Everyone, I hope your rage-glands have been properly primed and lubed, because you’re going to need them. Remember the awesome gearhead with the incredible garage that his terrible neighbors were trying to get torn down? Remember how a judge told those neighbors to get bent? Well, they’re not quitting, and taking their insipid complaint to the Delaware Supreme Court. Ugh.
Let me do a little recap for you here: Charles Williams is a man who loves cars and working on cars so much that he built a huge, incredibly well-equipped garage that he uses to work on his own cars and where his friends gather with their cars to work on and socialize as well.
Williams is in a wheelchair after an industrial accident took his legs, so it’s helpful for him to have his main social outlet – working on cars with friends – right at his home.
Legally, there’s nothing wrong with what Williams is doing. He’s not violating any zoning laws, and his request for a special permit for the garage was turned down because he didn’t actually even need a special permit. As the county council said:
In summary, this motion for denial should not be seen as putting a stop to what Mr. Williams and his friends can do on the property. Instead, Mr. Johnson feels that their current activities do not necessarily require County regulation in the form of a Conditional Use, so the Commission should not impose one upon them...
According to every legal decision so far, Williams is well within his rights to have and use his garage. His neighbors – Margaret Foulke, and John and Carol Kane – whose hatred of William’s garage (described as a “pole building” in legal documents) borders on the obsessive, had their attempt to destroy the garage itself destroyed when the Judge’s findings said this:
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs’ request for an injunction to remove Defendant’s Pole Building is DENIED. Plaintiffs’ request to enjoin the use of that building for the non-commercial enjoyment of the Defendant, by its use for hobby auto maintenance and repair, is DENIED. Plaintiffs’ request that I order the Defendant to remove the ornamental signs on his property is DENIED. The Plaintiffs have failed to establish that the Defendant has created a nuisance per se, and no relief under that theory is available to the Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs’ request that the Defendant pay their legal fees is DENIED.
So, for all of Foulke and the Kanes’ complaints, the judge said DENIED, DENIED, DENIED. Even though all those DENIEDS seem pretty definitive to me, the neighbors seem really dedicated in their quest to make the world just a bit worse, and are appealing the decision all the way to Delaware’s Supreme Court.
In case this act of stubborn shittiness surprises you, please recall that these are the same people that also put up signs by Williams’ garage threatening to have Jesus use his murder-breath to kill Williams, the LAWLESS ONE:
According to the Cape Gazette,
Margaret Foulke and John and Carol Kane filed an appeal Dec. 21 requesting the state Supreme Court review a Chancery Court decision in favor of their neighbor, Charles Williams. In November, Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III dismissed Foulke and the Kanes’ claims against Williams’ garage; they were insisting the garage is not up to Sussex County code and is not an approved use on land zoned agricultural. Glasscock also refused to to grant the neighbors injunctive relief or a declaratory judgement that would have required Williams to tear down his garage.
One neighbor who was on the original complaint, Robert Walker, is not listed on the appeal, and, according to the Cape Gazette, has been in touch with Williams and has no interest in the appeal.
On the brighter side, Williams’ GoFundMe for his legal fees earned $58,245 – almost twice what he was asking for, so at least William’s legal fees are covered. Williams has stated that he’s not pursuing a counter-suit, but, as he told the Gazette, if an attorney was interested in pursuing a countersuit pro bono,
“I’d consider it because what else will ever make them understand what they’ve done to my family?”
...which isn’t an unreasonable point at all.
After the neighbors have been told on multiple occasions that Williams is not in violation of any law, it seems to me that the act of escalating this via an appeal to the Supreme Court of Delaware is simply an act of malice and vitriol.
Why are these people so awful? What makes one’s well-being so precarious that the knowledge that someone else is doing something they enjoy is enough to drive one into long, protracted, expensive fits via a legal system that has clearly stated it’s not interested?
Why don’t these miserable fuckers just move somewhere where they’d be happier, like maybe deep inside the rectum of the giant, seething beast that is their own feckless rage and intolerance? Wouldn’t that solve everything?
I guess it’s now up to the Delaware Supreme Court to give an official ruling about how awful some people can be.
UPDATE: I just spoke with Charles Williams on the phone, to see if I could get some insight into what’s going on, and how he’s feeling about the whole, interminable nightmare. Incredibly, the thing he wanted to express the most was gratitude.
He told me how before the articles and the GoFundMe, the legal actions “nearly broke me and my children,” but now he told me that “the people on GoFundMe blessed me.”
He mentioned what a relief it is that his legal fees are now paid. Williams is a religious man, and tithed a portion of the $58,000 he got, leaving him with around $46,000. He paid his legal fees and set some aside for the appeal. Thanks to the leeway the funds have offered him, he’s even found time to start working on his ‘67 Chevy truck again, which has sat untouched for three years.
He told me how he’s been trying to repay his good fortune by fixing the brakes on his friend’s truck, for example. He made it clear how much he appreciated the support of the Jalopnik community, and mentioned a Jalopnik reader even came by to meet him at his garage.
Of his neighbors, he doesn’t think that they’ll stop even if they lose the appeal. As to why the neighbors seem to have such rage, he has a theory:
“I think that in her (Foulke) mind she believes that, because she paid me her money for the land, she still ‘owns’ everything I built using the money from the sale. She thinks she owns it.”
Of course, that’s not how real estate or money or anything works. Williams told me he sees her walking around “like a viper,” looking for prey.
Williams also wanted to clarify the status of Robert Walker, who is not on the appeal. Williams stated that Walker hasn’t had some dramatic change of character, but rather he’s looking to sell his property and doesn’t want to come across so terribly.
Charles Williams seems determined to keep fighting his fight, and he’s very thankful for all the support he’s gotten. We’ll continue to support his fight, a fight for gearhead rights and genuine human decency.