In the middle of the Florida swamp, Mike Busey (Gary Busey's alleged nephew) owns a party house called the Sausage Castle. For over a decade, the McMansion has served as a home for a clan of Juggalos, veterans, strippers, and gay kids ostracized from their parents. This week, Mike says, he received a phone call from WFTV Channel 9 reporter Jamie Holmes informing him Osceola County had foreclosed on the Juggalo commune and planned to bulldoze the Sausage Castle. Mike believes the County has targeted him because of his unconventional lifestyle.
"The Sausage Castle is a way of life," Mike says.
The foreclosure technically stems from series of code violations. When the house's first owner, Michael Brown, first rented to Mike, he allowed him to decorate the house with stripper poles, stages, and fish bowls full of dildos. He also let Mike sublet rooms to the Juggalos, strippers, and veterans, whom Mike considers family. The house's second owner continued this agreement.
Since 2009, the County has filed four code violations against Mike, many related to the house's unconventional interior designer. On December 28, 2012, the County fined Mike for placing a bed in his garage and building a stage that had "poles," which were stripper poles. "[sic] IT WAS OBSERVED STAGE DECK HAD BEEN REMOVED BUT ALL THE SUPPORTING POLES EXISTED," the inspector writes in the report. (All spelling errors are the inspector's.) "THE STAGE AND VIP SEATING AREA HAD TO BE REMOVED COMPLETLY AND THE BAR STRUCTURE NEEDED TO BE REMOVED OR PERMITTED." The County claims Mike needed a permit to have these poles and fails to define what constitutes a "VIP SEATING AREA." "Yet how many Americans have stripper poles all throughout their homes," Sausage Castle resident Kace Kush asks.
Osceola County fined Mike $250 for each violation. Since Mike failed to comply with the code and pay the violations on May 15, 2013, the County has fined him $100 per day for one violation and $250 per day for a section violation.
"It's 250 a day times [nearly] five years," Mike says.
Mike and his roommates lack the money to pay the huge fine. Two days ago, they launched a GoFundMe to raise cash to obtain a lawyer and fight the foreclosure. If Osceola County gets to bulldoze the Sausage Castle, Mike says he will paint the names of all the GoFundMe donors on the roof. While officials fly helicopters over the Sausage Castle, they will have to see the names of the people who love the Juggalo commune.
Osceola County has waited years to foreclose on the house, though. Mike believes his neighbor, County Commissioner Jeff Hawkins, Jr., has led the war against the Sausage Castle. He says Hawkins despises his wild parties (at which a drone is known to pull an American flag out of a drag queen's butt hole). Although the Sausage Castle is located in a hillbilly town called Saint Cloud in front of Alligator Lake, newly constructed houses and a Walmart have begun popping up around the city. Mike thinks developers want the land.
Through Osceola County press representative Andrew Sullivan, Hawkins, Jr. declined to comment. Sullivan did deny that the land's possible use for new buildings motivates the County's foreclosure, instead claiming that it's simply the result of the code violations. If Mike pays, Sullivan says, he should be able to keep the house. "He has a very popular GoFundMe account," Sullivan points out. "That's very interesting to me."
Mike's response: "It's about to get even more fucking interesting."
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If Osceola County officially gets to foreclose on the Sausage Castle, Mike says he will fight back. He promises to stand in front of the bulldozers and assemble a team to stop the destruction. Veterans and a biker gang have already volunteered to assist him. If it becomes clear the County will win the fight, Mike promises to destroy the house himself before the County gets to. "I will ride off into the sunset with ratchet whores and my pugs into the next destination," Mike says.
Finding his next home will be a problem: Five to ten people live at the Sausage Castle at a time, and the foreclosure will leave several people homeless. Mike wants to continue to live with all of his roommates. The Marine veteran Rowdy Robbie has lived in the house for over five years, and Kace Kush, a Juggalo feminist, moved into the house over three years ago after being bullied for being gay in her hometown, Ocala, Florida.
It's gonna be like the [collapse of] the Berlin Wall.
"They're not just tearing down a house—they're trying to tear apart a family," Kace says. "They're not only trying to uproot all of our lives but destroy a place that has been a place of acceptance for thousands of people for over a decade. From the memories plastered on the cabinets in the kitchen to the artwork that's spread wall-to-wall, that place is a living way of life we are all going to have to say goodbye to."
To rent a big enough house, Mike estimates he and his roommates will collectively have to pay $10,000 between deposits and first and second month rent. "[Renters are] not gonna be a fan of ten people living in the house," Mike says. He also worries his reputation will prevent people from renting to him and his collected band of other weirdos. "We are gonna say Kace is straight and my fiance and she's pregnant," Mike says. "We're gonna have to smuggle people [into the new house]."
Even if Kace and her alternative family find a new home, the foreclosure would mark an end of an era. For nearly a decade, the Castle has housed legendary parties with Jackass stars and rappers like Insane Clown Posse. Mike can transport his couch and the Fleshlight in the wall, but Mike can't save the murals of ET, giant penises, and Michael Jackson on the walls.
"It's gonna be like the [collapse of] the Berlin Wall," Mike lamented. "Everyone will want a piece of a historical landmark."