Dave Hodges

More About: Property Rights

The Great Arizona Mafia (Part 2)

Eminent domain is a recognized and legitimate function of government. However, the law prescribes that the need for the land must be real and that fair market value be paid to the impacted property owners.
Yet, when Arizona’s elected officials conspire to intentionally deprive people of their constitutional rights, their properties and their life savings, without paying fair market value, we cease to live in a republican form of government in which we are a nation of laws. Rather, Arizona, and many areas in modern day America have sunk to the level of a banana republic in which the locally elected crime syndicate makes up the rules as they go along.   

The Great Arizona Mafia has reared its head in tiny Wittmann, Arizona as this crime syndicate spearheaded by the Arizona State Attorney General, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and Westmarc (i.e., the West Valley towns and cities consortium) and their corporate benefactors have conspired to engage in the outright theft of the properties of 1,200 citizens, without so much as one dime being paid in compensation.

Wittmann, Arizona is located in the rural desert northwest of Phoenix, Arizona and before you breathe a sigh of relief that you are not unlucky enough to be one of the unfortunate people who live in Wittmann, consider that the real reasons and events behind what is happening in this small rural community is actually happening in several communities around the country. Namely, this abuse of private property rights will most certainly be visiting your hometown, if it has not already. Consider that several thousand people in Texas have already fallen victims to this very similar type of governmental abuse of the 5th amendment property rights. Wittmann residents and several thousand citizens in Texas are merely “the canary in the mine” whose financial devastation should be sounding warning bells all over the country.   

Before this multi-part series on the abuse of personal property rights visits the specific legal and constitutional issues of this abuse are exposed, and how this will impact every American in this country, let’s first put a series of human faces who have become unfortunate victims of the ulterior motives of this organized crime syndicate.


Meet Captain (ret.) Gary Byler who served two tours of duty in Vietnam. Captain Byler was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous bravery in action. Gary Byler also served two consecutive tours of duty in Vietnam. In his second tour of duty, Byler stepped on a land mine and left two limbs on the battlefield.   

In 1993, Barb and Gary Byler built a home in Wittmann, Arizona. The Byler family also purchased a large parcel of vacant land adjacent to their home so that when the time was right, they could sell their land to pay for the assisted health care facility that Gary would one day need to accommodate later-life health issues associated with his battlefield injuries. A few years ago, Byler suffered a stroke and his health has steadily declined and now he desperately needs to sell his land in preparation for the aforementioned inevitable day. Unfortunately, Gary Byler cannot sell his excess property to fund his assisted living care expense. No, the failing American economy does not play a role in Byler’s inability to sell his land in order to fund his medical needs. You see, the Byler’s land is encumbered by the State of Arizona because of where it is located. Yet, the severe property restrictions are retroactive, done without proper legal notice and without the required compensation being paid to the Byler family. Technically, Gary Byler can legally sell his land, but who is going to buy vacant land on which nothing can be built or storm damage cannot be repaired? The short answer is nobody. Reasonable people have asked why the Byler’s have not been compensated for the regulatory takings that they have suffered? After all, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held (e.g., the Nolan and Dolan cases) that restricting person’s right to the full use of their property is a regulatory takings and therefore must be treated in the same light as an eminent domain action in which the property owner must be paid fair market value.

Captain Byler will be able to afford to go to the assisted care facility when the time is right. However, to do so, he will have to hope that someone will buy his home, in which no repairs or additions can be made, and that money will be applied to cover this future medical expenses. It should be noted that Captain Byler is sacrificing what should be the inheritance of his home, intended for distribution among the Byler children, to the state of Arizona. In other words, the Byler family is literally having hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen from them as a result of the actions of the Great Arizona Mafia (i.e., top elected officials).   

Meet Wittmann resident, Robert Landers, who is a former Air Force veteran that desperately needs water therapy treatment and subsequent surgery in order to save his withering leg. The Veterans Administration physicians have demanded that Mr. Landers install a therapeutic spa, which would attach to his existing pool, as a medically required precursor to surgery. Mr. Landers has been unable to obtain a permit to install his medically ordered therapeutic spa. In a recent radio interview, Mr. Landers stated that if he is unable to immediately move forward with his treatment, he fears that he will lose his leg. Has Mr. Landers been paid fair market value for the loss of his property rights? Well, if the State of Arizona can illegally deprive Captain Byler his property rights with impunity, then why should Arizona suddenly start obeying the laws on eminent domain? Meanwhile, the fate of Mr. Landers’ leg lies in the balance.

In 2003, Mike Robins spent a sizeable portion of his family’s life savings in purchasing the acreage to build what they had hoped would be their last home. After spending several thousand dollars on obtaining plans in preparation to build, the Robins’ found that their land had been retroactively encumbered, without the legal required notification as prescribed by law. Subsequently, the Robins’ have squandered, through no fault of their own, a sizeable portion of their financial resources. To add insult to injury, the Robins’, as have all of the encumbered Wittmann area property owners, have witnessed their property taxes triple in the past few years. The Robins’ could stop making payments on the land and/or paying taxes on the land that they own in name only. However, they would have their land foreclosed upon and suffer irreparable damage to their credit. In short, this couple must continue to make payments and pay taxes on land that they do not truly own or control.    

Both the overt and covert parties of the Great Arizona Mafia, who are responsible for these outrageous abuses, along with an identification of their motives and identification of the laws they have broken will be discussed in part three of this series on the Great Arizona Mafia. Part three will also reveal why no American should ever, again, feel safe and secure in their homes. The abuse suffered by the citizens living in Wittmann, Arizona is tragic, but it is by no means isolated. Wittmann is merely a microcosm for the fate that awaits so many of us in the near future as this infamous crime syndicate is located everywhere in our country. The names may change and most of the members of this protection racket may stand and actually say the Pledge of Allegiance, but all the time they are planning to separate as many people as possible from their money by any means possible.  

3 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:
Governmant does NOT harm anyone. Only people harm people (and a little harm is done by nature, as in old age).

Government is the excuse Government people use to harm other people when instructed to do so by other people in Government.

Sometimes Government people even harm other Government people.

Used to be that everybody was in government (of the people, by the people, for the people), and hardly anybody harmed anybody else.

See it for what it is. Government NEVER harms people. Only people harm people.

Which government are you in:
A. the Government of people harming people?
B. the Government of the people, by the people, for the people, that harms none and protects all?
C. the non-government Government that sits around and gets harmed?

Comment by Brock Lorber
Entered on:

In retrospect, handing loaded weapons to the chimpanzees may not have been the smartest thing I did that day.

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

You lost me at the first sentence.

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