Fane Lozman, After Supreme Court Houseboat-Not-a-Boat Decision (UPDATED)
Fane Lozman: Where's my boat?
Update, March 20: Lozman disagreed with the characterization of him in this story. he says "I fought so that ten thousand floating home owners in the country didn't have to go through what I went through. If I do get paid, great. If not, I'm a big boy. I can handle the loss. I fought for the principle that what happened to me was wrong. U.S. marshals shouldn't be breaking down your door and stealing your home. It was a great win and also gives me great credibility as I fight corruption in Riviera Beach."
One week following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that Fane Lozman's houseboat wasn't, in fact, a boat, Lozman has one response: Yeah, that's great, but where's my money?
Turns out winning a Supreme Court decision isn't quite like winning the lottery. And Fane Lozman -- who's had his
boat houseboat destroyed, been arrested twice fighting Riviera Beach, and spent more than $300,000 in legal fees appealing lower court rulings -- said he realizes he hasn't really won anything at all.
Vindication, sure. But you can't rest vindication atop a large body of water and live in it -- unless his next houseboat is named VINDICATION. (Which would be awesome.)
"Did I win?" Lozman asked. "I didn't win anything! Look at what I've suffered. I lost my home. I was homeless. I need to fight this. And we're going to have our day in court on the false arrest of my boat."
Lozman later called to say that he didn't, however, fight what he considered to be this injustice for compensation alone. It was the principle that fueled his quest. And it wasn't easy, he said.
At first, after the court reject Riviera Beach's contention in a 7-2 decision that Lozman's home was subject to martitime law, he was thrilled. But now, the practical reality has sunk in. Lozman is no better off than he was before.
In 2006, Lozman, who invented and patented a financial trading software program called Scanshift, arrived in Riviera Beach, docked his houseboat, and became embroiled in local politics.
Also around this time, Lozman was apparently walking his ten-pound Dachshund named Lady, when the Riveira Beach cited him for walking her without a muzzle and for not abiding boating law with his houseboat. Afterward, federal marshals seized the boat, towed it to Miami for a public auction, and Riviera Beach bought it for $4,100 and then destroyed it.
NOBODY MESSES WITH RIVIERA BEACH.
But Lozman wasn't going down like that. Calling himself a "lone wolf," he says he can't claim complete victory until he's reimbursed for all the money he spent fighting the injustice. He said Riviera Beach infringed his civil rights.
"My end game is that this was my home," Lozman said. "I have $300,000 in legal fees and Riviera Beach, they can collect their legal fees. I'm entitled to mine. I'm going to collect my fees, because, hello, I won.
"But how does one lone wolf do this?"
Follow the writer @terrence_mccoy.
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