Ah, Green Bay Wisconsin! Home of the Packers. The trees have almost lost all their leaves and the brilliant colors are fading for the long cold, dark winter. Today I sat with a woman. She has asked me to keep her first name out of this publication. Ms. Williams 41 years old, single parent of a beautiful young 15 year old girl. As I sit across from her at dinning room table, I watch her. Her hands shake, though she tries as she might to hold back the tears, they still roll down her redden cheeks. I ask her to start from the beginning and she kind of laughed a little. “The beginning, well, that’s started a long time ago. I was 15.” she said.
I sat back in my chair, staring at her face as it twisted with anger and then fear. “I met Mr. Tachick when I was 15 years old. He’s about 19.5 years older than I am. Oh, we hit it off right away and it was great in the beginning.” She drew in a deep breath. She said it all went wrong when he tried to make his kids take her as a stand in mom for them. The children not much younger than herself. The flames of hatred started to burn. “Hell, I was a kid myself and didn’t really know what was going on.” she remarked.
I had asked her why I was there today. “I need someone to listen to me. Listen to my story.” she answered. “No one will listen and hear my side. Everyone says I’m really sorry for what you are going through, but we cannot help. Best of luck.” The tears streamed down her cheeks now. Again she pulled herself back so she could talk. She said that in February of this year Mr. Tachick had fallen gravely ill and died several times within a four week period from February – March. She also stated if she didn’t get him to the hospital when she had, he would not be here today.
She went on to say that while Mr. Tachick tried to recover from his ordeal, his son attempted to attack her at her home. He wanted money that they had in a safe in the house. At this time we stopped and I called the Green Bay Police department. I talked to the officer that was on sight at the time of the alleged attack and he confirmed it. “I tried to talk to Mr. Tachick about what had happened, but he sided with his son and broke up with me while he was in the hospital” she cried. Her sobs gaining momentum as we continue our talk. I tell her take a deep breath in and when she is ready to continue and she does. It’s hard to stay objective and unbiased when you can see the torment and fear on a person’s face. You can tell when people are telling the truth or not. I feel for this woman, sitting here trying to get someone to listen to her. She said she didn’t let Mr. Tachick back into her home and by April 2013 he was suing her for the very home she lives in. A home that is in her name and her name alone.
Fast forward to September and they have to go and pick out the dates for the per-trail and the trail. Ms. Williams stated “I was the only non-lawyer in that court room that day. I completely felt out of place. But I felt strong at the same time.” She told me they had pick out their dates and went on their marry way. “In the mail the next day, I had received a letter from his lawyer. It said the court had order mediation and I had to go.” Her face stiffens with more anger and sadness. As the tear continue to flow, all she can say I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to cry. I am stronger than that! My heart jumped from my chest and I wanted to hug her.
Fast forward October 9, 2013. The day of their court ordered mediation. She went. She had no one to go with her. “Not even a lawyer?” I asked. She shook her head no. “Why would you go to something like that by yourself?” She answered in between sobs “I didn’t have the money for a lawyer!” Again we had to wait for her to calm herself down. They had put her in a room by herself for about an hour she says and for the next three hours she says “The mediator kept telling me I lost my home, I needed to find a new home. He knew what the Judge had decided because he would do the same in this case. Take my home away.”
I know mediators conduct their mediation appointment in different ways, but to tell a person for three hours that they lost their home, doesn’t sound like mediation to me. I did try to talk with the mediator but he declined my request for an interview. “After three hours of coming and going to the other room where Mr. Tachick was, he came back in and said he had saved my home. I get to live in my home and had me sign a document.” Sheer anger on her face. “Two days later when I woke up from the fog I had been in because of the mediation, I re-read the contract and that’s when I saw it. I had signed everything away to him!” I did ask Ms. Williams “Why would you sign anything?”
Her answer “That mediator had me so convinced that he in the end was trying to help me, when he was on the other teams side all along.” I sat back in my chair more shocked than before. “How would you feel if for three hours someone told you, you had lost your home?” Tell the truth I don’t know how I would react to that. We each think we are strong enough and solid in what we believe in that we would laugh in their faces and walk away. “I didn’t know my rights. I didn’t know I could up and leave when I felt threatened. No one explained anything to me.” she said “Do you want to know the kicker?” she asked. Of course I do, what, what is it? “There was no court ordered mediation. It was all a trick and now the judge won’t let prove my side or my duress, nothing. I am to sign my house over to that man, who has abused me for years. And the court is letting him beat me up even more, legally!”
“You can appeal, right?” I asked gasping for air. My hands starting to shake with hers. By this time we have spent more than five hours together. I am able to read her pretty good by now. My heart hit the floor watching her as any and all hope has left her. Right in front of me is a woman to works to keep food on the table for her daughter. Finally gets the courage to leave her abusive boyfriend and here she sits lost, defeated. “I need a lawyer to appeal and I cannot afford one.” Almost embarrassed to tell me. Legal Action of Wisconsin, a free based legal help office, like Juda Care, won’t touch her case. They do not handle cases like hers. A private lawyers wants $2500.00 – $5000.00 down just to take it. Well, let me tell you, free consultations, they just get you enough information just to get by, if that.
What’s this world coming to, when a person can hold the deed on their home for almost three years and someone can come along and take it away from you. So, from what I am understanding here that even if a home is in your name, someone can say I have a vested interest in that home, go to court, manipulate you and take it away. I don’t know the legal system and I won’t pretend that I do. But someone has to be able to help Ms. Williams keep her home. Thanks Giving is right around the corner and next is Christmas. What does the Williams family have to be thankful for or how can the feel joy in the Christmas season? I hope someone can help her. I feel guilty because I said what everyone else has already told her. “I’m sorry. No one should be put through this, but I will tell your story.” I gathered my things and set to walk out the door and she tells me, “This last Monday, November 4th, I contacted our state rep. Genrich and a few other offices, trying to get any kind of help. Genrich’s office is the only one who said they would try to help me.” she kind of giggled still crying at the same time. I truly hope they can help her. I only have so much space to write this article and there seems to be more to come.
By Zondra Mae