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A Republican-endorsed state House candidate in northern Minnesota is being sued for sawing his neighbor's garage in half over a property line dispute.
Mark Besemann of Iron, is suing Roger Weber of Nashwauk, for $20,000 in damage to the garage and $20,000 in punitive damages, as well as a portion of Weber's land, the Duluth News Tribune reports.
Weber faces incumbent DFLer Carly Melin for the Minnesota House District 6A seat in the Nov. 4 election – he lost to Melin for the same seat in 2012.
The lawsuit comes after an ongoing family squabble over property lines. Roger Weber's father, Robert Weber, had owned 40 acres, including a house with the now-destroyed garage, along Itasca County Road 8. In 1978, he transferred the title of 39 of those acres to his son. When he died, the remaining one acre, including the house and garage, were passed to Roger Weber's sister, Ann Anderson, the Grand Rapids Herald Review reports.
After their father's death, Weber says he warned Anderson he would remove all the buildings that encroached on his property. Anderson ended up selling her piece of property to Besemann in April 2013 and a few days later, Weber used a power saw to cut the garage along what was believed to be the property line, the Grand Rapids Herald Review says.
“Apparently the property line problem, that the garage might be partially on his (39) acres, wasn’t a problem when his dad lived there. But after I bought it, it became a problem,” Besemann told the Duluth News Tribune, adding he knew of a property line dispute before he bought the house, but thought they'd be able to work out a friendly compromise.
Weber says he thought the home still belonged to his sister when he sawed the garage in half, according to reports.
Besemann told the Duluth News Tribune that he and Weber had failed to reach an agreement, so he contacted authorities in Itasca County, who declined to investigate. Besemann filed an initial complaint in September 2013, the newspaper says.
Efforts to reach a pretrail settlement through arbitration failed in recent weeks, the Duluth News Tribune says. The case was scheduled to be heard this week in Itasca County District Court, but Besemann's attorney told The Associated Press that the case has been delayed to Dec. 15.
“He (Besemann) knew what he was getting into,” Weber told the Duluth News Tribune Friday. Weber declined to answer additional questions from the newspaper, saying it didn't relate to him running for public office. "It's a family thing."