Judge Wilford Carter's Land Dispute - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Judge Wilford Carter's Land Dispute

June 25, 2004
Reported by Danner Evans

Linda Young bought the property to build her dream house from 14th District Judge Wilford Carter back in December 2003. But she says she got the surprise of her life when they started to build. "My contractor calls and says they went out there in the morning and there is a sign on the poll saying stop, no building. No work can be done. He calls me at home, I'm hysterical and I'm asking what is going on and he says, you need to come out here right now."

When Linda called the Corps of Engineers, she found out this land, according the Corps, is Wetlands, "He tells me they have a cease and desist order where you can't build anything in this subdivision--in fact, the subdivision isn't supposed to be there. So this is where I've been ever since--I've been trying to talk to him and ask him would he please just give us our money back. We can't build on this lot and we are all ready to build somewhere else. I just want my money back."

But Carter says he doesn't owe any money because he is in compliance with the law. He also says the whole idea of this land being wetlands didn't come into play until well after he developed this area in 2002--in fact, he says it took the Corps of Engineers a year to contact him. Carter tells 7-News he is convinced he is in compliance with the law and he has federal court cases to back his story up.

He plans on taking his own case to federal court. Judge Carter has also submitted an "after the fact" wetlands permit application with the corps of engineers. And he says he's only applying because of problems with corps and to protect the homeowners in the subdivision. Carter says he will likely have to buy wetlands acreage to replace land being used for the subdivision.

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