Property Rights Foundation of America®


Marinus Van Leuzen
Courageous in Youth and Old Age

U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Prosecution of Aged World War II Veteran

Marinus Van Leuzen fought seven years in World War II, first as a Dutch citizen defending his homeland, then as a volunteer for the American forces in Europe. Because of his valiant service, he was personally invited to become a United States citizen. He came to the United States shortly after the war and spent his life working as a builder near Galveston, Texas.

The photos below illustrate the denouement of the bizarre, cruel order by Judge Samuel B. Kent, U. S. District court, Galveston, where he compared Marinus Van Leuzen's supposed infringement on a 0.4 acre wetland to the "genocidal treatment of this continent's indigenous peoples."

In Judge Kent's ruling, he pronounced, "Attitudes like Defendant Marinus Van Leuzen's are beyond selfishness. Unchecked, they are the seeds of national suicide." After PRFA brought the sinister imposition of public shaming contained in Judge Kent's sentence to the attention of a professional journalist, an article and stylized reproduction of this photograph by Mr. Van Leuzen's friend Kenneth McCasland appeared on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal.

In spite of devoting the last years of his health and vigor to building the wetland around his house, exhausting his financial resources, and losing his wife, who divorced him for fear of the government, Mr. Van Leuzen could not satisfy the Corps of Engineers. They would not even allow him to pay for any of the work from the fund the court ordered him to establish for that purpose, because they wanted to punish him still more. In the end, stricken by cancer and weakened, he paid to have his house moved in 1999 at his own expense, in hopes of closing the case and spending his last days in relative peace.

Click each small picture to see it enlarged.

The built-up area on Highway 87 near Port Bolivar, Texas, where Marinus Van Leuzen built his house, supposedly defacing a wetland, which a federal judge further imagined to have "unique quality." Mr. Van Leuzen's neat house and the back of the apology billboard appear in the center of photo.

Van Leuzen house in built-up area on Highway 87 near Port Bolivar, Texas

The apology billboard ordered by Judge Samuel B. Kent, U. S. District Court, Galveston, Texas, for the artificially contrived offense for which the Corps of Engineers prosecuted Marinus Van Leuzen.

20-foot apology billboard erected by Van Leuzen by court order

Marinus Van Leuzen's house after rough excavation was completed, deeper than the grade of surrounding areas, as ordered by the Corps of Engineers.

Van Leuzen house after Corps of Engineers-ordered excavation

Marinus Van Leuzen's house after excavation and grading was completed to the requirements to the Corps of Engineers. Note the permanently exposed pipe carrying wastewater away from the new wetland.

Van Leuzen house after excavation and grading was completed

The swamp grass that Mr. Van Leuzen was forced to have planted and replanted to the Corps of Engineers' satisfaction starts to come up in the new moat around his house.
The swamp grass that Mr. Van Leuzen was forced to plant & re-plant

The swamp is established in the new moat around Marinus Van Leuzen's house.
The established swamp around the Van Leuzen house

Before Mr. Van Leuzen began work on the site to build his house, the place was a parking area for cars and delivery space for heavy trucks, with a dilapidated bait shop, all situated on hard packed land at approximately the same elevation of the highway.
The "pristine" 0.4 acre wetland "violated" by Mr. Van Leuzen

Stagnant water and scum in restored "wetland" late 1994.
Stagnant water and scum in restored "wetland" late 1994

Kenneth McCasland of Galveston, Texas, tirelessly did research to make possible PRFA's effort for justice for Marinus Van Leuzen, took many photographs such as these, and eloquently sent communications on "Van's" behalf. This true friend suddenly became ill and died an untimely death. The Property Rights Foundation of America presented its Second Annual Private Property Rights Advocate Award to Ken McCasland posthumously at the 1996 Annual Conference here in Albany, New York.

- Carol W. LaGrasse, February 2001

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