benefit of more than 20 percent off. While the city's foreclosure inventory doesn't offer deals quite as striking as those found in some other cities wracked by the housing crisis, the town's average foreclosed-home price still falls far, far below the national median (which hovers above $200,000). Flint's average foreclosed-home price is just $60,578. This well-landscaped home demonstrates how far just $110,000 gets you. 

See more foreclosed homes in Flint, Mich. 

The home may be a bit bare-bones now, but as the listing asserts, the home has "lots of potential." It comes with a pool, a deck and a two-car garage. 

See more foreclosed homes in Flint, Mich. 

Location: Tampa, Fla. 
Average Foreclosure Discount: 24.97 percent

Price: $143,900
Beds/Baths: 6/4
Sq. Ft.: 2,920

At just $49 per square foot, this cheery home in Tampa, Fla., a city that took has taken a real shellacking from the housing crisis, offers of six bedrooms. 

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The bank-owned property spans nearly 3,000 square feet and boasts a well-equipped kitchen with cherry-stained cabinetry and marble countertops. 

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Location: Easton, Pa. 
Average Foreclosure Discount: 41.17 percent

Price: $29,900
Beds/Baths: 3/1
Sq. Ft.: 1,556

Alright! A listing description that levels with you. "This is a property that needs some work," it states. The home is not without its virtues, however: It offers ample space, three bedrooms and an attic. Furthermore, buyers can acquire 3 percent buyer's assistance if they make an offer by the 31st of this month. 

See more foreclosed homes in Easton, Pa.

One thing buyers should watch out for if they think about shelling out for these digs is that, as with many other foreclosures, there is no seller disclosure for buyers interested in this home. That means, unless you pay for a thorough inspection, you could discover hidden flaws after purchasing the place. 

See other foreclosed homes in Easton, Pa. 

Location: Chattanooga, Tenn. 
Average Foreclosure Discount: 40.39 percent

Price: $129,000
Beds/Baths: 3/2
Sq. Ft.: 1,456

This staid but cozy home is running for $129,000, about $40,000 over the average foreclosed home price in Chattanooga. The home offers a nice porch and decently finished interior. 

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Pictured here is the home's open dining-kitchen area. The place seems to be in pretty good shape for a foreclosed home. Many fall into poor condition, succumbing to insect infestations or other symptoms of neglect. 

See more foreclosed homes in Chattanooga, Tenn.

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No barnyard animals or weapons were apparently at the center of this case, which was not a foreclosed home. But Campbell is reportedly a member of the Sovereign Citizen Movement which, according to the FBI, is a group of "anti-government extremists" who reject institutions including "courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement."

Campbell's hard-line beliefs reportedly led him to forbid his wife and children from testifying against Finman. The landlord told the Hagadone News Network that eviction proceedings began after he received a death threat from Campbell that was couched in Biblical rhetoric.

Greenbank said that the family members were "necessary witnesses" for him to proceed with felony charges. "We were in a position where we could not serve the victims in the case," he said, since Campbell refused to allow his family to testify unless the prosecutor made warrants out for Campbell's arrest "go away."

Campbell is reportedly wanted by the Idaho counties of Kootenai and Nez Perce for offenses that include illegal possession of a concealed weapon.

"As a result he's been in hiding since probably last November," Greenbank said. Hagadone News reported that the whereabouts of Campbell and his family are unknown as of Monday.


See also:
Homeowners Return From Vacation, Find Car in Bedroom

Pray, Mont.: Buy the Whole Town for $1.4 Million


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