Followup: New owners of eviction-fight house say they’re taking the city to court

(UPDATE EARLY THURSDAY: Advocacy group suggests city continue the hearing; its statement is added to end of story)

(July 18 WSB photo)
A new development late today in the fight over a Morgan Junction house that’s been the subject of a showdown over foreclosure and eviction. Eight days ago, Mayor Ed Murray announced he was telling police to stand by until the circumstances Byron and Jean Barton‘s legal fight over the house was clearer; this afternoon, we received the following announcement from a law firm representing the company that bought the house at foreclosure auction in April:

Triangle Property Development has taken legal action to force Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle Police Department to uphold the law by removing the illegal trespassers from a West Seattle house.

The company filed the document, formally called a writ of mandamus, in King County Superior Court more than a week after Murray ordered police officers to stand down rather than remove Byron and Jean Barton from the house, which they had broken into after being legally evicted by King County Sheriff’s deputies. Triangle Property Development bought the house at a foreclosure auction in April, more than two years after the Bartons stopped making mortgage payments.

“Mayor Murray’s refusal to uphold the law is undermining the legal process by preventing a property owner from lawfully using and possessing its property,’’ said Synthia Melton, legal counsel for Triangle Property Development. “The legal issues the mayor refers to in this case have already been determined by the courts. The Mayor’s inaction is supporting criminal trespass, and can set dangerous precedent for how court-ordered evictions will be executed, making it more difficult for law enforcement to perform its job.”

Much of the media coverage surrounding the eviction of the Bartons has been incomplete, misleading or downright inaccurate. Here are the facts of the case:

According to King County property records, the Bartons received the house free and clear from a family trust in 2003 and almost immediately began to use a series of mortgages to turn the value of the house into cash. By August of 2007, the house was pledged to more than $660,000 of debt.

In 2011, the Bartons ceased making payments on their mortgages. In 2012, their lender began foreclosure proceedings, which concluded in April when Triangle Property Development bought the property at auction.

Mindful of Mr. Barton’s disability, Triangle made repeated offers of thousands of dollars of relocation assistance to the family, who refused that help in favor of a series of futile attempts to block the eviction in court.

On July 18, King County Sheriff’s deputies evicted the Bartons from the house despite the interference of protestors, and changed the locks. After the deputies left, the Bartons, along with protestors, broke into the house, committing the crimes of breaking-and-entering and trespass. Since that time, they have illegally trespassed on the property, and protesters have subjected Triangle Property Development employees and officials to harassment and abuse.

The case drew regional media attention back on Friday, July 18th, when King County Sheriff’s Deputies evicted the Bartons, four weeks after a different KCSO employee had declined to evict them because of Byron Barton’s health status. Meantime, we’re following up on this new development – including looking up the latest court documents – and will add whatever reaction we get.

ADDED 12:57 AM THURSDAY: Less than half an hour ago, the advocacy group SAFE sent this statement:

Triangle Property Development, LLC has been pressuring local public officials to displace the Barton family from their home of 61 years. Last week activists with SAFE publicly protested and successfully opposed what they called an immoral eviction of a severely disabled Vietnam Veteran and his family. The five day action culminated in Mayor Ed Murray telling the Seattle Police Department to standby while the Barton’s appeals work their way through court.

This week, Triangle filed a Writ of Mandamus against Mayor Murray and Seattle Police Chief Katherine O’Toole to have Jean and Byron Barton, a disabled veteran who requires extensive, round-the-clock home care to live, arrested and immediately transfer their home at 6548 41st Ave SW in West Seattle to Triangle. This strong arm legal tactic by Triangle is unfortunate because the ownership of the property is in dispute. Their case is in King County Superior Court, and was filed by the Bartons against JP Morgan Chase and Quality Loan Service Corp., challenging the legality of the foreclosure on their home. There is also an appellate action against Triangle’s case of Unlawful Detainer, which resulted in their attempted eviction.

Per paragraph 4.5 in Application for the writ, plaintiff Triangle wants the “Mayor and Chief O’Toole to fulfill their respective duties to protect the peace, and to abate the Bartons’ trespass upon the Property, arresting and taking the Bartons into custody if necessary…”

Triangle is a relatively new company who has already threatened to sue the King County Sheriff’s Department for contempt of court for being hesitant to carry out the Barton eviction and now they are telling the duly elected mayor of Seattle how the law should be carried out. Triangle would prefer to see Byron and Jean in jail.

“The city should make use of their option to request a continuance for the hearing regarding the writ, which is scheduled for August 8th. A continuance may allow the parties to avoid this hearing altogether. That would be a great first step in allowing the Bartons time to work out a satisfactory negotiation,” said Jill Smith, attorney for the Bartons.

This all begs the question of who runs this town? The elected officials of the City of Seattle, or the corporate interests of a property developer?

The mayor has yet to respond to our request for comment, sent after the Triangle statement on Tuesday afternoon.

75 Replies to "Followup: New owners of eviction-fight house say they're taking the city to court"

  • JanS July 29, 2014 (4:45 pm)

    so…what happens if they vacate, Triangle tears down, starts building a new house, and the the Bartons win their law suit. I’m not a legal mind, so I’m asking. The house would be gone. Would they be compensated monetarily? Anyone out there want to venture an answer to this “what if”?

    The Bartons do have a law suit pending, don’t they? Or am I imagining that?

  • Graham Morgan July 29, 2014 (4:52 pm)

    JanS, previous WSB story noted that Triangle said they were not going to tear down the home.

    • WSB July 29, 2014 (4:56 pm)

      This just came in a short time ago so now I’m following up on a whole variety of aspects (checking back on the court files, the site’s DPD files if any, asking the mayor and the Bartons for comment, etc.). And yes, they have a lawsuit pending, though it’s over the foreclosure = going back to check that too. Tonight I don’t have a meeting to go to and might finally be able to put together something resembling a coherent timeline of all this. The comment about “not going to tear down the house” was from a Triangle Development-affiliated person. I had noted that this is a double-lot house, meaning that it COULD potentially hold two residences, under zoning, though that depends on a lot of things including the site’s buildability – Tracy

  • JanS July 29, 2014 (4:54 pm)

    thanks…so, substitute “remodel” :)

  • The Truth July 29, 2014 (4:55 pm)

    I 100% agree with this court actions and hope it is executed quickly. This is not a case of people being swindled by a bank. This is a couple that systematically lived beyond there means (BEFORE HIS HEALTH ISSUES) by cashing out the equity in their house and at that point putting up their house as collateral. I never like to see or cheer for someone losing their home but this is what happens. It is sad that people make these choices but in the end of the day it is a choice that they made.

  • flimflam July 29, 2014 (4:56 pm)

    ” more than two years after the Bartons stopped making mortgage payments. ”

    .I get it – its sad as heck to see someone evicted, but come on – two years + without making a mortgage payment? just what is the new owner supposed to do? just say “oh well” and forget about it?

  • Graham Morgan July 29, 2014 (4:57 pm)

    I only know the facts posted here and in the related stories – based on that, I hope there is an expedient resolution and the new rightful owner takes possession. I would also like to see charges filed against those who assisted with the breaking and entering. I am sure this will be the popular opinion based on posts in related stories … not.

  • charlabob July 29, 2014 (5:06 pm)

    All coverage seems a bit one-sided, not WSB, and the “facts” presented gently lead to certain conclusions. I have seen little coverage of the other side—there is some reason people chose to defend these people. I, for one,am leery of a no-tear-down assumption based on what the developer said.

    Just an alternative view.

  • Krm66 July 29, 2014 (5:13 pm)

    “According to King County property records, the Bartons received the house free and clear from a family trust in 2003 and almost immediately began to use a series of mortgages to turn the value of the house into cash. By August of 2007, the house was pledged to more than $660,000 of debt.”

    Wow! I felt bad that mounting medical bills put them in this position, then I realized his stroke happened in 2012.
    Wish I could borrow over half a million and live in my home without paying a mortgage.

  • Kim July 29, 2014 (5:15 pm)

    TR – thank you for publishing the facts in this case instead of the sensationalism. Your straight-up journalism is appreciated!

    • WSB July 29, 2014 (5:22 pm)

      Well, we’re trying. I also believe in publishing statements so that people can hear for themselves what the various sides are saying – we have published statements from multiple sides in this case now, and I am sure there are more to come. In the previous coverage, we were one of only two media crews left when the advocates supporting the Bartons gave a press briefing, and we recorded it and published that video in its entirety as well – that was part of the unfolding coverage that ran from morning into the night on July 18th (embedded into the story around noontime) – – more to come – TR

  • wetone July 29, 2014 (5:26 pm)

    I hope they go hard after Murray for his abuse of office. Would never have happened anywhere else but in Seattle. Really doesn’t matter what new property owners do as it’s their property that they paid for, and don’t forget the Bartons were going to end up with money if they moved out, not exactly broke, just don’t want to move along with not paying towards what they owe. Everyone should quit paying their utility bills and taxes to the city and see what happens, you will get a lean on your home then sold 2-3 years if not paid. Quicker than what’s going on in this case.

  • Mt July 29, 2014 (5:29 pm)

    I don’t understand how the mayor has executive power beyond what the legal system has ruled. The Barton’s need to recognize they don’t have legal rights to the property and vacate without additional protest. It sounds like Bartons are clearly aware of how to “play” the system to their advantage.

  • Ray July 29, 2014 (5:36 pm)

    Well written press release and very correct. This is an abuse of power by the mayor and a sad, pathetic milking of the media that is so typical of Seattle.

  • 35thSteve July 29, 2014 (5:44 pm)

    Enough a enough. Out they go.

  • G July 29, 2014 (6:03 pm)

    I know many West Seattleite who inherited homes and are living in a place they couldn’t possibly afford on their own, but most have avoided succumbing to this money trap. Not good to get stuff free.

  • steve July 29, 2014 (6:25 pm)

    Seriously! If the Bartons sucked $660,000 dollars in loans/equity out of that house, they clearly came out ahead. I’ll bet it sold on foreclosure at 1/2 that price, probably less. The bank took a beating and the taxpayers (ala bank bailouts) absorb the rest. Sorry for the Bartons and the decisions they made, but on the face I see little merit in their case. and that makes the Mayor an idiot to be involved.

    • WSB July 29, 2014 (6:36 pm)

      I wish there were an easy way to regurgitate all the information from all previous stories (and comment discussions) into each successive one. Since there isn’t: No, Steve, the house sold at auction for about that sum. The mortgage was less. King County Sheriff’s reps told us that the Bartons actually get part of the proceeds because Triangle bought the house for more than the minimum bid, more than was owed on the house. Not quite sure how that works but that’s what they said. I have not confirmed all the numbers mentioned in this statement – still trying to find a new court document, for one. – TR

  • sittingbird July 29, 2014 (7:02 pm)

    So, Ed murray is above the law? He’s going to get sued and kicked out of office.

  • bs July 29, 2014 (8:03 pm)

    Since when does a “mayor” have juristiction over a county? If I understand correctly, this was a county procedure that was enforced by the KC Sheriff. They should be the ones back to enforce the lawfull eviction, regardless of what the “mayor” wants. The SPD should only be involved if needed to “keep the peace”.

    • WSB July 29, 2014 (8:07 pm)

      As noted by the King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson we interviewed for our report last week (it’s linked in the first paragraph of our story above), it is their duty to serve eviction orders. However, that does not mean they have permanent jurisdiction over/responsibility for the eviction site/scene. Once they had done their duty, KCSO said, it was up to SPD, who has police jurisdiction, to enforce the law against what could be considered burglary/trespassing.

  • Joe July 29, 2014 (8:44 pm)

    I feel sorry for the developer. They will sink thousands into legal fees to claim what it rightfully theirs, then carry the scarlet letter for being the bad guy. Come on Barton’s, take your personal possessions from the home and leave.

  • M July 29, 2014 (9:21 pm)

    Wow. No words. Out they go. Get a house free & clear and dig yourself into this kind of mess? Not okay. I agree with Joe’s comment above.

  • WTF July 29, 2014 (9:49 pm)

    I’m all for Vets. Work with them everyday.
    But, this is not a Vet story and there is much more to it than the takers & media are telling. You don’t wait for a gapping wound to turn into an amputation and expect everyone else to bail you out. They were irresponsible and it’s costing them the home they lived in for free…for a long time! Using being a Vet to gain attention to this irresponsibility is shameful and takes our attention off our Vets who really need us as a result of their service.

  • Mike July 29, 2014 (9:50 pm)

    If the foreclosure is found illegal in June of next year, then this was an illegal sale and the Bartons will likely take back their land from this developer. The one the developer needs to sue is the people they made a quick $ with on this deal. But what’s that, the developer would have sold this already and run off with large amounts of cash? Yes, yes they would have. And who then do the Bartons go after to get their land and home back? If it’s an illegal foreclosure, the only one losing out on all this is the Bartons.

  • Mike July 29, 2014 (10:15 pm)

    “According to King County property records, the Bartons received the house free and clear from a family trust in 2003 and almost immediately began to use a series of mortgages to turn the value of the house into cash. By August of 2007, the house was pledged to more than $660,000 of debt.”
    I’d love to read these, if somebody can provide the links to this documentation so I can interpret it myself instead of reading the legal twisted view of it by “a law firm”. Can you also name that law firm, I’d love to do a background check on them. There’s all sorts of fun stuff about law firms on the Internet. Which ones are connected to each case is always fun to see.

    • WSB July 29, 2014 (10:29 pm)

      Triangle’s representation is Dimension Law Group of Renton. I still haven’t found this particular filing. I have found a couple other eviction cases – preceded by foreclosures – involving Triangle, however. As discussed extensively in comments on our previous two stories about all this, you can find some of the real-estate documents in King County Online Records, which unlike the Superior Court docs at ECR Online, does not usually shut down for the night, and does not require paying per page, etc. I don’t re-upload docs like these in most cases because they tend to have very personal information and I don’t have software for redacting. – TR

  • Mike July 29, 2014 (10:29 pm)

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A lawyer, developer and a banker walk into a bar…

  • sittingbird July 29, 2014 (11:01 pm)

    What does Kshama Sawant have to say about this whole thing? She went down in person the day of the eviction, but I don’t hear a peep out of her now cmon Kshama.I get it a good time for a photo op.

  • Alex July 29, 2014 (11:22 pm)

    “[free] Housing is a human right.” Wow, I didn’t know that. I’d like to know how to get one of these free houses please.

    And can I also have the hundreds of thousands of dollars in home equity loans along with my free housing?

    Thank you.

  • steve July 30, 2014 (12:01 am)

    Thanks WSB for the clarification. I misspoke. A house up for auction will always start the bidding at the balance (660k in this case) that is due on the mortgage. I find it amazing that this house sold for this amount(and higher) in this area, but then again we are in another real estate bubble. If there were no takers at auction, then this house would have become “bank owned.” The Bartons unfortunately got in over their heads, but lucky that they’re actually coming out ahead with proceeds from the sale. i.e., lucky that it sold at auction, and above starting bid.

  • Robert July 30, 2014 (8:01 am)

    Only on the left-coast could this debacle happen , the mayor stepping in on a civil action{legal] with the police helping in an illegal action. then everybody trying to villify the banks..rampant socialisim !!!

  • JMB July 30, 2014 (8:08 am)

    It’s called Fee Simple. You have rights as an owner. I don’t get to tell you what to do with your house. Triangle owns the property. They can tear it down if they wish. The only rules they need to worry about on the rebuild is the building codes and public safety.
    There is no debate here. This is tragic, yes. Rest assured there is no debate.

  • sven July 30, 2014 (10:19 am)

    Let me get the order of events straight here:

    1. Family inherits house for free in 2003
    2. Family takes out over half a million dollars in loans against said free house between 2003-2007
    3. Man has stroke in 2012
    4. Family stops paying on their loans
    5. Developer buys property at foreclosure auction in 2014
    6. Family refuses to vacate, despite formal eviction, because him having a stroke and being disabled somehow entitles him to not only discharge the debt, but also not have to give up the collateral he put up (i.e. the house).

    Seriously, come on Seattle. Boot them out and let the developer do his thing.

    Is it a sad story? Yes. Is the family’s financial trouble mostly caused by their fiscal irresponsibility? Yes. At some point people have to take responsibility for their actions. Sometimes the consequences suck. Losing your house sucks. You know what else sucks? Buying a house and not being able to use it because the previous owner refuses to leave, despite being evicted by King County. If this happened to an individual and not a developer, I’m sure everyone’s attitude would be different. However, it was a developer, so obviously we should punish that person/company for trying to build something new in the community, because they want to make a little money at the same time.

    No sympathy. Boot the deadbeats. The do-gooders supporting this family should pool some money and put them up in an apartment if they care so much.

  • AG July 30, 2014 (10:42 am)

    sven seems to have the timeline accurate, though I think #4 happened before #3.

    I am usually one of the “do-gooders” but the more information that comes out about this one, the less it seems like a bank taking advantage and more like the former homeowners taking advantage. I get that life events happen – heck my own family went into debt to try to save a family member’s life due to cancer – he died and the debt remains. At some point you have to own your own issues.

    $600k in loans on a free and clear home BEFORE the medical issues came into play is not generally just bad luck, and it’s not a bank taking advantage. This family ended up with their debt wiped and $100k in cash in the bank after all was said and done. Time to pay cash up front for an apt rental for a few years and move toward rebuilding.

  • David Trotter July 30, 2014 (10:42 am)

    The legal case is NOT fully clear here, as we don’t know what the Bartons may or may not have done in the ensuing years to find employment.

    In a society that tells us, from the president on down, that there are fewer jobs than there are people looking for work, we cannot assume the Bartons “systematically lived beyond there means,” without knowing what they have done to merely survive. This may (or may not) have been their only available means of living.

    Some will argue that “society doesn’t owe anyone a living,” but a society that actively promotes a shortage of jobs, a shortage of employment and income opportunities, is deliberately TAKING LIFE FROM some of society’s members and operating on the premise that society can be built only on the backs of an oppressed class, that that HAVE to be poor and oppressed people, that there HAVE to be slaves and victims. This is pure bullshit.

    We DON”T know everything the Bartons did in those years, and for the mortgage holder to operate from the principle of taking life from others and selling people’s homes out from under them is to put the mortgage company and the company that bought the house at auction in the position of slavers at best and potential murderers (life takers) at worst.

    Mayor Murray has demanded a clarification on THESE questions.

    The are thousands of empty and unforeclosed homes potentially on the market right now, but the federal government caps how many can be put on the market at any one time, “so there isn’t a housing glut driving down prices.” This fact in itself demonstrates the federal government’s and the banks’ intentions to keep housing price jacked up to where millions of people CAN”T AFFORD the human right of owning their own home. It further demonstrates that the mortgage holder in this case and Triangle Property Development are less interested in providing affordable housing to people – since the federal caps actively prevent them from doing so – than they are in deliberately forcing yet another family into indentured servitude or worse, thus establishing a precedent to enslave the masses.

    I applaud Mayor Murray on his handling of this matter and am directly encouraging him t o stand his ground and to lead the city in defending the Bartons and the public at large in this and similar matters

  • Ray July 30, 2014 (11:01 am)

    David, the Barton’s are now illegally squatting in a house that they essentially sold awayTHEMSELVES in the form of mortgage to the tune of $500k or more. There are no victims here. They made the choice to take out the loans which they spent. It is sad for them but they must follow the rule of law like the rest of us.

  • question for David Trotter July 30, 2014 (11:01 am)

    “This fact in itself demonstrates the federal government’s and the banks’ intentions to keep housing price jacked up to where millions of people CAN”T AFFORD the human right of owning their own home.”

    I’m confused by this. By your logic, why should I pay my monthly mortgage? Why should anyone?

    I am genuinely curious how you believe home ownership is supposed to work. Do you believe the government should provide free housing to everyone? Or is your argument that because the Barton family owned this house it should be theirs forever? In which case, what of the $660,000 they received from the bank, plus the additional $100k they received from the sale?

    I don’t mean to be argumentative. I am struggling to understand your perspective on this sad situation.

  • David Trotter July 30, 2014 (11:06 am)

    “There is no debate here. This is tragic, yes. Rest assured there is no debate.” – Straight-Arm Salute

  • Noelle July 30, 2014 (11:26 am)

    This is a ridiculous situation. The Bartons need to move. They don’t own the house any more. Its sad they did not manage their finances better, but it is what it is. The new owners of the property have been more than reasonable. Time for everyone to help the Bartons move, not protest something the Bartons brought on themselves.

  • ;dsa July 30, 2014 (11:27 am)

    It’s fine with me if you encourage the Mayor to stand his ground, David. The sooner we can get rid of the mayor the better.

  • zark July 30, 2014 (11:28 am)

    Caveat Emptor
    Hopefully everyone realizes that the “facts” above are from Triangle Property lawyers.
    WSB is quoting them, not presenting that as the final verdict, fact, or the truth – just a quote.
    Weird to blindly believe anything Triangle’s lawyers say is fact, especially given the track record of illegal foreclosures from QLS.
    Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware.
    Triangle are freaking out – and they should be. Triangle didn’t do proper due diligence, failed to find out the mess they were buying themselves into, and they’re now dealing with their own incompetence biting them in the behind.
    Here’s a fact – Triangle could have done more research and discovered the owner was suing QLS, and stepped away until it was resolved. They chose to buy the property and get involved = Caveat Emptor. This is a PR campaign by them to save face, push the blame back on the home owner, and maybe get out of this mess without losing a lot.
    It’s not as simple as “they own it, they can do what they want” – if they unknowingly got in bed with a company (QLS) that did things that end up being illegal, stinks to be Triangle, but that’s the law. This could easily be the case for Triangle: they bought a property, they thought it was legit, turns out it wasn’t, they don’t get the house, they lose anything aside from purchase price they have in, they can sue QLS but that’s about it.
    Not sure where you people get your jack-booted spirit – but most regular folks need protection, corporations like PLLC Triangle don’t need you to stand up for them.
    And – ‘Straight-Arm Salute’?!?! – I hope, oh my god I hope, that was satire – please let that be meant to point out how myopic the “no-debate” comment was.

    • WSB July 30, 2014 (11:36 am)

      Thank you, Zark, for your first point, which is absolutely true. I do also want to say, since some hours have elapsed, that we’re continuing to work to follow up on this. No new reaction/discoveries/documents yet. But (as with another, unrelated followup we’re about to publish), in time, we’ll track down new info and report it when we do … TR

  • sw July 30, 2014 (11:29 am)

    Slavery? Potential murderers? Pretty sure we’re bordering on some grey areas regarding use of this forum.

    It is clear that no one is in the know (or is willing to admit) what the Bartons have done legally since 2003. What is known is that they have defaulted on their loan(s) and are currently in violation of the law – the same laws that apply to all of us. Everything else is merely a photo op for SAFE and Sawant, playing the “disabled vet” card for all its worth.

    Owning a home is not a “human right” as David Trotter claims. It is a privilege – much like owning a car or any other material possession. The market dictates home values – some can afford it, some cannot. Many are arguing that it’s not that simple, but really – it is.

  • 33Pete July 30, 2014 (11:32 am)

    David Trotter – the only one coming off as a proponent of the “straight-arm salute” in this dialog is you. Apparently you are fine with sweeping stereotypes and assumptions about people merely because they take the radical view that when you borrow money from others with a promise to pay it back, you should be held to your promise. If that’s so wrong, why don’t you loan these people the money they need – I mean, they will promise to pay you back. This whole matter is about people who are trying to gain public sympathy based on misinformation and half truth. The reality is that they already received $660,000 for their home in the form of a cash out and now want to keep the house without giving the $660,000 back.

    Again, if you feel so bad for them, how about you give them (another) free place to stay. Really, what is stopping you?

  • hopey July 30, 2014 (11:42 am)

    Look, it’s as easy as this. Go here:
    Click on Records Search, click Accept, and then put “Barton, Byron” in the Party Name box (without quotes). All of the legal documents associated with his name and that property are listed there. Many of them have PDF documents you can download and read for yourself. Personally, I was astonished to see how many liens there were against the property. Not mortgages, liens from other debts he did not pay. You can read the Quit Claim document from 2003 which gave him free-and-clear title to the property. You can also read the Notices of Trustee Sale, which is the notification they received long before the property went to auction, detailing the amount of the debt. It’s all public legal record, viewable by anyone who cares to go look.

  • G July 30, 2014 (12:26 pm)

    My elderly mom is leaving WS and moving back to a small Oregon town, into a brand new manufactured home ($100K, but looks great)with a her doctor close, good ambulance, and regional hospital only 10 miles away. Ever see the night sky in the country? Smell fresh hay? Unbelievable. Not for those in the prime earning years, of course, but for retirees, not bad at all. I grew up in Seattle, but it’s becoming more and more appealing as I get older.

    Bartons: Sometimes change is good thing for mind and body. Take your money and see what it buys elsewhere, wherever. Sometimes I think WSeattleites get trapped into thinking it’s the only place in the world, like the movie, The Truman Show.

    Good luck.

  • momof5 July 30, 2014 (2:34 pm)

    The Bartons contacted me to rent a $3800 a month home in west seattle in June- after looking up there names and finding foreclosure I chose not to rent to them. I’m feeling thankful they would have probably moved in and never paid rent –

  • cj July 30, 2014 (4:16 pm)

    So do they have a place to go or will they be on the street until the man dies? Do we care? What happened to the property they owned that was in the house?

  • zark July 30, 2014 (4:39 pm)

    thanks Hopey – that link is quite handy.
    Records are revealing too – like all the liens, then the lifted because he paid his debt, that the money they owed that got them foreclosed on was only $33k, that Quality Loan retracted the notice of auction twice before finally being able to sell it through – all interesting reading.
    The mortgage has changed hands so many times it’s nuts – they sold my sisters mortgage once, the new company literally lost her first payment to them behind a filing cabinet, they started foreclosure immediately, sister got a lawyer to send a latter and the new company, magically, found the payment two days later.

    I find this one odd – the name on the Appointment of Successor Trustee that gave the rights to foreclose to Quality Loan Services from Wamu/Chase is signed by a Salwa Sayed Ahmed aka Salwa Ahmed as a Vice President of JPMorgan Chase Bank National Association – you’d think it would be easy to track down a VP at Chase, but I can’t find anything showing that person to work for Wamu or Chase, certainly not a VP. That’s, by the way, the same thing Quality Loan Services got in trouble for, lying on an Appointment of Trustee naming themselves as the grantor.
    This document was also generated by the law firm McCarthy and Hulthus, LLP who own Quality Loan Services, and a host of other mortgage, real estate, and portfolio companies.

    Google McCarthy and Hulthus, Quality Loan Services, Dept. of Justice, etc. – from their own site:
    “We pride ourselves on knowing the judges and the “local-local” rules to effectively represent our Lender clients.”

  • question for David Trotter July 30, 2014 (5:30 pm)

    Based on the prior coverage of this story, commented Thomas pointed out:

    “The homeowners failed to restrain the sale based on claims of fraud. This means as a matter of law that their remedies are limited to money damages. RCW 61.24.127(2)(c). Their interests were terminated by the foreclosure sale. They were lawfully evicted. They re-entered the premises from which they were evicted which is a crime.”

    So to answer Jan’s question, as well as David Trotter’s assertions, even if their lawsuit succeeds in overturning the court’s current ruling, the house still wouldn’t be theirs. Even in their best case scenario, the house belongs to someone else and they might get a bit more money.

    Considering that they’ve already received something in excess of $760k, I don’t know how much more they’d get, but the fact remains that the house will still not be theirs no matter what.

  • singularname July 30, 2014 (7:29 pm)

    Nominating for Darwin Quote 2014: “[If the court orders me to, I will follow the law.]” –Mayor Murray

    By all means, correct to exact verbiage if you hear this again on 7 News, but I am confident I am in context and it was this concise.

    • WSB July 30, 2014 (7:35 pm)

      Oh, did they have a bite on this? The mayor’s office has yet to respond to my request for comment, sent yesterday afternoon. They had a “media availability” on various subjects in his office early this afternoon but there was no way we could get downtown for that, suppose that’s when they asked … TR

  • singularname July 30, 2014 (7:57 pm)

    It was a decent-sized bite ’round 6PM with video of the eviction and mayor answering some Qs on it. I hunted for the video to get the verbatim quote but no luck.

  • disabledvet July 30, 2014 (7:59 pm)

    Zark appears to have insight and clarity in this complex story. Horray for the Mayor! Throughout the Housing Crisis, “The Lenders” have made money at every stage of the sale/purchase/foreclosure proccess. They earn at the close of a sale, with regular monthly payments, and also after foreclosure, with yet another sale, which starts the cycle all over. And there are times in between, like during their “Trial Periods”.

    Look at BOA’s stock – it tells a story. At the time, what they did was legal, regardless of right or wrong. Since being bailed-out, HOW they have conducted business is nothing short of immoral, sometimes illegal, when challenged in a court of law.

    The media would have folks believe it’s all because everyone started living beyond their means. The reality is Junk Bonds, and a crafted plan where more and more money, is the sole goal.

    I don’t understand why:
    With Social Media available as a powerful tool, why are so many people (victims of bad faith actions) why do they allow their lender ability to swoop-in and take away their homes? Wrongly foreclosed, often entire families, these lenders gain access and take,their homes away forever – gone?

    I’ve seen a few stories such as this one from time to time, but don’t understand the apathetic nature shielding this topic. This crisis alone has destroyed neighborhoods, even cities, but most of all, our families… Perhaps I’m miss-informed, but where is the outrage and outcry from the people? I hope that more stories outing the lenders, and their outragous actions, see print or are given air-time with each new day.

    I’m at the end of a 4-year FIGHT myself. Our only hope was an attorney, a small (now empty) savings account, and The Mediation proccess. A new loan that is fair and reasonable (but sadly, no price reduction) is on its way to me – to be signed. BUT, I can’t relax until the contract is signed. Too many times before, they have “lost” this form or that form has “expired” – tatics – to what end? I don’t exactally know. And so, until then, we wait, hope and pray – for US all.

  • HC July 30, 2014 (9:03 pm)

    Zark, I believe the homeowners filed suit after Triangle purchased the home, so due diligence wouldn’t have revealed a lawsuit that wasn’t filed yet.

  • JoAnne July 30, 2014 (9:03 pm)

    This abuse of power by the executive branch is being thrown around with impunity by Obama and is now the standing role-model for Democrat executives.
    Jay Inslee already abused his executive power to suspend the legal death penalty, and now Murray is doing it.
    It’s a frightening development where we do not have a governing process anymore–just a bullying process.

  • Rick July 30, 2014 (10:59 pm)

    “You are entitled your own opinions but not your own facts”. Seems as entitlement is a new political party. Sure seems prevalent these days. By the way, if you have anything, you owe me. Pay up or shut up.

  • Thomas M. July 31, 2014 (12:21 pm)

    (1) If Barton was on disability, you can bet the disability payer has a lien on the surplus funds of $100,000 from the sale.
    (2) I reviewed Barton’s complaint and posted earlier. It is long, incoherent, rambling, cites California law and does not seek to restrain the sale… which means all he could get are money damages per RCW 61.24.127(2)(c). Ask yourself: What are his damages after inheriting a free house, pulling over a half million out in equity refi’s and $100,000 in surplus from the foreclosure sale? I am not so sure Barton has a claim at all. The fact that he SUED QLS is not enough… he had to have sued in Equity for a Restraining Order stopping the sale. No se’.
    (3) The numerous other liens on the property records are stripped off by the sale and Trustee’s Deed. (generally).
    (4) The judgments that supported all those other lien claims are still in place.
    (5) Barton is likely “Judgment Proof”.

  • Ryan July 31, 2014 (5:44 pm)

    Sven said it best. People NEED to take responsibility for their own actions. As adults, they should be held accountable for what they did. Take your money and walk away.

  • sittingbird July 31, 2014 (11:30 pm)

    Its going to be fun watching the police comeback for the second time around..

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 1, 2014 (8:32 am)

    All the Bartons have asked for is to stay in their home until their courts case for illegal foreclosure plays out; is this really too much to ask? Triangle Property isn’t hurting over this; they are an Idaho based company that apparently deals primarily in foreclosed properties and have multiple foreclosed properties in their portfolio both here and in Idaho; waiting for the Bartons day in court is not going to break their business. I don’t understand why Triangle Property thinks it is so important to talk about how the Bartons refinanced their house; what does that have to do with the Bartons case or the situation? All the Bartons want is to stay in their house until their court case is heard; this really seems like a basic property owner’s right. Even if you ignore that the Bartons had an aging parent with Alzheimer’s to care for during the time period when they refinanced (not inexpensive at all), the Bartons did what many people did during that time and which made economic sense at that time. Remember, it was the banks that caused the economic crash of 2008 which caused the Bartons business to tank and the Bartons not to be able to keep up with their payments; it was the banks that received a taxpayer bailout; and it was the banks that were supposed to offer loan workouts as a condition of that bailout to struggling homeowners hurt by the bank-induced recession – people like the Bartons. Chase Bank has one of the worst track records for loan workouts; why they couldn’t figure out a way to keep a disabled vet in his home is beyond me. And how it is going to help the public by throwing the Bartons out of their home at this juncture?

  • singularname August 1, 2014 (10:37 am)

    Gatewood Neighbor … Your address please? I feel like “borrowing” these days. And I’ll be bringing my mom, cuz she’s slippin’, ya know? And I do have a disability that could qualify me for assistance–ya know, if you want me to stop working so I look a bit more pathetic I will. And the bank is charging me this outrageous interest–sounds like you’d be cool with me keeping my equity when I sell, right? Hope that I’m originally from Louisiana is okay with you–all my family’s houses got knocked down by that nasty storm a few years back. … You can leave the key under the mat. Thanks!

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 1, 2014 (2:27 pm)

    Singularname – there is an apparent lack of information on your part on the housing/economic crisis of 2008 caused by the banks, the effects of which many people such as the Bartons are experiencing to this day. The banks were bailed out with our tax dollars; as a requirement of their bailout the banks are supposed to do loan workouts with struggling homeowners suffering from the effects of the bank-caused economic/housing crisis. Housing is the single most important part of our nation’s economic growth; the bank-induced housing crisis continues to drag down our economy and stymie economic growth to this day. Modifying loans makes fiscal sense; in fact, the NPV model for loan workouts used by most banks today was created by Sheila Bair, a Republican and head of the FDIC, who single handedly was able to keep Indy Bank from going under, helped stabilize our economic system and helped avoid 1930s era runs on banks – all of which would have caused even worse repercussions on our economy. Moreover, keeping people in their homes helps reduce the economic burden on taxpayers. I am sorry you seem to be having such hard economic times; perhaps you should contact your bank about a loan workout. Loan workouts are required by the terms of their bailout, but unfortunately many banks sidestep their responsibility or drag out the process for so long (two years is not at all uncommon) that homeowners either give up, or are foreclosed upon even when they are in negotiations for a loan workout – another violation of the terms of the bank bailout. That was the point of my post – let’s make the banks do what they legally and fiscally are supposed to do for struggling homeowners, or hold the banks accountable.

  • 33Pete August 1, 2014 (3:56 pm)

    “All the Bartons want is to stay in their house until their court case is heard.”

    Actually, they have no basis for continuing possession of their house in connection with their court case – it is purely a matter of seeking economic damages (and regardless, despite the lack of legal merit, they could file for an injunction, which they have not done).

    “[T]his really seems like a basic property owner’s right.”

    Actually, retained possesion under the circumstance is not even in the realm of available remedies – so no, its not only not a right, its contrary to established law.

    “Even if you ignore that the Bartons had an aging parent with Alzheimer’s to care for during the time period when they refinanced (not inexpensive at all), the Bartons did what many people did during that time and which made economic sense at that time.”

    Oh, you mean borrowing money and not repaying it, and then trying to keep the money and the collateral. Nope – I don’t think so. Nice try play the Alzheimer’s card though.

    “Remember, it was the banks that caused the economic crash of 2008 which caused the Bartons business to tank and the Bartons not to be able to keep up with their payments”

    Oh, did you forget the irresponsible borrowers in the equation. Perhaps you are unaware that there would have been no economic crash but for the borrowers defaulting on their debts, and that those bad debts were largely a product of well intentioned politicians who wanted to open up the housing boom to all – even those who could not affort it unless the boom continued (which as we know, it did not). Please spare me the “its all the banks’ fault” line – it was the borrowers’ fault too.

    “it was the banks that received a taxpayer bailout; and it was the banks that were supposed to offer loan workouts as a condition of that bailout[.]”

    First accurate thing you’ve said.

    “let’s make the banks do what they legally and fiscally are supposed to do for struggling homeowners, or hold the banks accountable.”

    And lets make the borrowers like the Bartons do what they are leagally and fiscally required to do under their contracts.

    Look – I’m no cheerleader for the banking industry. But come on, are you unable to see this for what it is – an ill conceived and misguided attempt at garnering sympathy with half truths. Honestly, you come across as thinking you are independent and progressive minded, when all it sounds like from the rhetoric is the “bahhhh bahhh” of sheep who listen to too much talk radio without critical analysis.

  • singularname August 1, 2014 (4:29 pm)

    Gatewood Neighbor … I am well versed in real estate ownership, the economy and, most importantly, personal accountability. You see, I understand basic math and that no one owes me anything because I whine or scream or throw in the towel. It’s not that I am having a hard economic time–somewhat to the contrary as I develop my own lot. I was just curious if you walk your talk–apparently not. The crisis is as much about a greedy population as it is about a greedy industry. It’s the same greed that’ll have the entire 99% living in tents indefinitely, and that won’t come with pizza delivery and plug-in options.

  • singularname August 1, 2014 (4:32 pm)

    And I can’t help but add: Coffee-not-made-at-home was probably number 3 of the expenses I cut when I went freelance.

  • Thomas M. August 1, 2014 (6:19 pm)

    33Pete: Bingo.

    • WSB August 1, 2014 (6:42 pm)

      Since this is a long discussion, it’s time for a few reminders.
      Most importantly – if you really care about this, be at the meeting on Monday. 6 pm, Greenbridge YMCA, 9720 8th Avenue SW. Lightly attended meetings – and while it was a small room and a few people were standing, I would still characterize ~20 people last night as a lightly attended meeting – tell the city nobody cares either way. You don’t have to say a single word. Just show up. (You can leave written comments in person, even.)
      #2, WSB is a site for civil discussion. No namecalling. And that doesn’t just mean profane/obscene names – that means insults and other forms of rudeness. You can argue, discuss, disagree, as long as it’s civil. Those are the house rules. Lots of other places online that are free-for-alls. Not here. Never has been, never will be. Thanks! – Tracy

  • to Gatewood Neighbor August 1, 2014 (6:54 pm)

    Gatewood Neighbor, your concern for the Bartons is admirable, but you seem to have missed an important part of the discussion. You referred to the rights of property owners, but as others have repeatedly and respectfully pointed out, the Bartons don’t own the property anymore. And there is no possible scenario under the law that can change that. The property belongs lawfully to Triangle and that won’t change regardless of the outcome of their lawsuit.

    People may have different opinions regarding what caused this situation, but we can all agree that this is a very unfortunate situation. The important thing now is not to give false hope or advocate fixes outside of the law. The sooner the Bartons start looking at actual possible outcomes, the sooner they can move forward with their lives.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 1, 2014 (9:24 pm)

    33 Pete, Singularname and Thomas M – thank you for your comments. The property ownership is in dispute, and I think that the Bartons should be allowed to stay there until it is played out in the courts. 33Pete your are right: there is no law to this effect in Washington State. I think there should be, and I think this case points out the need for it.

    Many things went into the unfortunate economic fiasco of 2008 that is plaguing our economy still to this day. One that has not been discussed is the currency by which many of the mortgage securities were backed. When the notes started to became due, the banks found that the value of the currency had doubled as compared to the dollar, costing them twice as much to redeem. This is one of the first of many things and a key one responsible for the economic implosion/collapse. Many homeowners were left in the wake to deal with payments that they had originally been able to handle, only to have them balloon up to unaffordable payments. They had been promised that they could refinance out of them, only to find that they could not.

    Shakespeare once wrote “the quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven to the place below…and earthly power doth then show likest God’s when mercy seasons justice.” Jesus said one of the two great commandments is this: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” And when asked, “who is my neighbor” He related the story of the good Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Who do you think was his neighbor?” The answer, “he who showed mercy”. Jesus said “go and do likewise.” This is what I strive to do. The Bartons are my neighbor; I do not understand the need to toss them out until their case plays out in court. In the meantime, I shall show mercy and compassion. I think it is what many of us would wish if we were in their situation.

  • sittingbird August 2, 2014 (7:45 am)

    I think we should pool our money together and help pay their bills. We are a community and we must help one another in trying times.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 2, 2014 (10:58 am)

    SIttingbird – great idea. Anyone out there with experience in setting up community funds like this that would like to help? I will if no one else steps in. There may on the surface of it look like there are excess funds from the sale of their house, but between the second (which they are still legally liable for) and other things there is a good chance when all is said and done that there won’t be anything for them in the end.

  • miws August 2, 2014 (4:50 pm)

    Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.

    -Herman Melville, novelist and poet (1819-1891)



  • Gatewood Neighbor August 4, 2014 (9:19 am)

    Here is a story about a ruling in February of this year in Washington State where the judge ruled a foreclosure unconstitutional and voided the foreclosure sale. Kind of makes sense why the Bartons might want to stay in their home until their case is heard in court:

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

    In this case defended by StafneTrumbull law firm in Washington State, the homeowner won his house from BoA which is another big win against the company who has been caught doing these type of practices against millions of Americans.”

    Here is the link to the full story as well as a video interview with the attorney who won the case.

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