Author Topic: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail  (Read 10958 times)

Heather in Ottawa

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Okay, so this is really kind of a sad story about domestic abuse, control issues, and no doubt a degree of mental illness. However, if you can put that aside, it's interesting to see how the journalist has described some of the atrocities, which is basically how I live (albeit voluntarily)... 40W bulbs to save energy! rode a bike and refused to buy a car! made the kids share a bedroom! forced them to save their money! paid for a house in cash! doesn't get cable!

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/bews/blotter/Ottawa+cheapest+Abusive+convicted+criminal+harassment+after/9413581/story.html

 

dragoncar

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2014, 04:10:42 PM »
Yeah this seems sensationalized - the man is guilty because of how he punished his family.  Not for the reasons (frugality) behind those punishments

galliver

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2014, 01:19:36 AM »
Consent is a key concept here.

It's one thing to agree with your wife/family/roommate that you will keep the thermostat 5 degrees lower, and/or bike everywhere, and/or that you'll save water by taking ultra short showers, etc. It's another to make the unilateral decision and make everyone's existence miserable daily without giving them a voice in where their "line" is.

Specifics on the heat and food situations weren't provided so it's hard to say if those were reasonable. It's possible they qualified for exposure and malnutrition where the kids were concerned.

And there's no way he had a right to manage his adult sons' money.

odput

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2014, 06:20:31 AM »
Specifics on the heat and food situations weren't provided so it's hard to say if those were reasonable.

I suspect we are talking about the "just enough to keep the pipes from freezing" kind of heat here.  After reading the article, they sure don't make it seem like they were asking for 72 and he was forcing them to stay at 65.

lentilman

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2014, 06:25:16 AM »
Yeah this seems sensationalized - the man is guilty because of how he punished his family.  Not for the reasons (frugality) behind those punishments

No doubt he was a bad spouse and father, but the reporter doesn't seem to be able to identify the difference between frugality and abuse.

"Incredibly, the father, the sole bread winner at $90,000 a year, managed to save enough money to buy a $210,000 townhouse in the suburbs with cash."

Really?  This is incredible? 


swiper

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2014, 07:10:02 AM »
Being from Ottawa, I got this article thrown into my face yesterday because we keep our house at: 16C(60F) and 14C(57F) day/night. sigh*

Ottawa

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2014, 07:17:28 AM »
Being from Ottawa, I got this article thrown into my face yesterday because we keep our house at: 16C(60F) and 14C(57F) day/night. sigh*

Good for you swiper!  That is badass!  We are 19C and 14C.  This article may be of interest to toss back at the article throwers:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/turn-down-heat-to-reduce-obesity-risk-scientists-propose-1.2506879

mpbaker22

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2014, 08:40:46 AM »
Hard to tell if this was abusive based on info given.  If he kept the house at 55+, what's wrong with that?  The shower thing seems a bit over the top.  I'm wondering how he was only able to afford a $210K house on a 90K salary with his frugality?

acroy

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2014, 08:43:24 AM »
wow! I kinda like the shower idea...
We do set 5min timers for the kids in the shower. With the 1.5gpm showerhead, if I'm doing the math right, the water costs about 3c and the heat (gas) another cent or 2 :)

poxpower

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2014, 08:48:48 AM »
"Incredibly, the father, the sole bread winner at $90,000 a year, managed to save enough money to buy a $210,000 townhouse in the suburbs with cash."

Lol! They're AMAZED at this apparently, even though the dude's been here since 1987!! He bought the house in 2005. Wow he only had 18 years to save up that 210k on a meager 90k/year income :,(

But yah that dude's a power asshole. I could tell it'd be hilarious when I saw "He came from Yemen". Those immigrant parents don't fuck around!

aclarridge

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2014, 09:12:40 AM »
Being from Ottawa, I got this article thrown into my face yesterday because we keep our house at: 16C(60F) and 14C(57F) day/night. sigh*

Good for you swiper!  That is badass!  We are 19C and 14C.  This article may be of interest to toss back at the article throwers:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/turn-down-heat-to-reduce-obesity-risk-scientists-propose-1.2506879

My wife would not allow anything near those temps. We keep it at about 74 (23.33C), and our bedroom is always a bit colder than that. However, we live in a small apartment and even with no heat, it won't ever go below 70.

Ottawa

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2014, 09:17:20 AM »
My wife would not allow anything near those temps. We keep it at about 74 (23.33C), and our bedroom is always a bit colder than that. However, we live in a small apartment and even with no heat, it won't ever go below 70.

Holy Crap!
Does the heat come included with your apartment fees?  Or do you have to pay for that?

Jamesqf

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2014, 12:44:13 PM »
My wife would not allow anything near those temps. We keep it at about 74 (23.33C), and our bedroom is always a bit colder than that. However, we live in a small apartment and even with no heat, it won't ever go below 70.

How do you manage to stand the heat?  If the authorities discover you live like that, will they make you surrender your Canadian citizenship?

Le0

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2014, 12:56:53 PM »
So that sounds like abuse to me. But on the reporting end of things. I am confused with these sentences:

Quote
"The father denied that he was depriving his family of food, but court heard that the grocery bill was $1,000 less a month once he took over the shopping."

How could the bill be $1000 less?????????

Quote
"His daughter testified she led a “lonely existence” in her high school years. Because her family didn’t spend money beyond basic needs, the children were already isolated."

My parents didn't spend money on fancy things in highschool either. However I guess this feeling of loneliness didn't come from lack of spending, it came from the abuse.

Quote
"...he certainly didn’t have cable."

I have never had cable, because we lived on a farm. Why does this matter.

Quote
"The four tall boys slept in one bedroom, his daughter had her own room and he and his wife shared the master bedroom."

That's how it works when there are 3 rooms right? Boys in one Girls in the other parents in the third? My mother comes from a family of 11. There were 4 boys in the small room, and 7 girls in the big room, and a room for the parents. They lived on a farm.

GuitarStv

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2014, 01:03:16 PM »
My wife would not allow anything near those temps. We keep it at about 74 (23.33C), and our bedroom is always a bit colder than that. However, we live in a small apartment and even with no heat, it won't ever go below 70.

Holy Crap!
Does the heat come included with your apartment fees?  Or do you have to pay for that?

I know it seems ridculously high . . . but legally you can't rent to someone in your hometown of Ottawa unless winter temperatures are above 20 C (http://ottawa.ontariotenants.ca/heat.phtml) during the day.  I think Toronto is 22 degrees.

Ottawa

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2014, 01:08:50 PM »
My wife would not allow anything near those temps. We keep it at about 74 (23.33C), and our bedroom is always a bit colder than that. However, we live in a small apartment and even with no heat, it won't ever go below 70.

Holy Crap!
Does the heat come included with your apartment fees?  Or do you have to pay for that?
I know it seems ridculously high . . . but legally you can't rent to someone in your hometown of Ottawa unless winter temperatures are above 20 C (http://ottawa.ontariotenants.ca/heat.phtml) during the day.  I think Toronto is 22 degrees.

Wow!  I would think the minimum temperatures should be the same province/country wide...does this mean that Ottawans are more hardy or the landlords are more Mustachian...more likely a better lobby group... :-)

Mistrish

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2014, 02:01:45 PM »
This is his home life and how he treated his family.  At work he had a corporate credit card and would order the most expensive items on the menu wherever he used it and I presume used it often.  He also had an expense account with a union and would do the same ordering the most expensive meals in restaurants all the while his family at home goes hungry.

mpbaker22

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2014, 09:29:15 PM »
This is his home life and how he treated his family.  At work he had a corporate credit card and would order the most expensive items on the menu wherever he used it and I presume used it often.  He also had an expense account with a union and would do the same ordering the most expensive meals in restaurants all the while his family at home goes hungry.

Well that's a useful tidbit of information that's totally verifiable.  IT really adds to the discussion too.  Can you show how they were going hungry?

To be clear, I don't doubt the judgement in the case, but the article about the case is just horrendous.  I don't really see anything wrong with the article, other than he raised a kid who is now 22 and too childish to move out.

galliver

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2014, 10:14:59 PM »
he raised a kid who is now 22 and too childish to move out.

It takes some parental support to move out. Or at least, lack of obstruction; article claims said 22 year old did not have access to money *he earned*.

Not to mention, there are perfectly adult ways to share a house with one's parents.

MrsPete

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2014, 06:40:50 AM »
Eh, my teen years weren't quite this extreme, but our lives were not unlike this.   

- We didn't use heat most of the time, BUT we're in the South and temps tend to be in the 40s -- big difference.  No air conditioning, which was a bigger deal. 

- Food was sometimes an issue.  The "good stuff" would be served up at the rate of one serving per person . . . and if you were still hungry, plain old loaf bread was always available. 

- Light bulbs were used at a rate of one per room; if you had a two-bulb lamp, it only had one bulb in place.  My parents were both nazis about the lights (for example, woe to the kid who left the light on while stepping out to the bathroom); I wish I'd realized then that light bulbs require almost no energy to run. 

- Our showers were never regulated, but there was a winter when the hot water heater didn't work, and all our showers were cold.  Oddly enough, we were all sick most of that winter. 

- We were all expected to get jobs at 16, and we were expected to save the majority of our earnings, but it was still our money, not our parents'. 

nordlead

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2014, 11:13:18 AM »
Being from Ottawa, I got this article thrown into my face yesterday because we keep our house at: 16C(60F) and 14C(57F) day/night. sigh*

Good for you swiper!  That is badass!  We are 19C and 14C.  This article may be of interest to toss back at the article throwers:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/turn-down-heat-to-reduce-obesity-risk-scientists-propose-1.2506879

My wife would not allow anything near those temps. We keep it at about 74 (23.33C), and our bedroom is always a bit colder than that. However, we live in a small apartment and even with no heat, it won't ever go below 70.

My first apartment was the same way.... until we turned the heat completely off, the wind changed directions (to hit our outside wall instead of the opposite side of the building) and picked up (30mph winds all night), and the pipe froze and our apartment dropped to 45 by the morning :-D. Just outside our door it was a balmy 70, so I sat out there until the maintenance guys came to replace the frozen pipe. They weren't too happy with us.

mpbaker22

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2014, 02:37:45 PM »
he raised a kid who is now 22 and too childish to move out.

It takes some parental support to move out. Or at least, lack of obstruction; article claims said 22 year old did not have access to money *he earned*.

Not to mention, there are perfectly adult ways to share a house with one's parents.

Except the adult child is 22 and is very capable of moving out.  Instead the adult child complained about the living situation.  Must have been better than the alternative ...  Sure, the first choice should be to share the house with your parents.  But if you, as an adult, make a choice to live with your parents, you shouldn't take your issues to the court system.  Instead, move out.

lentilman

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2014, 05:05:03 PM »
he raised a kid who is now 22 and too childish to move out.

It takes some parental support to move out. Or at least, lack of obstruction; article claims said 22 year old did not have access to money *he earned*.

Not to mention, there are perfectly adult ways to share a house with one's parents.

Except the adult child is 22 and is very capable of moving out.  Instead the adult child complained about the living situation.  Must have been better than the alternative ...  Sure, the first choice should be to share the house with your parents.  But if you, as an adult, make a choice to live with your parents, you shouldn't take your issues to the court system.  Instead, move out.

Unless you are protecting your younger siblings ...

zinnie

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2014, 05:25:46 PM »
This article sounds like what The Onion would write as a satire about MMM. It was definitely sensationalized!

Jack

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2014, 05:58:32 PM »
Reading this article, I see a lot of behavior that would justify divorce if the guy's spouse doesn't agree with it, but relatively little behavior that would justify criminal prosecution. What the Hell was the wife doing putting up with that for so long if she didn't like it? It's not as if Canada is some fundamentalist theocracy where women have no rights, you know!

MrsPete

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2014, 06:12:50 AM »
Eh, my teen years weren't quite this extreme, but our lives were not unlike this.   

- We didn't use heat most of the time, BUT we're in the South and temps tend to be in the 40s -- big difference.  No air conditioning, which was a bigger deal. 

- Food was sometimes an issue.  The "good stuff" would be served up at the rate of one serving per person . . . and if you were still hungry, plain old loaf bread was always available. 

- Light bulbs were used at a rate of one per room; if you had a two-bulb lamp, it only had one bulb in place.  My parents were both nazis about the lights (for example, woe to the kid who left the light on while stepping out to the bathroom); I wish I'd realized then that light bulbs require almost no energy to run. 

- Our showers were never regulated, but there was a winter when the hot water heater didn't work, and all our showers were cold.  Oddly enough, we were all sick most of that winter. 

- We were all expected to get jobs at 16, and we were expected to save the majority of our earnings, but it was still our money, not our parents'.

Was this out of necessity?  It sounds like the guy was just being mean (likely had psych issues).  So sorry you had such a difficult childhood.
Depends upon how you look at it.  No, there wasn't enough money in the house.  With five children, corners had to be cut. 

On the other hand, my parents made poor choices with their money.  Every time they scraped together a couple dollars, they threw them away on a get-rich-quick scheme.  They actually had some good ideas, but they didn't have the stick-to-it-ness that is required to accomplish anything.  It would've been better to use some of that wasted money on a new hot water heater -- that winter of cold showers is one of my worst childhood memories. 
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 02:35:40 PM by MrsPete »

Angelfishtitan

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2014, 08:02:44 AM »
Except the adult child is 22 and is very capable of moving out.  Instead the adult child complained about the living situation.  Must have been better than the alternative ...  Sure, the first choice should be to share the house with your parents.  But if you, as an adult, make a choice to live with your parents, you shouldn't take your issues to the court system.  Instead, move out.

I don't understand some of these posts, this isn't an argument of whether he is over the line between frugal and cheap. He is an abusive father. Your argument could be used for the wife: "She is an adult, why doesn't she just move out?". There are extenuating circumstances in this situation.

Quote from: Article
The recently convicted man...would whip his children with a leather belt if they didn’t follow what he called “sensible practices”
...
In her own words, here is how she described her life:

“It was Hell and we had to get out.”

“Hopeless ... you give up.”

“I used to wait for spring ... just surviving ... sad and hopeless.”

Second paragraph of the article, he beat his children. And though not stated in the article, you don't think he threatend to beat the other children if one of them (paticularly one bringing more money into the family) "ran away".

How is this situation not appropriate for the justice system?

MrsPete

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2014, 02:52:47 PM »
Mrs. Pete, I wonder why they didn't do it like people did in the olden days? My mom was born late 40s, and they took baths in a washtub in the kitchen with water heated on the stove. I think that several of them even had to share the same water. I have wondered if this is where the saying, "don't throw your baby out with the bathwater" comes from.

 Too bad your parents didn't consider a washtub.
I don't think that option was ever considered -- I know I didn't think of it. 

Thing is, the whole winter, they kept promising, "We'll buy the parts this weekend -- quit complaining.  It's only a few more days."  They'd buy the parts a month later.  Then the parts'd sit unused for a month.  Then they were the wrong parts.  But the promise was always, "Just a few more days."  We did have an oil heater to warm the bathroom, but that didn't make a bit of difference in the temperature of the water. 

Except the adult child is 22 and is very capable of moving out.  Instead the adult child complained about the living situation.  Must have been better than the alternative ...  Sure, the first choice should be to share the house with your parents.  But if you, as an adult, make a choice to live with your parents, you shouldn't take your issues to the court system.  Instead, move out.

I don't understand some of these posts, this isn't an argument of whether he is over the line between frugal and cheap. He is an abusive father. Your argument could be used for the wife: "She is an adult, why doesn't she just move out?". There are extenuating circumstances in this situation.

Quote from: Article
The recently convicted man...would whip his children with a leather belt if they didn’t follow what he called “sensible practices”
...
In her own words, here is how she described her life:

“It was Hell and we had to get out.”

“Hopeless ... you give up.”

“I used to wait for spring ... just surviving ... sad and hopeless.”

Second paragraph of the article, he beat his children. And though not stated in the article, you don't think he threatend to beat the other children if one of them (paticularly one bringing more money into the family) "ran away".

How is this situation not appropriate for the justice system?
I can see that kids need some help in bridging the gap between being a kid living at home to becoming an independent adult living on his or her own.  It's a whole lot easier to move out if your parents are helpful:  That is, if they give you some old furniture or at least some kitchen equipment, help you by co-signing for your first apartment, and so forth.  One thing in the article said something about the kids being kind of "isolated", so they might not've had friends who'd want to become roommates.  And kids who are raised in this type of environment (being whipped for things like taking showers?) tend to have a bit of a warped thought process.  And without knowing for certain, I'd bet that Dad was throwing roadblocks in the kids' way to prevent them from moving out.  After all he had them working, yet HE was controlling their money.  From his point of view, it was worthwhile to keep them at home.

The comment about perhaps the 22 year old thinking he was helping the younger children resonates with me too.  I was the oldest in my family, and I felt a responsibility to help my younger siblings make college choices, etc.  I helped them pick first apartments, lent them my car, and so forth -- our parents sure weren't helping them any more than they helped me.

The mom makes less sense to me.  She's an adult, and she should know that she had options -- battered women's shelters, etc.  She can't have thought it was better for the kids to stay in that environment. 

What I've said about my childhood doesn't hold a candle to this story, and still I can look back and see that I had options available to me that I didn't recognize at the time.  For example, I see clearly now that I should have joined the military right out of high school.  I didn't even consider it then because it's not what girls did, and it's not what smart kids did. 

Angelfishtitan

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2014, 03:07:19 PM »
The mom makes less sense to me.  She's an adult, and she should know that she had options -- battered women's shelters, etc.  She can't have thought it was better for the kids to stay in that environment.

This is my main point. We know there was physical and emotional abuse, that's why he is even in court. So why did they stay? Same reasons plenty of people stay in abusive relationships I imagine, whether it is they just don't know anything else, they don't want others to get punished/killed for their actions, or something else.

aclarridge

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Re: So frugal, it's illegal. Cheap Ottawa dad gets thrown in jail
« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2014, 07:51:36 AM »
My wife would not allow anything near those temps. We keep it at about 74 (23.33C), and our bedroom is always a bit colder than that. However, we live in a small apartment and even with no heat, it won't ever go below 70.

Holy Crap!
Does the heat come included with your apartment fees?  Or do you have to pay for that?

We only pay for the fan to blow the heat on us I think. But as I said, the heat isn't on much - the other units around us keep us warm. The amount of energy required to heat the apartment from 70 to 73 is minimal. Our hydro bills are $40-50/mo and that's the only utility bill we pay.

The other side of the coin is that in the summer, since we're east facing and have hugeass windows, our place heats up like crazy and we have a really wimpy air conditioner that can't cool down the unit. On the really hot days I would wake up sweating after the air con has been on all night non-stop, to find that it's 80 degrees in my living room (and the bedroom is hotter).