ROSS TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Not far from the fields farmers were plowing, in a subdivision tucked away off Cincinnati Brookville Road in Butler County, the fight over a small parcel of land had the property owner fearing for his life during a recent confrontation with a demolition crew that had been sent there by mistake.
In a YouTube video recorded and posted by the owner of the demolition company, one of his employees tells Daniel Clemons, "I'll knock your (bleeping) head off!"
Clemons bought the land in 2006. His family showed-up with the deed and tried to give it to the police officers who'd been summoned. But the demolition crew, L and L Distribution of Springfield, Ohio, had a letter from Ross Township's administrator, Robert Bass, giving them permission to clear the land. So the police officers let the crew continue to take apart Daniel Clemons's life.
He believes he lost about $40,000 in property. What appeared as junk to some was Clemons's livelihood. He buys merchandise at auctions and then tries to sell them for a profit at flea markets. But now that merchandise, the shed where some of it was stored, and a motor home on the property are all gone.
"This was wrong to do to a person," Clemons said in a FOX19 Exclusive interview. "What is to protect the next person out there from this happening to them?"
You see, the Clemons family's deed was right. Daniel does still own the property. It was the piece of land on the other side of the fence that he lost in a foreclosure. But according to the Butler County Recorder's Office, the deed to the parcel he still owns had a typo on it when a Cincinnati attorney submitted it to them --- a typo that's just now been discovered. One piece of property has a parcel number that ends in 0033. The one right next to it ends in 0032. Someone got them mixed-up and put down the wrong number on the deed filed with county authorities.
But Clemons didn't know that when the demolition crew showed-up. He just knew they had to be at the wrong place. In the YouTube video, he's calm. He's clearly upset and worried but he doesn't lash-out verbally or physically at the crew or the police officers who showed-up at least twice that day.
Yet at some point, the demolition crew had had enough of his being there. They order him to leave. He's standing by the Harley-Davidson motorcycle he was able to save when the unidentified L and L employee erupts.
"I do not know what happened there," Clemons said. "I was trying to get my bike out of the yard. The next thing I know, this guy's up in my face threatening to knock my teeth out. I mean, threatened my life. And, you know, I got my bike and left."
L and L owner Duane Grigsby claims he and his crew were being harassed by Clemons's family, something the family denies. In an exclusive interview with FOX19 today near the piece of earth that's become a flashpoint in so many lives, Grigsby never accused Daniel Clemons of any bad behavior, just other family members. So we repeatedly asked him why Daniel deserved to be talked to in a way that many people would view as verbally abusive.
Incensed by the questioning, Grigsby turned to his wife and said, "Ok, you want to answer that? Because, you know, he keep asking me the same questions, man. And I just…"
Tiffany Grigsby then took over saying, "At this point in time, the tensions were so high."
Less than a minute later, she described it this way: "We might be a little unconventional in our ways but we get the job done."
But the job was done, the couple now concedes, on the wrong piece of property. The Dallas company that thought it owned that plot of land doesn't. It owns the one Clemons lost in foreclosure.
Tiffany Grigsby apologized for "every inconvenience" the Clemons family has experienced. But she and her husband stand-by the behavior exhibited on the YouTube videos. They actually think it will bring them more work.
But they won't be getting any more work from the firm that hired them on behalf of the Dallas company.
"During the past year, your company was paid $36,356.64 for preservation services…" National Asset Advisors' managing director Chris Cobbs wrote them on Monday. "It is my hope that the behavior exhibited over the last two weeks was worth the loss of the business you were providing to NAA."
The Clemons family, meanwhile, is still in shock over what happened. Daniel says he can't watch all of the videos. It's too emotionally jarring. His older brother, Cecil, wonders if he was treated this way because of appearances.
"Is it because they thought he was a hoarder?" Cecil asked. "Is it because they thought, 'Well, who cares?' No, no. This is my brother."