MONROEVILLE, NJ – New Jersey mother Eileen Hart was arrested last Saturday at a public tax forum after peacefully protesting the handling of her property tax case. Hart’s husband and seven-year-old daughter were with present with her at the Gloucester Community Center as she presented her case for refusing to allow property tax inspectors to enter her home days earlier.
Hart is an orthodox Jew and had refused to have the inspectors in her home when her husband was away at work. During the forum, she was told that since she didn’t let the inspectors into her home, they had a right to “assume” its value under the New Jersey state constitution. In dispute was the fact the value of her property was doubled when property values in the area have been flat for quite a while.
When Hart began citing the Constitution, a representative of Appraisal Systems, Inc., the company contracted by the state to conduct appraisals, called on Robyn Glocker-Hammond, Gloucester County tax assessor, for assistance.
It was at this point that things turned ugly, said Hart. She said Glocker-Hammond told her to “sit down and shut up” and that she was there to “enforce the law.”
Hart responded that a tax assessor is not a law enforcement officer. “I have a right to speak out against this, this is a public place, my tax dollars pay your salary,” Hart told the tax assessor. The assessor responded by yelling, “I don’t work for you.”
Glocker-Hammond then told Hart she would have to leave the forum and threatened to call the authorities. This was in spite of the fact that Hart contends she never cursed or acted inappropriately.
When the Harts returned to their home, they were greeted by several police cars and officers asking to question them. The police had no search or arrest warrant but nevertheless asked Hart to come with them for questioning. She was not allowed to drive behind with her husband, but was forced to ride in the police vehicle.
The Complaint Summons issued against Hart says, in part:
Defendant … engaging in conduct that was threatening to employees of Appraisal Systems Incorporated … defendant started yelling and screaming and making comment that if the door is unlock[ed] I’ll be back with a gun …
Mrs. Hart told The Blaze:
I did not use one curse word, I didn’t say the word gun, I didn’t swear, none of that. I aired my grievances in a public place to [tell] the government that I did not agree with what they were doing to me or to anybody else … I have a 7-year-old daughter, I homeschool her. I would never risk going to prison for the rest of my life and lose everything. I have no criminal history, I have no history of drug abuse, no history of alcohol abuse, I have no history of mental illness, I have never committed a crime a day in my life. And because I used my First Amendment right I was arrested for it.
After trying to “coerce” her into making a statement along the lines of “what he thinks happened,” Hart said the police sergeant informed her that if she didn’t turn over her firearms for “safe keeping,” her bail would be set prohibitively high and it was unclear how long she would have to remain in custody.
“[So I] sit in jail and my daughter doesn’t have a mother…?” she asked The Blaze, implying that she didn’t really have a choice in the matter.
As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Hart says she can’t help but recall the “massive gun registration [and] invasion of private property” that occurred when Hitler invaded Poland. “If quoting the Constitution makes me a terrorist, we are in Hitler’s America.”