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Real Estate & Property Law

Jailed Over Brown Lawn, 66-Year-Old Returns Home to Beautiful Yard

Posted Oct 13, 2008 6:48 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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As a struggling 66-year-old Florida homeowner went off to begin serving an open-ended contempt sentence for having a brown lawn last week, the president of his condominium association said Joseph Prudente brought the situation on himself.

But strangers showed more compassion for Prudente's plight—even though he had indeed ignored the association's rules and a court order requiring him to resod—after reading about the situation in the newspaper, according to articles Saturday and today in the St. Petersburg Times.

Among them, an ex-Marine and handyman who is struggling with his own issues made time to drive from his Hudson home this weekend to the Beacon Woods development in Bayonet Point where Prudente and his wife, Pat, live. With the help of other individuals and businesses who donated their time, machinery, sod and money, Andy Law soon had the yard in excellent shape, and Joseph Prudente was released after a special court hearing was held Sunday morning.

"Joseph Prudente didn't know about the work that had been done at his home, about the strangers who came together to help him," the newspaper recounts. "And when he pulled in the driveway and stepped out of his car, he cried."

In a letter to the newspaper posted on the Beacon Woods Civic Association's website, the board president says he himself went to court to testify that the situation was resolved and emphasizes that the association will work with any resident who makes an attempt to cooperate.

"The association does not send people to jail," he writes. "It is the homeowner who ignores our efforts to help people in hard economic times and leaves us no other option."

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