A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Marshal to evict the occupant of a
so-called “lease-back” in Beverly Shores in Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore, nearly two years after the reservation of use (ROU) expired.
On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Joe Van Bokkelen ordered Deborah Pavel
removed from the property at 260 S. Prospect and the U.S. Marshal to put the
National Park Service (NPS) in possession of that property.
Van Bokkelen further ordered NPS and its moving contractor to accompany the
U.S. Marshal “for the removing of any personal property in or on the
premises” and authorized the disposal of any such personal property if not
claimed within 30 days.
In fact, Van Bokkelen ordered Pavel on Jan. 13 to “peacefully surrender
possession of the real estate” and to “remove herself and possessions
therefrom at her cost and expense” and warned her too that “disobedience to
the form or ignoring of the substance of this order may be punished as
But Pavel did ignore the order as well as a letter dated March 6, in which
“the government again requested (Pavel) to vacate the premises” and gave her
until April 7 to do so, NPS stated in a petition for writ of assistance
filed on April 13. “The defendant continues to occupy the premises despite
this court’s order and the government’s efforts to give her reasonable time
to vacate,” NPS stated in that petition.
NPS originally filed suit against Pavel in April 2010, after she failed to
vacate the home at 260 S. Prospect, conveyed to the government in June 1980.
The timeline, according to court documents:
•The reservation of use was initially scheduled to expire on June 20, 2009.
In a letter dated Jan. 6, 2009, NPS informed Pavel that her reserved
interest would expire on that day.
•On May 26, 2009, NPS gave Pavel an extension of 60 days, to Aug. 20, 2009,
and advised her that “No other extensions will be granted.”
•On Aug. 7, 2009, NPS reminded Pavel by letter of the expiration of that
•On Aug. 21, 2009—the day after the extension expired—NPS advised Pavel,
still in residence at 260 S. Prospect, that she was now “illegally
trespassing on National Park Service federal property” and that she “must
take immediate steps to relocate, including removing all personal property”
from the home.
Pavel did not and NPS subsequently filed suit.
At one time there were more than 350 reservations of use—known more commonly
by the misnomer “lease-back”—in effect in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore,
in which the former owners of homes purchased by the government retained the
right to live in them for a specified length of time after selling the
property at a reduced amount, usually 1 percent for each year of retained
On Sept. 30, 2010, 26 reservations of use—nearly every remaining
one—expired. Twelve of those were occupied by the original sellers; 14 by
persons who purchased the years remaining on the reservation of use from the