Barton eviction fight: Court hearing tomorrow afternoon

August 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 37 Comments

(July 18th WSB photo: Jean and Byron Barton, center, in the house’s basement, with police and supporters)
Tomorrow afternoon, a King County Superior Court judge will preside over a hearing related to Triangle Property Development‘s attempt to take physical possession of the Morgan Junction house where Byron and Jean Barton are still living, three weeks after deputies evicted them. We know this because the advocacy group that has been campaigning to keep the Bartons in the house has sent word of a protest outside the courtroom before the hearing. Triangle’s court filing – reported here on July 29th – is the latest development in the case; the Bartons also have legal action pending, contending that the house was illegally foreclosed on before being auctioned off last April, which is when Triangle bought it. The Bartons re-entered the house near 41st and Holly shortly after deputies removed them on July 18th, including carrying Byron Barton, who uses a wheelchair; that means Seattle Police could arrest them for trespassing, but a week and a half ago, Mayor Murray told them on July 21st to “stand by” while the case went through the courts.

37 Comments

  1. Soooooo over this story.

    Comment by Cycleman — 2:15 pm August 7, 2014 #

  2. I’m still confused. The Mayor told the police to “stand by while the case went through the courts.” If deputies physically removed the previous owners then the case *already* went through the courts. If an illegal foreclosure was done then that’s a separate matter. If I was the new owner I’d be furious if the cops didn’t kick a trespasser off my property.

    Comment by skeeter — 2:44 pm August 7, 2014 #

  3. Just leave already. They lost the house by their own doing. It’s time to go. If I didn’t pay my mortgage I would be expected to go too. It must be nice to live somewhere for free for years. It really pisses me off when we do the right thing and live within our means and then people like them do this kind of thing.

    Comment by A — 3:37 pm August 7, 2014 #

  4. No the case is not over. The Bartons have a lawsuit pending for illegal foreclosure, and they have asked to stay in the home until the case plays out in the court. To me, this does not seem unreasonable based on recent court rulings here in Washington State. This includes a Superior Court ruling in February of this year where the judge found the foreclosure unconstitutional and voided the foreclosure sale. Here is an excerpt from the story and links:

    “Judge George N. Bowden of the Superior Court in Washington State ruled against Bank of America (BoA) in a foreclosure battle that ended with the “nonjudicial foreclosure sale under the Deed of Trust Act (DTA) [deemed] void” and the court setting the foreclosure aside.

    In this case defended by StafneTrumbull law firm in Washington State, the homeowner won his house from BoA”

    Here is the link to the full story:
    http://brightsideglobal.com/?p=3660

    A link to the interview with the attorney who won this case is here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvRF85SGGY8

    According to RealtyTrac, hundreds of foreclosures in the state are in question based on an earlier Supreme Court ruling:

    http://www.realtytrac.com/real-estate-guides/foreclosure-laws/washington-foreclosure-laws/

    Kind of makes sense why the Bartons might want to stay in their home until their case is heard in court.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 4:11 pm August 7, 2014 #

  5. @ Gatewood Neighbor, Put yourself in the shoes of the of the lien holder. What if you were owed $600k and a judge decided the individuals you lent money to didn’t have to pay you back because of a technical error during the foreclosure process. Do you really think that’s just? I will never understand why people are supporting the previous owners. I understand it’s a sad situation, but they were given $600k and STOPPED PAYING IT BACK! Enough said.

    Comment by time to leave — 4:40 pm August 7, 2014 #

  6. Gatewood Neighbor –I see things differently. Before the eviction took place, I agree with you that the previous owner had an ethical right and (probably) legal right to continue to occupy the property even though the new owner had purchased the property. However, once the King County Sherriff physically removed the previous owners and changed the locks that is a very different matter in my mind. At that point the previous owners, even if they strongly believed they were the victims of an illegal foreclosure, should comply with the law and leave the property while the legal matters get sorted out. The purchaser of the property has rights, too.

    Comment by skeeter — 4:56 pm August 7, 2014 #

  7. I’d say they need to be required to put up a bond for the mortgage payments back to whenever they stopped paying them before any consideration is given. Looks a heck of a lot like they are milking public sympathy while freeloading on their just obligations.

    What have they been doing with that money all these years?

    If they can’t or refuse to pay the thing up to date, the whole thing is moot or should be.

    Comment by Jim P. — 5:10 pm August 7, 2014 #

  8. No, I don’t feel sorry for Triangle Property. They specialize in foreclosed properties and know the risk they are taking when they buy a foreclosed property; basically “buyer beware.” There are no guarantees with foreclosure property purchases, which they well know. They have multiple foreclosed properties in their portfolio and I am sure that they are insured for this type of thing.

    As for the Bartons, the real tragedy and shame is that their loan servicer, Chase, failed to do a loan workout with them – one of the contingencies of the bank bailout of 2008. According to the Inspector General’s report on TARP issued last month:

    “Hundreds of thousands of homeowners nationwide are waiting too long for loan modifications to be processed, leaving them in a financial limbo that can last up to a year, according to a federal report released Wednesday.

    The growing wait time, called an “alarming trend” by the inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, began to build during the past six months with a backlog that now stands at about 221,500 homeowners.”

    The sadder part about it is that nearly two thirds of the TARP funds set aside to help troubled homeowners still are unused (also as part of that report):

    “HAMP is one of several foreclosure prevention programs that fall under the$38.5 billion federal Making Home Affordable program. According to Wednesday’s report, just $12.8 billion of that allocation has been spent to help struggling borrowers.”

    The Inspector General says:

    “At this point, with so much money unspent that is earmarked for HAMP, Treasury should be pulling out all the stops to ensure that eligible homeowners get into HAMP,” the inspector general’s report says. “Treasury needs to stop these delays with every tool in their arsenal.”

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 5:12 pm August 7, 2014 #

  9. Hi Skeeter – thanks for your comments. I understand your viewpoint and appreciate it. I just think that the Bartons should be allowed to stay until the case plays out. If they vacate, it is unlikely that they will get the property back even should the court void the foreclosure sale. My comment before was intended for time to leave, not you, but truth is I don’t feel sorry for Triangle Property Development, especially after I listened to their attorney on a podcast (after the fact) on Dori Monson. She lost all credibility with me with her portrayal of facts. I certainly didn’t do fact checking on everything she said (I work for a living and have other obligations) but those that I was able to fact check seemed different from her portrayal.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 5:26 pm August 7, 2014 #

  10. One additional thing to mention about the Inspector General’s recent TARP report is this: the delay in processing loan workout applications puts homeowners at greater risk of foreclosure:

    “It is homeowners who suffer the consequences of their mortgage servicers’ failure to timely process HAMP applications,” the report says. “Without a timely review of their eligibility, struggling homeowners left in limbo may not pursue other foreclosure alternatives and, with options narrowing over time, may be at risk for foreclosure.”

    Here’s the link to the story:

    http://insurancenewsnet.com/oarticle/2014/07/30/homeowners-suffer-as-loan-modification-wait-time-lags-a-537769.html#.U-QT9fldXg0

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 5:49 pm August 7, 2014 #

  11. Gatewood,

    None of that has one thing to do with this case. This is a case of a family that made very poor financial decisions and suffered the consequences of their decisions.

    Please post SPECIFIC facts that DIRECTLY relate to THIS case, otherwise, you are just spouting nonsense that does not deal with THIS PARTICULAR CASE.

    Comment by Ray — 7:11 pm August 7, 2014 #

  12. Gatewood Neighbor

    You posted a lot of information across three messages tangentially related to this story but nothing that was directly relevant to this case. without pointing out how this is relevant to this case. You made several allegations against Triangle indicating they did something wrong in this case. Can you point out which specific items from your information that the Barton’s have indicated are at issue here and that they will be directly addressing in the court case?

    Comment by Ray — 8:04 pm August 7, 2014 #

  13. Good riddance!

    Comment by sittingbird — 8:08 pm August 7, 2014 #

  14. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if this foreclosure is found illegal the Bartons can legally kick out anyone living on their property and seek repayment for all loss, damages and legal fees, likely paid by those that bought the land in foreclosure. That is the risk you take playing roulette with foreclosed property purchases for sub-market value.

    Comment by Mike — 8:12 pm August 7, 2014 #

  15. Whether or not it is legal for them to still occupy the house, it sure is unethical.

    Comment by Morgan — 9:03 pm August 7, 2014 #

  16. Gatewood Neighbor there is a huge difference between this case and cases that are under the purview of TARP and similare programs. These programs are for borrowers who through no fault if their own the values of their properties decreased far below the amount owed on the mortgage secured by that property. The Barton case is much different. Here you have folks that initially owned a property free and clear and borrowed a large sum against the value of that property. At no time did the amount the Barton’s owed become more than the value of the property. After borrowing over $600K over a short period of time the Barton’s then just flat out quit paying back the money that they legally borrowed and now still legally owe. So don’t compare apples to oranges as you have repeatedly done in your comments here and in prior stories.

    Comment by Are You Serious — 9:14 pm August 7, 2014 #

  17. Are You Serious, I think you need to do a search on public records and read all the ones that pertain to the Bartons situation. You’d be amazed when debts were paid and when legal action was taken by both sides.

    Comment by Mike — 10:32 pm August 7, 2014 #

  18. First Gatewood Neighbor, it is quite convenient to spout national statistics and broad reaching statements from TARP and other over the horizon philosophies, however to apply those to this situation is nothing more than sensationalism in an attempt to elicit emotionalism and not very applicable in this case. If the former owners have a true case, they need not fear to leave as their turn will be heard in court and reparations made in their favor after a legal review. Their attempt for an illegal residency does not exactly shout moral rightness, only more of what they have been doing for years, that being fleecing the system and now trying to gain political favor with those who really don’t like our whole legal and social system. The actual legal owners have a very valid case against the City.

    Comment by Another Gatewood Neighbor — 11:01 pm August 7, 2014 #

  19. Mike,
    I think you missed the point I was making. The point was that he was trying to compare two very different situations by pointing towards TARP and those programs which were not intended for folks that borrowed against the equity to fund their life as opposed to folks that were taken advantage of by lenders questionable practices. When you willingly go out and take cash out if your house that is totally different than someone that has the value of their house drop dramatically in value after purchase and they owe far more than what the house is worth.

    Comment by Are You Serious — 7:40 am August 8, 2014 #

  20. The Sheriff’s Department refused to carry out this eviction twice. Daher’s Triangle shell company threatened them with contempt of court. If someone takes your house, and they break the law doing it, don’t you deserve your day in court before the property is removed from you? There’s no answer to that for the opposition. The AG has already gone after QLS publicly, and put a moratorium on foreclosure they’re involved in. They are the criminals, not the Bartons.

    Now Triangle is threatening the Mayor and Chief of police. Who runs this town? Shady house poaching investors or the representatives of the people?

    Comment by Sarah — 8:20 am August 8, 2014 #

  21. This is ridiculous! This is like an Austin Powers movie with some incompetent villain demanding “1 million dollars.” Who are these people? Let the Bartons stay in their home! How can you “legally” own a home you illegally bought. I feel bad for the sheriff being put in such a bad spot.

    Comment by West Seattle Local — 8:37 am August 8, 2014 #

  22. If someone takes your house, and they break the law doing it, don’t you deserve your day in court before the property is removed from you? There’s no answer to that for the opposition. The AG has already gone after QLS publicly, and put a moratorium on foreclosure they’re involved in. They are the criminals, not the Bartons.

    Comment by West Seattle Local — 8:39 am August 8, 2014 #

  23. Are You Serious – thank you for taking the time to comment. Actually, TARP funds (which fund the government program Making Home Affordable) is designed for homeowners having trouble making their payments “devasted by unaffordable increases in expenses or reductions in income.” Here is the excerpt from their website:

    Home Affordable Modification Program

    If you are having a tough time making your mortgage payments, you may be eligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP®). HAMP is designed to provide deep and meaningful savings for homeowners devastated by unaffordable increases in expenses or reductions in income.

    Here is the link to the website: http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-payments/Pages/hamp.aspx?gclid=CKvjuq6ChMACFeg7MgodBAUApw

    On the face of it, it seems to me that the Bartons qualify: they had a mortgage on which they were paying for more than five years without trouble, until the economy tanked their business and Mr. Barton had a stroke.

    Comment by Gatewood neighbor — 9:02 am August 8, 2014 #

  24. Ray – thanks for your comments. Here is what is relevant to this situation:
    - The Bartons had a mortgage (refinanced at several points it seems )
    - The Bartons paid on that mortgage and its various iterations for approximately 10 years, until they suffered loss of income due to the economic implosion caused by the banks
    - Chase was a major recipient of taxpayer bailout funds. As a requirement to receive the funds, they are required to do loan workouts.
    - Chase did not do a loan workout with the Bartons; rather at initial review of publicly available court records Chase dragged the situation on for months.
    - Inspector General of TARP says in July report of this year “It is homeowners who suffer the consequences of their mortgage servicers’ failure to timely process HAMP applications,” the report says. “Without a timely review of their eligibility, struggling homeowners left in limbo may not pursue other foreclosure alternatives and, with options narrowing over time, may be at risk for foreclosure.”
    - TARP/Making Home Affordable is designed for homeowners having trouble making their payments “devasted by unaffordable increases in expenses or reductions in income” which is clearly the case with the Bartons. Maybe what they did is a bad fiscal decision in hindsight, but it was not then because they did pay on it for approximately 10 years. Making a bad financial decision or taking equity out of your home does not eliminate you from receiving a loan workout or TARP funds.
    - Chase forecloses anyway; the Bartons file a suit for illegal foreclosure
    - The landmark case in February of this year defended by Stafne Trumbell where the judge voided the foreclosure sale may offer indication that the Bartons have reason to believe that they have a case to have their foreclosure rescinded too
    - Washington Supreme Court also issued a ruling on foreclosure that RealyTrac says may put hundreds of foreclosure in question in Washington State

    With all of this, I say let the Bartons have their day in court, and let them stay in the home until the case plays out in the courts. If the sale is voided, it does not mean that they “get away” with not paying their mortgage. Maybe Chase can get it right this time around.

    As to the Triangle: I have made no allegations against them. I did point out that they are expereienced foreclosure property developers, most likely know the risks inherent with purchasing foreclosed properties and probably have insurance to cover themselves financially in situations like this.

    Anyway, I agree with Sarah and West Seattle Local – let them stay until the case is heard.

    Comment by Gatewood neighbor — 9:46 am August 8, 2014 #

  25. “Let the Bartons stay in their home!”

    The Bartons no longer own the home. It was sold at auction.

    “How can you “legally” own a home you illegally bought?”

    The purchaser legally purchased the home. The purchaser made the highest bid and made full payment. Now… if the house was illegally foreclosed on then that is a completely separate matter. The purchaser had nothing to do with the foreclosure. The lender foreclosed on the home. If the lender illegally foreclosed on the home then the previous owners certainly have a great case as they have suffered greatly. But that’s a big “if.”

    “I feel bad for the sheriff being put in such a bad spot.”

    I highly suspect the sheriff followed the law and had legal counsel make sure every aspect of the eviction was completely legal.

    Comment by skeeter — 9:48 am August 8, 2014 #

  26. Another Gatewood Neighbor – thank you for your comments. Please see my response to Ray on the relevancy of the facts and statistics I have shared. Frankly I were in the Barton’s shoes I would be afraid to vacate the house until their day in court. If they do leave and the foreclosure sale is voided, it is unlikely that they would actually get the house back, and would have to go through another whole legal round to get financial reparations. It is my opinion that sometimes the law needs to change to reflect changing times, and I think this is one of those situations.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 11:23 am August 8, 2014 #

  27. Sarah – What firsthand knowledge of the Daher’s/Triangle’s character do you have to deem them as shady?! Well, I know for a fact you have NONE! If you knew these people firsthand, you would not be slandering them as such!

    For all of you who have NO experience (clearly there are many of you on here), or understanding for that matter, in the foreclosure process and sale of a foreclosed home please keep your ignorant comments to yourself!

    WSB – I’m glad to know you find it ok for people to post slanderous comments.

    Comment by Get Your Facts Straight — 11:45 am August 8, 2014 #

  28. Gatewood Neighbor, I have largely stayed out of the discussions in the articles related to this issue, as I simply don’t have the mental energy to continually participate in the discussion, nor the attention span to absorb the various info that would be applicable to this very confusing scenario, especially in situations where I would need/want to cite a source.

    .

    However, I want to thank you for your seemingly knowledgeable contributions to the ongoing discussion, complete with links citing sources, and for how you keep your cool when challenged, especially with those that seem to be challenging you with knee-jerk comments, rather than the seemingly well thought out comments challenging your point, that many others are making.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 12:37 pm August 8, 2014 #

  29. Why is it so much easier to evict someone from a foreclosed house where the foreclosure is in litigation, than a landlord to evict a tenant that is behind in the rent 6 months????

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 12:42 pm August 8, 2014 #

  30. Legal stuff aside this is a tremendously sad story. Very easy to get a loan. Very hard to make the payments.

    Comment by skeeter — 1:11 pm August 8, 2014 #

  31. Get Your Facts Straight….your comments are pertinent to what in this discussion?

    Comment by JanS — 1:24 pm August 8, 2014 #

  32. Mike – thank you so much for your posting. I really appreciate it.

    The whole housing situation continues to drag down our economy, and the Barton’s case is just one in many that illustrates the problem. Whether one is a Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Socialist or something else, this needs to be fixed. I hope by speaking up with what I know helps others understand, and maybe we can even start rectifying it. So many people – some who have lived in their homes 30, 40 and more years – have ended up leaving or short selling their homes because of the “embarrassment” of being labeled people who don’t pay their bills. This is simply not the case. The banks need to be held accountable, especially since they have such a poor record of utilizing the available funds for fixing loans– not out of their pocket – set aside for loan workouts.

    I would like to end this with a quote you posted on an earlier thread, from Herman Melville. I can’t think of a better way to say it:

    Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.
    -Herman Melville, novelist and poet (1819-1891)

    Whatever happens in court today, I pray that the right thing happens.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 2:55 pm August 8, 2014 #

  33. Actually we had a crew there and, as tweeted – no immediate ruling, judge has taken it under advisement. I’ll be writing a followup within the next hour. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:56 pm August 8, 2014 #

  34. Wow, Gatewood Neighbor your comments are grossly insulting to those of us who have lived within our means, however modest, and played by the rules.
    .
    Now we are oppressors of our fellow man, simply because we refuse to support freebies for dead-beats?
    .
    Seriously?

    Comment by JoAnne — 9:05 am August 9, 2014 #

  35. JoAnn – I am sorry you feel insulted. I was just quoting Herman Melville and not intended as an insult but food for thought from one of history’s well regarded writers. We all can have differing opinions. I for one do not see the Bartons as deadbeats, but people who like you and me who did all the right things, played by the rules and then got hammered and caught in the big housing mess created by the banks. Many people unfortunately refinanced 2000-2007, and many ended up with the toxic mortgages that, among other things, TARP is supposed to help fix. I recall reading in earlier coverage that the Bartons purchased the house from his ailing mother to help with her medical bills. The quit claim and mortgage came about the same time and it makes sense to me that this very well could be the case. The $600K figure comes from Triangle Property. SAFE in an interview on KIRO said that number is incorrect.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 12:04 pm August 10, 2014 #

  36. Please keep in mind that there are multiple third parties and intermediaries involved in this now and it would be hard to trust any number quoted by anyone without actually seeing it in a legal document. For example, in mid-July, one of the SAFE statements mentioned the Bartons and their “teenage” children. While reading the Bartons’ 90-page lawsuit doc shortly thereafter, I noticed it included a document mentioning the couple’s two sons (in the context of who was caring for Byron Barton), with ages in their 20s, which I subsequently verified via public databases. The person writing the press releases just might not have known. I am re-reading that 90-page document right now and it includes a document summarizing the 2007 refinance which appears to be the mortgage currently at issue – 40 years, 6.75 percent, for a sum of $456,000 (a “balloon”/”negative amortization” type of mortgage). See page 84 – this is the entire document, which I don’t believe has been linked before in our coverage, but is publicly available through King County Electronic Court Records (15 cents a page for anyone who wants their own account):
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/COMPLAINT-12.pdf
    .
    The next page mentions this “first note” plus “an additional second note” for $207,500. Perhaps this is the source for the $600,000+ citations. There is no elaboration on the “second note,” no date or holder, nor anything about whether it was folded into the 2007 refi. Anyway, all interested who haven’t already read the Bartons’ suit can check it out in that PDF. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:14 pm August 10, 2014 #

  37. Hi Tracy – thanks for clarifying that. There have been so many numbers bandied about, as well as clarifying the type of mortgage.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 2:38 pm August 10, 2014 #

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