Homeless veterans being evicted from Veteran Resort Chapel in LeeBy KIMBERLEY HAAS
Sunday News Correspondent
December 03. 2017 1:53AM
LEE - Homeless combat veterans are being evicted from Veteran Resort Chapel in Lee.
Proprietor Peter Macdonald, a Marine, said he needs to sell the property to pay his legal costs. Macdonald was fined $70,675 last month by Judge Mark Howard at Strafford County Superior Court because he violated town regulations and continued to add tiny homes on his property at 101 Stepping Stones Road. The post-judgment attachment on the property is payable within three months, according to court documents.
Macdonald said Friday he also is on the hook for about $25,000 in legal fees to reimburse lawyers who argued against him in civil court.
The 8-by-10-foot structures on Macdonald's property do not have septic systems, and the town's attorney, Justin Pasay, said Macdonald does not have building, electrical or plumbing permits for the units.
Macdonald said he will do everything he can to help those who are displaced, but driving them to a local homeless shelter won't do much good.
"These veterans don't live in shelters because of their post-traumatic stress disorder. They prefer to live in the woods or under bridges," Macdonald said.
Macdonald said when he issued the eviction notices, two veterans living on the property left - three others still remain on the property. He said they need to leave by Dec. 15.
Even though Macdonald has solicited thousands of dollars in donations to keep the Veteran Resort Chapel running over the last five years, he said he does not have the budget to cover these legal expenses, and selling the property is his only option.
In addition to the tiny homes Macdonald has built on the 11.53 acres of land, the property has a one-bedroom, one-bathroom home that is used as a chapel.
Lee resident Tom Seubert, who served in the Navy and lives nearby, said Macdonald's entire operation needs to be investigated by the Internal Revenue System.
"If one wanted to seriously investigate this whole VRC story beginning in 2012, a book could be written on how not to start, run and lead a 501(c)(3) charity. His financial books and accounts need to be investigated," Seubert said.
"Bottom line? Mr. Macdonald makes statements to the press and anyone else who will listen to him, but when challenged about those statements will change his statement," Seubert said.
Macdonald says he is looking for property in a neighboring community to open another place where homeless combat veterans can live in tiny homes.