Some Longboat Key residents don’t like the town’s move against voyeurism suspect’s condo on Cedars Court.
Robin Radin is not happy the Longboat Key Police Department wants to take Wayne Natt’s condo.
Radin, a Cedars East resident, made this feeling known in a late-November letter addressed to town officials and the Longboat Observer, listing a series of “gigantic miscalculation of risks and benefits,” he wrote, in regard to commissioners’ approval of pursuing civil forfeiture of the condo at 623 Cedars Court.
These miscalculations, Radin wrote, include unwanted media attention, an absence of real property forfeiture in Manatee county since at least 2001 and stringent Florida civil forfeiture reforms made in 2016.
The 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Manatee County approved the Longboat Key Police Department’s civil seizure of the property Nov. 21, finding by a preponderance of the evidence — a measure of plausibility of probable truth, not the amount of evidence — that Natt’s four alleged video voyeurism felonies could not have been committed without his Longboat property.
Now law enforcement must prove beyond a reasonable doubt — the burden of proof to convict criminals added to civil forfeiture law in 2016 — that Natt’s Longboat condo was used as an object to pursue illegal activity for court-ordered forfeiture. This decision is not dependant on Natt’s criminal conviction.
“[T]he Commission urgently needs to stop this train before it wrecks incalculable damage to the reputation and property values of Cedars East and of the entire community of Longboat Key,” Radin wrote.
He’s not the only one upset about the decision. Monica Darold, another Cedars East resident, said Natt should be penalized if convicted but taking his home without proof is not right.
“It doesn’t seem like you should take anybody’s property,” Darold said. “If he goes to jail, I think he’s paying his price.”
Cedars East resident David Green said he doesn’t blame the town for exercising its right to seize Natt’s property and agreed the Town Manager Dave Bullock’s assertion that this will send a message to wouldbe wrongdoers.
“If he was using the condo the way he was,” Green said of Natt’s alleged voyeuristic acts, “he should be severely punished, both criminally and civilly.”
Longboat Key resident Gwen Little, who lives at Privateer Condominium, said she’s concerned that if Natt has family, and police take his condo, that his next of kin would be denied the right to a property that they had no part in losing.
“I don’t think they should take his property,” Little said. “Our punishment doesn't fit the crime”