CORNELIUS, NC (WBTV) -
When Bob Deaton first laid eyes on this piece of land in Cornelius, "this property was a field," he says. "There was not a tree on it. I was able to come in here and mow it, and camp on it in 1965."
He built his home a few years later with his own two hands.
"I built it to live in, and I built it to die in," he says.
But now that might not happen. The county came in last year for a revaluation, and told Deaton his land was worth three times the structure on it.
"I could lose it," he says. "I'm not wealthy." Deaton's a retired engineer - he put in a lifetime's work for the city of Charlotte.
"I've got a budget that we've set up, and it sure didn't include $900 a month for taxes," he says.
It's not just Deaton in trouble.
"There are some people on this lake that I know that are in the same identical situation," he says.
And when he talked to an official about an appeal "he looked at me and said you'd sell this property for what we've got it valued for, wouldn't you? And I looked him in the eye and said 'I don't want you to forget this. No. It's not for sale."
This man may very well be a county tax assessor's worst nightmare. He's been doing his homework…scouring Lake Norman lots…and finding anomaly after anomaly.
Deaton says he won't stop fighting until he gets justice for his family…and his neighbors.
"Most of the people out here never think about fighting with the government. That's not in their nature."