Peter Sauers and his family have been physically threatened and forced to move out of their home all because they insisted that Bensalem Township Officials up-hold the law and offer equal protection to everyone.
This nightmare began when one of the neighbors sold his home. On the property there was a small private garage (as opposed to commercial garage that was open to business for the public) that had been out of use for many years. The area was zoned for residential use, and the block is a small dead end street,so none of the neighbors on the block ever dreamed of what was going to happen.
Without warning, cars started to block the street. Tow trucks and flatbeds where coming at all times of the day and night. Commercial signs started to appear. Parents became afraid to let their children play in the street, At one time there were over 40 cars blocking the street and shoulders. Finally when Backhoes showed up and they began to build a large parking lot, Mr. Sauers had enough.
Mr. Sauers went directly to Bensalem's town hall. There he was shocked to discover that the they were building the parking lot without a permit. He immediately called the Mayor, Joseph V. DiGirolamo. The Mayor told him he would look in to it. Mr Sauers at that time, believed that Bensalem's government would protect his interest, he was later to learn how naive he was being.
The parking lot was built, the garage put up a sign saying "quality used cars" and cars were being parked illegally.
Mr. Sauers, shocked that the township had let them build the parking lot without a permit complained about the sign as well. The Township did make the owners take down the sign, But the next day Mr. Sauers discovered that his cars had been vandalized. Some one had painted a warning in paint stripper on his wife's car, and 7 tires were spiked.
He called the police. They came out, but to the best of Mr. Sauers knowledge they never even questioned the people who owned the garage.
Mr. Sauers now realized that neither the Mayor, the police or anyone from the townships zoning office would uphold the law, so he retained Lou Floge, Jr. to represent him. With the help of Mr. Floge, Mr. Sauers discovered, that the new owners did not have a legal right to operate the garage in the residentially zoned neighborhood, did not have the right to park cars illegally, did not have the right to pave over their front yard.
But perhaps most upsetting, Mr. Sauers believes he has discovered actual forgeries and fraudulent activities.
In 1998 the use and occupancy permit had been altered and changed without going through the proper legal channels. The original permit that the township says was issued is clearly a fraudulent document.
As Mr. Sauers brought these issues out, the owners of the garage tried to bribe him to keep quiet. They offered him $15,000 Dollars. When he refused and said he just wanted the township to uphold the law equally, someone started to vandalize his home. Large ball bearings were shot though his bay window and the siding of his house. People were threatening to hurt Mr. Sauers and his family, destroying his property and the police were taking no action.
Finally when he called the police and they told him they were not going to come out to investigate any more complaints, Mr Sauers moved his wife and small children out of the home. But he will not give up the fight.
The township of Bensalem has actually tried to stop Mr. Sauers from examining public documents and speaking to public officials.
They have refused to conduct a thorough investigation and continue to refuse to answer Mr. Sauers' questions.
CEPA joins Mr. Sauers in demanding that Bensalem township equally enforce their zoning regulations, close down the garage, ticket the illegally parked cars and put an end to Nightmare on Elm Ave.