Priests worried for well-being after dispute with Bay County condominium association

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BAY COUNTY (WJRT) - (02/09/17) - A dispute with a Bay County condominium association over windows has a priest worried for his well-being.

The priest, and another priest, live in a condo at Harbour View Pointe near Linwood, but last month while they were gone, their front room windows were removed and replaced without their approval.

The lawyer for the condominium association says everything was legal, but the way this was done has angered the priests and has them worried at the same time.

Tony Richter is a Detroit area priest, but he, and Ed Zaorski, also a priest, have owned a condo along Saginaw Bay for six years. Last year, they improved the condo by enclosing their porch. The Harbour View Pointe condo association didn't like the $7,000 windows.

“These were crank windows that we had, and they like sliding windows,” Richter said.

In August, the priests eventually agreed to put new windows in, but in November, new board members on the condo association said the windows were fine and they could keep them.

Then on Jan. 9, Richter got a call from a neighbor.

“‘They are smashing in your windows on the front lawn,’” Richter said.

The priests say their place was broken into with the help of a locksmith and the windows were taken out and replaced by the condo association.

“They have no permission to be in our home,” Richter said.

Jim Hammond, the attorney for the condo association, says the new condo board's decision to let the priests have their windows was not proper, and the by-laws of the association must stand.

“Whenever they got there, we said, ‘Let’s get going’. The priests didn't happen to be there and we didn't know exactly when they were going to be there,” he said. “Enforce the by-laws and compel the two priests to abide by the by-law provision just like everybody else has to do.”

The priests are now suing over what they call was a break-in at their home and the replacement of the windows.

“Love your neighbor, but you don't have to like them all the time and what their actions are, and when they even do, not just hurtful actions, but illegal actions, you have to stand up for yourself at some point,” Richter said. “This my home. I'm fearful for my safety, I sneak to my car, and sneak back into my house, I feel unsafe here.”

For now, the police say this is a civil dispute, nothing criminal.

The condo association has a restraining order against the priests to prevent them from replacing the newly installed windows and a court date is set for next week.

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