Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Safety Harbor homeowner wants judge to boot unwelcome guests

SAFETY HARBOR — The case of a Safety Harbor man and the houseguests who wouldn't leave is so odd the TV show Inside Edition wants to film a segment about it.

But the show had better hurry.

At 2 p.m. Thursday, Judson Randall, 47, will ask Circuit Court Judge John Schaefer to boot out his unwelcome houseguests — and their dogs — once and for all.

He's hoping that by the end of the hearing, his nearly eight-month standoff with Elizabeth Sewall, 50, and her daughter, Jessica Sewall, 20, will be over and he can have his house — and his life — back.

"Peace would be a good thing,'' Randall said.

Randall thought he was doing a good deed June 15 when he let the women he met through an acquaintance move into his house/art studio until they could get back on their feet. But months passed, accusations flew back and forth and he wasn't able to get them out.

Tampa lawyer John McMillan, who specializes in representing landlords, said Randall's big mistake was giving the strangers permission to stay at his house, even if it was only for a few weeks.

Some people never leave. He said he's seen the drama play out before many times with cases involving boyfriends and girlfriends, and parents and adult children, but it usually doesn't last this long.

McMillan also explained why calling law enforcement for assistance never worked for Randall.

"Once the owner invites them to live there, the police won't make a decision whether that right to live there has ended,'' he said. "They leave it up to a judge to decide. It's a civil matter.''

McMillan said even if Randall changes the locks on the doors, the Sewalls can break in legally and stay in his house until a judge orders them to leave.

"Then the law needs to be changed,'' said Randall. "People can take your house.''

As for Inside Edition, Randall was contacted by the show after a story on his plight appeared last week in regional editions of the Times, but he hasn't heard back.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Eileen Schulte can be reached at schulte@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4153.

Safety Harbor homeowner wants judge to boot unwelcome guests 01/26/09 [Last modified: Monday, January 26, 2009 11:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump: Objection to NFL protests 'has nothing to do with race'

    National

    MORRISTOWN, New Jersey — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his opposition to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality "has nothing to do with race" but …

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters upon his return to the White House in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Trump insisted Sunday that his opposition to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality "has nothing to do with race" but has to do with "respect for our country and respect for our flag." [Associated PRss]
  2. World War II vet, 97, takes a knee in support of anthem protests

    Human Interest

    SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — On a day when NFL teams grabbed the nation's attention by coordinating demonstrations during the national anthem, a 97-year-old World War II veteran went viral with a solitary show of support for the protests.

    Brennan Gilmore posted a Twitter picture Sunday morning of his grandfather, John Middlemas, kneeling while wearing a veteran's cap. [Twitter]
  3. Florida education news: Shelter duty, charter schools, teacher pay and more

    Blogs

    ON THE JOB TRAINING: Michael Vasallo learns how to run an evacuation shelter on his 21st day as principal of Dunedin Highland Middle School.

    First year principal Michael Vasallo, right, got called into hurricane shelter duty one month into his job.
  4. Forecast: Sunny skies, warm temperatures to rule across Tampa Bay this week

    Weather

    After periods of heavy rain in some parts of Tampa Bay over the weekend, the region can expect sunny skies, and warm condition to prevail through the workweek.

    [10Weather WTSP]
  5. PolitiFact Florida: How would Florida fare in Graham-Cassidy health care bill?

    National

    Following a sharp rebuke by late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., hit the airwaves to defend his bill that would undo much of the Affordable Care Act.

    Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.