This fellow was stocking up for something - anyone know him? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This guy has been in a fight with the local airport authority over eminent domain condemnation of his home for years. Yesterday they finally put him out - then found a bunch of stuff that seems like he was a heavy preparer for Y2K or something. Wonder if anyone here knew him? --------------------------------------------------------------------- Razed home yields large stash of cash

Lone holdout in airport dispute vows to sue By William C. Bayne

The Commercial Appeal

The home of the Cockrell family came down in 12 minutes Friday morning and all of the debris was scooped up and hauled away.

But Bill Cockrell, who for 12 years used a blizzard of self-generated legal paper to block the sale of the 1,400-square-foot house to the Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority and subsequently to the City of Southaven, vowed to continue the fight.

He'll have assets: About $200,000 in cash and coins found hidden in his garage.

As deputies ranged through the house after the front door was blasted off its hinges Thursday night, Capt. Randy Doss said the deputies found another interior door that had to be blasted - the door leading from the kitchen area to the garage.

In the garage, deputies found a section of high-quality plastic pipe, being used as a floor safe, jammed through the concrete floor.

The safe contained more than $150,000 in cash, plus silver and gold coins valued at more than $50,000, according to Asst. Chief Deputy Phil Cottam.

"It took them all night to count up the money," he said. "We required Mr. Cockrell to sign a receipt for all of the cash and for all of the coins. For example, there were more than 1,000 silver dimes. Each of those is worth about 75 cents. There were also lots of gold coins from all kinds of different countries - different sizes and shapes and weights."

The receipt documents covered 18 pages for the cash and coins, Cottam said.

"We will file a copy of the receipt documents with the Internal Revenue Service," he said.

Cockrell could merely watch as authorities carried out the contents of his home and prepared to tear it down.

Bill Cockrell has worked as a consultant and Carolyn Cockrell is a hairdresser.

The garage also contained a vast store of food, Doss said. "It was mostly dried foods and canned goods, but they could have eaten on that for a while."

The search also produced several weapons and what Cottam termed "a large store of ammunition of various calibers."

Cottam said Cockrell could claim the weapons at the Sheriff's Office in Hernando once they were inventoried there and checked against the National Crime Information Center computer network.

Cottam wouldn't say what type of weapons were confiscated.

The Cockrell house was the last remaining of more than 1,300 the airport authority set out to buy and remove beginning in 1987 as part of a $100 million federal noise abatement program for homeowners surrounding Memphis International Airport.

After being listed on inventory sheets, all its contents were removed, but some things won't be recovered.

Twelve-year-old Jeffrey Cockrell's collections of fish were contained in five aquariums. Bill Cockrell bragged to reporters Thursday night about the collections, about how much they meant to his son ("they're his babies") and how he and Carolyn had taken Jeffrey to libraries to expand his studies of fish.

A 1997 photo shows Bill Cockrell's Southaven home, the last of more than 1,300 the airport authority set out to buy and remove beginning in 1987 as part of a $100 million federal noise abatement program for residents living near the Memphis airport.

Movers from Bekins, the agency hired to move all the household items, said they were not equipped to move the fish.

Southaven Mayor Greg Davis offered to bring a special van and transport the aquariums to any point selected by Bill and Carolyn Cockrell. They refused.

Cottam then offered to pour the five aquariums into two aquariums the Cockrells could load in their car and take with them. They refused.

"It left us with no other alternative," Cottam said dejectedly. "We had to pour the fish out. They're gone."

Bill Cockrell, dressed in his normal attire of matched pattern sportswear, looked on as a front end loader ripped into the southeast corner of the house at 6:38 a.m. Friday, his home since 1971.

"What you're seeing is America's future. This is what we've come down to. You're going to see more and more of this."

After being unable to reach Cockrell, Southaven officials contacted Carolyn Cockrell about 7 p.m. Thursday to say that officials were going to seize the house. She was visiting her mother in Memphis. Sheriff's SWAT team officers approached the house about 7:50 p.m. Bill Cockrell arrived at the house shortly before 10 p.m.

As the long night droned on with the tedious loading of furniture, clothing and household items, Cockrell said it was "painful to see your house occupied by armed officers and to see all of your belongings tossed onto a truck to be hauled off."

When the front end loader tore into his house, exposing a number of boxes in the attic, Cockrell said, "I could never have a job as a bulldozer operator. I couldn't take money to destroy someone's home."

Levy Harris, the operator of the front end loader, said, "It's just another job to me. It's no big deal.''

Asked where the family would live, Cockrell only said they might stay with friends. Their belongings were taken to the Bekins warehouse.

Cockrell expects to file "a serious number of lawsuits against the City of Southaven and the individuals responsible."

He claimed, among other things:

The DeSoto County Sheriff's Department erred in acting so quickly in seizing the house after the state Supreme Court denied a rehearing petition of an old eviction notice Thursday afternoon.

That he had 90 days from the date of the denial of the rehearing petition to file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. "The way they've acted, they haven't just denied my rights, they've torn them down and stomped all over them, and the rights of my family as well," Cockrell said.

Mayor Davis spoke quietly with Cockrell Thursday night and Friday morning, but said the city had been patient throughout the struggle over the house, the last one remaining in the Greenbrook neighborhood.

The Cockrell house at 8767 Woodbine was the scene Jan. 30, 1997, of a defiant display by men claiming memberships in the militias of at least nine states who vowed to defend the Cockrell home by armed force if necessary.

The militia members remained in constant contact with the Cockrell family for months, but when the end came Thursday night and Friday morning, none appeared.

About a dozen supporters gathered near the intersection of Woodbine and Charter Oak, about 200 yards south of the Cockrell house, waving signs accusing Southaven of tyranny and illegal actions.

So why did it come to this? Part of the answer is that one of Cockrell's tactics against the city later worked against him.

Early on in his battles with the city, he and his wife transferred ownership of the house to their son, Jeffrey, then 8 years old. The ploy was to depict the City of Southaven using all its might to wrest control of the house of an 8-year-old boy.

It was good press for a time, but it proved to be a legal nightmare, complicating efforts to settle the case for enough money to cover the cost of a new home for the family.

The city filed an eminent domain suit to condemn the property. The property was condemned and the court awarded $66,000 fair market value on the property, which the city paid on deposit with the Circuit Court clerk's office.

During subsequent legal proceedings, a County Court judge ruled that homeowner Jeffrey needed legal counsel and appointed Hernando attorney William Myers as guardian for the boy. "The money will remain on deposit with the Circuit Court clerk treasury until someone who can prove legal guardianship can draw the money for the benefit of the child," Myers said.

-- Paul Davis (, March 06, 1999


That took up a lot of space. Y2K??

-- Martin Thompson (, March 06, 1999.

Shows the power of a determined "we know better than you" government.

But if he didn't mind the noise of the airplanes, why not let him stay?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, March 06, 1999.

"We're goin to Bonnny Doon. We're goin' to Bonny Doon.

We're goin' to Bonny Doon etc

-- Uncle Harry (, March 07, 1999.

Thank you, Paul.

WOW! No one to date has provided us with a better example of a classic RED HERRING.

You have done us a great service and I think added to the knowledge and discourse here.

This post can now be refered to any time someone is trying to illustrate exactly what it means to try to distract from the essentials of a discussion by dragging in spurious, meaningless information - a RED HERRING

I am very impressed and I thank you again as I'm sure others do.

-- Greybear, who all this time thought Paul was a distractor.

- Got Logic?

-- Greybear (, March 07, 1999.

"Thank you, Paul.

WOW! No one to date has provided us with a better example of a classic RED HERRING.

You have done us a great service and I think added to the knowledge and discourse here"

But not as much as discussions about fruitcakes and circuses.

-- (Lighten up@a.5), March 07, 1999.


The guy sounds like a survivalist. He could be preparing for Y2K, but maybe not. It leads me to wonder, if the government goons have been threatening to tear down his house for some time, why did he not move the gold and silver and guns and food to some other, safer location.

-- The Tall Man (, March 07, 1999.

Off topic?!?!! Gee man you must only read the threads I start or something! How about the thread on jet contrails releasing poison gasses to sterilize people that was up two weeks ago? Or the recurrent 'rapture' threads? Those aren't off topic? Get real!

Eminent domain is the most abused govt. power there is. The bad thing (to me) about this one is that after the noise from a govt. operation reduced the value of the house, they offered to buy at the reduced price! Doesn't seem very fair. And the pressure was on to put in a golf course on the site. Wonder how far he can take this in the courts - some suits from WWII are still in the court system - one big one involves land the govt. took for an Army Air base and then turned over to TVA for coal mining without offering the land back to the original owners. I helped mine over a billion dollars worth of coal off of that land - and one of the persons in the suit was a neighbor!

-- Paul Davis (, March 07, 1999.

" the govt. took for an Army Air base and then turned over to TVA for coal mining without offering the land back to the original owners."

In some eastern states (W. Va. for one) land titles do not carry rights to sub-surface resources, such as coal. Mining rights are titled separately. Many folks have had to relocate when the strip miners came through, without recourse or reimbursement. Of course they were dirt poor anyway.

-- Tom Carey (, March 07, 1999.

We are all renters, never owners. This guy was stupid. He should have fought for more money, taken it, and got the hell out of there a long time ago. If he is preping for y2k, he could have gone to the country, with his food, gold and guns. Sounds like they would have moved his stuff for free. Now he has more fights ahead of him.

-- Bill (, March 07, 1999.

Yeah Bill is RIGHT !

The reason we are all renters and not owners is because it is easier to take the MONEY and run ! :o(

-- Mike (, March 08, 1999.

Where were the guys militia supporters when it came time to defend his rights? Think Waco, Ruby Ridge, etc.... They can take your real estate for back taxes, airport fly zone, parking lot for new government building, etc.... If we truely owned our real estate, no one could take it for any reason, hence, we are all renters (at different levels). Even "native Americans" have to abide by rules a regs of the feds. You would think since they got here first, that they might get to do what they want with the land they "own"?

Unless you have a tank (and an Army) to "defend" your property rights, you have none. Kuwait had the oil dependent United States to defend their property rights, but if they hadn't, they would have had Sadam's picture all over the place now.

This dream of standing up to todays US government, is like the old picture of the mouse flipping off the eagle right before the eagle snatches him for lunch. They will eat you up, and spit you out. Take the money and run.

-- Bill (, March 08, 1999.

This guy wasn't a Y2K suvivalist, he was a Y2K pollyanna! He lived close to an airport, so he did not believe that airplanes will come crashing down on Jan 1 from the sky.

You people need to know how to interpret these things correctly.

-- King of Spain (, March 08, 1999.

Bill is RIGHT again !

BTW Who do you have more admiration for .. The eagle or the mouse ?

-- Mike (, March 09, 1999.

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