Eviction-fight followup: Jean Barton says, ‘As far as I am concerned, it is still our home’

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Jean Barton never did speak at the downtown rally called by housing-justice activists as a followup to the Friday arrests that removed her, her disabled husband, and one of their sons from the Morgan Junction house they long owned, as their foreclosure/eviction fight continues.

The activists, led by the group SAFE (Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction), gathered this afternoon in Courthouse Park, to which they’d summoned the media; we were there along with regional-TV crews. While they engaged in chants denouncing King County Sheriff John Urquhart for the Friday arrests, Jean Barton arrived on the sidelines, and reporters/photographers converged.

She basically had a news conference steps away from where the advocates continued to shout and chant. She said that husband Byron Barton remains at the Seattle VA Hospital, but she wasn’t sure where she would be staying tonight, as she had been put up in a hotel for a few days but that was ending.

She also said, “As far as I am concerned, it is still our home.” Her lawyer explained that their lawsuit alleging illegal foreclosure (90-page PDF) continues to go through the courts, as does their appeal of the “unlawful detainer” complaint that resulted in their original official eviction exactly one month ago.

It was then announced via bullhorn that the protest would move over to the courthouse next door, where the KCSO is headquartered. Demonstrators marched back and forth in front of its 3rd Avenue entrances, while Jean Barton went inside to request a one-on-one meeting with the sheriff, who, as you can hear in our video, wasn’t there, she was told:

KCSO is charged with carrying out eviction orders regardless of whether they are in the jurisdiction of an agency such as the Seattle Police Department. After they evicted the Bartons on July 18th, the couple went back inside the house. SPD arrived on the scene and could have arrested them for alleged trespassing but did not; the following Monday, Mayor Murray announced he had asked SPD to “stand by” while the case played out in court.

After that, the company that bought the house at a foreclosure auction in April, Triangle Property Development, went to court to seek a “writ of mandamus” which would have ordered the city to take action. Last week, King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman denied that request, saying it would have been an extraordinary action to order the city to do something in which it had discretion, while, she said, Triangle had other avenues available for getting possession of the house.

Then last Friday, KCSO showed up at the Morgan Junction house and carried out a search warrant it had obtained, signed by Superior Court Judge Helen Halpert, citing grounds that it had evidence a crime – trespassing – was happening in the house, and swept in around 8 am, arresting and removing the Bartons. Representatives of Triangle promptly occupied the house, saying they were readying it for a renter who would move in quickly. Byron Barton was reported to have been shuttled between the VA Hospital and Harborview before winding up at the former, and that brings us to what unfolded today. What’s next? We’ll continue watching court files, among other sources, to see.

100 Replies to "Eviction-fight followup: Jean Barton says, 'As far as I am concerned, it is still our home'"

  • A August 18, 2014 (4:15 pm)

    This woman is delusional. Those SAFE ppl should use their time and resources helping this family find a home.

  • West Seattle Hipster August 18, 2014 (4:18 pm)

    As I read more and more of the WSB and it’s coverage of this matter, I get the impression that Mrs. Barton is being exploited by SAFE for their own gain; and that Mrs. Barton is enjoying being the subject of all the media attention.


    I think every time a story such as this is posted, the sympathy for the Barton family erodes more and more.

  • flimflam August 18, 2014 (4:39 pm)

    sigh. this sad, sorry tale is getting pretty tiresome.

    I can’t read the sign completely, but does one of those photos actually stating that the house is “bought and paid for”? i’d say the massive loan they defaulted on would change things a bit.

    also, is it common to “summon” the media to cover your protest?

    gah. already starting to think about stopping payment on my mortgage. why bother?

    • WSB August 18, 2014 (5:09 pm)

      Flimflam, by “summon” I guess I could have written “invite.” We were all free to not show up. We decided to go because I wondered what had happened since the arrests last Friday and was interested in hearing that from Jean Barton, which is why the story above does not dwell on the protest signs or slogans (you can see a few more in our as-it-happened Twitter/Instagram posts if you’re interested). The sign read “Urquhart’s Heart Is Bought and Paid For,” not anything about the house. The exchange with Brandi Kruse was during what I described above as a “news conference” breaking out, steps away from the bullhorn shouting. We have video of it but it’s virtually unintelligible because the shouting continued and we don’t have a TV-style microphone (probably finally, finally time to change that for occasions such as these). – TR
      P.S. Patrick (who went into the Sheriff’s Office for the audible clip we do have of her request to meet with him) says they also had an exchange there, FWIW.

  • A. August 18, 2014 (4:51 pm)

    She is delusional.

    On KIRO Radio, when confronted by Brandi Kruse about HER morality, after speaking of King County Sheriff John Urquharts LACK of morality, she stated that the $650,000 was neither here nor there. Brandi should feel free to contact her Lawyer to set up an interview to discuss it.

    What BS. Her trying to come off as moral is utterly repugnant.

  • Brian August 18, 2014 (5:03 pm)

    She says that she doesn’t know where she will sleep tonight: have any of the protesters offered her shelter? Perhaps our City Councilwoman??? The whole situation is sad, but if I bought a house I would expect it to become vacant…

  • Cait August 18, 2014 (5:09 pm)

    Exactly what WS Hipter said. It’s becoming really evident that certain political entities are no longer helping the situation PR wise and need to use their resources to help find them legitimate housing.

  • Ray August 18, 2014 (5:17 pm)

    Sorry, Jean. It is not your home anymore.

    You sold it years ago for $650,000 in mortgage fees. You have not been paying on your mortgage, even before it was taken from you. You have done nothing to give you and your family any entitlement to this house.

    This is even before the lender seized and resold it. It was no longer your house.

  • CarrieP. August 18, 2014 (5:42 pm)

    Can you give an estimate of how many protestors/activists were there?

    • WSB August 18, 2014 (7:07 pm)

      Carrie P – once they broke off and walked over to march in front of the courthouse, I’d say about 20. Harder to count in front of the park because there were already people hanging out in the park, some on the seating walls, before they started staging. This is my Instagram clip (the service limits video to :15, which is still better than the :06 you get with Vine) showing much of the circling (more like oval’ing, it was the sidewalk between the bus shelter and the courthouse entrance): http://instagram.com/p/r2mf4sye8E/

  • XXX August 18, 2014 (5:44 pm)

    I wonder what their definition of “illegal foreclosure” is? I get the feeling it’s along the lines of “oh, you mean I actually have to pay off the loan? I thought it was free money.” Probably never read the fine print, and then called foul when all hell broke loose.

    And I agree with previous comments – These SAFE people can talk the talk, but won’t lift a finger (or drop some cash) to actually help the Bartons.

  • flimflam August 18, 2014 (5:44 pm)

    wsb, i was quite sure you could decline the invite if you wanted, just wondering if protesters in general invite, summon, ie beg the media for coverage.

  • JoB August 18, 2014 (5:57 pm)

    What? no demands for debtors prison?
    The sad truth is that the days when a mortgage lender evaluated your prospects for a loan, granted that loan and held that loan are long gone.
    what has replaced it is a voracious industry that makes money on every transaction… including selling your loan to companies whose only job is to liquidate the paper … for a profit… and who have proven to be none to scrupulous in “processing” that paperwork.
    i don’t know whether the Barton’s case against the company that liquidated their paper is just or not..
    but i do know that they should have the opportunity to defend themselves in court before irretrievably losing their home.
    and i am pretty sure they should be able to resist and speak out against what they see as injustice without being publicly tarred and feathered by their neighbors.

  • MrsB August 18, 2014 (6:02 pm)

    It’s becoming increasingly obvious that SAFE and the Socialist Councilwoman are manipulating this tired situation for their own ends.

  • flimflam August 18, 2014 (7:52 pm)

    ok, joB, so what about the fact that they haven’t paid a dime towards the house since 2011? how should that little point factor in here?

    your emotive language re: “debtors prison” is pretty out of line and off topic in my opinion.

  • au August 18, 2014 (7:56 pm)

    Well said JoB!

    flimflam – all staged protests and events court the media. Its about getting attention to garner support which hopefully brings about a change in the situation protested.

  • steve August 18, 2014 (7:59 pm)


    Aren’t you aware of that the bartons had two cases (“days”) in court, both of which they lost?

    How many days in court do you need?

  • Katie August 18, 2014 (8:25 pm)

    I just heard on the radio that Ms. Barton is claiming her signature was forged on documents and that is why the foreclosure was illegal.

    • WSB August 18, 2014 (8:33 pm)

      Katie, that’s been part of the allegations in the lawsuit all along. But it’s not the only allegation in their lawsuit, which we have linked in previous stories.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 18, 2014 (10:07 pm)

    Steve – I think the only case they have left is in Washington Superior Court, where the case has never been heard. If it is dismissed with prejudice, it cannot be heard again. Final and end of the story. If it is dismissed without prejudice, it can be heard again with new information and evidence. According to the rule of law. Plus any case heard at this point will be heard will be in light of the sanctions of the Washington State Attorney Generals Office against Quality Loan, which only took place this year. I think any of us would want the right to have our case heard, according to the rule of law. Truthfully I would really rather everyone put this all behind them, rather than dwell on the the past. Not that I am saying you are doing this at all. But if we can’t change it why focus on it, except as a point of change for the future.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 18, 2014 (10:10 pm)

    JoB and au – thank you so much for your compassionate comments. Please keep sharing them.

  • JoB August 18, 2014 (10:46 pm)

    Steve .. Yes.. i am aware that the first two cases .. against the bank if i am not mistaken.. were heard in federal.. not state .. court.. at the bank’s request.
    are you aware that the processing company Quality Loan has already been sanctioned for forging documents .. by the state of Washington ?
    flimflam.. are you aware of the way some lenders have misused the rules governing loan modifications to trip lenders into legal foreclosures which can be sold to processing companies?
    It would be so much better if this incident could become a learning experience
    the mortgage business world has changed and in light of those changes you can’t always assume that foreclosures are justified

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 18, 2014 (10:53 pm)

    Hi flimflam – I am fairly certain we are on opposite ends of opinion on this situation based on both of our previous posts, but I do believe that the 2011 date was provided by others than the loan servicer (Chase). Chase would not have mentioned this due to privacy issues. One can make calculated guesses about when payments may or may not have been stopped (based on publicly held records to be sure but ones that one cannot obtain online due to privacy issues)but the when and where of past due payments are not available except through the loan servicer or pulling a credit report, which requires authorization. In any event, once the Bartons missed two, three payments at most, Chase would have stopped accepting payments of any kind except for payment in full, including all late payments fees.

  • Mary McNeight August 18, 2014 (11:33 pm)

    With the ex not paying his alimony Im having a hard time paying the mortgage. I called up Wells Fargo a couple of months ago and they said they couldnt even help me until I was three months behind. I got the distinct impression that they would not provide any assistance whatsoever until they could start a foreclosure process.

  • JanS August 18, 2014 (11:41 pm)

    Mrs. B…that “socialist councilwoman”? Really? She has a name…it’s Kshama Sawant. Whether you like her or not, show a bit of respect for a fellow human by using their correct name. Thanks.

  • JanS August 18, 2014 (11:47 pm)

    Gatewood Neighbor…a question….did the payments stop when he had his heart attack and stroke? or was it before that? I wondered…when one becomes disabled, and can no longer work, that doesn’t make one a “deadbeat” as some have claimed. It makes one disabled…period. I have been there, and am damned lucky I still have a roof over my head. I have great friends to thank for that.

    I cannot imagine the underlying fear these people have, not knowing what their future will be like, him being as sick as he is, and now living separately. I do agree that SAFE, if they care, should be doing everything they can to make sure these people are not left homeless in the streets.I can’t imagine being that ill, and having no place to live. Compassion is a good thing, and it seems that many in our neighborhood are lacking some :(

  • Carol Williams August 19, 2014 (12:18 am)

    Where did the $650,000 go. What did they spend it on. Why were no payments made PRIOR to his health problems. There have been thousands of home foreclosures for similar cases over the past few years. What makes this one special? When you don’t pay your bills you lose your assets. Its that simple. They should have made a better effort instead if blaming everyone else.

  • zark August 19, 2014 (6:26 am)

    Thankfully there are still rational people like JoB on this board.
    Others are literally inventing facts to suit their already established opinions.

    If the foreclosure was illegal it was illegal –
    Steve/Flimflam – why is it ok with you guys that QLS breaks the law but you feel some moral priority to punish the homeowner for failing to pay?
    See guys – here in the US we don’t have laws that make non-payment a criminal offense – but we DO have laws that make forgery a criminal offense. So why are you siding with the criminals here?

    Or do you actually believe the Bartons are criminals? I sense you do.

    Is it because YOU pay your bills, and this feels like someone else getting something for free that YOU have to pay for? What would we call that – jealousy? Sense of unfairness? Dunno, it’s just a weird thing for you to make this about you personally. It’s really, very much, not about you and what you feel is unfair or what you are jealous of.

  • sittingbird August 19, 2014 (7:16 am)

    Carol, that’s a legitimate question. Where did all that money go? Its amazing how a lot of gullible people are caught up in this whimsical drama. I wish there was an ignore feature here because It would have been put to good use.This case is closed time to move on.

  • JoB August 19, 2014 (7:49 am)

    i believe they took out the loans to invest in a home remodeling business that bit the dust when the economy collapsed.

  • miws August 19, 2014 (8:00 am)

    I cannot imagine the underlying fear these people have, not knowing what their future will be like…..


    Possibly the best comment, among all that have come, up in regards to the ongoing WSB Articles on this…



  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (8:07 am)

    Mary McNeight – sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately you are correct. The banks typically won’t work on any type of loan workout until homeowners are behind on their mortgage – three missed payments seems to be the magic number.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (8:30 am)

    sittingbird – while you and I have had differing opinions on the situation, I have to echo your sentiment above it being time to move on in many regards. The number of loans, where the money went and whether or not the Bartons have had their day in court really doesn’t matter at this point – the Bartons are out of the house, Triangle is in, and the Bartons are going to have their day in court. Nothing much anybody can do to change that at this point.
    JanS – I agree with you-compassion is a good thing. It would be great if more of us could do so about the situation.

  • miws August 19, 2014 (8:49 am)

    I got the distinct impression that they would not provide any assistance whatsoever until they could start a foreclosure process.


    Mary, from what I’ve read in comments via various sources, from people that were apparently in the same/similar situation as yours, that IS the case, and then if the borrower does as the lender suggests, the lender basically tells them they are screwed.


    If you have any means to do so, please get some trusted and knowledgeable legal counsel and support on this situation, in case you end up getting to that point.


    Good Luck.



  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (8:49 am)

    zark – thanks for your posting and JoB, I too want to thank you for continuing your thoughtful and compassionate posts.

    zark – unfortunately the whole issue of loan modifications/loan workouts seem to be highly charged and divisive for exactly the reasons you stated. Even people who actually get them don’t typically tell anyone about it, for fear of being accused of “getting” away with something or name called, especially if they took money out of their house. But if we don’t fix the mortgage mess (yes even six years later after TARP it still isn’t fixed) this economy is not going to get fixed. The banks need to get serious about doing loan modifications to make this happen. Plenty of TARP funds are still set aside for this purpose.

  • to Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (9:30 am)

    Gatewood Neighbor, you commented on a previous story that you were going to invite the Bartons to stay with you. That was very compassionate. Did they turn down your offer?

    I’m also wondering what happened to all the cats. Does anyone know if they were rehomed?

  • wetone August 19, 2014 (9:36 am)

    So again why aren’t some of the compassionate commenters offering housing to the Bartons ? or are the Bartons just not accepting ? as it does not fit into their agenda ? so much talk in the media and on WSB from all the Barton supporters but they still have no place to stay, interesting.

  • JoB August 19, 2014 (10:00 am)

    as a person who gives continually to those who fall through the safety net that everyone assures me is there for people who need it..
    i resent the continual put up by doing what i think you should do or shut up language that gets thrown around by people who do nothing.
    ASSuming will get you nowhere..
    i can respect people who choose to do nothing
    but i can’t respect them putting down people who do

  • steve August 19, 2014 (10:05 am)

    Its best to stay off small-town message boards. Deja vu all over again. And don’t get me started on the ellipses…

    I agree with JoB. The Barton’s are the victim of a criminal conspiracy. $650k disappearing is neither here nor there. This is about an evil bank who may have not filled out the paperwork properly, therefore the Barton’s deserve a free house.

    That’s how I get out of traffic tickets.

  • Level Head August 19, 2014 (10:32 am)

    The complaint is pretty hard to get through, but after reading it, this is my take.

    1. The Bartons took out a re-finance loan with WAMU that seemed to be a good deal. It was for approx $450,000, but it provided for the deferred payment of interest, was an adjustable rate mortgage, and had a balloon payment provision. So while the Bartons may have been told by the WAMU loan officer “you’ll only need to pay $1,200 each month”, in reality they likely discovered that about 2 years down the road that payment needed to be closer to $3,000 a month. If they missed a payment or two, fine print in the loan likely gave the lender authority to convert the loan to fully amortized and/or demand full payment. If the lender did either of these things, then the payments were likely too high for the Bartons to be able to even think about making.

    2. Somehow the Bartons spent the money they received from the WAMU loan. How they spent the money, why they spent it, and what they have to show for it today is all unknown. A prior poster suggested that they may have tried to start up a business that ultimately failed. If this is true, hard to be so angry/frustrated with someone for trying to start a new business that may have succeeded if the economy didn’t collapse.

    3. With the proceeds of the loan gone, and the payments nowhere near the $1,200 the Bartons thought they would be, they were facing foreclosure. Rather than admit defeat and find new housing options, the Bartons chose to attempt to fight the foreclosure process.

    4. To fight the foreclosure, they are focusing on the details of the legal requirements concerning how borrowing instruments (notes, deeds, securities, etc) are transferred from one entity to the next. They are attempting to find deficiencies in the paperwork between WAMU-JPMorgan-Quality Loan Servicing. Under the law, if you can prove paperwork deficiencies you may be able to win on invalidating the loan. While this may not seem “fair”, the law does require that all little details be perfect and the burden of ensuring that perfection falls on the lender.

    The Bartons also seem to have included a claim that Jean Bartons signature is a forgery. This claim doesn’t really make logical sense with the rest of the story, but they are making it.

    5. The law provides that, in situations where you are fighting the details of paperwork, you don’t get to stop the foreclosure process. Rather, the legal process must continue and — if you win — then you will be provided with monetary compensation to make you “whole”. While many of us may recognize the sentimental value of a home, the law does not. A house is a house is a house, and you can take your money from your winnings and go buy another. Therefore, even if the Bartons do have a valid claim, staying in their house isn’t lawful. If they prevail, they will be rewarded monetarily and will be able to purchase a new home. Until then, the correct course is to look at what their current financial situation allows for and find suitable housing within those parameters.

  • PLS August 19, 2014 (10:45 am)

    Level Head for the win! Thank you for a cogent, objective analysis of this situation – soup to nuts.

  • skeeter August 19, 2014 (10:51 am)

    If Jean Barton wants to make a public case of this she really needs to provide some sort of accounting of where the $650k went. The money being “neither here nor there” isn’t enough detail for me if these folks want to establish some sort of hardship. As it is I’m finding it hard to have sympathy for a couple that inherited a $650k house free and clear. I bet I’m not alone.

    If the Bartons think Chase is an evil company I have no idea why they would ever do business with them in the first place.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (11:04 am)

    To Gatewood Neighbor – thank you for asking. I said I would not post one way or the other. But I have to say in all truth that I don’t think it would be fair or healthy for the Bartons to live in a place where you can see and hear what Triangle is doing to the property, nor hear Triangle people laughing and joking while their possessions were being moved out. Like you, I hope the cats are ok too. I do not know the Bartons personally.

  • JoB August 19, 2014 (11:33 am)

    Level Head
    i agree with your legal assessment of the situation ..
    however, it still doesn’t address the predatory lending and foreclosure process that financially rewards unethical and illegal behavior
    and it takes a rather limited view of the definition of whole..
    the foreclosure process ensures that even successful litigants never come out whole..
    whole would include not having your credit ruined
    most people are not aware that a foreclosure can and does trigger default status and/or sky high rates on almost any outstanding credit obligation…
    whole would include not having to dig yourself back out of the financial and psychological hole of homelessness
    whole would restore your standing within the community
    something that will never be possible again in West Seattle for the Bartons

  • PLS August 19, 2014 (11:34 am)

    Let’s also remember please that Law and Compassion are not mutually exclusive, contrary to the tone of many comments recently in these stories. We can follow the law and do it compassionately.

    I think everyone (the Bartons, SAFE, comment makers, the City, the Sheriff) needs to shift our focus from “what if?” to “what now?”

    Why hasn’t some concerned person started a Kickstarter for the Bartons?

  • PSA August 19, 2014 (11:42 am)

    For anyone behind on their mortgage payments or in default: you have options under both the federal HAMP (http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-payments/Pages/hamp.aspx) program, and Washington’s Foreclosure Fairness Act (http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Programs/housing/Foreclosure/Pages/default.aspx).

    Specifically, if you speak with a HUD-approved housing counselor or an attorney, they can refer your case to the FFA mediation program. The basic idea is that if you can pay as much as a new person buying the house, the servicer should modify the loan and just let you stay. If nothing else, it will usually buy you more time.

    While I feel for anyone losing their home, the Bartons needed to act sooner if they wanted to keep the home. It is possible to get an emergency stay of the foreclosure sale, but naturally you have to file before the sale actually happens.

    Unfortunately, as Ms. McNeight mentioned, you must be in default already before the modification help becomes available. This is a stressful time window for many people where the answers are not obvious. It’s basically double-or-nothing: either 1) live with the extortionist mortgage that is crushing your financial future; or 2) quit paying for X months (sometimes 3 months, sometimes 3 years!), default, and you will either wind up with a modification and a better deal – or you will wind up evicted.

  • wetone August 19, 2014 (11:53 am)

    JoB, where in my comment do I put one down ? I have high praise for people helping others in need, myself being involved in delivering food for the WS food bank many years ago. I asked a good reasonable question that being why are the Barton’s still without a place to stay ? I just find it odd that they are still saying they have no place to go. What happened to the money from sale/buyers they were to receive ? The Barton’s or who ever is advising them continue to make poor choices resulting in a poor outcome. Can’t change the outcome if the participants don’t want too. I just hope we don’t see the next step with a group moving the Barton’s under the Spokane Street viaduct for more media attention.

  • PSA August 19, 2014 (11:54 am)

    Lastly, I must note yesterday’s protest did not have any coherent message. Leaving the courthouse, it was not remotely obvious what was being protested, what remedy was sought, or why anyone should care.
    Being familiar with the case, I was surprised to see they were still out there – because I cannot for the life of me determine what the goal is. I’m all for housing justice and holding the banks accountable for their vast misdeeds.
    As many here have noted however, the targets of the protest seem to be 1) an innocent third-party buyer, and 2) the sheriff, doing their job. My cynical PR note, having seen a lot of foreclosures, is that they could also find a more sympathetic family to rally behind. Can’t help but feel SAFE, or whomever, has lost the thread here and appears full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
    Best of luck to the Bartons in their case against QLS, a known bad actor.

  • kgdlg August 19, 2014 (12:05 pm)

    Level Head, thank you so much for posting this flow of events. If true, it is very helpful to understanding BOTH sides of this situation. I tried to read the lawsuit and quit after about 5 pages, and I work with legal docs all the time!

    What most pains me here are two facts: 1) that they owned the house outright before their refinance – that is a massive asset in this market that has been lost and 2) that instead of forming an LLC and getting an SBA loan to start-up their business, they instead used their house (a collateralized asset – Suze Orman would have a heart attack!) to fund what is essentially an inherently very risky endeavor (something like half of all new businesses fail, right?) My understanding of how LLCs work is that if the business fails, it protects the business owner’s assets from bankruptcy (if the loan was to the LLC, not from the house to an individual)

    Regardless of whether they over-leveraged their home, the question of whether they should have had access to a modification once behind in payments is a very good one, because this applies to any of us shouldering a mortgage right now. It will be interesting to see how their case plays out.

    I am on neither side of this debate because I can genuinely see both sides of the argument here.

    From a philosophical perspective that is very interesting to me is how deeply the sense of “personal responsibility” relative to homeownership resonates in our culture. Perhaps this is why it was the banks that got all the bail-out money and not individuals with loans from banks that were originated in shady ways?

    I get it, Moral Hazard, blah blah blah, this is a real thing, but it seems it got applied differently to individuals and corporations.

  • kudos August 19, 2014 (12:56 pm)

    Gatewood Neighbor. I have never posted on a blog in my life and I probably never will again. I am also in the neighborhood, and the smell of the items that have been pulled from that house is so strong and so foul, we have to keep our windows closed. I have spoken a couple times now with the people from Triangle. Every single one has been respectful. The fact that they can smile and remain in good spirits in the face of that situation, and still take time to talk with anyone who stops by, is purely miraculous. If you have any doubt in your mind, take a walk in the neighborhood. It gets a little better every day, thanks to those men and women. As for the cats, they bought them food and put down water for them because there was none. They caught two and one escaped. I have seen big burly Triangle guys out calling for “kitty”. These are not bad people. They have shown a lot of respect for Levi and Leta Barton.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (1:27 pm)

    Kudos – thanks for your comment, I do walk and live in in the neighborhood and have not experienced what you are describing. I haven’t spoken to any of the Triangle workers, nor do I plan to. The comment I made about the laughing and joking the first two days (very partylike in sound) was made in respect to the Bartons – I think it would have been too hard on the Bartons to have listened to that. Glad that one of the cats has been found. It would have been better if someone from animal control had come along in the first place.

  • T Rex August 19, 2014 (1:59 pm)

    I respect the people that are offering up a place for this family to say, but I would warn you about the legalities you should be aware of if they over stay their welcome. It is not that easy to kick someone out of your OWN house once you open it up to someone.

    Be careful out there.

  • skeeter August 19, 2014 (2:18 pm)

    We often come to different conclusions, but I’ve always enjoyed your well thought-out contributions to the message boards. Just to be clear, when we talk about the “bank bail out” do you understand that it was not a gift? It was a loan. A loan that has been repaid. “We got back every dime used to rescue the banks” – President Obama October 18, 2012. In fact, when you include interest on the loans, more was re-collected from the banks than was loaned out. So the taxpayers actually came out ahead on this deal. Don’t get me wrong – the taxpayers would have been on the hook had the banks been unable to repay the loans. But that luckily didn’t happen. I mention this because your post and many, many other posts seem to say that banks got free taxpayer money, so borrowers should to. That is not accurate. Banks got taxpayer-backed loans and repaid the loans with interest. No free lunch for the banks or their shareholders. Anyway, I love it that you used “moral hazard” in your post. One of my favorite terms.


  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (2:27 pm)

    Kudos – things put in writing can sometimes appear differently than if they are spoken. I want to say I don’t doubt what you have said. People often see and view the same things differently. The odds that we both know each other are pretty great is my guess and I would like us to continue in a friendly, neighborly fashion. Sorry that this ended up on WSB for all sorts of people we don’t know to see. Tracy, I know you said not to speculate on who is posting but I think you might think this situation is an exception :) If not please take this down and I promise never, ever to do it again in any way.

  • kgdlg August 19, 2014 (3:08 pm)

    Skeeter, the feeling is mutual! I find many of your posts quite thought provoking and you are not given to hyperbole, which I appreciate :)

    Yes, I understand your distinction, and I know I was not very detailed. The same comparison is thought provoking though. 1) Banks get low interest loans to save them that they have to pay back and 2) consumers get loan modifications to keep them in their houses (wouldn’t have to necessarily be principle write down, could be longer amortization, changed terms, etc.) that they pay back as well.

    I guess I just think it is interesting to think that the concept of moral hazard was applied differently here, depending if you were a bank or a consumer. We as a society seem to have very little tolerance for it when applied to the individual that made a bad decision, vs. a bank that did.

    Again, I am not trying to take a side, just pontificating on the concept of moral hazard.

  • kudos August 19, 2014 (3:16 pm)

    Just to clarify. Triangle and the neighbors have worked together to return two of the cats to the Bartons. The third cat escaped and has not yet been found as far as I know. I’ve seen signs posted by the family around the neighborhood looking for the third cat.

  • JoB August 19, 2014 (3:19 pm)

    sorry if i got a little testy. this is not one of my better days and you bumped up against a last nerve that has been tested a lot in WSB land.
    the only personal stake i have in the many conversations about how we talk about people who fall through our societal cracks and the efforts of other people to help them is that i would so much like to leave this world a better place than i entered.. and after 50+ years of personal activism I am not seeing it.
    what i see is an active effort by people who won’t help to discourage others from helping by demonizing both those who need help and those who help.
    i suspect it’s often because they feel they need to justify their own behavior .. regardless of the reason it is counterproductive.
    i know i have often been labeled holier than thou on this forum by those who think only some people should get help…
    and of all the things i am, holier than thou certainly isn’t one of them.
    i have seen people who say they care about others actually sabotage fundraisers for locals in need using my “holier than thou” attitude as their excuse.
    As a result, i have stopped participating publicly in fundraisers for needy individuals. I refuse to be the excuse for indifference.
    what i think is that if you (the grander you.. not you personally) don’t want to be part of the solution..
    denying that there is a problem or demonizing either the people in trouble or those who help them won’t solve anything
    I don’t know the Bartons and couldn’t invite them home to live with me if i did. Aside from the fact that we have chosen to rent.. i live with a couple of rescue dogs that wouldn’t welcome them…
    but i don’t have to know them or be willing to house them to think that we have no business publicly maligning people simply because they fall on hard times.
    it’s so easy to say that they should have made better choices… and probably they should have.
    but having lived through some pretty hard times myself i can tell you that we expect too much of people..
    somehow expecting people in crisis to make the best possible decisions to justify their right to compassion says far more about us than about them.
    it’s not a good day.. and i haven’t been careful enough to make sure that you understood that this isn’t a personal attack on you. I meant my apology.
    i am just too tired and too sad today… and too tired of ……

  • skeeter August 19, 2014 (3:36 pm)

    Well said kgdlg. Lots of factors caused the mortgage crisis. Homeowners who borrowed more than they could afford bear much responsibility, but banks certainly enabled them and therefore must accept some degree of responsibility. And I don’t doubt that many loan brokers used deceptive tactics in getting loans approved that shouldn’t have been approved. There was greed all around.

  • Dear Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (3:39 pm)

    Gatewood Neighbor – Oh how you love to contradict yourself.

    In a previous post you wrote the following:

    I certainly hope the cats in the house are properly provided for, and not dumped on Seattle Humane Society. It is an opportunity to take the high road and show the humanitarian side of things.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 4:44 pm August 16, 2014 #

    And today you wrote the following:

    Glad that one of the cats has been found. It would have been better if someone from animal control had come along in the first place.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 1:27 pm August 19, 2014 #

    FYI – Animal Control doesn’t make house calls for these types of situations.

  • Level Head August 19, 2014 (3:53 pm)

    Job —

    I do not disagree with your assessment, which is why I put the word “whole” in quotation marks. If you do prevail, some of those things can be fixed (for example, your credit report can be modified), but others may be more difficult to come back from (psychological struggles).

    I do believe that this case presents an example of predatory lending. I am sure that the WAMU loan officer didn’t disclose all the fine print and/or discuss the impact to the monthly payment once the adjustable rate adjusted up. There is nothing about that Barton loan provided by WAMU that I would consider to be a good/fair deal. Unfortunately, I don’t think their situation of entering into a predatory lending situation is rare. For those looking for someone to blame, it is a moral question — do you blame the lendor who engaged in shady practices? or the uninformed/uneducated purchaser?

    In my camp, I’m not assessing blame, just pointing out the facts of the situation.

  • Legitimate Question August 19, 2014 (4:16 pm)

    We really don’t know what the lender did or didn’t tell them when that loan was issued. While the terms of that loan sound awful to me, I’ve known people who willingly took very similarly structured loans because they were absolutely certain they could make it work.

    It’s really kind of like gambling, I guess. I would never in a million years be brave enough to gamble my home on a business venture, but I’ve read plenty of anecdotes of individuals who’ve done exactly that and were very successful. And it seems that people who are brave enough to start a business tend to take risks that others might not.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (4:40 pm)

    @Dear Gatewood Neighbor – I don’t know what your problem is with me. Yes I said that I hoped the cats hadn’t been dumped on Seattle Humane Society. At that point, I thought that it would have been a precaution in these types of situations. I didn’t know that the cats would be just let out, abandoned, presumably indoor cats with no sense of the raccoons and occasional coyotes here. My mistake. It would have been nice if Triangle could have gone above and beyond the letter of the law to insure the safety of the cats, but since you have a self-admitted relationship with Triangle you would know the particulars better than I as to why or why it didn’t happen.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (4:45 pm)

    JoB – sorry to hear about your fatigue but I can understand how some of the postings on WSB can be tiring. Thank your for all your compassion and your time responding to these things. I’ve seen others fall through the cracks of the safety net, and it is admirable that you are taking the time to try to help others understand. “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” “The greatest of this things is love.” All my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (4:46 pm)

    Legitimate question – thank you for taking the time to put the difficult legal questions and issues in this situation in perspective.

  • 35thsteve August 19, 2014 (4:49 pm)

    Man. Tired of the Bartons, tired of SAFE, tired of this topic. They are gone and that is that

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (4:51 pm)

    And the same goes to Level Head. Thank you for summarizing the situation so thoroughly, and for offering the options and choices so succinctly. Life is full of choices; I for one don’t think that the choices I made before the 2008 recession are choices I would make today. Beating people up for making those choices – especially choices that cannot be undone – really serves no purpose. Moving forward on what can be done is better.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (4:57 pm)

    Kudos – I will be sure to on the lookout for the third cat. I saw a sign up today, and I will take a closer look at the picture. Thank you so much for sharing the details.

    • WSB August 19, 2014 (4:59 pm)

      I don’t think we have a listing for it but cats – and dogs – do turn up miles away from where they were lost, so if it’s not found soon, we would certainly be able to post it on the WSB Lost/Found Pets page; someone would have to e-mail us photo/info, though.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (5:03 pm)

    35thsteve – I echo your sentiment. Time to move on-they are not in the house anymore. Get over it and stop analyzing what they should or should not have done. It is over and done. That being said, I still appreciate the thoughtful legal analysis others have provided to provide perspective (and if not compassion at least understanding), and the ones who have provided a compassionate perspective so that we might perhaps understand. “Judge not lest ye be judged; for what ever measure you judge by so shall you be judged by.”

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (5:06 pm)

    Tracy – at the very least I will scan the cat’s image from one of the posters and send to you. But maybe someone else has a digital image to send to Tracy instead.

  • Dear Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (6:28 pm)

    Gatewood Neighbor – My problem with you is simply, you know not what you speak of and are unwilling to go and find out the truth.

    Clearly you are full of hot air with yet again another speculatory comment.

    “I didn’t know that the cats would be just let out, abandoned, presumably indoor cats with no sense of the raccoons and occasional coyotes here.”

    Kudos informed you of a very different sequence of events regarding the cats. Yet you still have the audacity to draw your own conclusion and vilify Triangle.

  • WSince86 August 19, 2014 (6:55 pm)

    Without naming names, because that’s not what we’re supposed to do here…. Give it up!! We’re getting tired of you ‘hogging the blog’!

    • WSB August 19, 2014 (7:01 pm)

      cat poster photo received, will be up on pets page a bit later. you never know, local vets and shelters check our page too and might know something. – TR

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (7:30 pm)

    @Dear Gatewood Neighbor – maybe you are the one unwilling to go and find out the truth. Kudos explained the situation quite thoroughly. You need to take your personal bias and direct your energies elsewhere. Tracy, thank you for putting the cat poster up.

  • Dear Gatewood Neighbor August 19, 2014 (7:36 pm)

    Gatewood Neighbor – I have no vested interest in this other than I know the members of Triangle to be good people and West Seattle is my community. I take great offense that you are the only one on here going out of their way and continually attacking their character. I think I’ve posted enough on here to prove my point.

    • WSB August 19, 2014 (8:13 pm)

      One more time in one more thread, once it gets to people addressing each other, not pleasantly, I have to ask you to stop. If somebody wants to open a forum topic to discuss the merits of the case of lack of same, independent of a story, you’re welcome to. – TR

  • Thomas M. August 19, 2014 (8:52 pm)

    They will get their day in court. Theirs is a long uphill battle against a highly sophisticated entity with a large war chest. I do not see any of the legal aid organizations rushing forward to take on their cause. I will check again but do not think I saw any attorney taking on the role of counsel in the pending action. All of that adds up to a very likely loss in the court system for the Bartons (again). BTW in a civil case, the use of the sanctions against QLS as proof they did the same evil activities in any subsequent case is quite limited. I definitely agree SAFE should actually help the Bartons and not just use them as pawns in their ideological struggle against Simon LeGree the Mortgagee.

  • Kitty cat August 19, 2014 (10:49 pm)

    They find the cat yet? Might be best for the cats to be with someone else until they are settled in to a new place.

  • alkiforever August 20, 2014 (8:02 am)

    I know a real good bankruptcy lawyer.

  • Chris August 20, 2014 (11:49 am)

    The problem I have here with people claiming that we should be charitable to these people and sympathize with their situation is that it isn’t our choice whether to be charitable or not. The owners of that property are people, who are being financially affected and inconvenienced by this situation where someone didn’t pay their bills and refused to leave. Why should they be forced into a lower quality of life because someone else threw a tantrum and everyone felt bad for their situation? Whether the foreclosure was legal or illegal based on technicality, the heart of the matter remains that they indisputably did not pay their bills and foreclosure was going to happen one way or another. Businesses shouldn’t be forced into charity especially if it comes with significant problems.

  • SrslySharon August 20, 2014 (12:26 pm)

    A big quesiton I have is, why did the Bartons not lawyer up when the were signing loan docs and starting up a small business?
    That shows a huge amount of irresponsibility right there.
    And to jack this thread, why is there a need to post like this?

  • wakeflood August 20, 2014 (1:01 pm)

    Skeets, kgdlg, you guys are having the discussion I relate to most in this particular thread.

    I just wanted to add a couple of thoughts to it.

    First, Skeets, that TARP loan repayment note you made is technically correct and yet somewhat irrelevant. Yes, several of the big banks did indeed pay off their loans with interest. Many of those being ones that weren’t in trouble to begin with. The Fed forced everyone to take money so the public wouldn’t perceive any one bank as being less secure than another. Which, is both logical and ridiculous – why SHOULDN’T we know which banks were fricking mismanaged again???

    What’s missing from your TARP note is that the Fed literally GAVE AWAY multiple TRILLIONS of dollars to both US and NON-US financial interests to prop up a rotted and farcical system. Not all of that was mortgage-related but a good chunk of the whole thing was tied to securitized mortgages.

    Which segues nicely to my second add: That being the fact that these mortgages that were being peddled were done so without the slightest concern as to whether they were sound financially – because they had to keep feeding the beast lest it collapse. I’m not saying all these home-owners are faultless but many of them were told essentially that it was free money and they got offers in the mail every week to take it. if you did and bought a boat, you were an idiot. If you did and tried to turn that into something productive, maybe you’re something looked upon more kindly by society.

    And lastly, many of these mortgages were illegally performed with fraudulent paperwork and now random homeowners are being punished – even ones who want to do the right thing, some capable of making good on a reasonable new valuation of their property and a loan at a current, real rate. In short, the only ones who ended up paying the full price of this debacle are random people whose lives will be significantly different than might otherwise be the case.

    Again, I get that some folks are getting what they deserved if they were trying to game the system but a LOT of people aren’t that.

    I have no particular position on this family’s plight as I don’t know enough about it but let’s not pretend that all or even most of these folks did anything approaching the level of malice that the banks and mortgage companies did. And a fair number of those got TRILLIONS of $ of free money to shore up their balance sheets. Enough to make TARP look like a tip jar. I’ve seen estimates from the Fed audit that range from 18-21Trillion. Must be nice.

  • WestofJunction August 20, 2014 (2:38 pm)

    People forget that the whole reason for propping up the banking system was to protect the bank deposits (savings)of people and businesses. Banks pay for that “Your Deposits Insured” insurance. The FDIC was started by FDR’s administration, not to save banks but save the depositors. The premiums banks pay is not enough to create a large reserve covering catastrophic economic events – a large bank going under (or several) would have eaten up the “insurance” money, cratered the economy and caused people to lose all of their savings.

    There are good arguments both for and against such a bailout. Many argued that the system should have been left alone to work out its own problems, and if some people lost money, so what. But the decision was made by the majority of both Dems and Reps to intervene.

  • wakeflood August 20, 2014 (5:24 pm)

    WestofJunction, people don’t forget things that didn’t happen.

    The FDIC would have been solvent enough to cover its obligations at a FRACTION of the money that was pushed into the system to cover the crisis. There was never a point where a run on the banks was going to crater the economy. There were many banks who DIDN’T speculate and had solid balance sheets that had reasonable reserves to cover their deposits.

    Which is to say, if that’s all that was required was to make sure folks didn’t lose hard deposits, the crisis wouldn’t have cost anything relative to what was actually spent.

    It wasn’t about supporting a run on the banks, it was about figuring out a way to keep the dirty laundry as dirty as they could without suffering the consequences of their actions.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 20, 2014 (6:02 pm)

    SrslySharon – typically no one consults an attorney when they sign loan docs. They might consult a financial planner if they are taking cash out. But in the era when the Bartons signed their loan docs, most likely both attorneys and financial planners would have given it their blessing. And once the economy collapsed, there is no way they could have sold their house for what their loan was worth.

  • Community Member August 20, 2014 (6:15 pm)

    @ Chris — 11:49 am August 20, 2014

    Very well put, Chris.


    Some comments seem to be that there was supposed to be a way for “under-water” homeowners to re-do their mortgage. As far as I am aware, that wouldn’t have applied in this case because the house was always worth substantially more than what was owed.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 20, 2014 (6:49 pm)

    Community Member – if you look at both the first and the second, Chase sold the house at foreclosure auction for less than what was owed. Both the first and second were owned by Chase. The odds are that the Bartons will not receive a penny of the proceeds of the sale but Chase will be able to get any excess funds from the auction sale to apply to the second and then possibly go after the Bartons for the remainder. The funds have not been distributed. Community Member, the rest of the comment is not intended to you at all, but for anyone who has said that the Bartons should take the money and move on: they don’t have it. And very likely won’t get it. I do not know the Bartons or SAFE.

  • Community Member August 20, 2014 (8:27 pm)

    I did not say that I thought the Bartons got back money.
    There have been several comments along the lines of wakeflood saying, “some capable of making good on a reasonable new valuation of their property and a loan at a current, real rate,’ which seem to imply that the mortgage company could have reduced the size of the mortgage.
    There have been some special Federal re-fi programs where someone owing, say, $650,000 on a house that appraises at $400,000 might have gotten a deal. Even then, the borrower had to qualify for the 400,000 loan.
    That’s what I am saying never could have applied in this case, as far as I can tell.

  • unknown August 20, 2014 (8:59 pm)

    OMG is all I have to say to the “gate woods” how old are you two?

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 20, 2014 (11:21 pm)

    Hi Community Member – thank you for taking time to post. The qualifications for loan modifications are different from traditional loans so what someone would qualify for under traditional lending is not necessarily applicable. Loan modifications can indeed reduce the size of the mortgage and ultimately provide equity to the borrower again. The NPV for loan modifications has a lot of variables based on the bank but in this case I wouldn’t rule it out at all. I did not mean to imply that I thought that you thought the Bartons got back their money – that was meant as a general comment. Sorry for any misunderstanding on this.

  • WestofJunction August 21, 2014 (6:34 am)

    Wakeflood – the majority of economists and economic advisors (as well as many of the pols on both sides of the aisle) believed that without strong decisive action, aka propping up our financial system, we would have had a collapse which would domino throughout the US and the world and could take down our banking system – that is what the prevailing consensus was – right or wrong. We can all deliver the post mortems one way or another, and this crisis will be analyzed, written about and debated till the end of time.

  • wakeflood August 21, 2014 (8:17 am)

    That’s essentially true but not what you said. You said it was about FDIC and depositor security. Which it wasn’t.

    So, nice revisionist comment there.

    There wasn’t just one TARP and TARP wasn’t even the biggest bailout.

    What was agreed to by folks on both sides of the aisle was TARP. Which, little did they know, was just a drop in the bucket of bailouts. The Fed did what they wanted to do and the regulatory bodies looked the other way.

    Which is to say, what was generally agreed to wasn’t what actually occurred.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 21, 2014 (9:15 am)

    Not to belabor a point, but in regards to the missing cat it might be good at this point to get a professional involved, such as Friends of Felines, who are experienced in safely and humanely trapping cats. Putting out food and water is nice, but unattended pet food left outside here for very long tends to get eaten by raccoons and crows. Think the trap would have to go on the property, so Triangle would need to be involved. Maybe there is a trap already there but it was not readily apparent to me, which is why I am posting this in case someone can make it happen.

  • WestofJunction August 21, 2014 (9:56 am)

    Wakeflood -It is true that the FDIC had (and has) limited funds to cover insured deposits. A general panic and freeze of the financial system could have tanked that fund. And for the banks that the FDIC could pay off, the depositors who held amounts in excess of the insurance limits would have lost them (Granny’s nest egg, etc.). I did not say I supported it, I’m just saying that the conspiracy theorists are wrong in terms of why this was done. It was not what I would have done, but we had a Federal Reserve led by a scholar of the Great Depression vs. an anti-inflationist.

    Funny, but I got plain vanilla fixed rate loans during this whole debacle. Had to go through the same hoops as before the mess. But I knew what I wanted, what I could afford and what I was signing. Anyone not knowing the answers to these questions should have sought counsel before signing loan documents.

  • wakeflood August 21, 2014 (11:19 am)

    WofJ, FDIC solvency status had nothing to do with the bailout process and to continue to proclaim that it was at the root of the bailout doesn’t jive with the reality at the time.

    Maybe somebody YOU were paying attention to at the time threw out the FDIC red herring to scare the public into supporting the bailout but nothing I was reading at the time even bothered to.

    They were worried about investment portfolio values and the reserves of the investment banks tanking not cash deposits. Hence the name – Troubled Asset Relief Program.

  • wakeflood August 21, 2014 (11:33 am)

    And if you’re intimating that I’m a conspiracy theorist, then I’ll further devalue your opinion. But I’ll just agree to disagree and move on.

  • K August 22, 2014 (8:28 pm)

    Just wanted to say that, personally, I sacrificed a lot of my life to be around my Dad. Sacrified is probably the wrong word…. I spent the majority= of time with my best friend, who was my dad. He died… I am still dealing with the loss… I have been through h3ll and high water just to keep a damn roof over my head…. life has been a horrible nightmare since I lost my best friend,,, but I perservere… somehow I keep fricking trying, Because I believe that is what I think I am supposed to do. I could give you a laundry list of things that should have stopped me. They haven’t. I pray for you and that you will find the way.. . meanwhile, I have no reason to condone your hurting your spouse, and people like you just remind me, and other nurses, why we might want to give up the profession. Being very sarcacastic when I say I am sure the world thanks, you. Good job at accomplishing nothing for anyone… I guess you decided that was your role one this planet?

  • K August 22, 2014 (8:36 pm)

    Thanks, lady and WSB… you just probably sealed another nail in a nurses coffin. I hope that you ponder this the next time you are sick and needing us. We can only take so much BS. Best of luck and I am sure you will be well cared for, but not by me!!!!

  • K August 23, 2014 (8:30 pm)

    I don’t mean to sound like a jerk… but in all honesty it is this kind of “entitlement” that wears us down… that is all I am saying. We work our butts off and then to see this kind of nonsense can really make one not want to ever help another human being ever again. It just gets soooooo old…

  • Lia September 3, 2014 (9:49 am)

    “typically no one consults an attorney when they sign loan docs”

    What??? Wrong. LOTS of people consult an attorney before they sign loan docs, and what’s more, most people probably should. Attorneys are expensive, but it would be worth paying them for a few hours of their time to review any documents and explain them to you before signing them to avoid all kinds of headache and nightmares.

Sorry, comment time is over.

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