A New Jersey mother was arrested and told to turn over her guns after reading the Constitution and peacefully protesting at a tax dispute forum, she says.
Eileen Hart was with her husband Keith and her 7-year-old daughter on Saturday at the Gloucester Community Center to dispute a mandatory home re-evaluation that would roughly double her property value (and therefore dramatically increase her rates), objecting on multiple grounds. As an Orthodox Jew, she refused to have the inspectors in her home when her husband was away at work. As an American citizen, she objected to the seemingly arbitrary reappraisal, noting that she is not planning on selling her home and hasn’t renovated her kitchen in 30 years.
But at the forum, Hart was allegedly told that since she didn’t let the inspectors into her home, the state has a right to “assume” its value.
“How could they assume that my value had doubled when there is absolutely no housing market?” she asked TheBlaze rhetorically over the phone. “There is basically no GDP growth.”
After Hart started citing the Constitution, a representative of Appraisal Systems, Inc.– the company contracted by the state to conduct appraisals– started “freaking out,” she said, and called for New Jersey tax assessor Robyn Glocker-Hammond.
“Sit down and shut up,” Hart said Glocker-Hammond told her, adding that she (Glocker-Hammond) was there to “enforce the law.”
“I didn’t see a badge,” Hart noted. “Her title is tax assessor, not law enforcement officer.”
Glocker-Hammond started speaking to Hart’s husband like a “two-year-old,” Hart claimed, and after she objected, Glocker-Hammond once again told her to be quiet.
“I have a right to speak out against this, this is a public place, my tax dollars pay your salary,” Hart objected to the tax assessor, already incredulous at the drastic increase in her rates.
“I don’t work for you,” the assessor allegedly retorted.
At that point, Appraisal Systems, Inc. representative Andrew Colavecchio started advancing towards her, she said, like he was about to grab her arm. “Don’t you dare touch me,” she said after he allegedly got so close he touched her coat.
Glocker-Hammond then told her she had to leave the public forum and threatened to call the authorities, though Hart swears she never cursed or acted inappropriately.
That’s when things got serious.
As Hart left the building she saw Colavecchio “sneering” at her and said to him in passing, “look at the little pencil-pusher.”
Hart said Colavecchio threatened to call 911 and “ran after us in the parking lot like a banshee, his face was purple, [he was] disheveled, [he] started to take down my license plate and ran off. When he got to the doors of the building he screamed at us, ‘let’s see if you can pay your taxes now!’”
Much to her surprise, Hart returned home to numerous police cars, the officers asking if they could bring her in for questioning even though they did not have a warrant. She was not allowed to drive behind with her husband, but was forced to ride in the police vehicle.
Colavecchio had apparently told the police that Hart was “yelling and screaming” and threatened to return to the meeting with a gun.
Read more here.