(The Pontiac Tribune) — U.S. Navy veteran Ted Visner and his wife, Kathy Smith of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, are living a nightmare. It started 5 years ago when the family fell victim to a local sheriff department employee’s real estate scam.
Ted Visner claims he bought a house on a land contract, only to learn 7 months later that the seller, Shelly Sweet, was not making monthly payments on the property. While Ted’s family was away for the weekend, a bank foreclosed on the investment he had just made to obtain a home for his wife and kids.
Shelly Sweet, an employee of the Isabella County Sheriff Department, allegedly invited some of her friends into the house without the letting the Visner family know. Shockingly, it appeared police conspired with Shelly to steal $55,000 worth of personal property.
While Ted Visner is able to prove via canceled checks to Sweet that he was indeed paying, they were unable to prevent the nightmare from unfolding.
Visner claims Sweet told her employer, the Isabella County Sheriff Department, that he and his wife were the ones not making payments.
“It was blatantly untrue,” Visner added.
Ted Visner, who builds customized homes for a living, was quoted stating, “Although we were paying Sweet every month on the purchase of the property, she had not been paying the underlying mortgage and the home fell into foreclosure.”
As noted already in the article, Visner has presented canceled checks to Sweet as proof of his claims.
He continues, “On a weekend Sweet knew that we would be out of town, she offered the contents of our home to her friends and coworkers at the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, claiming we had abandoned the home. Many took her up on her free offer deal and took over $55,000 dollars worth of our personal property.”
Sweet allegedly lied to the sheriff’s office claiming that Visner and his wife stopped making payments, even though they had canceled checks proving otherwise.
“The Sheriff’s department came in when we were out of town and they completely emptied our house. There was no warrant, there was no due process, no eviction, no foreclosure, just theft by police.” – Ted Visner
Ted Visner‘s Family Had Personal Items Stolen By Shelly Sweet’s Friends
$55,000 is a big number, but Visner says that’s because Sweet availed all of his family’s personal belongings and private property to anyone willing to come take it.
He claims the items taken included beds, dressers, appliances, his wife’s wedding dress, kids toys, sports equipment– everything that had any value to it was gone.
Like most people, especially those that purchase homes on land contracts, it has been next to impossible for the Visner’s to find $55,000 to replace what was stolen.
“My kids couldn’t play or participate in sports for the next two years. Other items that disappeared included tax records… nothing has been recovered.“
The story seems blatantly criminal in nature considering it appears that police participated in a real estate scam and conspired against a local citizen to steal $55,000 worth of personal property.
Visner complained, “She just put a sign out and let anybody have what they wanted, she didn’t remember who was there. In her own deposition she admits to giving our stuff away.”
The unfortunate experience has been hard on his family.
“I don’t have any criminal background, I served six years in the Navy on submarines, my wife and I have kids, we don’t deserve this, nobody in the world deserves this.” – Ted Visner
Nightmare Gets Worse For Ted Visner And His Family
Ted Visner and Katie Smith returned from their weekend away from home with their kids on September 27th, 2010 to discover they were locked out. They called the Isabella County Sheriff Department for help, but that was who employed Shelly Sweet.
Visner swears, “We had NOT been evicted nor had we abandoned the property. The woman had convinced friends and coworkers that we had never paid her, and that were trashing the house and had forced her into foreclosure — none of which were true.”
The family was allowed to go back inside of the home until the next day. That was when Smith and Visner discovered that up to 95% of the home’s contents had been stolen.
“A sheriff deputy named ‘Steinert’ came to our home three times that day and only assisted his coworker while the under-sheriff, sheriff and PA refused to help us after they recognized the totality of the situation,” Visner said, after explaining the ‘situation’ was that 6+ co-workers of Sweet had entered their home and stolen property. For anyone else in this country, likely the world, that is called theft.
Instead, Visner was arrested for ‘misuse of 911’ on the deputy’s third visit.
“The county investigated the crime for almost four months and during this time, I moved my family out of Isabella County for safety, I could not move with them because my indefinitely delayed arraignment still loomed over my head.” – Ted Visner
Ted claims that shortly after he lost the home he shared with his family and had 95% of their belongings stolen, the prosecutor’s office ignored their complaints and refused to investigate their employees.
Is this justice?
In his words, “Over two and a half years have passed now with law enforcement officials doing nothing except covering for one another.”
It has been 5 years now and no one has been held accountable for the crime.
Ted Visner has yet to replace the $55,000 worth of items stolen from his family.
“Our story needs to go viral, people need to know that they have to stand up for their rights, when we stop standing for our rights we won’t have them anymore.” – Ted Visner
Visner concluded his statement above by adding that Americans only have rights when the people in positions of authority listen.
He believes the underlying crime was the conspiracy to deprive his family’s constitutional rights – a federal crime. He asserts that Deputy Steinert kidnapped (arrested) him on the “bullshit charge” of misusing 911.
Violation of Title 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242 is a federal felony crime where the offenders could be sentenced to death if killing or kidnapping occur.
Visner says the following people participated in the crimes against his family:
Isabella County Sheriff Deputy Clinton Steinert
Isabella County Sheriff Department Clerk Shelly Sweet
Isabella County Under-Sheriff John Tellis
Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski
Isabella County Board of Commissioners
Isabella County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Burdick (out-going)
Isabella County Prosecuting Attorney Risa Scully (incoming)
“The Attorney General is dismissing this serious crime… For my family and I, there is no recourse, at least not yet. The AG prohibits complaints of police misconduct and civil rights being violated. I just wrote a letter to the ACLU and explained this, I haven’t heard back from them yet,” Visner said.
Is it possible to receive an F- as a public safety agency? Based on the story Ted Visner is telling, that is definitely the grade the Isabella County Sheriff Department from Michigan deserves.
You can draw your own conclusions, but I think these cops may have taken law enforcement corruption and government misuse of power to another level.
If you’d like to help:
Corporate Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski 207 Court Street # A Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 Phone:(989) 772-5911
Corporate Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette G. Mennen Williams Building, 7th Floor 525 W. Ottawa St. P.O. Box 30212 Lansing, MI 48909 Main Number (517) 373-1110 Facsimile (517) 373-3042
Corporate Isabella County Prosecutor, Risa Scully200 N. Main Street Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48858 Phone: (989) 772-0911 ext. 311 Fax: (989) 775-8413
To learn more, you can call Ted Visner yourself at 1-989-954-2814.