top of page



        No City of Cape Coral authorized representative, no representative of any of the local media, no representatives of any Church or religious organization, or no civil rights group has questioned WHY. Mostly because the local media's previous coverage has been scant, erroneous, and incomplete, and often quoting the City's claims from erroneous information and misconceptions stated by City representative Connie Barron. The public is completely unaware of what's going on because the media never investigated or corroborated any of the information supplied to them. Information given to them on July 31, 2014 and January 26, 205 was almost completely ignored.

          The dispute with the City of Cape Coral initiated when a disgruntled volunteer, after being refuted in various attempts of extortion, blackmail and fraud, made statements that he was "going to fall down the stairs and sue this place for everything they got." He also made claims that he was "going to destroy him (meaning Jerome Valenta, the President) and the Residents of the Divine love, no matter what it takes." "I am going to take him down by all means possible." He then proceeded, with the assistance of who we feel is a very unscrupulous and ambulance chasing attorney, to file 14 separate complaints with local, State, and Federal Agencies in his vindictive attempt to cause irreparable harm and "destroy" The Haven of Divine Love. In the past year, 11 of the complaints have been determined to be false, erroneous, unfounded, and frivolous. His claim for "wages" for his volunteers services, Federal Court Case # 2:14-cv-350 has yet to be decided, and the complaints with the Cape Coral Code Enforcement and the Cape Coral Building Department are still in dispute. The emotional stress and anxiety was so extreme that it caused Jerome Valenta, the President of The Haven of Divine Love, to suffer 3 strokes on February 14, 16, and 17, 2015, in which the third landed Valenta in the Hospital for 3 days. Although Valenta is still undergoing extensive treatment and not fully recovered from his strokes, he has returned to The Haven and conducting limited duties. During his trauma, Valenta had the extraordinary support of his family and friends, but not anyone from the City of Cape Coral. Anthony and Sara Rodriquez, the Deacon and Deaconess of The Haven and Auxiliary Board Members as well as the staff of Extend A Hand For Justice, an associated organization in California where Mr. Valenta is the Executive Director, filled in to operate the facility. Jerome Valenta is the younger brother of Eleanor Nelsen, the founder of The Nelsen Residence Inc. who passed away in 2008. Joseph Valenta, the nephew of Jerome and the Vice President had also recently undergone extensive neck operations and was incapable of assisting during the vicious attacks by the City including the disconnection of the water to the residence and the action by the City Counsel to sue The Haven for compliance. Case # 15-CA-001568. (***)

"We will not be subjected to extortion, blackmail, or attempts to defraud us," stated Jerome Valenta, the President and Chairman of the Board of The Nelsen Residence Inc., "not by any individual or the City of Cape Coral."

          "When the disgruntled volunteer filed his complaint that one of our stairways was unsafe with the Cape Coral Code Enforcement, a very inexperienced agent, who had absolutely no construction knowledge, wrote a citation simply from his claims. The agent also issued citations for issues that were intentionally created by the volunteer. Several other allegations made by the volunteer at the time were later proved to be false. The volunteer later called and filed a complaint with the Cape Coral Building Department when we attempted to repair the minor issues with the stairs. Subsequently, the stairs have decayed substantially from their condition of the date of report, causing more damage to our home." At no time did any representative of the Code Enforcement or Building Department ever contact or meet with any Officer or Director of The Haven of Divine Love. All contact was secretly made between them and the disgruntled volunteer. In fact, the volunteer had often represented that he was Jerome Valenta, the President of The Nelsen Residence Inc., or that he was someone of authority to act on behalf of the corporation. "I, nor any Officer or Director of The Nelsen Residence Inc. has ever met or talked to Marilyn Buck, Mike VanDeutekom, Samantha Crow, Jacki Halbisen, Harold S. Eskin, Kent Liegegott, John McConnell, Vincent A. Cautero, Martin Murray, or Stephen R. Olson, who were the parties claiming the stairs to be defective. Neither have I, or any Officer or Director of The Nelsen Residence Inc. ever been contacted by Mayor Marni Sawicki, Manager John Szerlag, or Attorney Delores D. Menendez of the City of Cape Coral as to this issue. Countless correspondences and complaints sent to Chief of Police Bart Connelly were never responded to or addressed." says Valenta. "We were denied Access to their Court and Due Process of law."       The volunteer was eventually evicted from the premises after he refused to move, and caused numerous disturbances, including being cited for trespassing on the Senior and Disability Facility. Case # 14-CC-003184.

          The issues involved are very simple, yet the City of Cape Coral has gone way beyond reason to cause additional and irreparable harm, and has refused to even address the issues. "We wrote 37 letters of objections, complaints, and concerns. Yet, not one letter was ever responded to or not one complaint or issue was ever addressed as required." 

          "I've been a building contractor, Real Estate Broker and Developer for more than half of my life," said Valenta. "On the day in question, the stairs were structurally sound." In addition, Valenta says that he had 2 separate building contractors who also stated the stairs were structurally sound on the day of the report. "There's no question that the stairs looked terrible. They needed to be painted and there were a few trim boards that were rotting out. But, they were structurally sound and safe, contrary to the claims of the inexperienced inspector," said Valenta" "When we attempted to dispute the erroneous claims, we were Denied Access to their Court, and Denied Due Process of Law by the Code Enforcement Magistrate, Harold S. Eskin, a very serious violations of our Civil Rights." His actions were both arbitrary and capricious.

          "It's not just one or two issues that we have experienced, it's dozens and dozens. After filing complaints or objections, we were inundated with a rash of retaliatory actions, most of which were deliberate acts of bias, prejudice and discriminatory in nature. Prior to the last issue, the Code Enforcement had issued 5 other citations and complaints, all of which were found to be untrue, unfounded, and in error, and were subsequently dismissed."

          "We also have serious concerns with the Cape Coral Water Department and the water treatment the City uses. Our building is only 15 years old and we already had 14 water breaks where the water literally eats the copper piping and ruptures causing thousands of dollars of damage. Yet, our numerous complaints were answered by them by their shutting off our water when they erroneously claimed that we sold the property and a new water account was needed. For 3 days, our vulnerable seniors and disability residents were in panic after the City Red Tagged the buildings informing them that the water was going to be shut off on the following Friday." (They did shut off the water at the residence for 1 day)

         "When we filed a criminal complaint against the volunteer with the Cape Coral Police Department, they claimed that extortion, blackmail, and attempts to defraud were 'civil matters, and not criminal,'" says Valenta. Seven other criminal complaints and four complaints of misconduct by police personnel were made by The Nelsen Residence Inc. to Chief of Police Bart Connelly who ignored every one of them. Even a criminal complaint of an illegal break in to the Haven's main office where substantial corporate documents and bank account information was stolen was ignored by Chief Connelly and the City of Cape Coral Police Department. The 82 stolen documents were later discovered in the possession of the volunteer and his attorney and was attempted to be presented as some kind of evidence in the volunteer's Federal Case # 2:14-cv-350. Even after The Nelsen Residence Inc. notified Chief Connelly of the discovery, no action by the Cape Coral Police Department was made.

          On December 12, 2014, Acting Fire Chief John Maher, Building Department Agent McConnell, and 3 other City of Cape Coral personnel (who they continue to refuse to disclose their names) raided the private residence and entered the property without any authorization or warrant. They claimed that they didn't need any warrant since they contended that the property was a commercial property because the City had rezoned the land to commercial zoning 2 years prior.

          The property in question is a private residence. It has always been so, and it will always be so until the owners request or file for a change in use. It is a single family 2 story house with 3 bedrooms and a private Chapel that was build (to code I may add) in 1978. There has been absolutely no changes since it was constructed. Although any 2 story single family residence is only required to have one stairway for the second floor, they have 2. The normal one inside, and a second one outside. It is the outside stairway that is in dispute. Even if there was some extreme remote possibility that the outside stairs were not functioning, the inside stairs is adequate to provide safe and secure access to the second floor. Additionally, even if there was some extreme remote possibility that the outside stairs were not functioning, there is no rational basis to deny usage of the first floor garage, bedroom, and the private Chapel. Their actions were not only arbitrary, but vicious as well. In doing so, the City of Cape Coral has infringed on serious violations of the Haven's religious rights and their religious practices. "We can not, nor will not, tolerate such abuse of our Constitutional Rights by the City of Cape Coral," said Valenta, and we have drawn a line in the sand to fight their gross injustice."

          According to the records, the City of Cape Coral, unbeknown by The Nelsen Residence Inc., changed the land zoning from residential to commercial. Apparently when ABC Liquor on Del Prado purchased the residential zoned property behind them on 15th Place, they requested a zone change to build a new store. "The City never Noticed us, informed us, or posted our property that they were rezoning our property." Several previous attempts to rezone the house to commercial were objected to by The Nelsen Residence Inc., and the City dropped their attempts at that time. Yet, for some unknown reason, they failed to notify them of their recent activities. Regardless, the change in land zoning has absolutely no affect on the building in question. "For some stupid and unfounded reason, the City thinks that they can waive their magic wand and ZAP! your private home is now a commercial office building, or shopping mall, or even a McDonalds restaurant," says Valenta. "Completely wrong and unfounded. So, they say that our single family home is now a commercial establishment and subjected to commercial codes, simply by the fact that they rezoned the land to commercial. Not possible in any way or means, and their actions are a very serious violation of our civil liberties and rights."

          If I was an attorney and had a private library in my private home; If I was a professional basketball player and had a indoor basketball court in my private home; If I was an Olympic swimmer and had a indoor swimming pool in my home; If I was a seamstress and had a sewing room in my private home; would I be considered a commercial establishment? So why is being a Catholic and having a private Chapel in my private home grounds for discrimination?

          "I've been involved in community and non profit activities all my life," Said Valenta. Valenta was a past President and Director of Kiwanis Club, Directors of The Boys Club, Chamber of Commerce, Developers, and many more community organizations. He was the Publisher and Editor of The Bakersfield Reported newspaper in California. He was the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Extend a Hand in Bakersfield California for over 20 years, and the President, Vice President, and Director of The Nelsen Residence Inc. in Cape Coral Florida since 2002. "I have never seen a more ruthless City as that of Cape CoralFlorida. I can not count on all my fingers and toes how many times, when a charitable organization had even bigger situations then ours, when city personnel and community members would go out on their days off, roll up their sleeves and help fix the problem. Not in the City of Cape CoralFlorida. City Officials attack, retaliate and go out of their way to commit strong arm tactics. The local Chamber of Commerce has been aware of this situation for quite some time and have just turned their heads. Local community organizations and churches have done likewise. And, the local media, apparently in fear of retaliation by the City, do not investigate and report the truth of what's going on in this City. Wink News even went out of their way on a smear campaign and a deliberate attempt to circumvent the press release we sent them. 29 separate acts of bias, prejudice, and discriminatory violations of Constitutional, Civil, and Religious Right violations, and everybody looks the other way. Kind of reminds me of the Good Samaritan fable. Council Member Lenny Nesta even publicly quoted that The Haven should submit to government tyranny, claiming to be a Christian and improperly quoting Bible scripture.

          DON'T BELIEVE THEM? All one has to do to verify their claims is to go to the City Council's Clerk, The Mayor, City Manager, and City Attorney; the City Code Enforcement and Building Departments; Fire Department; Water Department, and Chief Connelly's Office to verify the enormous documentation and evidence that exist.

          As far as the local news media is concerned, It is humbly requested that you re-examine the PRESS RELEASE given you on January 26, 2015 which was predominately ignored. (Copy attached) Additionally, the same goes for the PRESS RELEASE of July 31, 2014 which was equally ignored. (copy attached)

SHAME ON THE CITY OF CAPE CORAL, SHAME ON MAYOR MARNI SAWICKI AND THE CITY COUNCIL, SHAME ON CITY MANAGER JOHN SZERLAG, SHAME ON CITY ATTORNEY DELORES D. MENENDEZ, SHAME ON MAGISTRATE HAROLD S. ESKIN, SHAME OF CHIEF OF POLICE BART CONNELLY, SHAME ON THE LOCAL MEDIA, AND SHAME ON THE PRIESTS AND LEVITES WHO LIVE IN THIS COMMUNITY. (Although most of the blame has to go to the local media who has ignored these issues or reported scant and erroneous stories causing the majority of the people of the community to be totally unaware of the happenings)

Written by Dean Wayne, for

Jerome Valenta, President of

The Haven of Divine Love,

The Nelsen Residence Inc.

(239) 458-4229                                                            

(***) This is not the first time that the City of Cape Coral sued The Nelsen Residence Inc.. In April 2012, The City sued Haven of Divine Love Nelson (sic) Residence Inc. for Foreclosure of a Scholarship home at 1808 SE 7th Street. (Case # 12-CC-002084) The Nelsen Residence Inc. Scholarship Fund had purchased the home free and clear of all liens and encumbrances in 2009, but the City later claimed there were unpaid "Orange Water Irrigation Assessments due from 1995. The Assessments were later paid by the Title Company and the suit was resolved against The Haven, but subsequently cost The Scholarship Fund over $1,500.00 for legal services. (2 underprivileged student recipients were denied scholarship grants that year as a result) Less than a year later, the City refunded more than they sued for after discovering that they had somehow collected excess amounts prior to the suit. No City official ever apologized or said they were sorry for the error..

bottom of page