Homeless in Key West: Old Man Chapman, Captain Tilly, and Peter Pan

Peter Pan

This is the first in a series of articles on affordable housing and homelessness in Key West and the Florida Keys.  We will try to look past the anti-homeless rhetoric burning through local media and show you what is really happening on the Keys housing front.

In future articles we will bring you points of view and solutions proposed by some of the most knowledgeable people on the Island.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

‘Old Man Chapman’

”If the bank has repossessed the house, how come I’m still sitting here?”

“You’re still sitting here, but I assure you we checked the paperwork. There was no lawyer, it was just Mr. Moodie in court, here in Key West, and the Judge gave your house to the bank.”

There was a very uncomfortable silence and then we asked:  “Mr. Chapman, how much do you trust Mr. Moodie?”

‘Old Man Chapman’ was sitting in his yard on this beat-up recliner surrounded by clusters of bananas and crowing chickens near the old wooden house where he grew up — where his father grew up.  Mr. Chapman’s house, on Chapman Lane, in Bahama Village.

‘Old Man Chapman’ was hanging his head down.  Finally, he reached into his pocket – got his phone out and dialed a number.  To whoever was on the other end he only said, “I want you to talk with this man at The Blue Paper,” and he handed over the phone.  It was Norman Moodie.

Our involvement with the Chapmans began about three weeks ago.  We were looking into a rumor.  The story was that police had stormed the Chapman home and had dropped a “bomb” inside.  And yes, according to Chapman, it was true: 21 officers had come to serve an arrest warrant for an alleged drug dealer who would have been living upstairs.  As they entered the house they dropped a flash grenade on the first floor and in spite of women yelling that a one-year-old child was upstairs, they also threw a flash grenade in the upstairs bedroom, which landed not far from the toddler who, according to Chapman, is now nearly deaf as a result.

The reason why the house has since taken on fire and has been condemned by the City is the center of much discussion. But while speaking with Mr. Chapman, we grew a sense of unease as he told us a confusing story about a bank loan gone sour. It was really “nothing to worry about,” said Chapman, because the good Mr. Moodie “was taking care of everything.”  The case was very complicated, he said, and it was all going to be decided in Miami anyhow.   We decided to look into it.

Apparently, somehow, in 2000, Moodie had his name added to the deed on Chapman’s house.  [Mr. Chapman, who got his shoe shine license at the age of 14, worked construction for 47 years – and is now over 75 years old.]  He says Moodie helped him pay off a $ 10,000 property tax lien.  With his name on the deed, Moodie borrowed over $ 580,000 on the house.

The bank claimed the payments were never made and since the owners had no insurance, they slapped on a $ 22,000 a year insurance payment.   Adding Moodie’s name to the title also caused the Chapmans to lose their homestead exemption.  The property taxes went from under $ 500/year to over $ 4,000.

According to Moodie the loan was structured in such a way that there was really no way to repay it. “It was a predatory loan from Countrywide,” said Moodie, “by the time we realized it, it was too late to get out.” Moodie however is a very savvy businessman who has bought and sold numerous properties in Key West, such as the Caribbean House, a guesthouse on Petronia.

The $ 588,000 loan somehow mushroomed into a million dollar debt on a $ 300,000 house.  “I am trying really hard to find a solution for the Chapman family,” said Moodie, who no longer lives in Key West.   “I have no more business interests down there.  I live in Miami.”

Mr. Chapman had told us he believed the insurer was going to pay to rebuild his bombed and burned house so he could move back in with his wife and his grandsons.  The reality of it is that his wife is now staying with the grandkids at a local women’s shelter and Mr. Chapman crashes on someone’s sofa, somewhere in the village.

For all the people we spoke with in the village, the idea that the Chapmans of Chapman Lane, pillars of Bahama Village, could find themselves homeless is met with sadness and disbelief.

When we asked ‘Old Man Chapman’ if he had gotten any part of the loan money, the          $ 588,000 loan, he said, “Not a penny.”

“Captain Tilly”

Let us now introduce you to another man, who like Chapman, didn’t know that land sharks were circling around.

Stephen Freer is 66 years old.  Until last year he lived in Chicago on a social security check.  Freer, however, is no victim.  He actually came to Key West as a conqueror:  In 2013 he had zeroed in on the ‘deal of the century’.  He has since become an internet sensation as “Captain Tilly”, after thousands of people watched the video of his rescue from the sinking WW II tugboat, “Tilly” and, a week later, of the “Tilly” resting on the ocean floor.

This is his story:

When we first interviewed Stephen Freer we were immediately alarmed by the obvious catastrophe in the making.  An exuberant, disheveled old man was standing tall on the top deck of a completely dilapidated 80-foot steel tugboat that had been left idle at a Stock Island dock for many years.  That man was Stephen Freer and that day he showed us a a series of photographs of himself paying $ 8,000 in 20-dollar-bills — his entire life savings — for this ‘monstrosity’. The ‘deal’ included, at no extra cost, an even bigger deck barge which was only kept afloat by the continuous operation of a series of electric bilge pumps.

This is where one has to do the right thing – forget about writing a newspaper article – and we did spend hours trying to convince Freer to abandon this enterprise.  We managed only to have him give up the takeover of the “free” 150-foot sinking deck barge.

The rest is well known by readers of The Blue Paper.  ’Captain Tilly’ signed a dockage agreement with a fancy marina whose owners had no idea that Freer’s “yacht” was a rusted-through WW II tugboat.  Freer, the ‘anarchist’, managed to so infuriate marina management that they towed the entire outfit –  ‘bathtub Captain’ and sinking ship – out onto the ocean.  They dropped his anchor miles offshore in completely unprotected waters.  Using his last few minutes of cell phone battery, ‘Captain Tilly’ called The Blue Paper, asking to be rescued.  The tugboat sank a few days later at the first sign of bad weather.

Since he didn’t take possession of it, the barge had to be destroyed at the owner’s expense – reportedly for about $ 150,000. The owner, or rather ex-owner, did however save the estimated $ 200,000 it would have cost to dispose of tug “Tilly” at the dock.  Taxpayers could end up paying for the $ 500,000 wreck removal now that it’s sunk.  Even though the marina towed and anchored the old tug in unprotected waters, Freer alone faces criminal charges for “abandoning” the “Tilly”.

He now lives on the beach, homeless in Key West, having spent his life savings on a dream – not knowing he was himself the dream of some unscrupulous Key West multi-millionaires.  To avoid the police and the humiliating conditions at KOTS [homeless shelter], each night Freer wades through a half-mile of shallow water, out to sleep on an abandoned sailboat left on its side by some unforgiving storm.   “I am stuck here,” says ‘Captain Tilly’, still explaining with disillusioned eloquence his dream of a solar powered tugboat community destined to true anti-capitalistic adventure.

For more articles on ‘Captain Tilly’ click here.

“Peter Pan”

The youngest homeless man we found this week was 7 years old.  He is quite the Peter Pan with his long white hair. When you see him playing and jumping around with the other homeless children you expect him to begin flying around in a trail of pixie dust.  He lives with his 14-year-old sister and their mother… and their two dogs…  and two cats…  and piles of clothes and food, in their little car.  Well actually they recently found a van, which doesn’t run, and is quite an oven in this weather, but has more room.  “People judge us sometimes, but most people are nice,“ says L.  “The police like to call us ‘you people’,” says her daughter, R.

“So, What happened to you?”

“It wasn’t always like this,” says L, “Last year my daughter was in private school, but everything went bad.  I lost my job.  I had a job offer in Georgia.  The move took all the savings we had, but when we got there, there was no job and it was snowing.  I remembered I had spent time working on a boat in Key West 15 years ago and down we went, but I can’t seem to be able to get my head out of the water.”

For obvious reasons we can’t get into many of the details about the real hardships faced by this young family.

~~~

The anti-homeless rhetoric has been virulent this year –especially with the anonymous Shakespeares of the Citizen’s Voice.  “But this is not who we are,” says Wendy Coles, former Executive Director of the Southernmost Homeless Assistance League [SHAL], “this is not Key West.”

For people like Mr. Chapman, Stephen Freer, and the ‘Peter Pan’ family, one fundamental problem is a lack of legal aid, something that Wendy Coles says has been badly needed for a long time, “Some people need to be supported more than others,” she says, “Everyone loves Mr. Chapman. He’s the man who goes up and down Duval Street on a tricycle covered with Christmas lights with soul music playing […] It’s all about how we look after each other.  What do we do when our neighbor needs help?”


Key West The Newspaper [The Blue Paper] encourages spirited, open debate in comments on our stories. We do ask that you refrain from profanity, personal attacks and remarks that are off point. Please join the conversation!

10 comments on “Homeless in Key West: Old Man Chapman, Captain Tilly, and Peter Pan

  1. Father Stephen Braddock, CEO of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC), which gives down and out men and women a chance live inside and turn their lives around, has told me that he is not a homeless expert, because he never was homeless. He has told me that the only way to be a homeless expert is to be homeless.

    I first started getting to know Steve at Key West City Commission meetings in 2002. That’s when I was telling the City Commission during citizen comments, that they could not change street people, as homeless people were called back then; only God could change them. That was before the economy crashed and there were lots of new homeless people, such as the Peter Pan boy’s family in this article.

    Steve Braddock and I got to know each other a lot better as the years passed. He told me that he quit having anything to do with SHAL, because he didn’t like the way they did things. I myself told Wendy Coles, after homeless guru (self-described, he’d never been homeless) Robert Marbut made his homeless presentation in Key West’s Old City Hall, that she was way out of her depth and should find something else to do. I think that was was in late 2012. SHAL (Wendy) and Mayor Cates had brought Marbut to Key West. The next year, Wendy resigned from SHAL.

    Let’s back up. Starting late 2000, I was homeless off and on in Key West for several years, and I was homeless elsewhere. I lived on the street in Key West. I participated in FKOC’s residential program for several months in 2003. I stayed at KOTS a couple of nights in early 2005. I stayed in Key West people’s homes, spare vehicles, outbuildings, gratis. I lived in my vehicle in Key West, when I had one. That’s how you get to be a homeless expert. There is no other way.

    Although I am known in Key West as a homeless expert, and although I often have spoken at Key West City Commission meetings about homelessness, I have yet to be quoted on homelessness by the Citizen, the Keynoter, US 1 Radio News, the blue paper, or any other news media in Key West. The only Key West journalists to even ask me about homelessness was Key West the Newspaper’s current owners, Naja and Arnaud Girard.

    From their article above:

    “The anti-homeless rhetoric has been virulent this year –especially with the anonymous Shakespeares of the Citizen’s Voice. “’But this is not who we are,” says Wendy Coles, former Executive Director of the Southernmost Homeless Assistance League [SHAL], “this is not Key West.’”

    Actually, this indeed is Key West, as any homeless person living here well knows.

    This article presents two homeless scenarios, and one potentially homeless scenario. Those scenarios are important, but they do not represent what I still call street people, whom the Shakespeares in Citizen’s Voice bang ongoing.
    The chronic homeless people. The down and maybe out for the count homeless people. The addicts. The mentally ill. The battle-shocked US Corporate War, Inc. homeless veterans. Any one or more of the above. The visible homeless people. The homeless people the Shakespeare’s hate and want driven away. The homeless people who are not part of Key West’s fake One Human Family, as any of them will say, if asked. The homeless people, who can tell stories about Key West police officers, which you do not want to hear.

    Of the three scenarios in this article, one is typical: the Peter Pan boy and his family. Homeless families like this one are on the rise. They are where this city, and society generally, need to put 90 percent of their time and resources, trying to help such families, get them back to living inside, working, before they fall through the cracks and become long-term homeless people, whom the Shakespeares hate and, from their safe houses (anonymous comments) viciously attack like the good chicken little Nazis they are.

    Capt. Tilly, sadly, bought a tug boat without having the engine checked out by a marine mechanic. I learned that from Capt. Tilly myself, in emails. When I told him he should have gotten the engine checked out, he called me a Fascist. He is a disturbed person. I feel sorry for him. But, dang it, he set the entire thing in motion all by himself. Perhaps he is not responsible for his own actions. But he did it, anyway. Certainly, the other people involved in that SNAFU are responsible. Karma will get them, if the law doesn’t.

    Mr. Chapman is a well-know figure in Bahama Village and on Duval Street. He very much likes pedaling his tricycle on city streets with its boom box turned up all the way, blasting whatever he passes. Maybe three months ago, he parked outside Blue Heaven Restaurant one Sunday evening, during a Key West Poetry Guild meeting. Blasting away, while he had a conversation on the sidewalk with someone he knew. I walked down the steps and outside and told him a Poetry Guild meeting was going on upstairs, would he mind turning down his boom box? He laughed, said not a chance, that was what he did. He came back at the most recent Poetry Guild reading, blasting away, parked outside, talking to someone he knew. I didn’t bother to do downstairs.

    The flash bang thrown in the upstairs of Mr. Moore’s homes, where there was a baby, really bothers me, if that is what happened. However, as Arnaud and Naja told me me the story at their home one evening, it was a drug bust; the home was supposedly where drug trafficking was going on.

    Because I once practiced law and heard lots of stories from clients and other people, which later turned out not to be the whole story; and because, life also taught me that what people tell about their problems often is not the whole story, I am having trouble not thinking there might be more to the story about Mr. Moore’s home being mortgaged.

    Certainly, this all makes for interesting reading, I have heard somewhat similar stories in Key West, told by homeless people, and by people who might end up homeless. I have heard similar stories elsewhere. I look forward to seeing where the blue paper goes with the homeless thread. There are hundreds of homeless experts in the Key West area, who could contribute to this thread. Wendy Coles is not one of them.

    Meanwhile, from the Peter Pan boy’s story: “For obvious reasons we can’t get into many of the details about the real hardships faced by this young family.”

    Not sure I see the obvious reasons, but what I do see is the blue paper has positively identified for the Key West police and the Department of Family Services a homeless child. I hope the KWPD and DFS leave that child and his mother alone. I’m a bit more concerned about babies being raised in drug houses.

    P.S. During his campaign victory party in 2009, new Mayor Craig Cates asked me if I would be on his Mayor’s Homeless Advisory Committee? He said he hoped I would do it, because I knew so much about homelessness. I said, sure. I never heard another word from him about it. Other people ended up being on the Committee. Father Stephen Braddock told me that he tried to get on the Committee, but Mayor Cates never responded to his requests. When Mayor Cates then told me that Steve had never asked to be on the Committee, I shared that news with Steve, who then sent me copies of two emails he had sent to Mayor Cates, asking to be on the Committee, which emails Steve said went unanswered.

  2. While I agree with most of Sloan’s points, I have some additional thoughts.

    Peter Pan Boy – It’s tragic that a young family as this has to live in a car. Hopefully by The Blue Paper publishing their story, someone in “One Human Family” will offer her some sort of job. I know how difficult it is to live in a vehicle in Key West (hiding nightly from the KWPD) I lived in my van not because I had no money, I just didn’t have enough. I’m sure it’s hard enough being a single mother raising two children, but living in a small car
    makes the difficulty increase tenfold.

    Capt. Tilly – Obviously this man has serious mental problems. To think using your life savings to buy a rusted old tug with no motor or steering was a good idea is insanity. He was taken in by unscrupulous marina owner, but the blame needs to rest on both of them.

    Mr. Chapman – A drug raid where no drugs were found? This in becoming commonplace in this country. Due to the “militarize policing” in the country this happens almost daily somewhere in the country. What’s the KWPD going to be like when the get an MRAP vehicle of their own?
    I’ve spoken with Mr. Chapman many times. He seemed like a nice enough old guy. He loves the attention he gets by riding his trike and playing music. Maybe that’s all he has left in his life. I agree he should turn it down when asked.
    Not knowing all the facts of his debt problems, it sounds like he was taken in by “the good Mr Moodie” Elder people are always preyed on by others because they often make easy targets.

    I’m sure all three stories have more to them. Maybe not known or maybe not published. Only time will tell

  3. I moved to KeyWest in early November 1999. I was living in St.Paul, M.N. and had grown tired of their cold winters, so I was very ready for a change. My wife ( now ex ) and I had gone down there in early June that same year to get married. We loved it so much that upon returning home, we made the necessary arraignments to relocate their permanently, so that’s exactly what we did.

    However there was an accident on the professional mover’s moving truck. A freak fire broke out and all 6 thousand pounds of life long, worldly possessions all perished in the fire…well the majority of it anyway. A few items did survive but not much.

    Not the best way to start our new life together as newlyweds to say the very least, it was both tragic, and awful. The first month there my wife, and I, filled out paperwork for our Insurance Company, Farmers Insurance. They wanted to know everything we owned, a written description of each, and every, item lost. What it’s replacement value was, where we purchased it, etc. It was a nightmare.

    I mean really, close your eyes for just a minute…humor me.

    Now think about everything that you own, then make an itemized list including all the info listed above. Six months after completing this daunting task I would wake up during the middle of the night in cold sweats. I would remember a pair of rattlesnake skin cowboy boots, with sterling silver spurs, that I had neglected to include in my paperwork to the insurance company.

    This went on for two plus years.

    That’s roughly how long it took them to eventually get around to settling our case. We were eventually paid off in three settlement payments during all of that time. We had purchased a 40 thousand insurance policy with United Van Lines the moving company that caused all of this.

    However those bastards refused to pay us. They had lawyers on retainer, I didn’t period. So they could drag the case on forever if they wanted. I consulted three different lawyers that all told me the same thing. That I would eventually win my case but any funds that I won would pretty much all go to the lawyers in fees etc. so basically it was not worth my time to pursue it legally.

    I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but after hearing that from three seperate attorney’s I realized that I was screwed with a Capitol “S”. Thankfully my wife had a homeowner policy that covered some of it. In the end though we didn’t even get enough funds to replace my heavy comic book collection, as I had like 39 long boxes plum full of silver age, to current, wonderful gems.

    The collection was my life, pride, and joy.

    I had every intention of selling it all one day and really cleaning up as I had been faithfully collecting for about thirty years at the time of that fire. My collection was appraised at just shy of six figures. Pretty much everything in as near to mint condition as humanly possible!!

    Several years later my wife, and I, decided to end our marriage, and go our seperate ways.

    Then a series of poor choices, increadably bad luck, and the Hurricane Season of 04, and 05, had destroyed my small business. I began drinking heavily, and almost always too excess, in a feeble effort to cope, and watched everything I owned, and had worked for, get flushed down the drain.

    It was horrific to watch your life shatter, and go right down a sewer drain of life.

    To make a very long story much shorter I suddenly found myself homeless. My girlfriend at the time did not appreciate all the heavy alcohol consumption, so she ended our relationship. Truly unfortunate for me because she was, and still is, the absolute love of my life. Even after all the elapsed time I still love her with all of my heart, and soul!!

    But my poor decisions, and heavy drinking, caused the destruction of that relationship…I accept full responsibility. Her name was Ginger, and she was the reigning Fantasy Fest Queen in 2004. A pillar of the community, and without a doubt the finest human being that I know. I always knew that she really was too good for me to be with .

    She had always really been out of my league. I knew that from day one!!

    Anyway, we broke up and I had no where to live. For a short while I was surfing on various friend’s couches and futons, basically where ever I could crash for the night, I did. As Pride always was one of my greatest sins I quickly grew tired of putting my friend’s out, and living like that. One day I stopped asking my friend’s for help, and simply moved out on to Simonton Beach to live.

    It was kind of fun at first, living hand to mouth. I no longer had to worry about paying huge amounts in rent. Those days I only worried about food, alcohol, and cigarettes…and that was about it. I had a stashed blanket hidden for those occasional chilly nights, and lived on the street for about ten and a half months.

    I quickly blew threw what little cash I had during the first six weeks of being homeless. So I had an old guy named “Popeye” take me under his wing. Charles aka Popeye was a Vietnam Vet, and an Alcoholic, with a generous nature and soul. He taught me that art of the pan handling game, and the cardinal rule while living homeless which was this…closed mouths don’t get fed.

    What he meant was if you want something you have to learn how to ask for it.

    Money for food, cigs, alcohol, whatever could be had by those willing, and aggressive enough to simply ask for it. I never got great at that, but did learn how to get by. Eventually each and every day I would make enough money to scrape by.

    The police down there are down right abusive to the homeless, and basically treat them like third class citizen’s. I personally know from experience and in dealing with them. They really don’t like the homeless one bit. They run you all over town all day. Each and every time they come across you they always say “move it along”.

    Except there is really no where to move it along to. That’s because they tell you to move, only to find you in another 20-30 minutes where they keep saying the same thing. They do this because they want you exhausted. They want you to go out by the jail during the evenings, and stay in their tent city out by the jail.

    During the entire duration of time that I was homeless I never once stayed out in their shelter on a Stock Island. That’s because they had very strict rules out there, and no drinking was at the very top of their list. Well back then drinking was pretty much all that I had left. Or so I thought anyway.

    Before any holiday where the island would get really busy like say Christmas, or Fantasy Fest, NewYears, etc. The police would always do a very intense “sweep” where they would look for just about any, and every, possible reason to lock you up when homeless.

    I mean the very last thing that they wanted was for you to have any fun, and party.

    It’s down right criminal that the police down there arrest homeless people for an open container charge. I was personally only arrested one time for this charge which usually carries with it a very steep punishment of 29 days in jail. On the day when I was arrested I could see at least 40 other tourists all with cups of alcohol in their hands, all doing the exact same thing that I was.

    A tourist can walk right down Duval St with an alcohol beverage as long as it is poured into a plastic cup no one ever bothers you. However, if you are homeless then the double standard applies, and they toss you in jail for a month. That still bothers me even today. It’s wrong, and laws should be changed.

    I was homeless for pretty much most of 2006.

    I slept behind a commercial dumpster of a few businesses in the building directly across the street from LaConcha, The Local Holiday Inn in KeyWest located at 430 Duval St. Most of the people I knew, my friend’s, were all in the gay area, or the 800 block of Duval. So I went to the other end because I was embarrassed, and ashamed, of what I had become. I didn’t want to ever get recognized.

    Basically for roughly seven years KeyWest had become my home. I frequently spoke with customers of mine back when I drove a Pink Taxicab for five 6′s, and use to say that I would never leave KeyWest. That I was very happy there, and wanted to spend the rest of my life there… Still do really even after everything that’s happened!!

    Anyway for seven years it was my home. The citizens there my family, and I had been accepted, I was then one of them, or so I thought. To the police there I was just the newest eyesore that they really didn’t want to have to look at, or see. On more then one occasion I had cops tell me to leave town, as in forever, and not to return.

    I said that KeyWest was my home, and had been for many years…that I was a citizen there, and not going anywhere. The police REALLY did not like hearing that. Several called me a liar, that because they had only recently began seeing me, that I must have just arrived. Such arrogance, it was palpable.

    One night there was a robbery that took place at a jewelry store downtown. The next morning the police came out on to The Beach down at the very end of Simonton St. They wanted to know if anyone had seen, or heard, anything. Funny how very differently they treat you when they want something from you.

    I don’t care if that robbery had taken place directly in front of me, there was absolutely no way in hell that I would help any of those jackasses that had treated me , or any of my friends so poorly. It was unbelievable to me the audacity of some of those guys.

    They were not all bad though, there were a few good eggs there.

    One noteworthy police officer was named Officer Eric DeFlippio. This guy took a real personal interest in me, and genuinely seemed to care. He even bought me a meal out of his own pocket on more then one occasion. He single handedly saved my life!! It was he that took the time to sit down and chat with me on several different occasions.

    He eventually convinced me to rise above all of that crap and bullshit. To reach out to a family member, or friend…someone from my past for help, so that I could get out of the keys, and away from that life. He was tired of being a cop, and spoke about his desire to be something more.

    He wanted to be an EMT along with his wife. I have very little doubt that he is somewhere even today having changed his profession. Somewhere in the US I firmly believe that he is helping others the same way that he helped me. I asked him once how he felt about persecution the homeless.

    After a pause of silence, he looked down at his shoes for about a full minute, and remained quiet. He then replied “it’s not good Michael, I try not to treat you all like most do”. He actually understood exactly what I was talking about. He got it…which was of, and in itself, why he wanted out, wanted to change professions.

    I always wanted to thank him for his acts of kindness, and for helping me personally. Unfortunately I learned that he is no longer with The Police Dept. down there in KeyWest. I keep looking for him on Facebook as well, but never find him. It’s truly unfortunate that many of the other cops out there don’t act like him. They would solve the homeless problem down there in a matter of months.

    Obviously their current policies are discriminatory and desperately need change!!!

    Between the recession, and current state of our economy, they are only going to keep seeing more, and more, homeless, it’s a fact, and simply a matter of time. The majority of them need a few classes on sensitivity, and learn how to stop treating the homeless down there like carriers of The Plague.

    Currently that’s exactly what they do. Of you stop and pay attention to them they all carry those latex doctor gloves. The minute that they have to touch any homeless person for any reason, out, and on, go those gloves. There’s nothing wrong with them protecting themselves. However once they don their gloves, someone ALWAYS goes to jail.

    And I do mean ALWAYS. Stop the next time you see this on the street down there and you will see exactly what I am talking about. The minute those gloves are put on it will only be no more then 3-4 minutes before someone gets arrested. Believe me, I watched it more times then I could count!!

    Should anyone read this, and know Eric DeFlippio…please tell him to find me here on Facebook. I really need to thank him for saving my life, as that’s precisely what he did. I likely would have eventually drank myself to death down there on the beach had I stayed. That’s a fact!!

    I had my last drink of alcohol on NewYears Eve in 2006.

    Even though that’s my own personal accomplishment I highly doubt that ever would have happened had I never met Eric. So in a way I have him to thank for that as well. Very little in this life would give me more pleasure then getting to see, and thank him, for all that he did for me.

    It really was a big deal and had a huge impact on me, and my life.

    Michael~

    • Looks like an Archangel, whose name you bear, took you under “his” wing, so to speak. I sometimes tell homeless people, who are under the influence, that they are of no use to God when they are drinking. I hope our city officials and police officers, and a lot more people, read your story, Michael, and of Eric DeFlippio.

  4. Good going Mike and Sloan. I don’t have much, but I can’t pass a homeless person on the street without giving them five bucks, if I have it in my pocket, or a half a pack of cigs.

    • I enjoyed reading the Chris Hedges piece. Thanks for the link Alex but when are we going to figure out that war is not the answer? We will only end up fighting ourselves. The answer to the problem is found in people like Eric DeFlippio who understand right from wrong and refuse to do the elites bidding. We the people need to stop working for all facets of the military industrial complex be it the military itself, its contractors, the police force, public indoctrination schools, oil drilling/refining, etc.

  5. While I agree that there are issues with a long time resident being swindled out of their home but I believe there is much more to the story. The corner of Chapman Lane and Petronia is a constant bed of termoil, police activity, and much more. While tourist find it intersting and unique while passing by I question how many people in Key West would want Mr. Chapman as their neighbor. The property is covered with trash, bike frames, people sleeping in the yard and total disaray. The people visiting the property at all hours of the night are of questional character at best. It would be intersting to know how many times the KWPD have had to visit the property over the years. There is a reason for this, for some reason people turn their heads. He is just the lovable bike man?

  6. Recently a couple of local papers have published articles about a neighbor of mine who hast lost ownership of his home. One article declared his family “pillars of the community.” Another article named him “neighbor of the week.”
    With the number of arrests at his address and the criminal history of my neighbor and his children it is hard to understand them being portrayed as pillars of the community.
    A few months ago a good number of neighbors signed a letter asking city and county officials to do something about the activity and conditions on his property. So it is hard to understand how he can be neighbor of the week. People should know the whole story before they feel charitable towards him and his family.

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