Editor’s Note:  Tammy Hoth is an advocate for mobilehome owners in Minnesota.  I spoke with her about a week ago. One day, about a year and a half ago, she and her friend decided they would try to make their life better.  They would research the possibility of residents purchasing their small park of 30 spaces.

Well, I can report that escrow is set to close in about a month at which time residents will indeed own their park.

A portion of the following article was published in last months THE VOICE.  Tammy is being accused of trespassing.  So what was she doing – she was trying to tell residents in other parks that resident ownership was possible.  She was simply trying to give them information.

If you’ve been reading THE VOICE, you will know that park owners don’t want residents to be informed.  They don’t want residents to hold meetings.

Of course CoMO-CAL supports Tammy.  We want you to know her plight.  We also are publishing an email from her to CoMO-CAL which details what you and I can do to help her.  Please

read it and send a letter or email.

 

Woman denies trespassing charge

By CLAIR JOHNSON
Of The Gazette Staff

A Red Lodge woman claims she was handing out information about property rights to residents of Casa Village, a mobile-home park for sale in Billings.

But the city alleges the woman, Tammy Dunkin Hoth, was illegally trespassing when she entered Casa Village on Nov. 1 after having been asked to stay out.

Hoth pleaded not guilty Thursday in Municipal Court to misdemeanor trespassing. Judge Collette Davies appointed a public defender and set a hearing for Feb. 5. She continued Hoth’s $595 bond. If convicted, Hoth faces a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

Hoth, a bank clerk who owns a mobile home in Red Lodge, has been working with other residents to buy that park to keep it from being sold and developed. The residents formed a nonprofit association, Mountain Springs Villa Inc., to secure their homes and obtained government grants and loans to buy the land. Residents will rent from the association.

After her court appearance, Hoth and Trent Godfrey, a Billings resident who also lives in a mobile-home park, said they separately distributed fliers at Casa Village.

Godfrey is a local leader for All Parks Alliance for Change, a St. Paul, Minn., group that encourages mobile-home residents to form associations and to understand homeowners’ rights. The group called for messages protesting the trespassing charge. Godfrey has not been charged.

Hoth said she first distributed information last summer, and Godfrey said he distributed fliers a second time. Then the two went to a residents association meeting on Nov. 1, Hoth said, to let residents know “it’s not impossible to purchase their own park.” “I feel like I was invited,” Hoth said, because a Casa Village resident had told her about the meeting. But she was told they were not welcome.

City Attorney Brent Brooks said Casa Village is a privately owned park and that Hoth is accused of remaining on the premises three times despite being asked to leave.

The court records say Hoth entered Casa Village on Nov. 1 after the management had asked her to stay out of the park on more then one occasion. Hoth was found in the park in August passing out fliers, and manager Susie Cole told her not to come back. On Oct. 22, Cole discovered that more of the fliers had been distributed. Then on Nov. 1, Cole found Hoth again passing out fliers.

When contacted by a police officer, Hoth admitted she had been on the property on Nov. 1 and admitted she had been told more than once not to be on the premises, the affidavit said.

Hoth disputes the charges, saying she distributed fliers once and went to a meeting. Cole told her not to distribute any more fliers and she didn’t, she said. Cole could not be reached for comment.

Casa Village is a well-maintained, 490-lot mobile-home park on 65 acres off 24th Street West and Monad Road. Residents learned in October that the park was for sale after fliers were dropped on their doorsteps by the All Parks Alliance. Casa Village was listed for sale by Iowa Realty Commercial for $15.25 million.

During a meeting in October at Will James Middle School, representatives from All Parks Alliance hoped to give residents advice on forming associations and information on their rights. Many attendees worried they would be forced out if the park sells.

Casa Village is posted for no trespassing or soliciting, a police report said. The complainant, who was not identified, asked that Hoth be prosecuted, the report said.

The officer sent his report to Municipal Court for review, and the City Attorney’s Office issued an arrest warrant, said Police Lt. R.D. Harper. A warrant was issued Dec. 21. Hoth went to the Police Department on Jan. 2 and was released with a notice to appear in court Thursday. She posted bond.

Some supporters called or e-mailed Mayor Ron Tussing.

“We want the city to know other people are paying attention to this, and their constituents are paying attention to this as well,” said Kelly Diouf, of the alliance. The courts will have to determine whether Holt was trespassing, she said.

The mayor said he had received seven calls or e-mails from around the country, none of them from Billings. Brooks said he received nine calls.

While there may be some gray area when it comes to access to tenants renting lots, the property is private, Tussing said.

“I can see both sides,” he said.

Hello Frank
Here is the info. you will need to reach the Billings City Mayor and the Prosecuting Attorney as well as the Billings Gazette Editor.
All Parks Alliance for Change from MN received the grant from Northwest Area Foundation to do some preliminary work in the northwest on manufactured housing parks the residents in them and what they mean to the affordable housing pool. I met members of this group in Atlanta GA at a NeighborWorks convention, and was invited to a conference in St Paul MN.
In August members of APAC and I passed out fliers to residents in many Billings parks  to invite them to a meeting to discuss their rights and find out some general info. about the attitudes of the residents as well as the owners/managers.
A man at that meeting who lived in another park, started investigating and found Casa Village was for sell and he and members fliered the park again.  Another meeting was held to discuss the residents options in late Oct.  The resident  association meeting was held Nov. 1st and I was prevented from attending that meeting and later charged with Criminal Trespass. That meeting was held in the club house at Casa Village and that is why the manager feels she has a right to press charges.

Continued on page  29 bottom

 
Letter to the Editor: Letters can be submitted four ways:
Using the form at the bottom of this page: http://billingsgazette.net/info/?h/letters
Email your letter to speakup@billingsgazette.com.
Mail your letters by postal mail to:
P.O. Box 36300
Billings, MT 59107-6300
Send your letters by fax to: (406) 657-1208
Letters to the editor must contain the writer’s name, street address, and work and/or home phone numbers. Maximum length is 250 words.

Call:
City Attorney Brent Brooks at:      (406) 657-8202        brooksb@ci.billings.mt.us
Mayor Ron Tussing at:      (406) 657-8296        tussingr@ci.billings.mt.us

When:  Anytime, until the action alert is called off.  We will keep you posted if the alert is cancelled.
What to Say:   Drop the charges against Tammy Hoth.  Freedom of expression is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.
Feel free to embellish with your own story: e.g. I am a manufactured home park resident/advocate and this is important to me because…


Kelly Diouf
National Project Coordinator
All Parks Alliance for Change
970 Raymond Ave. Suite 105
St. Paul, MN 55114
Phone (651)644-5525 / (866) 361-APAC