Bill Weismann

An argument would not be an argument if people agreed with each other.  As is so often the case each side tells their story and those closest to them believe their side. And then when one side takes it too far the tides turn.  The one who has gone too far now looks to be the more wrong of the two and there is usually little they can do at that point to resolve that.  

Tom and Lisa Wess moved into a gated community called Lake of the Pines in California about forty-five minutes from Sacramento in 1998.  This community is not your average, run of the mill communities with at gate.  They have their own golf course and even lounge behind those gates. In 2000 Bill and Mary Weismann moved in next door to the Wess' after Bill had retired.  It seems that almost immediately there was trouble.

It seems as if the Wess' had begun constructing a boat dock before the Weismann's moved in.  I question whether the Weismann's knew prior to closing on the house that the dock infringed on their property by about 18 inches because it seems that immediately there were issues over this dock.  My research indicates that Tom Wess suggested that they swap that small area for one near the driveway that technically belonged to the Wess'.  The Weismann's said no.  It was said that they offered to help Tom Wess relocate his dock but it was unclear as to what kind of "help" he was offering.  Tom and Lisa said no to this.  Bill Weismann claims they had only been in the home a few days when he woke up to find his vehicle windows smashed and water in his gas tank.  The fact that this all seemingly happened within the first few days of them moving in is why I question if the boat dock was not knowledge long before they took residency in the home.  

Things escalated immensely over the next two and a half years.  The police were called by both parties several times and the Home Owners Association got involved. There were even law suits and restraining orders.  

At some point during all of this Weismann apparently had another survey done on his land and discovered a fifteen foot Rock planter that was between the yards was also over his property by 18 inches.  In June of 2001 Weismann took a sledgehammer to the planter.  For their part the Wess' went to the courts and were granted easement rights as the things, especially the planter had been there even prior to the Wess' moving in.  

My research indicates that prior to the Wess' and the Weismann's buying their homes and moving it that both properties were owned by the same person.  It does not appear that since they owned both properties that they cared much about the property lines in between. Then it appears that new lines were not drawn when the family sold the property. I have seen this happen before, especially in less developed areas.   The Wess' likely had no idea that the planter was in any way on the property next door and sounds like they used that line as their line to do their dock.  This sounds reasonable to the reasonable person. 

Weismann would say that the Wess' would use their "blower" every time he had family or a get together at his home and at least once used it to the point in which so much dust was blown onto their porch they had to go inside.  He would also complain the Wess' had installed cameras on their home and claimed that one aimed right into their kitchen.  He of course would claim that he was trying to de-escalate the situation but that Tom Wess had said to him "It's an all out war now. You're going to be sorry you moved here."  

Others would say, and apparently have proof that Weismann would call the police on the Wess' for things such as barking dogs and even the planting of trees in their yard.  Other complaints went to the Home Owners Association about things like where the Wess' placed their trash cans (it was argued that they had always gone in that spot), that mud had washed off into the lake after the Wess' had electrical upgrades done to their home and even holiday decorations and lights.  

In August of 2002 Weismann was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery after hitting Tom Wess in the jaw.  All I can say about this is that he received a sentence of probation but I have no idea what had occurred to bring on this event.  The following month the courts issues mutual restraining orders to Tom Wess and Bill Weismann ordering them from contact and harassment. In October of 2002 the Home Owners Association apparently felt enough was enough, not that they had been of any help at this point, and told the Wess' they needed to move their boat dock.  It seems they had decided since it all began about the dock, moving it would solve everything.  The Wess' appealed that order and even went back to court in which it was made clear once more that by California law the Wess' were not required to move neither the dock or the planter.  Not long later the Home Owners Association told Lisa Wess that they should ignore the court order and move the dock and planter anyway, just so Weismann "wouldn't feel so bad."  At this point the Wess' decided to file a civil suit against the Association.  In turn they began fining the Wess' $150 a week until the property was moved.  For the record, Tom Wess refused to pay this fine but he did fear that the Association would foreclose on his home.

And then the day came in which this argument was taken too far.  On April 11, 2003 Bill Weismann had contacted a real estate broker named Lou Sans. Weismann told Sans he believed Sans could help him out due to connections that apparently Weismann presumed Sans had.  Weismann was looking to hire someone to murder Tom Wess.  For his part Lou Sans contacted the authorities who set things up for the following day (wow, California must get a lot of these sorts of cases).  Wesimann, Sans, and an undercover cop posing as a hit man met in a parking lot inside Lake of the Pines.  Weismann gave the undercover cop $5,000 to kill Tom Wess.  The exchange was taped and upon exiting the car Bill Weismann was promptly arrested.  He was charged with two counts of solicitation to commit murder. 

Weismann's lawyer attempted to have his bail lowered so he could be released but the judge would not allow it.  His lawyer pointed out that the Weismann's grandson had been diagnosed with cancer the previous December and that Weismann had been instrumental in support, attending treatments with his grandson, but the judge still would not budge.  The lawyer even attempted again by saying Weismann would live with his daughter but the judge expressed that basically he thought Weismann needed a cooling off period.  In November of 2003 Weismann pleaded  no contest to the charges.  The following January he was sentenced to five years.  The maximum he could have gotten was eleven.

After the arrest Tom and Lisa Wess re-filed a civil suit against the Home Owners Association but a judge would later dismiss the case saying that they could not be held responsible for what Weismann had done.  While I agree that they are not responsible for his actions, I do believe that they were negligent, but that is just me.  

After the situation the county began offering classes about easements and said they were overflowing as people began educating themselves.  I can only hope that these classes discussed the issue in which I think would have prevented this all together.  Unless I misunderstood the information I gathered, this could have been prevented if the previous owner of the two properties had the land reassessed and lines moved prior to selling as separate lots. The flower planter was already in place and it appears to sound as if the Wess' used that placement as the guideline for their dock.  I am not sure that was unreasonable considering they had the right to believe the planter was all on their property.  

This all began over 18 inches!  18 inches!  It then became an issue that could have resulted in a murder.  There are those who say that Tom Wess pushed Bill Weismann to the brink of insanity.  There are others that say Tom Wess attempted to accommodate Weismann while still protecting himself.  I cannot tell you for sure that Tom Wess smashed car windows, put water in Weismann's gas tank, cut flowers in between the homes, painted a red line through the grass, or any of the other things that Weismann claims he did.  But, sadly the things that Weismann did are on record, the phone calls or mundane stuff to the police, and ultimately the solicitation of his neighbors murder.    


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