Thursday, December 8th, 2016 at 3:36pm

Local War Hero Facing Injustice by the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills

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Local War Hero Facing Injustice by the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills


Code Enforcement Officer John Hamelink Harassing American Hero

In December 1950, Army Sergeant First Class Gene Chaput was on the front line in North Korea fighting back a massive bloody counterattack by over 300,000 Chinese Communists in some of the fiercest fighting in the Korean War.  The men who fought in this battle are considered some of the bravest to ever put on an American military uniform and Sergeant Chaput earned three Bronze Stars for his heroic actions.  Gene Chaput is a real American Hero.

66 years later, this 89-year-old Korean War Veteran and American hero is in another battle for freedom with the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills, because he trimmed two trees on his property after receiving permission to trim them by the town.  There is clear a case of abuse of power by Howey-in-the-Hills and the town’s Code Enforcement Officer John Hamelink, who is also a Corporal of the Howey-in-the-Hills Police Department.  They are trying to make an example of this war hero.  The very freedom that Gene Chaput fought so hard for in 1950 is being threatened today by an overzealous officer whose actions border on harassment.

The facts in this matter are very clear and indisputable.  Gene Chaput has lived in his home on Lake Shore Boulevard since 1983.  At the time, he planted two laurel oak trees in his yard.  Over the last 36 years, these two trees grew to a point in which the limbs became a hazard to his home.  In the 44 years that Chaput has lived in the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills, he has planted hundreds of trees in the town including oaks, cypress, and pine trees—he understands the importance of trees.

As summer ended, Gene Chaput decided that the two laurel oak trees needed to be trimmed in the fall to protect his home.  Before he started trimming the trees, he went to the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills to find out if he would need a permit to trim the two trees. He spoke with Dairian Burke and Brenda Fisher who told him a permit would not be required to trim the trees and that a permit is only required for the removal of trees.

After verifying he was not required to obtain a permit, Gene Chaput arranged assistance to have the trees trimmed on a Saturday.  At some point, someone called the Town of Howey-in-the Hills and reported that Mr. Chaput was cutting down trees without a permit.  Code Enforcement Officer John Hamelink went to the Chaput home.  He instructed them to stop cutting down the trees.  At that time, Chaput explained that he was only trimming the trees and had gained approval from the town.  Hamelink told them to stop and get a permit.

Subsequently, Gene Chaput went back to the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills and explained the situation again to town officials.  He was told again that a permit was not required and there were no restrictions for trimming his trees.  Mr. Chaput went back to his home to finish trimming the second tree.  He was once again approached by Code Enforcement Officer John Hamelink who instructed him to stop and to speak to Police Chief Rick Thomas.  Chaput finished cutting the last two limbs and cut the tree debris up in the size required by the town and put it on the side of the road for pickup.

On September 13, 2016, Gene Chaput received a notice from Code Enforcement Officer John Hamelink that the town would not pick up his debris on the side of the road, despite him following the town’s requirements.  Mr. Chaput hired a private firm at a cost of $500 to remove the debris.  Mr. Chaput followed the rules, yet Hamelink and the town decided to arbitrarily punish him.

On October 25, 2016, Gene Chaput received a Notice of Hearing on the alleged violations from Code Enforcement Officer John Hamelink and the town stating he committed three violations by removing two trees.  Two violations cited are for “hat-racking” two trees and one violation cited is for not obtaining a permit for cutting down the trees.  The two trees in question were not cut down and at no point when Mr. Chaput inquired did the town give him any information of code requirements for trimming trees.

A hearing was held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, with Special Magistrate Heather Christman, who was hired by the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills and who has worked on other cases for the town.  Code Enforcement Officer John Hamelink represented the town’s positon and they accepted testimony from an arborist who admitted that the trees are not dead and that the limbs will grow back.  In the hearing, the town admitted that Mr. Chaput did inquire about a permit and code requirement information for tree trimming.  They also admitted that they told him there are no code requirements for trimming trees.  Despite those devastating admissions by the town, Special Magistrate Heather Christman ruled in favor of the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills.  There is no doubt about it, the fix is in and it is being led by John Hamelink.

On Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., in the Commission Chambers, Town Hall, 101 N Palm Ave., Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, Gene Chaput will have to face a Special Master in a hearing to consider an Order to Impose Fines and Liens.  This Notice of Hearing was also served by Code Enforcement Officer John Hamelink.  Should they choose to do so, the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills can impose fines up to $5,000 per tree, put a lien on Mr. Chaput’s home, or who knows what—given the grudge that Hamelink has for this war hero!

Click here to view the letters and Notices of Hearing served on Gene Chaput by Code Enforcement Officer John Hamelink.

Gene Chaput has lived in the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills for 44 years, raising his two sons Jim and Jerry.  In 2010, Mr. Chaput lost his wife Gayle after 52 years of marriage.  The Chaputs are good people who, just like many reading this column, try to follow the rules.  Mr. Chaput tried to follow the rules of the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills and this attack on him is a perfect demonstration of a local government bureaucracy that has gone amuck.  On another note, the two laurel oaks in question have only about a 40-year life expectancy, unlike live oaks.

Would you please stand up for this American Hero?  Call Code Enforcement Officer John Hamelink at 352-324-2030 (office phone) or 352-638-0524 (cell phone) and ask him why he is harassing Gene Chaput.  Also contact Mayor Chris Sears by phone at 352-227-0772 or email and ask him if he supports what the Town of Howey-in-the Hills is doing to this American hero.

66 years later, Gene Chaput is still fighting for freedom.  Will you stand with him?

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38 Responses to “Local War Hero Facing Injustice by the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills”

  1. Rosemarie Hill says:

    Lake County picks and Choses who they want to mess with. I live in Tavares my neighbor has garbage tires junk vehicles no tags stacked up and code inspectors do nothing about that. But they pick on a Elderly Man over A Tree. That Code Inspector couldn’t even take his sunglasses off the top of his head during his interview. Plus he look like slob that never gets out from behind his desk often anyways. Clearly they have no Wieght standards.

  2. Ed Zackery says:

    @ Name – December 13, 2016 at 10:54 am

    No truer words have ever been reduced to script!

    For decades we a have been living in a country where the more rotten a person is/ was the better chance they had of rising to the top of the power structure. (Heap of excrement)

    No evidence of that is more substantive that the facts surrounding the untimely death of our former sheriff Daniels just over ten years ago. Overwhelming proof that the empire moved Gary Borders from the ghetto to this Town of Howey in the Hills less than two months before Daniels death; signed him up to begin college courses and then immediately all come together to make out like they were encouraging Jeb Bush to appoint Borders sheriff. Rumor on the streets is this entire scheme has been thoroughly investigated by some of the most highly qualified criminal investigators from the days of real law and order. I for one can’t understand why they have not released their findings – some speculate they are waiting for Donald Trump to be installed and praying he will return the US to a real law and order nation.

    Meanwhile Gary Borders will be retiring next month at the ripe old age of 56 years (admittedly John Glen looked younger at 95.) But borders has had a rough life over the years.

    Gary Borders will be well rewarded for running interference for the devil an being one of his angels all these years. He will retire with a one time DROP payment of around $750,000. along with around $13,000. a month for the rest of his life. this of course does not include his income from sideline sources for which the FBI was looking for his so called “black box in 2009 before being run out of town without a rail. This should be a lesson well learned to those who always say “crime does not pay.”

  3. Name says:

    There is only one explanation for this, and it is government is corrupt from top to bottom, all government, all countries, all states, all cities. You would think a little town like Howey in the Hills would be except from corruption, but you would be wrong. You can create any form of government and eventually somebody will find a way to make it corrupt, then once it is corrupt the whole system becomes centered around keeping the status quo, keeping the corruption money flowing.

  4. Dun Hadya says:

    @ Lin Ballew
    You’re an elfin IDIOT!
    First of all, what kind of action did you see from 77 to 84?
    You and this cop/code enforcement officer both have little man syndrome and probably got your asses kicked as young men and feel you have something to prove.
    This man actually fought a in a war!
    And unless I’m missing something, went out of his way to insure he “WAS DOING THE RIGHT THING” by going to the town for approval to trim his trees. It then goes to court where an arborest testified the trees will recover, town workers testify that they told hem it was ok and HE STILL LOST THE CASE??? WTF?
    Furthermore, It blows my mind that this spindles little prick of a man is trusted to protect the citizens of that town.

  5. Ben Dover says:


    A man shot dead by a Lake County deputy after the Sheriff’s Office said he attacked an officer with a boat oar has been identified.

    The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said 49-year-old Wayne Donald Dorsey tried to carjack an occupied vehicle and led deputies on a foot chase that ended in a lake Tuesday.
    That’s where Dorsey got into a boat and tried to batter the deputy with an oar while the officer was chest-deep in the water.

    Authorities say the deputy deployed his agency-issued stun gun twice, but it was ineffective and then malfunctioned.

    The suspect tried to hit the deputy in the head with the oar, the deputy fired his firearm.
    “Is this guy going to injure me or possibly kill me, with an oar? Nobody wants to be in that situation, it is self-defense.” Dorsey was pronounced dead at the scene, deputies said.
    The deputy’s identity has been protected by the Sheriff’s Office. Who only reported the deputy is a 12-year veteran and will be placed on administrative leave which is standard procedure until the FDLE investigation is finished.

    What’s the big deal here if all these facts are correct? This career criminal was a supposed to be registered sex offender from Georgia who went to jail and the Florida pen for cocaine charges. Just last month in November he was arrested again for failing to register as a sex offender. Now he’s gone crazy, hit and run, leaving the scene and running from the cops. When cornered while trying to boat jack an occupied boat, he attacks the Lake County Deputy with a boat oar.

    So what’s the big deal here? If this is such a commendable action by law enforcement, why isn’t this cop getting the recognition they deserve?

    And the answer is; because the shooter is none other than Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Richard Sylvester. The same Deputy who shot and killed Andrew Lee Scott, the pizza delivery man who was simply answering a knock on his door by an armed Deputy Sheriff who was searching for a man who had “disrespected” the son of a Lake County Captain Jackson. The story of which can be found to your right as one of the most read stories on this website.
    For that offense Andrew Lee Scott lost his life. But that is not the end of this story. The establishment set up his surviving family, manipulated and controlled the outcome of the lawsuit in the federal courts. And people have the audacity to wonder why people don’t trust their government anymore.

  6. Hey Mike Hunt your remarks to Harold Lucas. “Why you gotta blame the brown guy in Washington DC? Your Cheeto master won. Get over it. And Henrietta Hornirover, perhaps another layer of tinfoil on your head is called for. AND HOW This is not a Marxist or nazi issue.” THE CIA LONE GUNMAN THEORY BS -Just one overzealous inspector/ cop, and a spineless mayor. EVEN THOUGH WE SEE THIS EVERYWHERE RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES – SURELY OUR EYES MUST BE LYING TO US – RIGHT?

    THEN YOU SAY “Power corrupts; Absolute power corrupts absolutely; City inspectors are the adult version of the hall monitor in middle school. Small petty humans with a little bit of power who are corrupted by their tiny powers of snitching.



    Mike maybe you are related to E. Howard Hunt the man who shared his JFK death bed confession for all the world to hear. Seems your kind loves to retire to the safe haven of Lake County, Florida these days.

    The really good thing is “the establishment” has now ramped up it’s “never Trump movement” to include having it’s CIA concoct a connection between Trump and Putin so they can halt the inauguration of trump on January 20, 2017 – One thing for sure if he didn’t know who runs the CIA and the international pedophile rings before this weekend he sure as hell knows now. LET’S MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN – WE CAN START WITH JUST TELLING THE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH SO HELP US GOD!

    A comment on a post about the first meeting of the Warren Commission more than 50 years ago, the reader notes how former CIA director Allen Dulles reached his conclusion before the Commission’s investigation began. [This reminds us of the local Communist Journalist who must likewise be physic!]

    “On page 51 of the transcript Allen Dulles passes out a book that he says will predict the outcome of their investigation — lone gunman. He says other than the attack on President Truman, all assassination attempts against American Presidents fit the lone assassin pattern. John McCloy retorts that the Lincoln assassination was a conspiracy, to which Dulles replies that one man was so dominate ‘it almost wasn’t a plot.’” INSERT: Guess he forgot about the 1933 Miami attempt on FDR which resulted in the death of Chicago Mayor Cermak – followed by an attempted coup organized by Prescott Bush by trying to recruit the help of General Smedley Butler to overthrow the FDR Presidency.

    The reader continues:
    “I think this transcript shows that Allen Dulles had an agenda to promote the lone assassin theory of the case from the inception of the Warren Commission.”

    [So Mike Hunt – you want to convince us that even though this Howey Cop operates like a member of the Nazi Gestapo just like Sheriff Borders Group that the cop is somehow a lone “gunman” and not directly connected to the obvious Nazi Gestapo movement inspired for a decade of Gary Borders as the chief law enforcement officer of Lake County, Florida!] Only ignorant people would ever believe that BS!


    CIA INVENTION OF THE PHRASE, ‘CONSPIRACY THEORY’ to Block Questions on JFK’s Assassination, is “One of the Most Successful Propaganda Initiatives of All Time.”

    US & UK studies: those who “buy’ mainstream ‘lies’ are the ‘crazies’ – conspiracy theorists are ‘saner’, reflect ‘conventional wisdom”

    The term was invented and put into wide circulation by the CIA to smear and defame people questioning the JFK assassination!

    “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited, unfortunately, with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”

    Today, the CIA-designed propaganda seems to be wearing off “… those who do not believe government accounts of such events as 9/11 and the JFK assassination outnumber believers by more than two to one.” And, they are the people who voted for Donald J. Trump because they are sick and tired of the idiots destroying America and America’s Pride and Joy – her youth!


    The term ‘racist’ was made up and then used originally by the Bolsheviks to marginalize Eastern Europe’s Slavic population, which resisted mightily against the communists.

    The word “racist” has for a long time been the single most effective fear-word in the leftist and neoconservative arsenal. For decades, they have successfully used it in the political arena to slander traditionalists, shut down debate, and leave opponents running for cover. In the social arena, they have caused even more damage by using it to brainwash impressionable children and young college students, and to teach people to hate their nation, their cultural traditions, and worst of all, themselves.

    What surprisingly remains almost totally undiscussed, even on the hard core traditionalist Right, is the word’s origin. Did it come from a liberal sociologist? A 60’s Marxist college professor? Perhaps a politician in the Democratic Party? No. It turns out that the word was invented by none other than one of the principal architects of the 74-year Soviet nightmare, the founder and first leader of the infamous Red Army, Leon Trotsky.

    The Slavophiles which Trotsky alluded to were historically a group of traditionalist Slavs who valued greatly their native culture and way of life, and wanted to protect it. Trotsky on the other hand saw them and others like them as an impediment to his internationalist communist plans for the world. This man didn’t care one iota about the Slavic Russians whom he supposedly served. To him, Slavophiles, i.e. Slavs that committed the “crime” of loving their own people and trying to protect their traditional ways were simply “backward”, and others like them were simply “racists”.

    The March Revolution of 1917 caught him by surprise in New York City, where he wrote for a Russian newspaper. Trotsky reached Russia in May, quickly assumed leadership of the independent left Social-Democratic Interdistrict Group, and joined the Petrograd (as St. Petersburg was renamed) Soviet. Within weeks, he had gained enormous popularity as the most eloquent agitator of the Soviet left. In July, after being courted by Lenin, he joined the Bolshevik party and was elected to its Central Committee.

    Trotsky was second only to Lenin in the Politburo, and Lenin viewed him as exceptionally able. He backed Lenin’s major policy innovations, but had his own plans for industrializing Russia. When a stroke removed Lenin from active politics in May 1922, Trotsky was not in a position to take over. Never particularly adept at party politics, he failed to outmaneuver the troika of Grigory Zinovyev, Lev Kamenev, and Stalin that took power. Although he put himself at the head of a loosely knit left opposition, Trotsky’s polemic salvos were no match for Stalin’s bureaucratic party machine. In 1925 his adversaries removed him from the Commissariat of War; in 1926 they expelled him from the Politburo; and in 1928 Stalin exiled him to Central Asia and in 1929 expelled him from the USSR.

    Trotsky spent the rest of his life seeking a safe place to compose his savage critiques of Stalinist Russia. In Turkey, France, Norway, and finally Mexico he produced a flood of publications, including an autobiography, My Life (1930; trans. 1930); an unmatched History of the Russian Revolution (3 vol., 1931-33; trans. 1932-33); an insightful The Revolution Betrayed (1937); and searing articles on the major issues of his day (Stalinism, Nazism, fascism, the Spanish civil war). A Stalinist agent fatally wounded Trotsky on August 20, 1940, in Coyoacán, Mexico. He died the following day.

  7. Name says: lists ALL the existing Town Council members and their emails/contact info. Council meets the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month meaning there is one TOMORROW night starting @ 5:30pm.

  8. You said “I know Sheriff Borders is a really good man. Anyone who knows him may want to see if he has any pull with the officials in Howey in the Hills.”

    If you truly know Sheriff Borders then you know it was he who brought this Nazi style Gestapo Police Tactics to Lake County in the first place. Even sending his deputies out to threaten another local hero who loves in Lake County, Wolfgang Halbig. You see Mr. Halbig for years has been recognized as one of America’s most foremost experts in the field of school safety. In fact The Lake County School Board brought Mr. Halbig to Lake County to investigate one of the first school shooting in US history – the murder of Tavares student Joey Summerall.

    Mr Halbig would later work for the Lake School Board until around 2009 when he discovered former School Board Chairman and then Lake County Commissioner Jimmy Conner was strong arming current SB members to refuse a lower bid for worker’s compensation insurance and accept a bid from friends of Jimmy which was in access of one million over the lowest bid. Conner pulled of that scam as he did many more times over the next years at both the BCC and the SB. And of course Mr. Halbig was terminated by Bob McKee and Jimmy Conner hired Dr. Susan Getford Moxley for trying to say the taxpayers one million in overbilling for insurance for that one year alone.

    In 2013 working as a national school safety expert and domiciled in Lake County, Florida Mr. Halbig began to investigate the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Ct. which had reportedly occurred on December 14, 2012. He began by making public records requests of school and other authorities in that town. Soon Mr. Halbig was visited at his Lake County gated community home by two Lake County Deputy Sheriff’s. The message delivered to him was “stop making public records requests to Newtown, Ct. or bad things are going to happen to you!” Sheriff Borders sent deputies back other times and in fact had deputies to notify the local postmaster that Mr. Halbig had/ has a mental problem.

    Since the beginning of the Sandy Hook investigation by Mr.Halbig it has been absolutely determined by experts that Sandy Hook was a false flag concocted by our “feral government” exactly like the Pulse was later created for the sole purpose of encouraging the American people to hand over their guns – Experts call these false flags gun grabbing schemes!

    Specifically directed to the former Lake County Resident – wondering if you are just to naive to recognize Gary Borders and his actions for what they are. [Including 2009 FBI jail rapes investigations cover ups and Borders 20 plus years of running the Green isle Boys rape Ranch for the international pedophile organizations who visited Disney.] Or perhaps you are of the leaning of Gary Borders and his dark side friends like Jimmy Conner who as Lake School Board Chairman at the time was instrumental in encouraging his mentor Jeb Bush to install Gary Borders as Lake Sheriff – especially for the fact that the sheriff is the sole authority over the school resource deputies who decides whose child goes to jail and whose child is protected and even who is allowed to rape your child and walk scot free like Gary’s little Green Isle Rapist Groomer Tyler Anthony Jackson because like Jackson the rapist is a protected friend of Gary Borders and or his dark side perverted friends.

    Everyone who cares about the children knows they run the FBI out of Tavares in early 2010 – the Villages mouth piece even bragged publicly about doing so – when they were here investigating the facts that Gary Borders was having his jailers deliver certain jail inmates to his jail office for homo sex.

    It is interesting that for decades they have been able to cover up The Franklin Scandal and Straight, Inc which together has destroyed hundreds of thousands of young lives. And then one idiot Anthony Weiner married to a Clinton aid and his laptop exposes the Bush-Clinton pedophile organizations spanning from Nebraska to the Bahamas’s. They dubbed it Pizza Gate. Now Borders CIA friends are working overtime to quash these leaks

  9. Steve Barber - Howey resident says:

    One of many examples of why SNAFU-in-the-Hills is FUBAR…..
    It will take some years to recover from the “Curtis Cancer” and BNBBS……
    I’ll be at the meeting to defend my Veteran!
    I’ve walked the streets of many big international cities that prune there trees the same way…..they grow back prettier than before……
    Time for this Towns citizens to follow the Trump lead……get the dung shovels out and follow the Council, Frankenstein, and Nazi police dept out of town!

  10. Dear Howey In the Hills personnel,

    IF, and I repeat IF, everything I just read via the media is true, in my opinion you are very sick with a hunger for power to abuse this American hero for trimming his trees to protect his property.

    To the Code Enforcement Officer and the Chief of Police: I’m a 37 year retired Law Enforcement officer and formerly a Chief of Police in Findlay Twp (home of Pittsburgh International Airport), SWAT Team supervisor in Hollywood, Florida, a graduate of the Miami PD SWAT academy, a 1994 graduate of the FBI National Academy with a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice (Nova Southeast University – 1977) and a retired CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) assessor for over 13 years. That is only a partial list of my credentials. If what I read regarding your treatment of Mr. Chaput is true, you should be ashamed of yourselves!!! Is this how you would treat a loved one or someone who was a member of your family? When I was a Chief, the treatment of citizens as such was a part of my mission statement.

    This is unconscionable in America. What happened to American freedom?

    As a citizen of Lake County I will do everything within my power to support this Korean War veteran and to protect his rights as a FREE AMERICAN.

    I sincerely hope that what I’ve read via the media is not factual because it’s actually too hard to believe it’s true. I can’t imagine in America, any government body would treat an American citizen in this way.

    Paul Wilks
    Clermont, Florida

  11. Please list email addresses for the City of Howie in the Hills, the special magistrate, Heather Christman and Officer John Hamelink. They need to hear from people all over America.

  12. Mike Hunt says:

    Hey Harold Lucas. Why you gotta blame the brown guy in Washington DC? Your Cheeto master won. Get over it.
    And Henrietta Hornirover, perhaps another layer of tinfoil on your head is called for.
    This is not a Marxist or nazi issue. Just one overzealous inspector/ cop, and a spineless mayor.
    Power corrupts.
    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    City inspectors are the adult version of the hall monitor in middle school. Small petty humans with a little bit of power who are corrupted by their tiny powers of snitching.

  13. This officer is trying to make a name for himself by bullying an elderly man who happens to be a hero, which is something Hamelink will never be. he is a coward and a fool, he is a shining example of Obama’s policy’s toward working Americans
    Lie to them and destroy them is the Liberal policy. This man is being railroaded and it must stop. we need to band together and protest this stupidity by the town of Howey in the hills.


  15. Lin Ballew says:

    Really?! I support the Thin Blue Line, but that’s because the majority of the cops are upright heroes. This Hamelin is nothing more than a wannabe. Mr. Mayor, grow a set. Longstanding, upright citizen, war vet??? Get real!! As a vet myself (1984-1977, US Army), I’m insensed!! DO THE RIGHT THING!

  16. N martin says:

    Drove thru your town today. Looks like a nice area. Live in Az and considering this area. Wife and I in healthcare and she and my father are veterans. Howey in the Hills just lost consideration for some property taxes, business taxes, and sales taxes for this.

  17. Jamie DeLacey says:

    Aside from the fact this man is an American hero, he did everything in his power ahead of time to do right by the law. This officer and township should be ashamed of themselves for harassing him over a few limbs.

  18. Name jo T. says:

    Why has no lawyers step up to help Mr. Chaput. This is the biggest scam I’ve seen coming from this town,… why the harrassement?…is someone getting kick backs from illegally obtained fines. What is wrong with this mayor that he hasn’t stepped in and apologized to Mr chaput.
    These are the kind of law enforcement officers we don ‘t need.

  19. Name says:

    I not only sent an email to the mayor, I sent the above article to Senator Bill Nelson’s office. I have had much success with his office and staff and pray someone steps up to the plate to help this gentleman.

  20. I support the Blue Line but I do not support dumb ass fools ,,,,,,This idiot of a Corporal should be fired and this farce should be ended immediately in favor of Mr Chaput………..If not, let’s escalate it to Mr Trump who does not suffer FOOLS….Police Officer ???????? I think NOT

  21. Vicki DeSha says:

    If this guy doesn’t have anything better to do than harrass Mr. Chaput then I suggest his position is not needed.

  22. You should get an attorney and take this city for all the money you can get. Also replace this mayor with someone who has a backbone that can stand up and say this is wrong

  23. Mark Caruthers says:

    I would assume Howey would have bigger issues than screwing with a 89 year old veteran trimming his trees. Sorry sir, Thanks for your service I appreciate it !

  24. Name says:

    Is this still l America or have the tree Nazis taken over. It looks like that while the new president is draining the swamp in DC he needs to visit Howie in the Hills. It appears that even the city and the PD do not know what is required and too much time is being spent harassing this veteran.

    Perhaps the PD needs to be investigated for violation of citizens rights. This is a lot of BS to go through so you can hang out the TREE CITY sign..

    As to Mr Hamlink , Suck it up Bubba don’t you have something better to do lke investigate the hit and run squirrel. case.

  25. you know if the spineless jellyfish of a mayor were to do the right thing and respect a distinguished war veteran and go to bat for him all this could be avoided,but evidently hes backboneless and proves it with the continuation of this ridiculuouc accusation .And as for the power hungry wanna be enforcement officer/police officer your ass ought to be ashamed of yourself you ought to be kissing the vets butt and taking notes from him on how to be a real man and mentor.Remember you lead by example and that is a fact.Note officals are elected and this type of crap will follow you.I have a lot of friends who are cops and you John Hamelink are a disgrace to the badge do us all a favor and go away so we dont have to consume ourselves with talk of your pitiful example of policing.Thank You

  26. Name says:

    This is NOT being pushed exclusively by Code Enforcement or the PD… a couple members of the Town Council itself are pushing the issue. Maybe you should contact Councilman David Nebel about it.

  27. Everyone should email Mayor Sears.

    I know Sheriff Borders is a really good man. Anyone who knows him may want to see if he has any pull with the officials in Howey in the Hills. At a minimum, this case need a full review by the Lake County Court.

  28. Sounds like the perfect Marxist government operations to us. No wonder it was so important for them to move soon to be at the time Lake Sheriff Gary Borders to Howey in the Hills on August 18, 2006 the busiest single day in Lake County real estate dealing history.

    Hindsight is 20-20 maybe that move was to have Borders domiciled in this special safe haven. After all it was Howey which was once the home of Desisto School owned and operated by Mitt Romney, Mel Sembler and their fellow perverts in high places. The end result was Desisto was so disruptive to the town of Howey – lawsuits resulted and eventually the Lake School Board saved the day by rescuing the aging former property called Howey Academy.

    August 9, 2006 – “Jail Chief” Gary Borders had run the Lake County Jail under various titles since January 4, 1989 with a high school diploma – on August 9th, 2006 “Chief Borders” made a request to Sheriff Daniels for tuition reimbursement – he has suddenly decided after all these years he needed a 2 year degree from Vincennes (which he still did not have in 2008 when he run for sheriff the first time. By July 10th of 2011 not only had Gary Borders achieved that goal but he is pictured with his [CIA] Columbia University graduating class [Lake Deputies] on that date in a ceremony at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center in Orlando where he received his Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

    On August 18, 2006 – Gary Borders sold the home in Mt. Dora, Florida where he had resided since April 26, 1989 without listing same directly to one John J.Kuenstle for $183,000.00. On that same date Gary Borders bought a home at 406 N. Dixie Av. Howey in the Hills, Fl 34737 for $290,000.00 plus he entered into a contract for an in ground pool with Brad Brown – Pool Works – he took out two mortgages on that date – a first with Thomas Mortgage for $259,200.00 and a second at Sun Trust for $48,600.00 for the pool. Incurring a new mortgage debt of $307,800.00 on this date, mortgages witnessed by Real Estate Agent Eustis born Michael Tart good – friends with Peyton Grinnell– who attended the bus race and signed in as “Michael Daniels.” An investigation into Kunestle exposed his social security number has been connected to multiple names. Other information gathered in the research lead experienced investigators to determine John Kuenstle is a CIA operative. His entire history of addresses is compatible with CIA operative’s locations including Sarasota, Florida. AND; David Kuenstle believed by researchers to be related to John Kuenstle is the producer of the CIA Silva UltraMind’s Remote Viewing and Remote Influencing: The Next Evolution in Mind Power:

    A school bus reportedly driven by Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger slows Saturday night after making contact with a bus driven by Lake County Sheriff Chris Daniels during the Battle of the Badges race at the New Smyrna Speedway in these stills taken from video shot by Eric Robbins a Palm Coast resident who caught the whole annual event that raises money for the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches on his video camera. He had his camera turned towards Daniels’ light blue bus as “a brown bus started pushing him from behind and forced him to spin,” Robbins said. Daniels’ bus went up against a wall and people started applauding before they realized what happened. The crowd was told the annual Battle of the Badges race was ending early because it would take a while to clear debris off the track, Robbins said, and that explanation didn’t add up. “The whole place was dead silent,” Robbins said. “You could hear a cricket. When we saw them roll out the crime tape we knew it was bad. There were no lights flashing. No one was rushing around.” Eric Robbins is no where to be found in the FHP report!

    On October 16, 2006 the overhead video was viewed by FHP Cpl Templeton, Sheriff’s Johnson & Eslinger. The only video used in the final report was the Gordon Motorsports overhead video which according to FHP Cpl. [And Boy Scout Leader] David Templeton by Nov. 15, 2006 contained 22 gaps and was not recorded as one ongoing rolling event! Robbins who caught the whole event on his video camera and his stills taken from his video are no where to be found in the Final FHP Homicide Report!

    Why was all the glass in [only] Daniels bus painted over blue and only a hole scrapped in his windshield to PEEK out of? Because Volusia Sheriff Ben Johnson chose his bus for him.

  29. What is wrong with the code enforcer/idiot cop? This man is a ridiculous, embarrassing city employee. It is he that should be relieved of his positions with Joke-in-the-Hills. And this veteran did what he should, by inquiring about codes and permits. Was he given wrong information? If so, then the ones who told him of the regulations should be fired. And the judge… all who admitted to telling this nice man the (correct?) regulations, AND with the trees STILL standing, she rules against him???? Was she asleep on the bench? Consider removing that bonehead from the bench. So very glad I chose elsewhere to make my home. Idiots in your city positions have run amuck.

  30. Sanna Chambers says:

    This is absurd. How could they side with the city with all the evidence and admissions by city staff saying he followed the rules? Crooked politicians and people with too much power that abuse it! So sad there are people that are so spiteful and disrespectful to someone who has served his country and community as long and who tried to do the right thing and when it gets right down to it what difference did it make that he trimmed those limbs anyway? Did it hurt the city in any way? I think not. Did it change the scenery of that beautiful drive aling the lake? I would think not. Did it protect his home and his property and maybe even some ones life? I would say it probably did. Get over it city officials and do something that would really matter to help your citizens a lot more than the time and cost this farce of an issue is costing them! Geez whats next????

  31. Name says:

    Just to clarify, the fines are NOT being solely driven by the Code Enforcement office or the PD, It is being pushed by a couple of members on Howey Town Council itself. Might want to interview Councilman David Nebel about this.

  32. Name says:

    Not only do I believe that Mr. John Hamelink should be relieved of his position indefinitely for bullying and harassing this Hero that he should of been helping willingly as an act of community service, I also believe that the city of Howey in the Hills should be made to reimburse this gentleman of the fee he had to pay a private company to remove the trimmings that they told him on two occasions admittedly he had the right to do without a permit. Also I believe the city as well as John Hamelink and the Special Magistrate Heather Christman personally should be fined for harassment as I don’t see how anyone could side against the man when the city itself admits to telling him not once but twice he did not need a permit… I’d say 10 grand each would be a very nice thank you for his service to the country and the city. This is the biggest example of us living in a communistic society and people don’t even realize it. Who the heck would even think you would need a permit to trim your own tree???? Absolutely absurd!!!!! Would love to see president elect Donald Trumps reaction to this…..

  33. Name says:

    I live in Lake County, FL not too far from there. Howey-in the-hills has a reputation of being a money-grubbing little speed-trap. It does not surprise me at all that they would do this to one of it’s citizens who obviously tried to comply with the law.

  34. Someone needs to come to his legal defense. There is no justification for this situation.

  35. Name Dragon says:

    Agree with Mr. Budde. Seems that Howey PD has always thought they were high and mighty. Really, trimming two trees to protect his home????? Howey in the Hills should be named stupid in the Hills. This man did nothing wrong. He did the right thing to protect his home. I don’t live in Howey and never would. The mayor needs to dismiss this or be dismissed himself.

  36. THIS IS BS!!!!! I don’t live there, actually in Bushnell but……as a fellow vet(72-76) I AM ON HIS SIDE! can’t really say what I want to but…..yal need to get REAL ppl running your city! I lived in Largo, Fl for approx 20+ yrs &&&&&& NEVER had a problem TRIMMING my trees! Whatever this ummm…….you know that is having a so-called PROBLEM needs a SERIOUS visit to the nearest WOODSHED!!!!!

  37. Name says:


  38. You must be Among the most stupid people in the world. This has gone all over the world on the internet. This man would never hurt a tree. Has been a nursery man from his early youth, planting and caring for plant life. If the mayor had any courage he would have this fiasco dismissed. Also let’s think about The policeman Mr Hamlink, he has created a problem that has embarrassed your city and should be dismissed.

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