Living Next Door to the “House of Cards”

by Jamison Koehler on September 25, 2013

Our “House of Cards” neighbor gave me a tour of the house.  I felt honored to get inside, considering that we now have carloads of young people who pull up to photograph themselves outside on the front step.  At first I didn’t realize what was going on, and when I agreed to photograph a group of the young people all together, the woman had to keep telling me to make sure I included the house number in the photograph.

They have been shooting recently for the second season.  Although my wife and I were out of town, our contractors huddled by an upstairs window to watch the shoot below.  They showed us a jumpy video of what they swore was the top of Kevin Spacey’s head, sitting with Jodie Foster on our front steps during a break in the filming.

The “location” people complained to me about the plantings my wife and son did right before my son left for school.  I came outside one morning to find a group of people huddled outside our house, fretting over the little garden plot in front.  This reminded me of a friend of ours from Philadelphia who was cited for planting Cosmos in her front yard.  But those aren’t weeds, she complained at city hall upon contesting the ticket.  They are flowers.  She brought along some photographs from a magazine to prove it.

But the location people turned out to be very pleasant, and very accommodating, and we left the keys for them on another occasion so that they could turn on and off lights in our front windows.  There was a generous check sitting in our foyer when we got home.

I am upset they haven’t decided to use our house instead.  After our house in Philadelphia got onto some location person’s list, we had a number of commercials shot there.  It was a very profitable arrangement, and not too burdensome. We would go to bed at night while they were still shooting downstairs.  When we woke up the next morning, every single thing – every rug, every piece of furniture, every knick-knack, every scrap of paper – was put back exactly where it had been. They also fixed things they hadn’t broken.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Janna September 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm

That sounds like fun. I have drama around my house, too, but there’s never been any upside to it apart from being the only person I know who has witnessed a no-knock warrant. Even people in truly interesting neighborhoods tell me they’ve never seen the a whole SWAT team come by and do their thing.

After years of dealing with our next door neighbors who have done/are doing many mysterious things that have lead/are leading to cars loads of people stopping by, we got to witness this no-knock warrant carried out at their house a few months ago.

According to court records, one of the neighbors had been identified by at least 4 people arrested for possession of illegal substances as the person who sold it to them. That justified the raid. In addition to not being very selective about his clientele, this neighbor apparently thought it wise to leave baggies all over the bathroom and $3000 in cash in the bedroom that the warrant specified was legally searchable. He was recently convicted for conspiracy to distribute whatever he was distributing.

In this case, the police, who had no warrant for his arrest and just saw him coming up the street as they were on their way back to their headquarters, had probable cause to arrest him, I do believe. They rolled down the window and said, “do you know why we’re here?” He responded, “yes, I made a mistake because I needed money.” Then he apparently chatted more about that subject while smoking a cigarette/joint, was arrested and read his rights, which he then waived again, several times, at the police station later that night.

This is the same guy who called the police because he didn’t like the security cameras we put up in prominent places around our home before he was arrested and convicted. We even put up signs saying that the cameras record 24-hours a day even though we’re not legally required to do so. The cameras track motion and move with you so there’s no hidden spy camera situation going on here and they cover the whole property/they’re not pointed at his house. The cameras show us less of his property than we can see with the naked eye. We made them obvious so they’d act as a deterrent and not violate anyone’s privacy unnecessarily.

Instead of just telling the police he objected to our cameras in general or as a privacy issue, he gave them this explanation, “we think they’re spying on us because they told us they knew my dad (who got off on a technicality ultimately) was just indicted by a grand jury for distributing narcotics.”

In other words, he was comfortable telling law enforcement officers that people shouldn’t have the right to put security cameras that protect their property if one of their reasons for doing so is that they reasonably believe they may be living next to a crack house. And that we’re violating his privacy even though he has no curtains and we’ve put up a fence and planted trees to try and obstruct our view of his property.

I suspect the no-curtain situation was done so he could put a giant Christmas tree in his living room to let his customers know which house they needed to visit. It was in an odd place in the room and during the raid/general police investigation that night several officers said things like, “what are you going to do with the Christmas tree now” or “what should we do with the Christmas tree?”

I know he told the police why he objected to our cameras because when the cops came over to talk about the camera situation and a family member mentioned the grand jury indictment against Papa Bear for distributing narcotics, the cop said, “yeah, he (the son) already told us that.”

So I live next to a House of Cards, too. ;-)

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