Archive for Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Land owner uses unorthodox method to recover back payment from county

May 31, 2006


An unconventional process of handling what would otherwise be a court lawsuit is being attempted by a Lawrence man to get a monetary settlement for what he says was illegal trespassing and dumping on his land by a construction company working for Douglas County more than 25 years ago.

Earlier this year, Rex Youngquist, with assistance from a friend, Craig Sundell, filed papers with the Douglas County Clerk's office seeking damages of $3,000 per month dating back to 1980. Called a "notice of demand and intent," it was directed not only at Douglas County but also the city of Lawrence, Anderson Construction Co. of Holton, and other city and county officials, including all past city and county commissioners to 1978.

Because Youngquist's notice received no response, he claims he has a "perfected judgment" in his favor for $11 million, Sundell said. That includes alleged damages to the value of his property, storage, accumulated interest and punitive damages.

That's nonsense, according to the county's attorney, Evan Ice.

"They don't have any judgment or legal finding against the county unless they file a lawsuit, and they haven't done that," Ice said.

The dispute began in 1981 after Youngquist returned to Lawrence from jobs in South America and found mountains of rebar and other debris on his property northwest of Teepee Junction, north of Lawrence. The land had been a soybean field.

Lawrence landowner Rex Youngquist, 86, is in the middle of a dispute with county officials about concrete, waste and debris from the old Kansas River bridge that he says was dumped years ago on his property in North Lawrence.

Lawrence landowner Rex Youngquist, 86, is in the middle of a dispute with county officials about concrete, waste and debris from the old Kansas River bridge that he says was dumped years ago on his property in North Lawrence.

"I was mystified. I couldn't believe it happened," Youngquist, 86, said recently as he recalled the moment.

The debris had been hauled by Anderson Construction from the demolition of the old Massachusetts Street bridge over the Kansas River. The bridge was torn down to make way for two new bridges in use today. Anderson signed a contract with the county in 1975 to take ownership, tear down the bridge and remove it, Ice said. Though inside the city limits, the county had previously been responsible for the bridge.

Youngquist says he didn't give permission to dump on the site and had even posted "no trespassing" signs. He said he purchased the property in 1978, though Ice said Youngquist didn't own the property until after the bridge was demolished.

Youngquist said he talked to county officials about the matter during the years after the dumping but was unable to afford an attorney to go to court because of business problems. In 2004, an attorney, on behalf of Youngquist, made inquiries with the county about a settlement and requested a document that purportedly gave Anderson Construction permission to dump on the property.

Disputed land

The county denied it was responsible in the matter and Anderson never produced the document. Anderson is no longer in business.

Filing papers with the county clerk's office instead of the court on a civil or property matter was not uncommon during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when there were not as many judges in some areas of the country, according to Sundell. It was used to secure a hearing and findings of fact prior to the passage of the Uniform Commercial Code and other laws in 1933, Sundell said.

"It's an unconventional approach, but it's legal," said Sundell, who is not an attorney.

"I'm still going to keep on fighting," Youngquist said.

Some of the debris eventually was used, with Youngquist's permission, by a railroad firm for track abutments that run near the property.


dthroat 11 years, 11 months ago

If I am not mistaken, isn't this the same guy who owes a ton on money in a civil lawsuit he lost. AND he refused to fill out the court paperwork on how much money he had and all his assests and was found in contempt of court.

Maybe that is why he didn't file a "regular" lawsuit. Or could it be the court would throw it out for being past any kind of time line.

Just wondering.

dozer 11 years, 11 months ago

Love the sign = NO GOVERNMENT AGENTS. He's probably convinced the government sneaks onto his property and watches him at night as well.

GardenMomma 11 years, 11 months ago

He complains that the debris is on his property but still has to give permission for it to be removed and used?!?!

Is it still there? Or has all the debris been removed?

Jamesaust 11 years, 11 months ago

I believe Mr. Youngquist was ill-advised when informed that there was more than one route to a civil judgment in Kansas. Chapter 60 (Procedure, Civil) makes clear that it governs all "civil actions" and makes the "clerk of the court" not the "county clerk" the exclusive site for filing "papers".

Besides, I would believe that the statute of limitations would cut off any claim Mr. Youngquist has. One simply cannot fritter away decades and then file a lawsuit for damages (for reasons this article makes obvious).

And, yes, I do believe that Mr. Youngquist is the same individual that Judge Six awarded a judgment against in excess of $100k a year or so ago (a prosecution for racial discrimination in property rental).

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 11 months ago

This is the same sort of half-baked approach to the law that those "militia" guys use. They dig up some ancient law, then misapply it. They declare themselves a "nation", then issue themselves home made car tags because they think they have the right to do that. Then they get impounded when they drive through town with their "tag" on the back of their pickup (big surprise). It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.

Susan Mangan 11 years, 11 months ago

I am all for property owners' rights, but this guy is a sleazy jerk, in my opinion. I'd like to see the court that would uphold the fabricated "judgement" this guy claims while allowing him to skip out on a fine for a criminal conviction. If this is supposed to be a news story, why didn't the LJW mention that the same "unorthodox" guy has been held in contempt of court for failing to pay court-ordered fines already? That seems pertinent to me.

gr 11 years, 11 months ago

sow: "I'm puzzled. How can he give permission to use the debris which he says is not his and belongs to the county to someone else?"

Suppose someone dumped TVs, desks, computers, etc. in your yard. Does that mean anyone can come by and pick them up without your permission? Even if you didn't want them?

westcoastmama 11 years, 11 months ago

This is a load of crap. literally.... how long would Larrytown or the county of Douggy let someone have a junky car sitting in thier yard before they sent the nazis out to harrass and fine the owner.... 3 minutes... but they can leave their crap laying all over for years and this poor man is just supposed to plant his beans around it?

The city, county and the construction company should be ashamed of themselves. and Mr. Youngquist should take all that stuff and dump it in front of city hall... and send them the bill for hauling.

gr 11 years, 11 months ago

Before getting too excited, it may be wise to establish if the junk was dumped before or after he owned it. The article was a little unclear on that. It is conceivable he's getting upset after purchasing the land and finding out it was used for a dump - not bright on his part, but possible.

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