A couple of relevant items slipped my mind during my initial write-up of the Ragin’ Canajun’s story about the bizarre state of the farm. Among them:
–The Family Shrew has been on Joe Dirtbag’s case to move Psychotarp off the farm, but, just as with the pleas from everyone else to do something about this shambling paranoid schizophrenic, he won’t listen to her. Notwithstanding the Family Shrew’s wildly inappropriate behavior in other cases, in this one she is absolutely right: something really fucking ought to be done to get Psychotarp housed somewhere more suitable, both for his sake and for the sake of everyone else around the farm. Joe Dirtbag probably regards her requests to this end as just another opportunity for a fun-timey marital spat, because his both his understanding and his practice of marriage are this crude.
–The Ragin’ Canajun told me that Joe Dirtbag claims to be good old boys with the entire regulatory apparatus with jurisdiction over the farm. There are two ways to explain this. One is that he has in fact accomplished the wholesale corruption of public officials. The other is that he wants other people to think that he’s able to obliterate the impartiality of any public official who might have, and in normal circumstances feel, a duty to hold him accountable for violating laws and regulations at will.
The latter explanation is much closer to Joe Dirtbag’s actual relationship to the regulatory apparatus. When he and the Family Shrew were running their restaurant, he wasn’t even able to corrupt city and county officials, in spite of his being a major local civic maven. He staged what he presented as a tax revolt against a local meals tax (actually a post-hoc justification for tax evasion), and he lost, badly. The only concession the city gave him was a grace period to come current on his back taxes and penalties. He also bitched to me on a number of occasions about how some hardass newjack restaurant inspector from the health department had made him and his employees throw out thousands of dollars’ worth of food because the refrigerator temperature was 45 degrees Fahrenheit, instead of the 41 mandated by law.
This fucker doesn’t have a prayer of corrupting the Oregon State Police. Some Mormon state trooper from Malheur County raiding the farm won’t give a shit about his purported concern for the community or countercultural values or social justice. If he tries to corrupt OLCC agents, he’ll piss them off instead. As the Ragin’ Canajun said, “One call to the OLCC and this place would be shut down.”
Joe Dirtbag acts like he’s going senile. Maybe he is, or maybe it’s just part of his act. It’s all but impossible to tell from minute to minute whether he’s crazy like a fox or simply deranged.
Again, there’s this matter of a recent tenant being found defecating into a borrowed trash can, and of this being at least the second tenant whose bowel habits were handled so filthily as to present a threat to neighbors’ health. This isn’t bullshit; bullshit isn’t nearly as pathogenic to humans as the crap of their own kind. The Ragin’ Canajun is as right as can be about the continued rental of this shack to anyone but himself exposing Joe Dirtbag to crippling civil and criminal liability. Imagine some lawyer’s slacker son moving in as Pot-o-Shit Friend’s successor. Slacker discovers Pot-o-Shit Friend’s housewarming gift and mentions it to his lawyer father. Father Law calls code enforcement that night, flies to Oregon the next day, immediately puts Slacker up in a motel room, and informs Joe Dirtbag that once he has the relevant code inspection and police reports, he’ll be using them as evidence to sue him into penury for housing his son in a uninhabitably squalid shack contaminated with human waste. Joe Dirtbag can now look forward to a lifetime of pension garnishment to satisfy the judgment against him, and possibly an old age in Section Eight housing after he is forced to sell his groovy-ass country cabin. In any event, he can kiss the farm goodbye.
Joe Dirtbag dodged a bullet by renting the shit shack out to the Ragin’ Canajun instead of some second-degree acquaintance with God knows whom in his extended family who could sue him into lifetime destitution at the drop of a hat. He could have terminally pissed off the wrong people with the wrong connections, and all for $190 a month. He’s getting reduced rent of $150 a month from the Ragin’ Canajun, and even that much is illegal, for some of the most obvious reasons imaginable. I wouldn’t bet on their current arrangement lasting, and if the Ragin’ Canajun quits that scene, we’ll all be back to square one, with God knows what sorry milquetoast bastard being taken on as the newest slumlord tenant. At this point, the Ragin’ Canajun and I are just about the only competent people who are willing to put any sweat equity into this dump of a property, and we’re both not far from our wit’s end with this shit.
Realize that we’re dealing with a principal who routinely dissembles about his own finances. Joe Dirtbag pleads indigence to anyone who asks him to stop fucking around financially, but he and the Family Shrew have free and clear title to their primary residence (worth somewhere between two and four hundred thousand dollars), encumbered title to the farm (appraised at $485,000, according to the Ragin’ Canajun), and outstanding farm shares worth about $200,000. Joe Dirtbag is also adept at sob-story talking his way into five-figure gifts from my dad, and probably from others as well. On top of that, he refuses again and again to take completely straightforward steps to monetize the farm so that his investors can regain some hope of not being wiped out for no good reason. No plaintiff’s attorney will believe his cool story about being as poor as an itinerant Buddhist monk when he has all these assets sitting around, to good use or not. He isn’t goddamn Oliver Twist, although he likes to imagine otherwise sometimes, when he isn’t imagining that he’s hella rich in wine, “our best and most abundant currency.” Sorry, champ, but if you get sued, it’ll be for US dollars, and by God, you’ll be relieved of a few by the end.
It’s impressive that Joe Dirtbag has pulled this shit for over a decade without getting a Port Coquitlam-style clean-this-shit-up-right-now order from the local authorities, pursuant to the land use regulations and the Book of Leviticus. Robert Pickton would approve of this squalor with all his heart, and he’d have the good sense to keep pigs in it, animals fit for the conditions.