Skip to main content

Ogden, UT -- An imaginative and young-hearted father is getting a taste of police state USA after he received a threat of extortion from his local government -- for building a cardboard fort.

Jeremy Trentelman is a professional floral designer which gives him access to large cardboard boxes that hold botanical trees. Like any creative and imaginative father would do, Trentelman saw potential in these huge boxes, so he acted on it.

“I had warm, positive memories from my childhood about forts, and thought it was a great way to spark imagination, away from the TV,” Trentelman said.

His two children, Max 3 ½ and Story, 2, absolutely loved their cardboard fortress. But their love would soon be met with threats of government force.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

According to Yahoo Parenting, shortly after finishing the construction, which features a centerpiece of a yellow plastic slide, the city of Ogden delivered a warning, signed by code enforcer Gordon Sant. Though not a citation, the official letter noted that Trentelman was in violation for having “waste materials or junk” in his yard. It gave him 14 days to remove the fort or pay a $125 fee; he also had the option of paying $25 to contest it. He considered that at first, but then had a change of heart.

“I thought I was going to send off this scathing email, I was so mad for about an hour,” he says. “But then I realized I would rather spend time putting positive energy into my kids than negative energy into this.”

Like all threats from government, this citation from the city would ultimately be enforced through the initiation of force. Had the family refused to tear down the box fort, on their own property, they would have been met with a letter of extortion, known as a citation. Had they refused to be extorted, armed men from the state would have come to collect this money. If they refused yet again, and defended themselves from these armed men, they would be killed.

Just this week, we've seen a hard-working elderly man thrown in a jail cell for the length of his grass. Now we are seeing an awesome family, who'd rather play outside than consume TV, being threatened with punishment for their creativity.

Yet somehow people still blindly refer to this geographical region, known as the United States of America, as The Land of the Free.