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Archive for Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Property owner claims in lawsuit Overbrook man cut $50,000 worth of trees for firewood

Landowner Mike Capra counts the rings on the stump of a tree that he says was illegally cut from his 40-acre property in southwestern Douglas County months ago. Capra has filed a lawsuit against a neighbor for clearing what Capra says is over 60 trees from his land for the purposes of selling them for firewood.

Landowner Mike Capra counts the rings on the stump of a tree that he says was illegally cut from his 40-acre property in southwestern Douglas County months ago. Capra has filed a lawsuit against a neighbor for clearing what Capra says is over 60 trees from his land for the purposes of selling them for firewood.

February 14, 2012

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Landowner Files Lawsuit over Trees Cut from Property Without Permission

Douglas County landowner Mike Capra talks about the events leading up to a lawsuit he has filed against a neighbor he believes cleared over 60 trees from his property to sell for firewood. Enlarge video

A Douglas County man has filed a lawsuit accusing an Overbrook man of removing 62 trees, valued at more than $50,000, from his property and selling them as firewood.

Mike Capra alleges on Dec. 10 Kevin G. Reece asked him if he could cut enough wood from trees for “a few hedge posts” — used for rural fences — on Capra’s undeveloped property southwestern Douglas County that abuts the Franklin County line.

But Capra claims when he visited the property Jan. 15 he discovered 62 trees had been cut down and brush piles were left scattered on the property.

“I gave him a few hedge posts, and he takes the whole forest,” Capra said.

The suit claims Reece’s son had participated in removing the trees and had been selling it as firewood.

Capra’s attorney Brad Finkeldei said it was Capra’s belief Reece would cut only a few limbs from trees for the hedge posts. Capra also claims in the suit the total value of the trees was in excess of $50,000, and he accuses Reece of wrongfully converting the trees into firewood for his own benefit, falsely representing reasons for entering the land, and trespassing.

“The unique part about this is it’s a natural resource that’s been destroyed, and it can never be replaced,” Finkeldei said.

Capra filed a theft report with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. Douglas County prosecutors declined to file criminal charges.

Attempts to reach Reece were not successful Tuesday. Finkeldei said he had not been notified that authorities had been successful in serving Reece notice of the suit at his Overbrook address.

District Judge Paula Martin has not scheduled a hearing in the case.

Comments

riverdrifter 2 years, 7 months ago

$50,000 for 62 hedge trees? Yeah, right, if these were the hybridized thornless Osage Orange trees. Otherwise, $200/cord, tops. Unless they doped the stumps with Tordon RTU these trees will come back with a vengance in short order.

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peartree 2 years, 7 months ago

Beyond the value of the wood, you must consider the damage to the property value.

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riverdrifter 2 years, 7 months ago

99% of hedge trees get dozed and shoved into a hole. Property value, my rump.

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Jeremiah Jefferson 2 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Capra likes to blow things out of proportion. It was probably more like 12 trees.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

Nonsense.... since when did Capra and his legal counsel become tree huggers?

Those trees will come back.

No contract was signed = no specifics = no hard evidence

Talk about frivolous lawsuits...

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windjammer 2 years, 7 months ago

Talk about a frivolous lawyer.

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parrothead8 2 years, 7 months ago

62 tree stumps is pretty good evidence.

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jafs 2 years, 7 months ago

Verbal contracts are binding.

"Theft by conversion" means that you get something (a loan, for example) and then use it for something other than your stated purpose, so if he asked for a little wood for fence posts, and then cut and sold the wood, that would fit the definition, it seems to me.

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Michael Capra 2 years, 7 months ago

and eve kimple at prosacutors office cant see that pretty blind

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jafs 2 years, 7 months ago

Well, it must be proven that there was in fact a verbal contract of that sort, which may be difficult.

That's why it's always a good idea to put things in writing.

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eotw33 2 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Michael Capra 2 years, 7 months ago

haveu ever been raped like this

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Michael Capra 2 years, 7 months ago

u should see what they did to the forest

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asixbury 2 years, 7 months ago

You have never cut limbs for posts before, huh? The posts are not that big around, hence the limbs are perfect. The trunks are much too big for the purpose of hedge posts. Also, the man is elderly, so why would he want to walk all the way out to the corner of his property that the man was allowed to cut from? If you lived on a farm, which I have, there is just too much space to keep a constant eye on it. This is especially true if it's pasture land. The farm I lived on is 180 acres of pasture land, forest, and creek. I doubt many people are willing or physically able to get to some parts of my land. You have to actually hike through creeks and dense forests to get to some areas.

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Michael Capra 2 years, 7 months ago

they stayed in middle and back of property so u couldnt see from road

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Keith 2 years, 7 months ago

This is really plumbing the depths of frivolous lawsuits.

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windjammer 2 years, 7 months ago

Frivolous lawsuits by frivolous lawyer.

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Clickker 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't think it really matters what he SOLD the wood for. Thats not the issue.

The issue is damages and what it will take to return the land to the exact condition that it was before the guy butchered it. Pipeline companies pay damages for right of way all the time, and that is the precedent.

Not to mention some fraud or misrepresentation involved.

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asixbury 2 years, 7 months ago

Once again, someone who has no clue what goes into building fences on farms. The limbs are EXACTLY what you use for "hedge posts." The trunks are much too big to use for this purpose. This is coming from someone who has constructed many fence lines in my day.

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Agvocate 2 years, 7 months ago

What a joke. In the video, Mr. Capra states that his neighbor was greedy and "all about the money". I find that hard to believe when Mr. Capra thinks his 62 trees were honestly worth $50,000. In fact, I'd be impressed if someone could cut and sell $50,000 worth of firewood. What kind of time-span are we talking about? If I've learned anything, it's not to quarrel with the neighbors. From reading other comments, it appears that Mr. Capra has quite a reputation and can't be trusted. I'm all for protecting the environment but this lawsuit appears to be ridiculous and a waste of everyones time.

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Michael Capra 2 years, 7 months ago

Some loggers will pay a 1000 dollars for a hedge tree at a curtain size so it should really be 62000 dollars not 50000

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Grump 2 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Reece & son,

Please come cut some hedge on my property. Pushing the brush up into piles would be great. I'll burn the piles and Tordon the stumps myself later.

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sandw2010 2 years, 7 months ago

If you really need hedge cut I am sure my husband would come and cut it for you.

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Boston_Corbett 2 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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kernal 2 years, 7 months ago

And I'll bet you wear tails at breakfast.

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Amy Heeter 2 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like some have personal issues. Mike worked on my plumbing, he was courteous and efficient.

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Michael Capra 2 years, 7 months ago

bet none of these people on here would want all there trees cut down

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jehovah_bob 2 years, 7 months ago

I would. I hate trees, they never did anything for me other than destroy my sewer line and litter my yard with leaves.

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jafs 2 years, 7 months ago

Then cut them down, if they're on your property.

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BruceWayne 2 years, 7 months ago

Is this the same guy that owns Vito's Plumbing?

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otto 2 years, 7 months ago

If you are cutting firewood on someone elses property you should

  • Cut the stumps off at the ground, from the pics that did not happen.
  • Take care of all the brush, Discussing with the landowner what he would like done with it.
  • Don't leave any trash.
  • Don't cut when it is muddy, leaving ruts.
  • Remember it is someone elses property and you need to have respect for it.
  • Share any cut posts or firewood with the landowner.
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jafs 2 years, 7 months ago

And, perhaps most importantly to begin with, you should have the express permission of the property owner in writing.

But, I like all of your suggestions - they reflect consideration and respect.

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TheWith 2 years, 7 months ago

Thats taking advantage at its finest. That would be like going up to a neighbor and asking for a "few" cups of sugar and walking out with the sugar, all their cook ware and leaving the kitchen riding a jack hammer. Shakin my head

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Bob Forer 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree. Whether the victim is difficult to get along with is irrelevent. I'd be pissed too.

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tolawdjk 2 years, 7 months ago

$50,000 of firewood.

If this truely was hedge wood, how many hours of chainsawblade sharpening does that equate to?

I remember back in the day, when my grandfather wanted to get me out from underfoot from pestering him, he would give me a handsaw, point to grove, and tell me he needed half a dozen "so long and so big".

Hours later....

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gr 2 years, 7 months ago

“The unique part about this is it’s a natural resource that’s been destroyed, and it can never be replaced,” Finkeldei said.

Trees never grow back. Never.

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Erin England 2 years, 7 months ago

I was just thinking this. Since when can trees not be replaced?

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asixbury 2 years, 7 months ago

Do you have 50+ years to wait for the large ones to grow back?

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Michael Capra 2 years, 7 months ago

THE CLEAN UP ALONE reseed,straw,dig out roads that were made across creeks brush, will be 25 or 30 k not mention 200 cords of wood at 180 to 200 a cord 40k

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 7 months ago

“Good fences make good neighbors” - Robert Frost

Great height, barbed wire tips, and electrification make respectful neighbors.

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Chris Golledge 2 years, 7 months ago

There is only one tree in the picture, but when was the last time you saw a fence post that big? Seriously, fence posts that are too heavy to pick up are not much use. An 8 ft section of that would take a good sized tractor to lift.

If the agreement was for fence posts, and trees clearly not suitable for fence posts were cut, that sounds like conversion, as described above, to me.

"Limbs"? That sounds like a stretch to me; I've never seen limbs used for posts.

"$50,000" Hmm, not worth that much as firewood. Posts are worth more than firewood, but not sure that much more. Wood by the board foot is worth maybe that much, depending on the kind of tree. Hedge isn't used for furniture much at all; it splinters and tends to burn on the cutting/shaping tool. (That's hedge (osage orange) in the picture, btw.) On the other hand, it has a unique color and sheen, and I've seen some pricey nick-knack pieces selling on Mass. Street.

Personally, I think both sides are stretching.

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Chris Golledge 2 years, 7 months ago

I think it also matters if the agreement implied personal use, and they were clearly sold for profit. Asking for a few trees implies that you intend to use them yourself.

Can I take a few trees to repair my fence? Sure

Is a difference agreement from

Can I take 60 odd trees and sell off the wood?

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Jeremiah Jefferson 2 years, 7 months ago

atleast mr capra doesn't have to deal with all the hedge balls anymore.

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Boston_Corbett 2 years, 7 months ago

So that I do not violate the terms and conditions of this blog site, I will make no comment other than to suggest readers acquaint themselves of previous LJW reportage about the plaintiff in this matter:

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/apr... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/apr/28/election_postcard_still/?print http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/jan/12/campaign_finance_reports_reveal_postcards_backer/?politics

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Joe Hyde 2 years, 7 months ago

Looking at the photo of those two severed main beams of that one tree and the width of the tree stump he's bending down to inspect, either Mr. Capra is a midget...or those "few fence posts" are being used to build a new railroad trestle over the Wakarusa River.

Some serious wood got taken down there. Way too thick for any "few fence posts'. I hope an equitable solution is worked out between the parties.

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Boston_Corbett 2 years, 7 months ago

Small town politics, sidewalk dining, and a prior arrest. All public information. Oh, and quite a vote-getter.

http://cjonline.com/news/2011-06-18/small-town-politics-roils-osage-city

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Keith 2 years, 7 months ago

Did David S. order a lot of firewood?

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hipper_than_hip 2 years, 7 months ago

The property owner gave permission on Dec 10 and visited the site on Jan 15: 36 days.

200 cords/36 days = 5.55 cords/day. So the father & son cut down, re-cut into 16" lengths, split, loaded, hauled, unloaded, stacked, and sold 5.55 cords per day for 36 days straight?

And who buys green hedge for $200/cord?

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 7 months ago

hy·per·bol·ic   [hahy-per-bol-ik]
adjective 1. having the nature of hyperbole; exaggerated. 2. using hyperbole; exaggerating. 3. Mathematics. a. of or pertaining to a hyperbola. b. derived from a hyperbola, as a hyperbolic function.

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ranger73 2 years, 7 months ago

How many chain saws did they burn up? Cuz if you've ever cut hedge you know how bad it is on chainsaws.

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formerfarmer 2 years, 7 months ago

Journal World, go back and review your OWN previous articles about this man. I can't understand why you would go to all the trouble and publish anything about his ALLEGED problems.

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Michael Capra 2 years, 7 months ago

so it doesnt happen to anyone else

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Amy Heeter 2 years, 7 months ago

Someone needs to enforce right above wrong. The journal world is reporting the news without being judgmental. Mr Capra is just seeking justice. The judge will enforce the law as applicable. Finally it seems some commenting here simply have another ax to grind

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jafs 2 years, 7 months ago

Maybe.

First, Mr. Capra will have to prove there was a verbal contract that both agreed to that meets his presentation of it.

It would have been a lot better to have it in writing - then there can be no "he said, he said" nonsense.

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Jeremiah Jefferson 2 years, 7 months ago

Hmmmm, No sir I don't like it.... Sounds like Mr Capra is a shaddy person.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 7 months ago

They should have consulted the Stultz Family on the proper way to slash and burn rural properties.

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frank mcguinness 2 years, 7 months ago

While I do not like Mr Capra for some of his past actions, I support his right to sue someone who abused his authorization. As a rural homeowner I can understand that although these trees were worthless in the eyes of some of these posters they take time to regrow and I personally would sue too if someone took advantage of my approval.

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CHEEZIT 2 years, 7 months ago

Price how much it would be to transplant almost mature trees (like they did at Free State)and multiply it by 62!!! Fifty thousand is a bargain!!! lol!

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pace 2 years, 7 months ago

My neighbor cut down several trees on my property, trees on land not adjacent to his. My tenants called me and asked why I was having trees cut down. The cops made me put a price on the trees. they said grown tree had no value. I once had given the guy permission to lop off a bit of rose bush that crossed a shared fence. The officers said that having given permission to cut something, they could do nothing unless I could prove value of the trees. Happily he had cut a pear tree which I had a sales ticket for. The cops were less than helpful. I finally contacted my neighbor's land lord, who was dismayed to find the nut had cut every tree on the man's property. My neighbor was a bit mad. He thought trees stole oxygen and he stated my yard had too many trees. He took out a walnut, a mulberry tree, an elm, a pear and an oak.
Why any of you think a man should not take care of protecting his property or his trees is beyond me. i don't care how you feel about trees or the value. It says a lot, that you think someone being nice means they lose their rights of their own property. Theft is theft, and a theft of a stand of trees is a scar for decades.

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irvan moore 2 years, 7 months ago

i think he is lucky that the legal system is the way mr capra is dealing with the situation

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Agvocate 2 years, 7 months ago

well what do you mean by that beatnik

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irvan moore 2 years, 7 months ago

sometimes neighbors end up screaming at each other or getting even by doing damage to others property and making a bad situation worse, i think mr capra did it right

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fudgystuff 2 years, 7 months ago

Mr Capra does indeed have a bad reputation, I know him and he likes to sue people to supplyment his income.... If he was so concerned about his precious trees why didn't he supervise the cutting.? I'm guessing you could cut a few hedgeposts in an hour........But he waits a few weeks to go back & check his property, are you kidding me??? When you give someone permission to do something on your property anything can happen. He will find any reason to complain, get a lawyer & start suing. Not sure why his wife stays w/him, he's a real jerk and runs a half assed plumbing business- his works is far from professional, would not recommend his plumbing to anyone. His grandfather Vito is probably turning over in his grave by now from all the shaddy things he does to people. Hope the judge throws the lawsuit out.

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Jeremiah Jefferson 2 years, 7 months ago

The city does it all the time.. No big deal...

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desepla 2 years, 7 months ago

The problem is that you are "assuming they had an agreement". This is obviously a one-sided article and non of us really know what was agreed apon. It appears that Capra has quite a reputation, which makes the whole situation fishy.

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fudgystuff 2 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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sunny 2 years, 7 months ago

Poor Fudgystuff! Getting personal instead of sticking with the issue. Get a life!

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riverdrifter 2 years, 7 months ago

I wonder how many here have cut and split a cord of standing hedge. Those that did so weren't in this case weren't lazy souls, I'll tell you that it's hard work, not for that much money and it's tough on saw bars, clutches and chains. BTW, that trunk lying horizontal in the image was dead or damn near it and they should've filleted it out for stove wood. The dude "counting the rings" is funny.

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riverdrifter 2 years, 7 months ago

Hedge. Osage orange. Google it. Get a clue.

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brewmaster 2 years, 7 months ago

Based on prior news articles in the LJW, the Topeka Capital Journal and reader comments it is apparent that this guy has a malicious and narcissitic personality disorder. There is a chronic pattern of drawing attention to himself by causing trouble for other people through lies and deception.

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Dusty 2 years, 7 months ago

I think part of the issue was the fact that he said he was going to cut the Hedge trees, but cut a good deal that were not Hedge trees. Sure they were part of the mix, but not exclusively Hedge/Osage Orange.

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