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Columnist George Will Tackles The Motel Caswell Saga

Battle between Tewksbury motel and the Department of Justice is grabbing national attention.

The ongoing battle between the U.S. Department of Justice and the owners of the has now grabbed national attention.

No less than Pulitzer Prize winning syndicated columnist George Will has tackled the debate in his latest column for the Washington Post, describing the situation faced by Russ and Pat Caswell as a " a Kafkaesque nightmare unfolding in Orwellian language."

The conservative Will blasts the Department of Justice for attempting to seize the Caswells' property for the misdeed of motel guests, when the Caswells themselves have not been accused of any crimes.

Click here for Will's complete column on the Motel Caswell.

steve123 May 21, 2012 at 01:55 AM
TO Mr Caswell, I'm glad your getting National attention on this matter now, this is how I found out about this matter by reading todays article in Herald. Keep up the fight, this is appalling to believe that this is even a possibility in year 2012. I don't live in Tewksbury, but I do believe that the town has many eye sores, just like most towns. To be honest I think South Tewksbury is more of an eye sore. This isn't even about the Motel its about our rights and if we allow or support this because we don't like the place then we as a country will all be at risk. For example, if I work hard and purchase investment properties and one of my tenants has is involved in illegal activity, that I am unaware of, the government and local authorities can seize my property and take all the profit that I've worked my entire life for. Isn't this still AMERICA wake up people its so much bigger than Motel Caswell, stand up for something before its too late!
Carlos May 21, 2012 at 02:51 AM
I also do not live in Tewskbury. I live in Las Vegas, NV and this article made my Sunday newspaper, so I am sure it has made many newspapers around the country. This is a very important time for the Caswell Family. To think they saved alot of the money they earned from the Motel. Granted, they probably milked it the last few years without putting any money back into it for repairs. Thats the Caswells right and they have every right to do this. The Caswells have not even been accused or convicted of any crime. We dont know if the Town has warned them about the residents, but isnt it the Caswells right to be protected by the police department? If the Town knew of this activity from as far back as 1994, then why have'nt the Police done anything about it. The Caswells have a right to be protected from these criminals also. They provided the police with everything the police asked. So, as far as we know, the Caswells have not done anything wrong and to think the city can come in a scoop up the Motel is proposterous. I smell something bad going on in the city of Tewksbury. The people who live in Tewksbury have every right to be concerned about the people who stay at the Motel, but the Police must protect the Caswells and every citizen of Tewksbury from anything bad going on. It sure does not sound like that is happening to me.
steve123 May 21, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Carlos, I agree 100%, I find it funny that this town is worrying about Little Motel Caswell that probably has little if no effect on their daily lives. They should be more concerned with the schools that are pretty much despicable, not to mention many much larger political battles that are needed there. The police department building there looks like it belongs in a city with a population of 100,000. I just find it very interesting that the police department could stand to gain as much as 80% of this mans life earnings if they win.
malcolm nichols May 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Maybe we should fingerprint all the Hotel/Motel tenants. If i recall our police begged for and we approved in town meeting the other day to fingerprint a certain class of people. Why not fingerprint everyone right now? Except for the illegals, let ICE handle them.
Dave May 21, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Joe stop whining, seriously everyone else has a low IQ except you, Nice EGO trip! Does your position with the company entitle you to have a key to the executive wash room? Do you manage from there?
Steve Magplate May 21, 2012 at 02:42 PM
This is America, how can you possibly think that taking someones property when they have not been charged with a crime is just or constitutional?
Melissa Gleaton May 21, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Malcolm - no kidding! That thing passed like a thief in the night. I can't believe anyone would want their name (their FAMILY) associated with the crap that goes down at the Caswell. I can't fathom any "pride" in this ownership. I just don't see it. However, some people are crazy, and it isn't within the government's rights to come in and take over just because the owner is seemingly oblivious and delusional. Perhaps there should be a sign out there "X days without police incident" *chuckle*
Bill. S May 21, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Carlos, You should stick to things going on in NV. Did you really think that you were qualified to post on this after reading a short, biased, one sided column by this idiot Will.? You ask why the police have done nothing since 1994, I can tell you that they have. I dont think a week goes by with out at least one trip by the police to the caswell Like I said earlier, he should tell us how many times a unit has been dispatched since 1994 not the comfy number of drug arrests (30) but this is all hard to see from 2500 miles isnt it Carlos?
Bill. S May 21, 2012 at 07:29 PM
There has to more to this story than we are getting. I dont think that TPD woke up one morning and said :"hey lets take Caswells property and then we can sell it" I also find it hard to believe that this would be the first option for solution to the on going Caswell problems. There were no warnings,no talks with Caswell, nothing? All of a sudden, out of the blue, Tewksbury Police and the feds are trying to take someones property.
Bill. S May 21, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Steve 123 If by "little effect" you mean telling your kids to stay in the house while the helicopter searches your back yard for the fugitive who just tried to kill his girlfriend and then ran from the Caswell into the woods. I have to say that is more than a "little effect" and they had to build that police station to house everyone that they pluck from the Caswell
Carlos May 21, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Ok Bill, You are the expert on how the police conduct their business.... If what you say is true, the police are at the Caswell Motel once a week since 1994, then I am glad that I live 2500 miles away. Also, calling Mr. Will an "idiot" .....are you qualified to call him that? Sound familiar, Bill ????
Carlos May 21, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Thats right Bill,..... It happens all over the country.....all of a sudden, out of the blue......you are very naive, Bill, or a little immature.
steve123 May 21, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Maybe the Tewksbury Hospital should be closed down too and while were at it maybe all the apartment buildings in town that have constant complaints. Listen Im not saying that there shouldnt be a remedy but to take this families entire family savings while himself never being charged with any crime (including obstructing justice) is by far one of the craziest things I've ever heard of. Like I said earlier this is much bigger than the Motel Caswell, if we allow this as a country we'd all may as well sell our properties because who the hell would want property that the Fed and local police department can come and take along with all the equity. Please think about this logically.
Carlos May 21, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Steve123..... Well said !! I really believe that the citizens of Tewksbury are very concerned about the residents of the Caswell Motel, and they should be. The point Mr. Will is trying to get across is ... what right does the Town of Tewksbury and Federal Govt. have to seize your property in this manner. They evidently DO have the right to do this. So, we as citizens must do something about it. That, I believe is the point of the article.
Make A Difference May 22, 2012 at 02:52 AM
see funny Bill that is the point I am getting at. people are quick to make statements on how we need to get rid of this place it makes Tewksbury look bad. But they have to go somewhere they don't just poof away with the place. But of course you try to make a snide remark to my question because you are not the one in their shoes. I can't imagine what some of their lives are like. and we are so quick to shoo people away. cold hearts don't solve problems they just freeze them over for the time being.
Make A Difference May 22, 2012 at 03:09 AM
I totally agree from you and I live here. Carlos, please excuse Bill he represent the extremists that post here on tewksbury patch. I just get the daily news because I go to college and I keep up on what is happening in the town. But honestly, you bring up good valid points and this is definitely a problem because they are just looking to point fingers. Motel Caswell on average takes in people who receive low income and with that comes crimes and such in this situation. With that being said people are being close minded here in Tewksbury and are viewing it as "if you can't see it it doesn't exist". More or less like 3 year olds that haven't learned object permanence yet. But anyways like I was saying, I think it just boils down to trying to solve the little crime issue we have here in tewksbury, which it tends to be at Caswell. Thus resulting in them blaming Caswell because they are not doing...exactly so far they haven't done anything wrong, but they are housing the people who commit the crime. SO what I am getting at is that they are trying to hold someone responsible for what is going on. But like I said the object permanence situation. Ok so what happens if the Caswells do get fined for what has happened there in the past 20yrs then what? shut the place down. those people live on the streets. Motel cawsell could be some families homes for all we know. we can't just ditch them. but we probably will :/
Make A Difference May 22, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Oh PS Bill so Carlos doesn't have the right to say something because he doesn't live here... Get real! for crying out loud he is from NV so clearly this is news that is spreading fast and is a big concern. Also, this is the Internet and this is a website. All you need to be qualified to post something on the web is an email address and a password. How low are you for telling this man he is not qualified to post an opinion because he does not live here. I would like to see you have the balls to say that to the judge taking this case.
Bill. S May 22, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Oh come on Carlos, who is being immature now? I never claimed to be an expert on how T.P.D. conducts business. My only claim is living close enough to see what goes on there. All you had to go by was a short one sided column by a guy who doesnt seem to know where he stands Conservative? Liberal? anti government? I dont know. He does write a good baseball book though. In the end Carlos, I am 100% against government seizure of property in fact I thought we were protected from this by the 5th amendment. not allowing confiscation of land with out just compensation. Eminent Domain. Perhaps this is what you refer to as happening all over the country. I would have no problem if the town and or state offered Caswell fair market value and then take the property. The are plenty of quality builders in the area who could buy and develop a stretch of townhomes maybe even low income so that "make a difference" will be happy Or an empty lot would certainly be better than what is there now and Caswell would have his retirement
Dave May 22, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Joe and Steve two big brains with that said but, no common sense. Remember one pant leg at a time. Goofs
Bill. S May 22, 2012 at 08:14 PM
So miss Make a Difference, I am an extremist now? Could you define that for me. if it is a person who is not a big fan of having drug and or crime infested motels in my neighborhood then I guess I am. as far as "having balls" as you so eloquently put it, as long as my comments fall within the parameters of free speech, I will always make them-so will you. telling a judge that he or she is not qualified makes no sense. I am pretty sure that the judge is more qualified than me, you, and carlos put together. Carlos had valid concerns about our government and what power they may have, but the Caswell story is a little more involved than that and has more than one side. Time will tell, Your heart seems to bleed for the people who inhabit the motel, in time your thoughts may change, maybe not. either way good luck to you, and lets hope for an outcome that everyone can live with
Carlos May 22, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Bill.... You seem to be a different "Bill" than the one who has posted that last couple days. I dont know if you have taken a step back to look at the whole picture but your comments today, dealing with the situation as a whole, make sense. I will reiterate my point again....The Town and Feds are in cahoots to seize the property of someone who has not even been accused of a crime, because the property does NOT have a mortgage. I assure you that this would not be the case if the property had a 2 million dollar mortgage. The reason I say this, 2500 miles away, is because I have seen it happen here in Las Vegas and other parts of the country. There are Caswell motels all over the country, if you know what I mean. That is why I am very pro-active of this injustice. The Town and the Feds DO have every right to do these things, whether you think it just happens "out of the blue" or not. I totally understand your feelings on the bad elements at the Motel Caswell. That is totally a different issue here..... that is what George Will is trying to tell us. I have never been a big fan of his, but I try to keep an open mind because Big Brother is capable of doing some horrendous things. Lets face it......Do you agree? Thanks for listening.
Bill. S May 23, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Hey Carlos, still the same Bill. i dont like the motel and I think George failed to paint an accurate picture of what has gone on there for years I also realize the issue is forfeiture laws. Civil forfeiture is defined as: The loss of ownership of property used to conduct illegal activity. Does this apply to the Caswell? no not at all, the owner of the property did not conduct illegal activity, but for years and years and years the owner in this case seemingly sat content. Content knowing full well what was happening on his property during his watch. I know the popular response here would be "What could he do" I dont know but sitting content would not be my option. i believe he should somehow be held accountable. Should he loose his business and property/? NO and that is where the real problem starts. I have no issue with civil forfeiture as defined but it is a problem if agencies are actively seeking targets for financial gain. Carlos, I found a great article on Forbes.com titled "civil forfeiture laws and the continued assault on private property" written by Chip Mellor Anyone with even remote interest in the Caswell case should read this, it is much more educational than the piece by Mr Will
Carlos May 23, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Bill.... Great article by Chip Mellor and I highy recommend it to anyone intrested in finding out what "Civil Forfeiture" is and how the Feds and Towns can go head hunting to gain profits. To his credit, George Will gives you a link to access by the Institute for Justice, a Libertarian public-interest law firm. The link can be found in the second to last paragraph of his column. This link gives you actual case by case examples of how the different Towns all over the country have used Civil Forfeiture to their benefit. It will turn your stomach and that is what raised the hair on the back of my neck just like a rabid doberman pinscher. The onus is actually on the owner to prove his innocence which is completely opposite of what we were taught was part of our justice system. It really is a good read ...... I think wew have all stated our feelings on this subject..... I am not sure if anyone is right or wrong here. Bill, you are upset with Caswell because he turned his head the other way and I cannot blame you for that. But what sours me on this whole situation is: Would the Town aggressively pursue this if the property had a huge mortgage? If the answer is yes, then I have no complaints, but I have a hard time believing that the answer would be yes !!!!
Bill. S May 24, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Carlos, I have to agree with this. If the monetary gains were not possible, the town may also be content with status quo and the Caswell as we know it would continue on. This case will be interesting. I do find it ironic though that after years of being attractive to a certain clientele, They are now attractive to the feds. I apologize Carlos for being hostile towards you earlier in the week. Of course you and anyone else has the right to post
Carlos May 24, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Bill.... I enjoyed sparring with you. That is what the foundation of this great country was built on. At least we have a forum to express our opinions, whether we agree or not. I will keep my eye on Tewksbury Massachusetts and hope they clean up that area. By the way, I am familiar with that area. My dad owned a chemical company back in the 60's and early 70's. It was located right behind the Caswell Motel, just over the railroad tracks. You said you lived near there, so you must know where am talking about.
Sue June 24, 2012 at 10:37 PM
I unfortunately had the pleasure of visiting one of these rooms at the caswell for state business and this place should be condemned. It was the most disgusting pit, cockroaches should not be allowed to live there. Clearly these people do not care about their property, their neighbors or the town. Why not seize their property and teach them a lesson. Really these fine upstanding owners who rent a room by the hour deserve what they get. They are simply slum lords.
Steve Magplate June 25, 2012 at 07:19 PM
"Why not seize their property and teach them a lesson." The British in 1776 and Hitler in the 1930's couldn't agree more with this statement!
Melissa Gleaton June 25, 2012 at 08:05 PM
But Steve, it's for the children!
Steve Crane June 25, 2012 at 11:01 PM
I don't think the government should get involved unless Motel Caswell is doing something to threaten public safety.
Sue August 07, 2012 at 10:10 AM
Oh look its that respectable establishment which I use lightly and sarcastically, in the news again. Saturday, August 4 12:09 a.m.: A 911 caller from the office at Caswell Motel stated there was a male beating up a female outside one of the rooms on the property. All cars were sent and one was transported to Saints with an officer on board.

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