tv America Tonight Al Jazeera February 16, 2015 12:30am-1:01am EST
neiro. well the new england coast in the u.s. has been hit by another round of wind and snow. the state of maine was one of the hardest hit with some areas receiving nearly a meter since snow began to fall on saturday. similar amounts have been recorded in the nearby state of massachusetts. worthless deeds. welcome to florida, 2015. >> i thought that we lived in a country where your property couldn't be seized for private gape. this may be legal. my question to you is it moral. his response. >> there's no question of morality in business. >> how do you describe yourself? >> a mad junkyard dog. defensive. greenacre. >> that is in the valley of western pennsylvania.
in the late 1950s, the local steel mill was taken over by a company contracted to build nuclear bombs. >> it's a nice town until the industry came in. thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen, if there's one thing you ought to be able to count on, it's a place called home. tonight we remind you that trust can be betrayed. hurricanes and the building market was hit hard. a law intended to protect investors became a vehicle for buyers to steal homes, forcing out condo openers who did nothing wrong. our investigation from "america tonight"s sheila macvicar. >> i thought that we lived in a country where your property couldn't be ceased for private gain. and this blows me away.
that this is possible. in the united states. it blows me away. >> in 2006, this woman bought what she thought was an american dream. a 2-bedroom condo minimum. >> i never missed a payment. never intended to. >> her mortgage reasoning condo date. >> this is surreal. >> reporter: she was shocked when she received word that the complex was being terminated converted. forcing her to sell far less than she paid for it. to buyers in miami, the people who sold it to her. >> i paid them and they are pieing it for pennies on the dollar. i would love a deal like that.
>> reporter: two miami lawyers bought it to you, and now they tell you you no longer own it. >> and that they'll buy it. set. >> that they set. >> reporter: could you have held out. could you have refused to sell. >> no >> reporter: why not? >> they told me that the determination was recorded as of may 2014. they told me they had owned it since then. >> reporter: even though you didn't sign a piece of paper. >> i signed nothing. forced sales, worthless deeds. welcome to florida 2015. this all-star law designed to make it easier for developers to redevelop condos in building in disrepair. it is nout used by property -- now being used by property companies to force owners to
sell the owns. the companies snap up the unit. no matter how much home owners pay for them. it's a disaster for home owners. in florida's boom and bust real estate market gonzalez figured the value of her condo would bounce. possible. >> reporter: she had to walk away from the mortgage, the credit is ruined. >> it feels like a violation. >> a few of the owners remain. these hold-outs hired lawyers and are trying to fight the condo determination. at the least, some of their money back. hi, shirley. 85-year-old shirley is one of them. she bought her condo.
what a great view you have. >> yes. >> reporter: she paid almost all in cash. now she case if she sold the unit she gets $46, 500. the equity she built up over a lifetime, nearly $200,000, gone. where would you go? >> no place. i would have to go in a tent or something, i don't know. >> reporter: did it ever occur you? >> no, never. i thought when you opened something, you owned it. >> reporter: since the law passed state records show 217 complexes affecting close to 20,000 units. jo is a retired cop, a decorated war veteran, his wife a retired school teacher.
living in florida was a retirement dream in this village near tampa. >> ewe loved the idea of having a condo. we didn't have to worry about taking care of things. >> we thought we'd spent fart of the year west. and in the cole months this is an our florida home. >> investors joined forces and own most of the unit. file. >> reporter: the cunninghams and neighbours are told that a condo termination is coming. >> trying to inform us about the war and what they do if they start a termination process, if there's a bill for termination. to proceed, that we will offer them market value for the unit.
>> have to accept it. out. >> according to the law, we would espell and have to leave the unit. >> reporter: even though you don't want to sell. >> we don't want to sell. >> reporter: you are fine with the mortgage. >> we are fine, not behind. paid up. >> reporter: under the state law, if a buyer owns 80% of the unit they can, unless 10% of owners reject. there's nothing, absolutely nothing an individual owner can do. >> this law gives an investor the possibility and the right for certain conditions to force you out of your home. >> that's correct. >> and not make you part of what you invested. >> no. >> the original developer went
into foreclosure. a huge block of units wound up in the hands of a consortium, including the carol group in attanta. organization. >> reporter: we reached out to them to see if they'd comment on the story. they declined. they boasted on the website of florida. >> the amendment to change the declaration of condominium. >> reporter: plan of termination. stephanie has been trying to rally condo owners to fight the state's termination law. she is fighting a legal battle of her own to stay in her condo in maddison oaks. >> there's no agencies in the state of florida regulating what the buyers and investors are doing. they are coming in, doing whatever they can do and getting away with it.
there's nobody helping us. >> in a statement the men say: . >> we are 100% occupied. >> what will happen to you, what will you do if they force you to take what they have offered. >> i'll have to file bankruptcy. unfortunately. something i never imagined. >> a force sale will leave her in debt. >> what do they say when you challenge them? >> sorry, the how allows us to do so. then we have the issue of nobody is stopping them. >> reporter: we wanted to meet with presswick partners, miami lawyers turning the lives of these two women upside down.
>> we have been emailing them, calling them. they haven't responded. we'll see if they talk to us. initially they declined to speak with me. mike's partner called me. and told me everything they have done is 100% legal. all the risks spelt out in the closing document. >> it may be legal. >> his response - there's no morality in business. they have terminated the complex because they have the legal right to do so. what do you say to those who sold you the condominium. >> i wonder how they sleep at night, knowing that they have done this to as many people. so are you going to go down to the fitness center? >> we
have been very responsible financially, yet someone can come in and take our home away. i fought in vietnam to someone couldn't take my property away. >> could you stay in florida? >> no, we'd be out. walk away with nothing next, fast-forward to one man's dream. >> did you think you would be a middle school coach? >> not at all. it happened. god made the situation. >> "america tonight"s sara hoy with an n.b.a. star, and a dying wish that put him back on the court hop on the web site - dying on the track. more than 900 greyhounds died on dog tracks since 2008.
>> at one time i felt that selling cocaine was my purpose. >> as the amount of drugs grew guns came in. >> murder rate was sky-high. >> this guy was the biggest in l.a. >> i was goin' through a million dollars worth of drugs every day. i liked it. it's hard to believe that a friend would set you up. people don't get federal life sentences and beat them. >> they had been trafficking on behalf of the united states government. >> the cia admitted it. >> "freeway - crack in the system". premieres sunday march 1st, 10:00 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
the friend is an n.b.a. super star. anthony penny hard away. he went home to memphis and explained why to "america tonight"s sara hoy. . former point >> reporter: former point guard returned to a middle school to help a friend battling colon cancer. desmond was given 24 hours to live. an infection ravaged his body. he awoke from a medically induced coma. lions. >> i said you have it wrong, we are not worried about the team, we are worried about you. >> he didn't want to hear it. he said we'll be okay, go to the state championship. it was that year's team. i thought you are not worried about your health, you are worried about the kids.
- >> reporter: in the end he honoured his friend's request. did you think you would be a middle school coach? >> never. god. >> i saw him jump back into the zone of being a coach. no more tv part. i can leave it alone. >> reporter: why do you do this, you don't have to? nothing. >> because it helps the kids. it's in my heart. >> if you don't invest in the community, these will be the kids that are the robbers. they'll do something negative in the community that we hate seeing, we can do something about it. all they want is love. his heart is so big. it's how great he is as a person.
>> it brings tearing to my eyes. i knew the job was hard but he's made it that much more easier. we are heart broken to hear that the coach lost his battle to cancer last week keeping up their fight, they won the state championships inspired by their coach next a threat in time. western pennsylvania, nuclear weapons, and how they got there. >> they didn't know. they were clueless.
one of them where an unlikely champion stands, determined to dig to the bottom of the issue, no matter how long it takes. >> the truth is a broken record. it may sometimes stand alone, but it always stand. here i am, still. >> how do you describe yourself in. >> a mad yard dog. mad junkyard job defending our here. >> that greenacre is here in the valley of western pened pennsylvania, and patty has been defending it. in the late 1920s. a steel mill was taken over by a company contracted to build nuclear bombs. patty grew up across the street. >> i grew up in apollo. there was one store, two movie theatres. and
it was a nice town. then this industry came in. and we didn't know. >> people don't. >> people didn't know. they were clueless. >> back in the day, the work of the valley was to support america. patriotic. and unquestioning. she left to serve her country, join the navy, trust her government. by the time she came back to apollo, some here worry about the risks of having a nuclear plant and its waste so close by. out. >> i'm a die hard for our country. and i equated our government as our country. you couldn't tell me anything about it, that there couldn't be improp
prities in the steps. >> reporter: you thought the thing. >> i thought the government could do the right thing. all they had to do was show there was something here, if it existed. so i said opening, i'll look into it. >> she did. digging up three million documents, mostly on her own. documents that chronicle illnesses, cancer. deaths. she had two brain tumours and uterine cancel and fuelled the anxiety and anger that the community brings down to the twisted thistle. >> we've had our share, and then some. we can only try to make it right. we can't undo what's been wrong. >> that's true. >> reporter: trying to make it right. she has led a search for answers. neither the government nor knew mack, the company that ran the
site until 1967 acknowledged any of this was caused by bomb making or by the nuclear waste dumped in pits across the neighbouring 44 acre property. even though they contain ukrainium 235 and plu tonium, the same used in the bomb drops. >> for better off or worse, a new age is born. >> people were in spitting distance from living there. there was restaurants that abutted it. there is a - a dairy farm that abutted it, that everyone got their milk from. this has been very scary. who cares. i do. i love this area, i love these people. this is - this is our country. this is home. talks about
it. >> in another 14 years they are forcing the current owners to pay settlement money, we asked but wouldn't talk to "america tonight" about why. obvious. >> oh, my goodness yes. a reasonable prudent person could stand in the town of apollo and see with a plan not designed to be a plant. it's not rocket science. >> the money is not solving the underlying problem. amino kept pushing. first for a fence so neighbours would quit playing and walking dogs on land that may have waste.
>> there's a mine blow. you don't need the dirty bomb, it's a mine. it has methane in it. if it explodes? >> you'd have a coal mine fire. >> and nuclear material. >> they have to get out. make it whole again. >> the ultimate goal is to get all of it dug up and removed. although determining how much there is remains a challenge. >> it's associated with the placement of the materials into the trenches was very poor and not well documented. >> reporter: mike is the project manager for the army corp of engineers, the latest federal agency to manage the sites. the bomb-making started under the atomic energy commission. in the decade since, what to do with the waste is a hot potato. we tried to get answers from the
nuclear regulatory commission, nrc, e.p.a. and doe and n n.s.a. and the whole alphabet of federal and state agencies that began since the bumping began 50 years ago. not one would go on camera to find out why dumping was allowed close to unities, and why after decades, it's still there. >> i frankly don't believe that anybody did anything wrong. it was as it was. material was placed there. was it a good idea? >> i can't say. >> it happened in the fall of 2011, halting after a few weeks. workers discovered unexpected complex materials at the site.
>> thank you for coming, we have a good crowd. >> it is ready to try again. but the clean-up will cost over $400 million. estimate. >> this is, once again. it's like ground hog day. we have had these meetings for 20 years. >> at the latest public hearing, the former mayor of the town next to the dump joined other neighbours determined to get the clean-up finished. even if they don't live to see it themselves. >> right now i am going through chemotherapy. and i don't want to do that all over again. chemotherapy sucks. >> the fear is that the government would let this become a coast town, rather than deal with it. lock the gaits and leave the waste buried, frozen in time. at this point the core of engineers exited the clean up, starting
in 2017, and take another 10 years to complete. >> we can sure as hl move forward with -- hell move forward with something good. done. incentive. >> reporter: what is incentive? heels. >> that's patty, still fighting. the e.p.a. spokeswoman told us tests showed no significant contamination. as to why it's taken so long to clean up the site. she couldn't answer. >> that's "america tonight". a former c.i.a. agent. lend a use of torture. that is this week on "america tonight". . >> tell us what you think at aljazeera.com/americatonight. talk to us on twitter or facebook and come back again for more "america tonight".
>> abducted. imprisoned. tortured. we talked to a cia insider... >> what is our definition of torture, and what are we allowed to do? >> and a former prisoner who was never charged. >> he was beaten, he was denied sleep. >> find out what really happens in a cia black site. >> you will do whatever it takes to get this man to talk. >> an "america tonight" in-depth report: prosecuting torture. tuesday, 10:00 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
>> welcome to the city of culiacan sinaloa, a place that is known as the cradle of drug trafficking. >> ahead of you lies a treacherous border crossing. >> people have died there and so we're like practically walking into a death trap. >> this is the most dangerous part of your trip. >> so the first day don't kill ya, it's the third day that kills ya. >> we are really walking into the valley of death. >> there's a real chance you're gonna die. >> nothing prepares you for this. >> last night was probably a 50 degree temperature drop. >> if you cannot keep up, they