As a legal dispute intensifies between Clifton Park residents and the Clifton Club, one of the plaintiffs in the case believes he’s become a target of vandalism and an arson attempt at his Forest Road home.
“It is a very disturbing and sobering moment when you awaken on a beautiful Sunday morning and find an unsuccessful attempt was made to ignite your home with you and wife asleep in it,” Arthur Dueck, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said in a letter circulating the neighborhood.
“This is a very serious matter.”
According to police reports during the past several weeks, eggs were thrown at the Dueck home on two separate occasions; and someone left a bag containing "some kind of fat” on the porch and set it on fire at around 8 a.m. May 19.
The lawsuit over the rights to the land — more specifically, the beach — recently got a lot more complicated. A Cuyahoga County judge decided that the lawsuit — filed last year by four residents — should include more than 200 homeowners, since the dispute centers around who has rights to the property.
The complainants argue that that club’s membership has crowded the once-quiet lakefront beach at the mouth of the Rocky River. Clifton Park residents also have rights to the beach.
The lawsuit has heightened tensions in the neighborhood.
In addition to the recent police reports, Dueck and his wife have received “hang-up calls” during the night.
“This attempted arson at the Dueck house is just the last in a series of recent acts of vandalism,” another resident wrote in a letter circulating the neighborhood.
“This is not the way a civilized neighborhood functions. The four plaintiffs are trying to protect our property rights. These criminal acts should not be condoned.”
The Clifton Park Trustees responded with a statement of their own.
“(The trustees) deplore the recent incidents of personal harassment of a Forest Road neighbor and call for an immediate stop to any and all such activities,” according to the letter. “Clifton Park has always been a close community with respect for our neighbors, and these regrettable incidents violate that tradition.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Lakewood Police Department’s detective bureau at 216-529-6767.