Burnsville Man Arrested, Jailed for Siding Code Violation

(KSTP)   A Burnsville man on his way to work was arrested and thrown in jail without bond, and then subjected to electronic home monitoring.

But it wasn’t for drugs or a DWI or some other major crime.

Burnsville city leaders say Mitch Faber’s dealings with the law all stem from his failure to properly put up siding on his house.

Yep, siding.

Faber says he had every intention of completing the stucco and decorative rock project on his home but he ran into money troubles when the economy soured. Burnsville leaders say they had no choice to enforce the law.

Here’s how a simple code violation spiraled into a criminal case:

Mitch and his wife Jean say it all began back in 2007 when they received a letter from the city of Burnsville saying, in part, “you must complete the siding of your home.”

“We were in the process of finishing,” Mitch insists. “This wasn’t something that we were trying to avoid doing.”

But in 2009 there were two more warning letters, and in 2010 yet another–this time requiring Faber to appear in court. Burnsville leaders provided 5 Eyewitness News with these 2010 photos of the Fabers’ home as proof there was a problem.

“I was expecting maybe a $700 fine,” Faber said. Instead he was given an ultimatum — finish the siding or go to jail.

So Mitch returned to his house and he and Jean say they spent about $12,000 putting a stucco facade over the plywood exterior. They thought they were finally in compliance. They were wrong.

Faber was then taken into custody in November 2011 after Burnsville inspectors ruled the work was still not satisfactorily completed.  A warrant for his arrest had been issued when, according to the city, Faber failed to turn himself in because the house was still not up to code. Faber is adamant it was. Regardless, what came next, he says, was absolutely uncalled for and humiliating.

“I’m walking around in a green and white jump suit, I had to shower in front of a sheriff, I was shackled, my wrists were handcuffed to my waist — for siding.”

“It was insane,” said Jean. “Absolutely insane.”

After two days locked up, a judge agreed Mitch should be released but required him to submit to electronic home monitoring. In Dakota County, that process requires participants — no matter what their crimes — to blow into a drug and alcohol device every time an alarm goes off.

“They could call me at 2 in the morning and they did,” Faber said.

Burnsville city leaders would not grant 5 Eyewitness News an interview about the Faber case but in an email from Communications Coordinator Marty Doll, he wrote, “”The city feels it provided Mr. Faber ample opportunity (nearly four years) to remedy the situation before issuing a citation…the city’s practice is to only issue citations for property maintenance issues (such as this one) as a last resort. In this case, the city determined a citation was the next appropriate course of action. Once the citation was issued, the matter had essentially left the city’s hands and entered the hands of the court system.”

5 Eyewitness News also called Dakota County Corrections as well as Midwest Monitoring (the company in charge of the electronic home monitoring) but calls were not returned. In a letter dated February 21, 2012, Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom wrote the Fabers, “This was a prosecution initiated by the city of Burnsville through their privately-retained city prosecutor. The County Attorney has no oversight or supervision over city prosecutors…While it was a district court judge who heard this case and made decisions pertaining thereto, judges are employed by the state of Minnesota and not Dakota County.”

The Fabers point to what they call far more glaring code violations outside other houses in their neighborhood. They’d like to know why they were targeted and others weren’t.

“It’s selective enforcement,” said Jean.

Most importantly, though, the Fabers say Burnsville made a mockery of an otherwise law-abiding man.

Asked Mitch, “What did you accomplish other than wasting the city’s money, the county’s money, our money, and then all the mental and emotional anguish? What did you accomplish?”


13 Responses to Burnsville Man Arrested, Jailed for Siding Code Violation

  • Why not waste the taxpayers money? Thats all cops are good for now anyways.

  • These public servant morons have got way too much time on their hands. I wouldn’t blame the guy for going postal.

  • To insure we don’t miss the point here, the major point is that if you live in the USA, you no longer live in the "Free" country you thought you did.

  • What this guy should have done and should do is to transfer the title into a blind
    trust and register the trust in another country. The bank will generally allow this
    if you retain responsibility for the note but that’s not what creates liability for
    code violations, it’s the title. It would be worth a quick trip to Hong Kong to create two shell companies. One is the beneficiary and the other owns the first so there is a circular ownership that never resolves. He could keep the county tied up forever spending money to try and isolate the actual titled own of the property. They would have to pay for lawyers in Hong Kong. I would do this just to screw with them and have some fun. It would cost them 10’s of thousands just to find out one Chinese company owns another. Every time they took an action he would contest it but in Hong Kong where Dakota county would have to hire a lawyer to defend. It would be so much fun to watch them spin their wheels.

  • @Fred54-

    And you’d do all of that, wasting even more time and taxpayer money…for the lulz? That’s what you just said. Instead of fighting the real problem like the man is doing, you’d force the local gov’t to waste tons of tax payer money chasing non existent companies in another country… for the lulz.

    That’s pretty spectacular, my friend. You should run for office. I don’t care which office it is, but clearly you’ve got the know-how and reasoning for ripping off hard working citizens. BRAVO.

  • One of these days they’re goona push a button on the wrong guy.

  • This is a perfect example of laying down and trying to abide by authority. Once they have their true power in place, there is no escape from it, fight back or else see? he spent all that money and still they tossed him in jail no bail

  • So much for us all being equal under the law. What I would do is start a lawsuit for human rights violations, and go after every single bond of everyone involved.

    Failure to do your due diligence is gross negligence equally fraud, and with the forfeiture laws, once you can charge them with fraud, all their income from their job is now proceeds of crime and subject to seizure.

  • Fred54’s idea might be the only way since the courts in this country are rigged. The local government is wasting taxpayer money, – not Fred’s idea.

    You buy the property, yet you must get a permit to put in a garden, a permit to install carpet, a permit to park more than one car in your own garage, a permit to have a picnic of more than ten guests, a permit for this and a license for that. Next you’ll need a permit to go to the toilet. Fred has the right idea – you have to do what is necessary to stop this.

    I wish Fred would tell us more about how the title creates the nexus. And more details from FMOTL Chris would be helpful too. You aren’t likely to get help from a lawyer, except in helping to take your money.

  • Building Code authority may stem from the same power as property tax. I found this on property taxes: http://www.edrivera.com/?cat=198 Half way down the page it is titled: What Is The Real Source Of The Power To Tax Real Property In The United States?

    I’m afraid it goes over my head but maybe someone here will understand it. I don’t see any clear cut solution in the article. Mr. Rivera’s talks about getting free but I like to see proof by examples. Theory must have a practical application.

    Lots of legal gurus talk and talk but don’t have any real solution that works in the court or in everyday life. Some have led their students right into jail. As they say, the proof is in the pudding.

  • The man needs to fight back….one comment says. Well lets take a look at what the county did. They said its all not their fault. They are just propieters of lawyers that REPRESENT the county, so its in that instance we have no LIABILITY. The county is innocent of all wrong doings regardless of how or what the individual suffered and the costs involved. Now why would you be subjected to any BAC test in this case at anytime, why would you be subjected to monitoring, because of the LAW. Which the county then separates itself from. This is a nice law suit, this is a supreme court case where there is no defense. The county will pay or the people in the county will throw the stooges out. Its like you commite to do something and when it all fails its an ambiguous blame, JUST LIKE CONGRESS.
    This county will pay, and if they try to weasel out which is what I think their path is, they will be on the other side of the bars.
    Mike in Afghanistan

  • One solution is to BOYCOTT. Yes, boycott this economy, boycott the social assumptions. Do not fly and you will not suffer the TSA humiliations and abuse. Try to buy the minimum possible and if you have to, do NOT use a credit card. Do not attend big spectacles where these satanic perverts hypnotize you with their stupid entertainments. BOYCOTT,BOYCOTT,BOYCOTT,the most possible and cooperate the least possible. And i can assure you that if you are angry enough with this fucking abuse you will come up with a lot of innovative ways of BOYCOTT.

  • Without our co-operation they are NOTHING.
    That’s one of the things they don’t want you to know.

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