April 16, 2024

Bandits, With Zip Ties

This is the totally true, totally unbelievable story of Garry Hammersmith. Garry was a Viet Nam veteran who returned to the United States and kicked around for years without a support network, money, or a place to live. In 1996, he moved into the Kales building in downtown Detroit – right into a 2000 square foot apartment with floor to ceiling windows, beautiful hard wood floors, a hipped roof, arched windows, built ins, and no rent.


Yeah, this man lived alone in this apartment rent-free as the city tried to bounce back from the economic crash. His apartment was beautiful furnished with found pieces, he created art, he blasted his music, and he had plenty of time to do minor maintenance on the apartment. He was almost entirely left alone. His uncle, an attorney and one of his only remaining family members, http://www.lawlink.com/profile/21997 couldn’t even provide any compelling reason that he should move out.


In the summer of 1999, a developer started talking about (and funding) a renovation project to the building with clean-up work beginning in 2000. This was the first time Garry had seen anyone other than fellow squatters (who he simply considered neighbors) inside the building.


They knew right away what was up.


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