Barton eviction fight: No immediate ruling at hearing; city offers help, cites ‘alarming conditions’

August 8, 2014 at 3:36 pm | In West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 58 Comments

ORIGINAL REPORT, 3:36 PM: Two developments this afternoon in the case of Jean and Byron Barton, whose Morgan Junction home was foreclosed on, then auctioned off. Three weeks after King County Sheriff’s Office deputies carried out an order to evict them – followed hours later by the Bartons re-occupying the house – the property’s new owners had a court hearing today. Triangle Property Development sought an order to require the city to enforce trespassing law and get the Bartons out of the house; you’ll recall that Mayor Murray had told Seattle Police to “stand by” while legal matters played out. King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman listed to arguments but did not rule immediately. This motion, by the way, did not involve the Bartons’ separate case alleging that the foreclosure was illegal. We had a crew at the hearing, as well as in the hallway outside the courtroom, where Jean Barton joined the SAFE advocacy group in a pre-hearing news conference (added: video of her brief comments):

We will add more details from both parts of the event later.

Meantime, Mayor Ed Murray‘s office forwarded a letter from the city Office of Housing, detailing its efforts to offer the Bartons help with housing, mentioning they have not taken advantage of that help so far. The letter also, toward the end, mentions that city staff visiting the Bartons’ home “observed alarming conditions inside the residence that required them to submit mandatory reports to Adult Protective Services.” Here’s the letter as a PDF – or read it, embedded, below:

They did not elaborate on the “alarming conditions.”

ADDED: In case you’re interested in the legal documents – here’s the Triangle petition:

And the city’s reply:

10 PM NOTE: Still more to add; check back in the early morning.

EARLY AM ADD: After the jump (if you are reading from the main page), co-publisher Patrick Sand‘s notes from the hearing:

Judge Spearman heard from three people – David Lawyer for Triangle, Patrick Downs from the city attorney’s office, and Patty Shelledy, legal adviser to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Lawyer noted that KCSO carried out the eviction exactly three weeks ago. He talked about all the legal procedures that began in April and led to the eviction in July. He contended that the city admits that the eviction was properly sought and carried out and it is the city’s duty – not their discretion – to have SPD remove the Bartons. At the end he said that Triangle has nothing against the Bartons and they have no interest in seeing the Bartons arrested – they just want the house vacated.

Lawyer hit the point several times that the writ – which he called an extraordinary measure – would only apply to this case and this case only. This was to blunt some of the case law where writs have been issued to enforce citywide issues.

Time is also an issue. Downs said the city wants time to find the Bartons alternatives; the judge pointedly asked – how long will that take? He said he did not know and mentioned that the Bartons had been “reluctant” to take some of the options presented so far (as noted in the letter shown earlier in this report).

Downs had two major points for the city. First, the police have the discretion to arrest. Second, getting people off a certain piece of property falls to the sheriff. He kept referencing the Renter Landlord Tenant Agreement from the state and how it applied to all this. Downs also brought up a case from the WTO where a business owner sued because the police did not remove rioters. Court decision in that said the police have means other than arrest to achieve their means.

All of which kept coming back to discretionary vs. mandatory.

Downs said that the city has discretion in how they wish to handle the matter, but the sheriff does not, so, he contended, it is therefore up to the sheriff. The judge asked if the property wasn’t in fact in the city and Downs said it is and the process of eviction needed to start all over again so the sheriff could remove the Bartons.

That’s when Patty Shelledy got up and said this was becoming “Groundhog Day.” Her contention was that the KCSO did their job and to ask the KCSO to enforce laws inside another jurisdiction flew in the face of state statute and existing agreements between the county and the city. She said this is a politically difficult situation but not a legally difficult one. She wanted to know how many times the city wanted the sheriff to evict so that the current situation could play itself out over and over.

Lawyer concluded saying Triangle only wants the Bartons out. Triangle is not seeking an arrest. The are asking for the writ so SPD can do just that. He said he is aware that the city and the Bartons are talking about alternaitve housing but his firm has not been party to any of that.

The judge ended by asking Downs some questions. Is Triangle the Legal owner? He said yes. She asked if the Barton had a legal right to be in the home? He said he did not know. Then she asked if they are in the house right now. He said yes, in the basement. She asked if the city can find them temporary living arrangements. He said the city is working on it. She asked if he understood that the owner wants a date and can that date be provided? He said he did not know but he knew that the city and the sheriff are trying together on this. She came back around and said – so how much time do you need? He didn’t know. Last, she asked if the Bartons are currently paying rent on the house. No, was the answer from both attorneys and that was that. She said she would take it under advisement and report back to all parties.

In a statement e-mailed after the hearing, the advocacy group that organized the pre-hearing news conference, SAFE, said in part, “Unfortunately, the judge was not given anything approaching adequate information about the Bartons’ case; it was clear that Assistant City Attorney Patrick Downs had not conducted proper research about the Bartons’ case, and it was only in the last five minutes of the hearing that the Judge received the Mayor’s legal response.” (Its full statement is here.)

58 Comments

  1. That last part is a bit disturbing. I hope they can find a group to support them in their style of living conditions.

    Comment by SrslySharon — 4:16 pm August 8, 2014 #

  2. Helpiing people who don’t want to help themselves?

    Comment by Timing — 4:40 pm August 8, 2014 #

  3. so, the city is presenting them with a range of services to help, but they can’t be bothered to formally apply for them?

    also, i wonder what those SAFE activists do for a living? i went to work today.

    Comment by whiskeyboy206 — 5:55 pm August 8, 2014 #

  4. This is so ridiculous. Get the Barton’s out of there and give the property to its owners. Murray has lost my respect and vote.

    Comment by A — 6:35 pm August 8, 2014 #

  5. Also, I want to mention that even though the Bartons and their ‘moral hazard’ situation had a predictable outcome, I should say that they deserve their day in court against the lender. If the terms of the bank bailouts were not followed, i.e., the lender did not re-negotiate the mortgage in good faith as required by law, then the Bartons deserve a fair hearing in a court of law.

    Comment by Whiskeyboy206 — 8:09 pm August 8, 2014 #

  6. Tracy, thank you for posting all the legal documents. It would be great if you could also post SAFE’s response as well here as well so that we can see all the responses in a single spot. Appreciate all your hard work and coverage of this issue.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 8:46 pm August 8, 2014 #

  7. That response from the city should anger every single taxpayer. Our city leaders are refusing to enforce the rule of law by which we all agree to operate under. Having followed the legal procedures and within their rights, Triangle is being denied support by those that are tasked with enforcing these laws.

    Disgusting.

    Comment by Ray — 8:48 pm August 8, 2014 #

  8. We covered their news conference. They sent something late today – it is NOT a court document – and I haven’t had time to look at it yet, will review when finally back at HQ. I also have some notes from our crew who went to court and video of Jean Barton’s brief statement. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:55 pm August 8, 2014 #

  9. Tic toc, tic toc,tic toc times running out.

    Comment by Sittingbird — 9:48 pm August 8, 2014 #

  10. Hi Tracy – thanks so much for responding. It would be great to have the SAFE response up here as well at some point, especially since they have been advocates for the Bartons. Thanks again for all of your and WSB’s hard work on covering this issue.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 11:16 pm August 8, 2014 #

  11. Ray – I am a taxpayer and I am not angered or disgusted by the city’s response. I certainly did not agree to the *laws* that Triangle Property is asserting. Although new to Washington State, Triangle Property is an experienced property development company specializing in foreclosed properties; they know the risk they face in buying foreclosed properties and most likely have insurance to cover any financial issues in cases like this. I think there is more at stake here than the claims of an out of state foreclosed property developer whose risks are most likely mitigated by insurance. I applaud Mayor Murray and the City for their stand.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 11:32 pm August 8, 2014 #

  12. Good to see that Mayor Murray is getting sucked into the vortex of prevfious administrations where more annd more time is spent on chasing windmills than addressing the fundamental issues that the city faces.

    Comment by My two cents ... — 6:14 am August 9, 2014 #

  13. I’m surprised at the comments here. I’m a taxpayer and I’m glad the city is standing up for this family. A Vietnam Vet left on the streets is something I don’t want to see happen and it sounds like the city feels the same. Can you imagine losing your home of 61 years to a developer who wants to build another condo? It’s sad and I’d fight it too. That’s their home. And who knows what type of mental illness or PTSD may also be involved. Don’t be too quick to judge. The city is showing compassion in a difficult situation and not just bowing to a developer (which we’re all tired of). That is a city I can be proud to live in.

    Comment by D-mom — 6:25 am August 9, 2014 #

  14. Gatewood..you’re not angered or disgusted? if you really feel that way why don’t you and Kshama Sawant and Ed Murray help them and pool some of your own money and pay their bank loans off instead of having tax payers foot the bill? This maybe a bit harsh of a comment for this site.

    Comment by Siitngbird — 8:22 am August 9, 2014 #

  15. .
    We are all equally accountable under the law in this country.
    .
    Some people are trying to change that. They feel they are so morally superior that they are above the law. Rather than comply with the law while working to change it, they feel they have the moral right to break any law that contradicts their precious beliefs.
    .
    This is a dangerous and terrible threat to human rights and self-governance.
    .
    Mayor Murray has clearly demonstrated his belief that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” He supported their law-breaking and continues to do so.
    .
    They need to be removed and the property restored to its lawful owners, no matter how despicable those owners may or may not be.
    .

    Comment by JoAnne — 8:56 am August 9, 2014 #

  16. silly me for asking, but why is the city spending its time and resources to find housing for these folks? is this regular procedure for evictions? the streets are teeming with homeless people, will the city find housing for them also?

    .
    just one of several strange things happening here.

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

  17. What a waste of tax payers money. They borrowed over $600,000. and did not pay it back. And our city leaders do not follow the rules of the law? I wonder if they have paid their utility bills? US Vet or not, disabled or not, this family dug their own hole, let them find a way out. What part of this picture do i not understand? You own a house free and clear, you borrow against that home in the tune of $600 thousand, you don’t make payments for 2 plus years, what did they expect to happen? I for one would never in my wildest dreams think the Mayor would come to my rescue if I just stopped making my house payments. What is this city coming to?

    Comment by bob jones — 9:31 am August 9, 2014 #

  18. Actually, FF, the city does spend millions each year on housing help for people in need, including contributions to projects such as the DESC complex on Delridge that provide permanent housing for people who were homeless. I haven’t ever seen a case quite like this but you can browse the city website and search for info on what the Office of Housing and Human Services Department do, for starters. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:41 am August 9, 2014 #

  19. You suggest something that I hear a lot that’s very concerning. The attitude of “its fine to take from that big company because I’m sure they have insurance for this sort of thing.” That’s an assumption and a flawed one at that. Who do you think pays for those losses? Some giant conglomerate? No. I do, and you do, and every one of us is paying for that. To think that taking from corporations is like a victimless crime is totally and completely wrong.

    Comment by to Gatewood Neighbor — 9:43 am August 9, 2014 #

  20. Bob Jones, thanks for restating the facts as I understand them based on WSB reporting. Unfortunately, many commenters seem unaware of the details or just dismissive. I have a great amount of appreciation for our veterans and I want to believe that the Bartons have somehow been wronged, but I have not seen evidence of that. I am curious to know on what grounds they think they have been illegally evicted. Has that been reported and I missed it? Perhaps a SAFE representative or other could comment. Until then, my sympathies are with Triangle Property Development.

    Comment by Graham Morgan — 10:05 am August 9, 2014 #

  21. Gatewood Neighbor – Please stop posting your specelatory comments regarding Triangle. They are grossly incorrect. This particular situation is NOT an inherent risk of purchasing a foreclosed home. If you don’t get it by now the law is not being upheld and Triangle is being denied their rights to pocession of their property. Also, you have repeatedly stated that they have insurance to mitigate their financial loss. Well I don’t know when’s the last time you read your homeowners policy, but they don’t! So you do the math how much money they’re out and don’t forget to factor in attorney costs, holding costs and opportunity cost. I am so sick and tired of seeing people “villainize” Triangle in their comments. If you are so concerned about the Barton’s and their quality of life why don’t you buy their house back for them and you can forgive them of their debt.

    Comment by Dear Gatewood Neighbor — 10:11 am August 9, 2014 #

  22. Sittingbird – thank you for comments. I don’t think your comment is too harsh. I’ve said all along in my various comments on the issue is that I think the real failure here is of the loan servicer, Chase, to provide a loan modification in this instance. $38 billion was set aside for this and was a requirement of the bank’s bailout. Six years later, approximately two thirds of that money is still unused. The Inspector General for TARP has come down on the banks in its report last month for the long delays in processing applications for loan workouts and said the delays put homeowners at greater risk for foreclosure. If you look at public records, the Bartons were dragged along by Chase for nearly two years in and out of foreclosure hell. It seems like Chase could have done something rather during that time.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 10:13 am August 9, 2014 #

  23. Comment by To Gatewood neighbor – thanks for your comments. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify my comments. No, I did not mean to imply that taking money from a company is ok because they have insurance. My point is that Triangle Property are experienced business people, and know the risk of what they’re doing. I doubt seriously that cost of the insurance premiums of a single developer will have any impact on the public. Your argument is absolutely correct though if we are talking about such things as consumer goods (department stores etc.) Cost of higher insurance premiums/theft/etc. are indeed an issue and ultimately are passed along to the consumer. Credit card/identify theft is another. Regardless of the issue of insurance or not, Triangle Property is an experienced business (although new to Washington State). Dealing in foreclosed properties has some inherent risks, which I am sure that they know. This is just an example.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 10:22 am August 9, 2014 #

  24. Hi Graham Morgan – I am not speaking officially for the Bartons or SAFE; however, what I understand is that the Bartons have a lawsuit pending for illegal foreclosure (not illegal eviction), and they have asked to stay in the home until the case plays out in the court. There has been growing concern/issues about illegal foreclosure nationally, based on some of the egregious actions of the banks and servicers leading up to the bank-induced economic implosion of 2008. The banks have been fined billions of dollars for this already. Additionally, in Washington State there have been recent decisions by the Washington Supreme Court regarding foreclosures, and recent cases such as a landmark case in February of this year where the judge found the foreclosure unconstitutional and voided the foreclosure sale. It is a complicated area of law. From what I understand, if the Bartons leave now and their foreclosure sale is ultimately voided by the courts, they most likely won’t get the actual house back; even damages or the value of their home may take another whole legal round.

    Here is an excerpt about the landmark ruling earlier this year 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 Stafne Trumbull 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/

    It is a complicated area of law and I don’t think our laws as they exist at this point adequately address the situation. I think the real party to blame is Chase, the Bartons loan servicer, who is supposed to do loan workouts with struggling homeowners as a part of the bank bailout. Approximately two thirds of the TARP funds set aside in 2008 for this very purpose still remain unused. Both the Bartons and Triangle really are the victims here.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 10:42 am August 9, 2014 #

  25. Also, why do you assume Triangle is a “big” company that has the ability to absorb this type of loss? Because they operate under an entity name vs. their personal name? Do you not understand that when doing business, whether you are a multi-billion dollar company or a single person start-up, it is common practice to do so under an entity to protect yourself from personal risk? Do you not get that people who invest in real estate range from the guy down the street that can throw a hammer and lives sale of home to sale of home to big institutions? Why do you automatically presume Triangle is the latter?

    Comment by Dear Gatewood Neighbor — 11:04 am August 9, 2014 #

  26. On King 5 news last night, they said that the Triangle Property Development Company offered the Barton’s $10,000.00 to assist them in relocating. But they can’t find suitable housing. ?????

    Comment by alkiwendy — 11:43 am August 9, 2014 #

  27. Dear Gatewood Neighbor – I appreciate your comments. All I’ve said about Triangle Property Development is that it is an experienced business , they most likely/should know that there are risks involved being in business (particularly construction/property development) and that I thought they most likely had business insurance to handle situations such as this. To elaborate, as a business owner, I understand that there are risks that just go along with being in business for myself, and I would think they know so too. I also would think that as a developer they would have business insurance (not homeowners insurance); if not, funds set aside to weather building delays, which are common in the industry. If they don’t, I am sorry. This is my opinion as an experienced business owner and operator, and I will continue to post my opinions in this regard. If you read any of my comments, I have not villianized Triangle Property in anyway. I put the blame on the situation on Chase Bank, which should have modified the loan and never even have reached this point. They are the ones that should be paying for the Barton’s mortgage, either with the funds already set aside for the Making Home Affordable program or with an in house loan workout, as required by the bank bailout in 2008.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 11:55 am August 9, 2014 #

  28. The city is setting a terrible presence for squatters! I guess I should not pay my mortgage , refuse to deal with it and then live rent free for five years and then get a $10,000 bonus to leave? Wait and watch the takers in society line up for this scam!

    Comment by Timing — 1:12 pm August 9, 2014 #

  29. This has been a very interesting thread and I feel for all parties involved. The part I’m dumbfounded by: the Barton’s received the house free and clear. That means nothing owed, no monthly mortgage. Just maintain the home and pay your utility bills. Yet they somehow managed to take out loans against the house in an amount over 600k in a very short amount of time, all before his major medical situation happened. Where did that money go? How does one blow over 600k in less than a decade? Living within my means, I could do a lot of good for others if I didn’t have a monthly mortgage. We can blame the banks, we can blame the recession, we can blame the health situation, we can blame Triangle…but at some point the Barton’s need to own up to their financial irresponsibility as well. The house was left to them free and clear and yet they took out loans on it for over 600k in less than a decade…

    Comment by An — 1:32 pm August 9, 2014 #

  30. An >> I was thinking the same thing… it’s not like they were struggling to buy a place… They had one free and clear. They blew it and that’s pretty much it.
    Looking at this situation and the Mayor’s quaint way of dealing with it, I start to wonder, “why even pay my property taxes, or utility bills?”
    Free ride for all!

    Comment by XXX — 1:53 pm August 9, 2014 #

  31. An and XXX – I don’t know all the particulars, but earlier coverage said that the Bartons bought the house from his ailing parent and helped with her medical expenses. I am not an estate attorney or financial planner but there may have been a reason why there was a title exchange and then an immediate loan taken out. The only numbers people are using and timeline (including the free and clear title) are provided by Triangle Property’s attorneys. I think this should be taken with a “grain of salt,” so to speak.

    Maybe what would be really nice that, in that two parties are in dispute over the property ownership, is that Triangle Properties accept rent from the Bartons until their case plays out in court. It certainly would show good faith on both parts, and stop this horrible division of our community.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 3:22 pm August 9, 2014 #

  32. What else would one expect from a city nicknamed “Freeattle”?

    Comment by Rick — 7:44 am August 10, 2014 #

  33. Well, looks like another case if guilty until proven innocent… Our good ol system, follow the laws, enforce…. This city is being taken over by developers and their deep pockets. I am outraged but when I see the amount of lack if understanding from our citiZens, I am so dishearten. When you are pushed out of your home for one reason or another, don’t expect any sympathy or compassion… Truth

    Comment by Elle Nell — 8:43 am August 10, 2014 #

  34. And secondly, the amount of re-fi they were given and the “offerings” for relocating really has zero merit… Have any of you had big med bills? Hundreds of thousands ???… And no amount of quick money should dissuade someone from their home of 61 years… To some folks money is NOT everything!!!

    Comment by Elle Nell — 8:48 am August 10, 2014 #

  35. Well! I have just spent the last three hours catching up on this fascinating issue (hey, you choose what you do with your quiet moments, I choose what to do with mine!). I have to say first, Job Well Done, West Seattle Blog! Second, it is clear that, although some of the commenters on here purport to not advocate for either the Bartons or SAFE, they are repeating the exact same inaccurate statements those two parties seem to continually make. I’ve met people like this – you know the type: “if I say it enough, you have to believe me.” Then, when someone tries to interject with something contradictory, they are met with “Triangle this…” or “Triangle that…” Well, take Triangle out of it completely for a minute and look at Washington law. If a homeowner wants to fight a pending foreclosure with an aim to reclaiming their house, there is a process for that. They have to file a legal document in court to preserve that right. The Bartons did not do that. It’s not something they can rewind and get a “do-over”. It had to be filed before the foreclosure sale took place and it was not. Under the law, this means one very important thing that all the “let them stay in their house”-ers seem to be missing: they can’t get the house back. It’s too late. If they do have a claim against their lender, they can only get money. Period. So putting all this energy into keeping them in that house serves absolutely no logical purpose. Even less now that we know Mrs. Barton is keeping her husband in poor conditions. And as for me? Next time someone throws, “Triangle said…” as a defense to a counterargument, I demand more. What motivation could they possibly have for falsifying something so easily disprovable? I went and looked up those records myself and you can, too. 1) house free, 2) mom dies, 3) small 1st, 4) small 2nd, 5) refi 1st & 2nd, 6) refi the refi…etc. etc. it’s all there. It’s not pretty, it’s not happy, but it’s public record and it has nothing to do with Triangle. They’re just the folks who lucked into having to deal with all of this, and if an offer of $10,000 isn’t enough for the Bartons after 38 months of free housing (yes, that’s public record, too), then I think it’s pretty clear who the well-manicured roadblock is here. That’s not a position I’d wish on my worst enemy, and Triangle appears to be handling things in as humanitarian a way as good business practices will allow. There appears to be a lot out there about them, too, if you care to look. They’ve been in Washington a long long time, running a number of businesses and providing jobs for what has to be hundreds of families. I think individuals like the Gatewood Neighbor have some generally admirable ambitions, but at some point, you have to ask yourself if your cute innocent mascot isn’t so cute and innocent.

    Comment by Dear Gatewood Neighbor — 4:43 pm August 10, 2014 #

  36. Tracy – I know you posted this on an earlier thread but I am responded to the most recent thread on the Bartons. I really thank you for posting their legal case here.

    I read it through once and will read it through again. Here is some top level essence that I got from my reading. Please correct me if I am reading this incorrectly:

    - The Bartons filed some sort of Mortgage/Fraud alert as early as 2011 on public records that they believed this was a fraudulent mortgage. I believe this was filed with the King County Recorder’s Office.
    - There was an independent mortgage audit ( a third party but which I assume was paid for by the Bartons) that found that neither Chase and hence Quality Loan Service had the right to conduct a sale of the property
    - Both Chase and Quality Loan were notified of this, yet they held the sale anyway
    - Even though there was a fraud alert on the property, Triangle Property paid Chase for the property at a foreclosure auction on 4/11/14.

    This part is my opinion: I may not be an attorney; however, based on the ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court where only the actual beneficiary (holder of the note) has the right to foreclose, it seems to me that the Bartons have a strong case. I feel a lot less sympathy for Triangle Property, especially since the Bartons apparently had filed a fraud alert of some sort. I believe Triangle could have discovered this in the process of due diligence before the foreclosure auction. If not; maybe they should be talking to Chase about putting up a house at a foreclosure auction that a fraud alert of some sort on it.

    There is way more in the legal filings, but this is the top level that I have come away with it.
    By the way, the filings include Mr. Barton’s discharge papers from the service. I counted five (5) medals and commendations.

    I think we as a community could do a bit better than the name calling and labels that have been ascribed to the Bartons.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 5:42 pm August 10, 2014 #

  37. I can see both sides here for sure, the $600k that they took in equity over the course of a decade seems like a lot but keep in mind that $60k a year really isn’t that much, and they no doubt used some of that cash to pay off the mortgages they now had. Good financial responsibility? Probably not, but there’s a lot we don’t know and it’s a lot easier to judge someone else and overlook all of the wrong decisions we have all likely made in our lives along the way.
    .
    Anyway, it does seem on the surface that the new owner should have the right to access the property they purchased or at least someone should give them their money back (haha yes, I know that won’t happen). If the bank and service involved really foreclosed illegally, this family should enjoy the same basic legal right as the rest of us, including these big banks everyone wants to side with.
    .
    So these folks have the money to get the mortgage current at this time? I agree this whole thing seems on the surface like they need to leave, and maybe they do but I think even if we don’t like the way it looks or the way it’s playing out we should all be very careful championing for any legal processes / rights to be taken away by banks and the like. If the foreclosure was done in a legal manner, then I would agree it’s well past time for them to hang it up.
    .
    As far as Triangle Properties goes, it’s just your basic LLC that is created to purchase a property, I’m sure they have several, one for each property they own. I understand they have to file what they have filed/are filing to protect their interests.

    Comment by Jason — 7:20 pm August 10, 2014 #

  38. Dear Gatewood Neighbor –

    However the Bartons acquired their mortgage and monies due really has nothing to do with the situation. They had a mortgage. They contested that the mortgage was fraudulent several years ago and put an alert on public records from what I understand from the legal records. They conducted a third party audit that found Chase and Quality Loan had no right to sell/foreclose on the home, and notified Chase and Quality of that. Chase and Quality sold it anyway, and Triangle bought it, evidently without doing due diligence. It is not like a fraud alert is a big surprise and is something readily uncovered by a business in due diligence.

    Since the Seattle Police Department serves at the discretion of the Mayor, Mayor Murray has every legal right to ask the police department to stand down in this situation until it plays out in the courts. Evidently a number of people don’t agree with his decision based on this blog, but others do and this is the way Seattle law is written. I don’t think calling Mr. Barton – a war veteran with five medals and commendations – a “cute innocent mascot” is very businesslike, let alone morally decent. Your comment about Mrs. Barton is not the least humanitarian. I think most reasonable people – had they not been inflamed by Triangle’s attempt to smear the Bartons because of how/when/why they took out their mortgages – would, setting the issue of the mortgage particulars aside, want their day in court if they believed they illegally foreclosed upon and the opportunity not just for monetary damages but the chance to actually keep/redeem their home should the courts find that the foreclosure is illegal. This is what Mayor Murray is offering by his stance. I think it is the decent thing to do.

    As for the supposed 38 months past due – the Bartons contest this in their lawsuit. Even if not, the lack of payments would be from Chase’s refusal to accept payments, not the Bartons. This is standard procedure for most loan servicers when a loan gets behind a certain number of days.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 12:11 am August 11, 2014 #

  39. People can record just about anything, including a document that might, if I’m lucky, discourage a less knowledgeable buyer from scooping up my house when it goes to foreclosure after I fail to make three years worth of payments. It means absolutely nothing unless it prevents a seller from obtaining title insurance, which this would not. Also, I would not go so far as to say the audit was conducted by an independent third party. It was done by foreclosuredefenseprograms.com, which should be taken with just as hefty a “grain of salt” by WSB readers as you repeatedly encourage everyone to eat with anything Triangle says that doesn’t jive with your version of the story. Can’t have it both ways there, “neighbor”. And none of this changes what the poster just before you said, which I actually know to be correct. It doesn’t matter how bad their bank is, they are fighting over dollars, not the house. It’s too late for that by law.

    Comment by grain of salt — 1:13 am August 11, 2014 #

  40. Gatewood Neighbor – you are doing a lot of talking for nothing as you are missing one very crucial piece to this puzzle. The Barton’s will not get their home back. If a homeowner wants to fight a pending foreclosure with an aim to reclaiming their house, there is a process for that. They have to file a legal document in court to preserve that right. The Bartons did not do that. It had to be filed before the foreclosure sale took place and it was not. Under the law, this means one very important thing that: they can’t get the house back. This fraud alert you keep speaking of has no merit.

    Comment by Dear Gatewood Neighbor — 7:35 am August 11, 2014 #

  41. Grain of Salt and Dear Gatewood Neighbor – thank you for your comments. Whether the Bartons get their house back is for the courts to decide, not us. Whether they stay in their house until their case is heard is now also for the courts and ultimately – regardless of the courts ruling on the write of mandemus – our Mayor. I have never told anyone take anything with a grain of salt, let alone when “anything Triangle says that does not jive with your version of the story.” Other than one posting very early in the coverage of this situation by Triangle’s attorney, I am not aware of any further postings by Triangle; if Triangle is doing so it seems they are doing it anonymously. The fraud alert certainly has no merit with Triangle’s case, but a reasonable businessperson dealing in foreclosed properties might have put a little more effort into checking something like this out before the sale, and thus avoid purchasing at auction a property where the ownership was in dispute. I don’t think telling someone else posting on this site to stop posting or that they are talking for nothing is really appropriate to do either.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 9:44 am August 11, 2014 #

  42. Gatewood Neighbor – Also, I did not use the terms businesslike or humanitarian in a way that has anything to do with the comment you have made. What’s more, you didn’t address the main point at all. There is a flawed logical argument called a Straw Man; perhaps you’ve heard of it. It looks like this: 1) Person A has Position X. 2) Person B presents Position Y (which is a distorted version of X). 3) Person B attacks Position Y. 4) Person B holds forth that, therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed. The Straw Man is a clever way for Person B, who can’t win by actually addressing Position X, to still try to look good to some people. Talk about Position X, not some failure on my part to be sensitive enough, because that would be Position Y, which is not really relevant to Position X. Also, not to muddy the water in a single post, but you might check your stance on the law regarding the Mayor and his relationship to SPD. It’s also skewed.

    Comment by Dear Gatewood Neighbor — 10:40 am August 11, 2014 #

  43. The main point is that this is for the courts to decide, not non attorneys like you and me. I’ve expressed my viewpoint; you’ve expressed yours. Let the courts deal with it instead of trying it ahead of time on this blog.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 6:03 pm August 11, 2014 #

  44. Aug9 3:22pm.
    “ The only numbers people are using and timeline (including the free and clear title) are provided by Triangle Property’s attorneys. I think this should be taken with a ‘grain of salt’”

    Comment by grain of salt — 6:06 pm August 11, 2014 #

  45. Don’t make the assumption that I’m not an attorney. How do you suppose it is that I know the previous poster is right about the court not returning the house? There was no filing before the sale. It’s not an issue that can even be heard. Do some research and you will see; it’s not impossible to comprehend. There is a lot of flexibility in the law, but requirements like this filing are fairly rigid. But, all this said, I do believe you are right about one thing for sure: time will enlighten us all.

    Comment by grain of salt — 6:18 pm August 11, 2014 #

  46. Grain of salt – I did not address my response to you. Thank you for responding though.

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

  47. Grain of Salt – I think you and Dear Gatewood Neighbor are a little too involved from your comments to be impartial parties at this point. Dear Gatewood Neighbor has already acknowledged some sort of first hand knowledge about Triangle Property as a company, its integrity and its motives. I don’t think you are an attorney because of your emotionally charged responses to my postings; maybe you are but most attorneys don’t use the emotionally charged language that you do. In any event, it is for the courts to decide, not your or Dear Gatewood Neighbor. Ultimately though, even if Triangle Property prevails and evicts the Bartons, it is going to have to deal with selling the property. If I were Triangle Property, I wouldn’t even want to have to deal with the possibility of SAFE picketing my broker’s open house.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 8:31 pm August 11, 2014 #

  48. I have posted three responses total on this issue which, from a legal standpoint, is one of the most interesting cases I have ever seen. When is the last time you heard of anyone filing for a Writ of Mandamus? You may not realize this, but it’s the kind of thing most people only read about in textbooks. I never claimed to know anyone directly involved in this, but I do share at least one personality flaw with many in the legal field. That is, I love a lively debate. The problem is you have to stick to the actual argument for it to really work. Oh, and not to be a stickler, but from what I have read, they have already been evicted. Now, if KIRO is accurately reporting the circumstances (and I think they are, otherwise, the Writ makes no sense), they’ve engaged in criminal trespass. That’s a different legal issue than eviction.

    Comment by grain of salt — 9:28 pm August 11, 2014 #

  49. There is another flawed logical argument called ad hominem. It is named for a Latin word that more or less means “against the man”. It is an argument made by a person who essentially suggests that the person making the argument is biased so their argument is therefore invalid. It looks like this: 1) Person A is claiming Y. 2) Person A has a vested interest in Y being true. 3) Therefore, Y is false. My point is that, just because I may know who these people are on a social level, or just because I recognize that they are being inaccurately portrayed in some of your posts does not necessarily mean my arguments are flawed. Talk about the arguments. Don’t attack my motives, they are irrelevant unless they have twisted my argument, which they have not. I’m just saying if you want a house back, you have to file. No file? No house. Rather than post logically flawed responses, prove me wrong. Or, and this seems like a much better solution to me, let’s sit back and wait together.

    Comment by Dear Gatewood Neighbor — 10:27 pm August 11, 2014 #

  50. Grain of salt – yes it is a fascinating and complex case – I think as such too soon to make assumptions about the outcome. Yes, the Sheriff’s Office has said it has completed the eviction. That has been reported extensively. I understand about those in the legal field loving to engage in lively debate, however, I don’t think your earlier posting to me “ as you repeatedly encourage everyone to eat with anything Triangle says that doesn’t jive with your version of the story. Can’t have it both ways there, “neighbor”. “ much showed that, inaccurately portrayed my comments about Triangle, and I don’t think putting the word neighbor in quotes (I think safely interpreted as a sneer to me in this case) was appropriate. Yes, I guess I did use “grain of salt” once in a posting. WSB clarified the numbers involved, which I appreciate because I was only hearing it from Triangle – obviously not an impartial party. I really had nothing against Triangle except as a company caught in the crosshairs of a very difficult and complex situation. However, I don’t think the company’s subsequent negative media efforts towards the Bartons personally really shows much professionalism or character as a company. I’ve said all along that I think the Bartons should be allowed to stay in their home until their case plays out in court. I still do. It is for the courts to decide at this point. I think you and I can agree on that point.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 8:31 am August 12, 2014 #

  51. Dear Gatewood Neighbor – I am not going to debate you. I think you should save your legal arguments in this complex case for court, and your citations on argumentation and debate for another forum. Whatever your relationship is to Triangle, you have put a very personal face on Triangle for me. As I said above, originally I was pretty neutral about Triangle. But between Triangle’s negative media campaign against the Bartons personally and similar comments in your postings, I now have a very negative impression of Triangle and how it does business as a company. Whether you are going to call my comment a logically flawed response again or not, I will tell you as a business owner and senior executive for other businesses prior to that: this is not good PR for Triangle. That I know is not good business.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 8:44 am August 12, 2014 #

  52. From the SAFE Facebook page posted today. Can’t confirm or deny its accuracy.

    UPDATE ON THE BARTON’S

    The judge has decided that she wants the city and the plaintiff to come to a resolution on their own and she has given them twenty days from last Monday to do so. After twenty days the city can file for an extension. The Barton home is safe for at least the next two weeks, it could be safe for much longer

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 9:48 am August 12, 2014 #

  53. I checked the court files late last night before ECR went offline for its (annoying to me, it hampers my work) nightly 11 pm-4 am unavailability. Nothing new on this case then, but will check again now.

    Comment by WSB — 10:03 am August 12, 2014 #

  54. I may regret jumping into this train wreck, but I have an honest question for Gatewood Neighbor.

    You’ve said repeatedly that you think the Bartons should be allowed to stay in their house, presumably in the hope of keeping it. Various other commenters have pointed out that keeping the house isn’t a legal option at this point. They’ve even gone so far as to cite the specific laws relevant to this case, showing conclusively that the Bartons’ best-case-scenario would be to receive some money for damages, but still no house.

    My question is this- do you understand that there is no way under the law for them to keep the house? Or do you dispute that, and on what grounds?

    I understand you and the Bartons may disagree with the laws, but I’m concerned that your/their refusal to accept what the laws say may be keeping them from obtaining the help they need.

    Comment by To Gatewood Neighbor — 10:08 am August 12, 2014 #

  55. FYI there is nothing in the court files. So I’m checking with the city attorney, for starters. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:12 am August 12, 2014 #

  56. … and the city attorney’s office tells us they have heard no such thing from the judge, nor any other decision/order/ruling/etc. The last thing they heard was the same thing our reporter heard in court on Friday – that Judge Spearman had taken it under advisement. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:23 am August 12, 2014 #

  57. I’d like to read Triangle’s negative media campaign against the Bartons. I am searching the internet and can’t find anything except a few references to public record, which seem to be accurate. Gatewood Neighbor, can you please tell me where I can find this information?

    Comment by grain of salt — 5:45 pm August 12, 2014 #

  58. I keep pinging ECR for the Ruling, but so far nothing. The Mayor is so obviously H.U.A. on this deal… what’s taking so long?

    Comment by Thomas M. — 7:04 pm August 12, 2014 #

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