Friends driving by your house and honking a friendly hello: cool. City and county officials and employees honking for almost 10 years as they drive by to get back at you for placing a bid on a house: not so cool. Per Courthouse News Service, that's the claim of Ohio resident Garrick Krlich's lawsuit filed Thursday against the city of Hubbard, Trumbull County, and Hubbard's police chief, all of whom Krlich says "intentionally turned a blind eye" to an orchestrated campaign to "harass, intimidate, terrorize, and retaliate against him," mainly via the car-honking. Why Krlich says he's the object of retaliation: In 2007, he tried to buy at an auction a neighboring property that for nearly a century had been in the family of the town's fire chief at the time. Krlich says when he put in the highest offer, then-Fire Chief John Clemente Jr. told him he'd better take it back or risk being "bitter enemies."
Krlich kept his bid in, though for unspecified reasons, the property "did not pass to him as it should have"—and, he says, the harassment started anyway. Described on the Krlich.com website (subtitled "Small Town Terrorism") as "undeserved, uninterrupted, unyielding spite," the subsequent actions Krlich says have been directed toward him—the relentless honking, an unsympathetic police department, a 911 service that hangs up on him—have been carried out by various Hubbard firefighters driving city trucks, members of Police Chief James Taafe's family, city councilmen, and others, per the suit. In a 2014 20/20 interview, Krlich says the honking peaked at 100 times a day (it's since died down to just a couple per day); Clemente and his wife noted in the same interview that Krlich was simply litigious. "If you beep your horn one time, he'll take you to court," Marlene Clemente said. (Read more lawsuit stories.)