Family splits over farm sale plan

Four siblings aim to stop brother from making deal for 114-acre Carroll County property

October 19, 2006|By Laura McCandlish | Laura McCandlish,Sun Reporter

A family feud has flared between four siblings and their brother over the ownership of a western Carroll County farm that has been under state quarantine for about six months.

The three brothers and one sister of Carroll L. Schisler Sr. have filed a complaint against their brother to prevent him from selling the 114-acre Marston farm, according to Carroll County Circuit Court documents.

The farm, which has had a "For Sale" sign in front of it since summer, is probably still for sale but any transaction has been held up by the quarantine and criminal charges that Schisler Sr. faces, according to his attorney, Roland Walker.

The conditions on the farm, which have prompted charges against Schisler Sr. of selling contaminated meat and animal cruelty, are not what led the four siblings to file the legal complaint, said their attorney, Charles O. Fisher Jr. of Westminster. Fisher said they believe the farm was to be divided equally among them and Schisler Sr., according to a trust their mother established in 2001.

"We're trying to have the court restrain [Schisler Sr.] from selling the farm until the court can decide who are the rightful owners," Fisher said.

Ralph T. Schisler of Marston, Donald E. Schisler of Leoma, Tenn., Iris E. Wix of Jefferson, Ga., and August F. Schisler of Littlestown, Pa., contend that their now-deceased mother signed the farm over to her son Carroll L. Schisler Sr. in September 2005 when she was frail and mentally incompetent, according to court documents.

The complaint states that Carroll L. Schisler Sr. manipulated his mother, Lucille A. Schisler, into signing deeds that he had prepared to transfer ownership of the farm to him, according to the court documents. At the time, Lucille Schisler was living in Five Points, Tenn., with her other daughter, Linda L. Stem, who is listed as a defendant in the case, along with Schisler Sr. While he is the main target of the complaint, the other siblings allege that Stem helped Schisler Sr. gain the farm.

A temporary restraining order to prevent the sale of the farm was issued Oct. 6. The order was extended for 10 days by Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Michael M. Galloway on Tuesday.

Schisler Sr., 60, and his son, Carroll Jr., 34, who manages the farm, face dozens of charges, including those of animal cruelty and selling contaminated meat from the property.

The two men were ordered this month to appear before a federal judge after prosecutors said they suspected that more than 100 pigs that disappeared from the quarantined farm had been illegally slaughtered.

The swine quarantine was imposed in April when an emaciated pig was found to be infected with a deadly parasite.

Walker, the defense attorney, said that at Lucille Schisler's funeral in late August, the four siblings threatened to seize the property and the animals from Schisler Sr.

Walker said he is representing Carroll Schisler Sr. on the criminal charges, while Bel Air attorney Stanley Getz is representing Schisler Sr. in the real estate dispute.

Getz declined to comment on the case yesterday. Schisler Sr. could not be reached to comment.

Donald E. Schisler said yesterday from his Tennessee home that Carroll Schisler Sr. had taken advantage of their mother -- who had suffered from a stroke -- for the past two years.

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