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Man Jailed Over Unfinished Siding Project

By Todd Starnes

A Minnesota man was arrested and jailed after city leaders determined he had not finished installing siding on his house.

Mitch Faber, of Burnsville, MN, was charged with “having an unfinished exterior,” according to court documents obtained by Fox News. He was ultimately sentenced to 30 days in jail but was given the opportunity to serve his sentence at home by wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet.

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Faber, who pled guilty to the code violation, said he was unable to finish the siding job because of the economy.

“It’s basically a stretch of bad luck that things haven’t been finished,” he said in court documents. “It was a remodel job where there’s a new roof, new windows, new doors, new everything; but with the economy being what it is, it’s just been very difficult; and being unemployed the last three summers, it’s been tough generating revenue; so it’s a matter of trying to get it done as quickly as possible.”

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But Burnsville city leaders weren’t interested in excuses. They argued that Faber was in violation of a city code – and they wanted him to pay – by serving jail time and by paying a $1,000 fine. The judge ruled against them on the fine.

The trouble started in 2007 when Faber was initially cited, said Marty Doll, the city’s communications coordinator.

In a written statement to Fox News, Doll said this case was “very unusual in that the situation was not remedied after repeated requests.”

“The City is aware of the concerns regarding this situation, and agrees that it is extremely unfortunate that it escalated to the point that it did,” Doll wrote.

Indeed, court documents indicate that Faber was given ample time to put the siding on his house. H e was sent warning letters in 2009 and in 2010. Finally, Faber was given a deadline in 2011 – either complete the work on his house or report to jail.

“We were in the process of finishing,” Faber told television station KSTP. “This wasn’t something that we were trying to avoid.”

According to Doll, on June 1, 2011, Burnsville City inspectors arrived at Faber’s house and determined the work was still not finished.

“The homeowner also failed to appear in Court to turn himself in as was ordered by the judge,” Doll wrote. “Because of his failure to appear in Court on June 1, the City understands that the judge in the case subsequently issued a bench warrant.”

Faber said he had no idea that a bench warrant had been issued until he was stopped on a traffic violation on his way to work. He told KSTP that he was arrested and thrown in jail for two days without bail – all because he didn’t have siding on his house.

“I’m walking around in a green and white jump suit,” he told KSTP. “I had to shower in front of a sheriff. I was shackled, my wrists were handcuffed to my waist – for siding.”

Faber was released from jail two days later after a judge decided to let him finish the remainder of the sentence at home with an electronic bracelet. He eventually finished the siding project on his house.

The city is defending its aggressive position – noting they had received complaints.

“Code enforcement is an important part of making sure all neighbors can take pride in their neighborhoods,” Doll wrote. “The City agrees it unfortunate that this situation was not able to be resolved in typical fashion.”

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