About the Author

About the Author

My name is Melody Boatner. I was raised in Lee County, Iowa. In regards to my character, I hold a high regard  to moral law. I do not lie, I do not cheat, and I do not steal. I have lived my life, as I was taught early on, by the golden rule, “Treat others as you want to be treated”. I have always been hard working, responsible, confident, talented, independent and trustworthy. All traits that seemingly are in the best interest of society as a whole.

           I married, had a son and moved south for a few years. My son developed a serious, life threatening medical condition. Addicted to alcohol and drugs his father proved incapable of caring for him while I was at work. It was in his best interest that he and I move back home, to Iowa. In 1990 I called my brother. He drove to Georgia, rented a u-haul trailer and brought the two of us and all we could squeeze in the trailer back to Iowa. Three days later, I was hired by a local contractor as an assistant mechanic. I had to resign soon after because the employer provided no insurance benefits. Due to the rarity of my sons condition I was the only one, including the local doctors, familiar with the symptoms indicating his need for immediate medical attention. He was 6 years old when diagnosed and to maintain a normal quality of life he required monthly injections until he the age 18 years old or longer depending on his environment. At the time his condition was considered existing and he would have been excluded from any employer offer insurance benefit package. In order for me to care and provide for his future needs personally I needed to be self employed. Attorney Vivian Meyers got a divorce granted for me by the court pro-bono. I never received any of the court order child support. AFDC covered the cost of his medical needs. I have never receive any child support money from my ex-husband and never counted on anyone but myself to provide for my son.

           I utilized the resources offered by the government for the poor to get out of poverty. I enrolled in a business course offered to low income families. S.E.I.D., To be successfully self-employed in a home based business I was taught how to prepare a business plan for to present to a financial lender. There was a demand for upholstery services in my area. October 9, 1991 I was selected to travel to Washington DC and testify to a Congressional Committee[. My intent was to explain to the committee that regulations at that time was preventing me from acquiring the tools I needed to start a business. Counting the value of assets (tools) for micro enterprise as a personal asset would exceed the income guidelines,  exempting my son from being insured by Medicaid, that was not an option.

The fact that I was selected out of hundreds of individuals in the State of Iowa suggests that the program directors recognized my character to be determined to succeed in my goal. My glossophobia was so severe that my cheek was twitching and I barely uttered a sentence. The rules for value of business assets for self-employment were changed.

My brother financed my sewing machine and I made payments of $50 per/mo for 24 months. We agreed that I would set up shop in a portion of his garage. He owned the business named Brannon’s Upholstery. I worked as an employee, teaching myself how to upholster. I reinvested any personal income back into my future by purchasing  tools, fabric and reference books. I paid the machine off as agreed.

           My formal education in minimal. I dropped out of high school in the 11Th grade opting for a GED. I have never felt the  need to prove a person to be of bad character to another person until now. I simply disassociate from anyone who treats me in a way that I do not want to be treated. I am self-educated in subjects that are interesting to me, I am self-educated to provide multiple skilled services such as my chosen career as an upholsterer. I have studied many personal  interests, one of which is human behavior, particularly personality disorders. I am intelligent and have found employment based on the fact that I have good common sense I easily comprehend written material. I have an impressive personal library that includes a wide array of subjects.

           My knowledge of the law specifically the duties and responsibilities a City has to provide in order to protect its residents was taught to me for the most part, by my father, whose career was a long time employee of a neighboring City of Ft Madison in Lee County, Ia. His job title was “acting Street Commissioner” prior to and during integration a new position of “City Engineer” who took over responsibility of issuing building permits to assure compliance to the “Iowa Stormwater drainage laws”. Smaller Cities such as the City of Montrose, Ia in which the Mayor appoints a council member to act as “building administrator” whose duties are to issue a building permit, review the blueprints, and charge a fee assessed by the value of completed re developments. Only after the administrator approves the completed project in compliance with State and Federal laws at which time he signs and approves the redevelopment is compliant to code issues a certificate of occupancy as described in the Building Code Officials Handbook  and depending on if the location a manual provided by State Assoc of floodplain managers titled  “NO ADVERSE IMPACT AND THE COURTS: PROTECTING THE PROPERTY RIGHTS OF All” .  Both manuals are available at Montrose City Hall. The local FEMA officer is Steve Cirinna, husband of City of Montrose clerk Celeste Cirinna.


February 1995 I made my brother angry. He demanded that we vacate the property immediately. Lee County Deputy Dave Hunold responded to my 9-9-1 call. My brother is a very large intimidating man. I have never seen him that angry before and never want to see him in that state of mind again. When we were kids I would make him mad  and he would hit me , not uncommon for siblings.  As adult sibling an intent to physically assault me is not, in my opinion, acceptable behavior. My son had never witnessed anyone acting violent and was terrified.  Feb 22, 1995 I filed complaint to get possession my tools. The day before we were ordered to appear in court he notified me that I could retrieve my property. The case was dismissed and we had no interaction or contact until 2006 as will be explained later in this submission of evidence.

           Homeless, we moved to into town, the city of  Montrose, Ia and stayed with a friend. I rented a garage to work out of temporarily from Sue Kerns Dinwiddie prior to her marriage to Mayor Ron Dinwiddie.  A friend had her property was for sale for a very affordable price. I went over and looked at it. It was structurally sound but  in need of some serious maintenance. The house needed some of the seal plate and corner post replaced  repair on the front right corner due to lack of maintenance by the City to the stormwater ditches. The garage was not too bad. I installed a furnace in both the house and the garage, I updated the electric service panel and rewired the house and garage. The workshop floor was completely replaced because stormwater ran directly into the entry door and the chairs that were at one time sitting on the shop floor had literally fell through the rotten plywood and were sitting on the ground of the crawlspace. I was within my price range at 10,000. The seller set the price so that she would be within the income guidelines to qualify for an apartment owner by the housing authority in Keokuk, Ia. The property lot was legally nonconforming with a long narrow lot running street to street. The typical conforming lot by the standards set in the 1980’s run from City street to City alley. There would be restrictions if I ever needed to build a new structure but this property potentially had everything needed  to provide a home for my son and a garage to operate my business.

When I first moved in with my friend I applied for a Habitat for Humanity house. We were selected to receive the next habitat built home. A  few days later I was notified by the bank that I had been approved for the loan for the $10,000 fixer upper that my friend was selling. There were many other bonuses this property provided for me from day one, life, liberty, and enjoyment of my property. This property was perfect for me. I withdrew my application from Habitat for Humanity

 Nov. 1995   We moved into the house at 111 N 5Th St,  Montrose, Ia .  Typical to the early 1900’s  era, Boatner’s property was protected from stormwater runoff by using the berm and swale technique along the common boundary of the adjoining property at 105 N 5Th St. The berm was distinct in its purpose. When it rained the stormwater was held back and actually  formed a pond on the right side as it was designed to do.

2 I can not stress enough that the damage to the existing structures on my property was caused by stormwater runoff from 5Th St. The City of Montrose had not maintained any of storm water drainage ditches for so long that in most cases and certainly in front of my property on 5Th St there were no visible evidence that a ditch ever existed. Both corners of my lot contained very nice and culverts. I know full well that it is the City’s responsibilities to maintain the streets and drainage ditches.  I did not complain to the City that they had been negligent in maintaining the ditches. I was well aware that they are liable for the ditch maintenance. I had the ability to do it myself.

My first priority was to hand dig the ditches and replace the driveway culvert. There are many witnesses to that fact, including Police chief at the time Officer John Farmer.  Most all  the properties in town suffered adverse effects from stormwater due to the City’s failure to maintain. Stormwater ran from the street down the driveway into the doorway of my garage, the floor had rotted through and chairs had fallen through. Storm water ran over the sidewalk to the front corner of my house. I guess it must have been ongoing for 10 or 15 years. It didn’t take to long for me repair the cause of the damage to structures on my property. I already had the knowledge of how to do the repairs. I had access to any equipment I needed. My  friends are in the field of construction.

 I renovated, rehabilitated and upgraded most everything by the time it the loan was satisfied. I have receipts to prove the amount of money I reinvested into the property.. I paid the loan off in 2000.

 I had established a reputable upholstery service and raised my son  though his school years in the house at 111 N 5Th St Montrose, Ia. My son has always worked, starting as a paperboy when we moved to this house. He graduated high school and though he has had some health problems, he no longer requires monthly injections. He has worked for Huffman Welding and Machine since he graduated, he is now 32 years old. I never had any problems with neighbors of any kind. We all got along, everyone was friendly, and considered it a nice neighborhood to live in.

         Ron Dinwiddie has been the Mayor of the City of Montrose since 1995 when I purchased my property. There has not been much turnover in council members and City employees. I have never been involved with the City politics or attended the City Council meetings. It was my opinion that all seemed to be running well within the City Government. Those who were in charge seemed sincere in their roles as community leaders.

You will be led to believe that I am a lazy person who never takes care of her financial responsibilities. That is simply not true. I downloaded this when I knew my credit was being damaged due to unexpected ER visits when the chemicals began to cause severe pain. Before the first bill got sent to collections my score was 760.

Boatner's credit score commendable