Peter Tubic might not have known in 2004 that he could not park his own broken down van in his own driveway without a proper license plate. What he surely did not know is that the $50 ticket could eventually cost him the house itself. The city foreclosed on his $245,000 home after the accumulated penalties pushed the ticket to $2,600.
Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Richard Sankovitz has stayed the judgment to give Tubic one last chance to explain why he didn’t pay the ticket, though he did rule in favor of foreclosure. The obvious problem is Tubic has not responded to the prior notices.
Tubic, 62, admits that he failed to respond to over a dozen notices. However, he has been legally declared disabled since 2001. He has been diagnosed with psychological disorders that limit his “ability to understand, remember and carry out detailed instructions,” according to Social Security Administration. He also suffers from physical disabilities due to degenerative diseases of the knees and spine, as well as chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and obesity.
The truck itself was disabled due to radiator problem. It was originally parked in the home when it belonged to his parents and he could not get new plates because it could not make it to an inspection center. He did not have money to repair it and his parents needed attention with a father suffering from dementia and a mother battling cancer. When his father died, he says that he lost track with the ticket and generally fell apart.
Ronald Roberts, a code enforcement manager with the Department of Neighborhood Services, suggested that the city was merely protecting the neighbors who do not want nuisances in the neighborhood. “Put yourself in the position of the neighbors,” he suggested. However, the original complaint was filed not by a neighbor but by Tubic’s brother, Jovon Tubic, before the deaths of the parents.
Roberts added “If someone says, ‘I’m dealing with a death,’ we’re going to be reasonable and give them a 30-day extension,” he said. “But $1,475, that’s a lot of months mourning – not to be insensitive.” It is hard to imagine anyone claiming insensitivity by the city in this case.
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