A Minnesota man was arrested and thrown in jail – all because city officials said he had not properly put up siding on his house.
Officials in Burnsville, Minn. cited Mitch Faber with “having an unfinished exterior” when, nearly four years after he started it, his home’s stucco project was not complete, Fox News reported.
Faber told Minneapolis ABC affiliate KSTP-TV he always intended to finish the project, but that he ran into financial trouble when the economy took a turn.
His first encounter with the city happened in 2007 when he got a letter saying the siding needed to be finished.
“We were in the process of finishing,” Faber told the station. “This wasn’t something that we were trying to avoid doing.”
There were two more letters in 2009 and another in 2010, which required Faber to appear in court. That’s when, he told KSTP, he was instructed in no uncertain terms: Finish the siding or go to jail.
In order to comply, Faber and his wife spent $12,000 to put a stucco facade over their house’s plywood exterior. It wasn’t enough: Last November, Faber was arrested after city inspectors concluded the work wasn’t up to code.
According to a statement on the city’s Facebook page – posted after the story made local headlines – a judge issued a bench warrant for Faber’s arrest after the inspectors determined the work was not complete. He was arrested during a routine traffic stop.
“I’m walking around in a green and white jump suit, I had to shower in front of a sheriff, I was shackled, my wrists were handcuffed to my waist – for siding,” Faber told KSTP.
After two days, a judge released Faber but still required him to submit to electronic home monitoring.
In a statement to KSTP, Burnsville communications coordinator Marty Doll said the city provided Faber “ample opportunity (nearly four years) to remedy the situation before issuing a citation…the city’s practice is to only issue citations for property maintenance issues (such as this one) as a last resort.”
Still, he defended the city’s actions, albeit admitting the situation is “unfortunate.”
“Code enforcement is an important part of making sure all neighbors can take pride in their neighborhoods,” he said in a statement to Fox News. “The city agrees it unfortunate that this situation was not able to be resolved in typical fashion.”