Bartons’ eviction fight: Judge denies new owner’s request to order SPD to arrest them

ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:36 AM: Just in: King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman has rejected Triangle Property Development‘s petition for a “writ of mandamus” which would basically have forced Seattle Police to arrest Jean and Byron Barton for trespassing, as they continue to occupy the Morgan Junction home from which they were evicted last month, three months after Triangle bought it at a foreclosure auction. The judge’s ruling comes five days after a hearing on the issue (WSB coverage here). Judge Spearman wrote that SPD has discretion on whether to make an arrest in a situation like this, and that an “extraordinary” move such as a writ of mandamus is not appropriate for compelling an action in which there is discretion. See the ruling in PDF, or embedded below:

We’re also contacting Triangle Development’s lawyer for comment; the company announced July 29th that it would take the city to court. That was 11 days after sheriff’s deputies – who enforce evictions in King County, whether within city limits or not – removed the Bartons from the house; later that day (July 18th), the couple re-entered it. SPD arrived at the house late in the day, but did not arrest them, and Mayor Murray issued a statement the following Monday saying he had told SPD to “stand by while the latest court proceedings unwind.”

ADDED 12:42 PM: A few other notes – The Bartons themselves were not a direct party in this particular legal action. It was taken by Triangle Development against Mayor Murray and Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, and is unrelated to the Bartons’ ongoing lawsuit (read it here) alleging that the foreclosure was illegal. If you haven’t read today’s ruling yet, another reason cited by the judge was that Triangle has other options for getting control of the property – including getting the King County Sheriff’s Office to serve another order. Meantime, the mayor has posted a statement about the ruling, saying, among other things, “… the judge decided that SPD acted properly in exercising its discretion over the past three weeks.”

ADDED 4:46 PM: The advocacy group SAFE has sent a statement, which includes Jean Barton’s reaction to the city’s contention that she and her husband are ignoring/spurning housing-related services:

Today, a King County judge ruled that SPD acted properly in not interfering in Jean and Byron Bartons’ civil land dispute regarding their home in West Seattle. The judge has now put the ball in King County’s court, giving Triangle Properties the option to seek a writ against the Sheriff’s department to carry out an eviction that they claim they have already carried out.

The Bartons’ case has now become something of a hot potato, with Triangle passing it to the courts, the city passing the matter to the county, the county passing it back to the city, and now the judge tossing it back to the King County Sheriff’s Department.

Meanwhile, Byron Barton is still in his home of 61 years, in comfortable conditions, under the home care of his wife, while the couple waits for a superior court to make a decision regarding the fraudulent foreclosure practices of Chase Bank and Quality Loan Services, who auctioned the property to Triangle last April. Quality Loan Services has already been reprimanded by Attorney General Bob Ferguson last March for illegal foreclosure practices, and those same practices were used in the theft of Jean and Byron’s home.

“If someone takes your home, and they break the law while doing it, don’t you deserve your day in court before the property is removed from you?” says Randy Whitelock, SAFE Organizer, ”The AG has already gone after QLS publicly, and put a moratorium on foreclosures they’re involved in. They are the criminals, not the Bartons.”

As far as services supposedly offered by the city… “All we’ve gotten are a list of phone numbers, applications for 3 to 5 year waiting lists, and a case worker from the VA who has done nothing. The idea that we’ve turned down resources is ridiculous,” says Jean Barton.

The simple truth is that the city has no adequate resources for putting displaced citizens into stable, permanent housing, an issue that should be addressed by Mayor Murray in his mission to end veteran homelessness in Seattle.

But for now, the Bartons are in their home, awaiting their day in court.

89 Replies to "Bartons' eviction fight: Judge denies new owner's request to order SPD to arrest them"

  • Timing August 13, 2014 (11:53 am)

    Squatters win, now I can stop paying my mortgage , legal precedence shows I will not be evicted for my own stupidity?

    Way to go so called leaders, nobody wants to be the bad guy, so they pass the buck! Vote out these spineless career politicians!

  • JanS August 13, 2014 (12:22 pm)

    no…the judge was following the law…see how that works?

  • zark August 13, 2014 (12:23 pm)

    So odd that you would ignore huge things like the pending lawsuit alleging the foreclosure itself was illegal, and that you just blindly believe what a fly by night LLC says IS the law, and that you think what our elected officials, and a judge!, say is just BS.
    Where do you get your backwards perspective on this?
    Why are you blindly believing everything Triangle properties tells you? Why would you decide a judge is SO wrong, and this LLC from Redmond is just SO very right?
    You’re literally saying “the judge is wrong, Triangle Property is right!” – that’s insane – sorry, but that is completely insane.
    You are so far off base here, and just so woefully wrong about the situation. The blind faith in corporate America over democratic representation is truly terrifying. The right wing in West Seattle are a scary bunch, driven by weird corporate motivations, blind adherence to some made-up Laissez faire political view, and powered by a profound lack of knowledge and debilitating fear of actually investigating and learning the truth.

  • skeeter August 13, 2014 (12:24 pm)

    Timing – you will be evicted. The legal owners of the house will make sure of that. But you can break in the house 10 minutes later and continue living there as an illegal trespasser. The police will not arrest you for trespassing if you can convince three of your neighbors to hold up a sign in your front yard.

  • skeeter August 13, 2014 (12:34 pm)

    “It must be apparent that the rights of the Plaintiff will not be protected without issuance of the writ. In the present case, the Plaintiff has other adequate remedies available. The plaintiff could file and ejectment action.”

    Can anyone with a knowledge of property or criminal law explain this to me? Because if someone broke into my home and started living there and I called the police I’m pretty sure that it would be “apparent” that my “rights are not protected” if the police do not arrest the trespassers and haul them off my property.

  • Les August 13, 2014 (12:34 pm)

    Is America still a country of laws? It appears that we have politicians locally and nationaly that believe their personal ideology is above the law.

  • Chuck and Sally's Van Man August 13, 2014 (12:37 pm)

    Well said, Timing. While I feel sorry for the squatters (hey, that’s what they are), I think all are better served if they find the proper social support (low income housing, welfare, any other established and proper channels) and quit fighting a fight of fraud. They no longer own the house. I’m sorry for that, but it’s time to go. And shame on you, Officials, for passing the buck to law enforcement. They won’t do a thing, and now have been given a permission statement equaling exactly that. In the meantime, an honest home owner’s home is being further damaged and neglected. Absolutely nothing just is happening here on any level. Least of all for the needy squatters.

  • skeeter August 13, 2014 (12:45 pm)

    Zark – for the one hundredth time. If the foreclosure was illegal that is a legal issue between the lender and the Bartons. The purchaser of the property, Triangle, had absolutely nothing to do with the foreclosure.

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (12:46 pm)

      Just a note, we have added more to the story, including a link to a statement from the mayor. – TR

  • Jason August 13, 2014 (1:09 pm)

    “oh what about me? I want to live without paying my mortgage too!” get over yourselves, I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t want to trade places with these folks.

  • clark5080 August 13, 2014 (1:50 pm)

    Zark you are so misinformed about the people of West Seattle. “The right wing in West Seattle are a scary bunch, driven by weird corporate motivations”

  • sw August 13, 2014 (1:54 pm)

    Well said, Van Man. I agree completely.

    It appears that no matter what happens with the alleged “illegal foreclosure” the Bartons cannot afford to continue living in the house. This point is conveniently overlooked by the pro-Barton contingent. Even if they weren’t foreclosed on in the first place, they simply do not have the means to live there and would lose the house eventually.

    What is actively being done by the Bartons, SAFE, anyone – to help get them into a stable, sustainable situation? So far, all we see are stall tactics to keep them in the home (illegally), amid proclamations of injustice.

    The only way to have any sort of positive outcome is to find a new living situation.

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (2:08 pm)

      SW – in the previous update, our coverage of the court hearing on Friday (see “WSB coverage here” link in the story above), we included a document sent to us by the city, a copy of a letter from the Office of Housing to Mayor Murray saying that they had been trying to work with the Bartons on making sure they knew their options for pursuing housing, housing assistance, etc. That letter said the Bartons had yet to avail themselves of any of those options, and in Mayor Murray’s statement today – also linked above – he said that to date, they apparently still have not. We have not heard from the Bartons themselves as to whether that’s true and if it is, why; we did not see the Office of Housing letter last Friday until after the news conference at which Jean Barton was present in the courthouse hallway, or we would have asked her then. – TR

  • MJ August 13, 2014 (2:12 pm)

    I’ve read all the information (and comments) posted on WSB since this story broke and can only say I find it very troubling that the mayor of our city and chief of our police are refusing to enforce the law and thereby causing harm/damage to the lawful owners of this property.

    The judge’s ruling is disappointing.

  • sw August 13, 2014 (2:20 pm)

    Thanks for the note, TR. The question I posed was more rhetorical than literal. While some write in to condemn the evil ways of banks, foreclosure companies, Triangle Development and the “scary right-wing West Seattleites” – the Bartons have apparently done nothing to help themselves in this situation, all the while being used as a photo op for SAFE and Sawant.

    Until they proactively start to accept help, I’m afraid the tide of public sentiment will continue to turn against them.

  • sittingbird August 13, 2014 (2:26 pm)

    I’m trying to understand what’s going on here. The house was originally foreclosed on by a bank I heard (Chase) because of loans the Barton’s stopped making payments on? Then, it was put up for sale and bought by Triangle at a foreclosure auction? Have I got the story so far here or what?

  • Ms. Sparkles August 13, 2014 (2:27 pm)

    Well said MJ.

    If Triangle had hired someone to take physical posession of the home the minute the squatters (perfect term “Timing”) were evicted and that person called the police the minute SAFE helped the squatters break back in- would the police have arrested them then?

    How is this different?

  • Legitimate Question August 13, 2014 (2:32 pm)

    Ok, so the owners can start the eviction process again, the sheriff can evict them again, and the Bartons can break the locks and move back in again… How many times? What stops the cycle? Triangle has said they don’t want to tear down the house, but if there’s no other way for them to actually take possession of the property then the bulldozers will come out. And I can’t blame them because what else can they do?

    And for the record I am not the slightest bit right wing, thank you very much.

  • NA August 13, 2014 (2:32 pm)

    A Friend lost their home a few years back and LAWYERS told them it was an illegal foreclose by the bank. Absolutely nothing was done about it, between owner and bank. They were evicted and the house sold at auction. The owner still had to pay the lawyer for their time. The lawyer billed for resubmitting documents over and over (using different wording) to the courts. Point is, everyone feels they were wronged by the banks and should not have been foreclosed but the lawyers are making some good money off of these people when they are already struggling with debt

  • zark August 13, 2014 (2:38 pm)

    Skeeter – for the hundredth time – you are 100% incorrect.
    It’s Triangle Properties responsibility to vet the property and ensure that they are not purchasing something with tenuous legal status – and if they are, then they are doing it with awareness. That’s just the way it works, sorry you don’t like it.

    If they bought a home with a giant lien on it, do you think the lien holder just says “oh well, they’re the legal owner now, I guess I’m out of luck”.
    Not how it works – if it turns out the home was foreclosed on illegally, the outcome is completely unclear. Someone could owe the Barton’s an awful lot of money.
    Triangle Properties is not a person, it’s a LIMITED Liability corporation – formed literally to limit their own personal exposure to losses and law suits. As such, they also can’t claim some kind of person-hood ownership and rights as a citizen. Again, you may not like this, but that just the way it is.
    Not sure why you all feel the need to defend Triangle property, they’re laughing at you while you do it. They don’t need your help, regular people do. If this was all on the up and up, there wouldn’t be this intervention by the mayor and SAFE wouldn’t be involved – seriously open you eyes people.

  • colleen August 13, 2014 (2:51 pm)

    Boy, you can sure tell who the Republicans in this thread are

  • ScubaFrog August 13, 2014 (2:52 pm)

    Can a mayor really ‘order’ which laws the police are to enforce? And if the police follow said ‘order’, to not enforce particular laws, aren’t they all complicit in breaking the law? Sounds to me like Murray and some SPD Officers need to be prosecuted.

    These are squatters. Even in Seattle, I’d hope that the emotionally-reactive liberals recognize that there’s an owner, and a victim in this case – Triangle Property Development.

    The ‘leaders’ (mayor/spd/’judge’), are trying to pass the buck to avoid being the bad guy. I wholeheartedly agree with Timing. It’s too bad that one party, and one political ideology are rampant in cities like Seattle. Or Phoenix. Or San Francisco. Or Kansas City. Left/right extremists should never have a monopoly in any US city (inb4 some whack job says “why don’t you get out of Seattle then!”).

  • skeeter August 13, 2014 (3:28 pm)

    Ms. Sparkles I think you’re on the right track. I think what Triangle has to be aware of is the SPD (at the direction of the mayor) refuses to enforce the trespassing laws. Triangle will have to once again ask the county to evict the prior owners. The minute the county evicts them (the second time,) the county’s job is done. So Triangle will have to have a guard on site to keep the house secure. As soon as the county exits the property, the SPD has jurisdiction. So if someone breaks into the home 60 seconds after the county police leave, like last time, the guard has a choice of either calling 911 and reporting a break-in to the SPD or I suppose the guard would be authorized to use force to protect the house until SPD can respond. I’m still shocked at this gross neglect of duty.

    Luckily Triangle has a cool head. Many property owners would take much more immediate action (read into that what you will) if someone broke into their home.

  • skeeter August 13, 2014 (3:40 pm)

    Zark, you must have some facts that have not been reported. The prior owners do not have a lien on the property. Their ownership interest ceased when the foreclosure was finalized. Or ask yourself this question: if the prior owners had legal rights to occupy the property, why did the King County Sheriff enter the property, physically remove them, and change the locks?

    And as for LLCs not having the rights of a citizen – you are correct that LLCs cannot vote. But LLCs most certainly can and do own property. And LLCs have the same protections and duties as any other property owner.

    As for someone potentially owing the Barton’s an awful lot of money, I agree 100%. A jury would come back with a massive award if the lender illegally foreclosed on the home. We’re actually in agreement on this one point.

  • ktrapp August 13, 2014 (3:46 pm)

    “Not how it works – if it turns out the home was foreclosed on illegally, the outcome is completely unclear.”

    Even if it is eventually determined that the foreclosure was done improperly, it just delays the inevitable. I’m not aware of any claims to the contrary that the Bartons have defaulted on their loans. So if the foreclosure is found to have been done improperly, the bank will just go through the process again. It’s not like they’re going to go “oops, I guess we won’t collect on that defaulted loan of several hundred thousand dollars!” The Bartons may get a year or two more of free living before they get tossed. But it will happen eventually.

    “Someone could owe the Barton’s an awful lot of money.”

    Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants. Stop paying your loans, live free for several years, and then the company that you own a LOT of money to has to pay you money. Yeah, looking past any prejudices against banks that really have screwed this country over, I don’t see how this would be remotely fair.

    BTW, I’m neither “right wing” nor a Republican. Far from both. But I am a homeowner, who pays his mortgage. While it’s sad that the Bartons can’t pay their home equity loans, being a vet and getting some people to chain themselves to your bed shouldn’t absolve you of those debts. There are plenty more people in this country who WERE victims of predatory lending and other factors associated with the financial meltdown. They certainly deserve more pity than the people who got a free home, used it to get a bunch of loans, and then couldn’t pay them back.

  • skeeter August 13, 2014 (3:50 pm)

    WSB staff –I have been a WSB reader for many years. For what it’s worth, I think this story is *by far* the most interesting story ever covered by the WSB. I would think even national news outlets would be interested in this story. WSB coverage has been absolutely fantastic.

  • Rick August 13, 2014 (3:53 pm)

    Yeah, The VietNam disabled claim makes me want to puke. My father fought in three wars,30 years service, little brother did 20 and I did my time during the Viet “conflict”. Pay my bills Colleen. As long as the dems pay your bills you’ll be fine.

  • To Zark August 13, 2014 (3:56 pm)

    Zark – for the hundreth time the Barton’s did not file the lawsuit necessary to contest the foreclosure. And why would you assume the members of Triangle aren’t “regular people”? Regular people don’t form LLCs?

  • Ray August 13, 2014 (4:00 pm)

    Disappointed WSB let the comment “Boy, you can sure tell who the Republicans in this thread are” through, as it provides no valid commentary to the story at hand.

    So in a matter of fairness, I would like to say “Boy, you can sure tell who those people are in Seattle who support people not paying their debts (criminals) and the non-enforcement of laws that we all agree to live under (corrupt government).”

  • zark August 13, 2014 (4:20 pm)

    @To Zark (nice name)
    Quote from WSB original story:
    “The Bartons have a lawsuit pending, alleging the foreclosure – which had been in the works at least since 2012, according to court documents we have found so far – was illegal. …the current trial date for the Bartons’ lawsuit (filed in May) isn’t until June of next year.”

    So wrong on that one – they did file a lawsuit and it’s pending.

    Here’s some info on what an LLC is:

    “An LLC owner can be held personally liable if he or she treats the LLC as an extension of his or her personal affairs, rather than as a separate legal entity.”

    And wrong again, it’s a legal entity, it’s not a person. An LLC is not afforded the same inherent rights as an individual.

    Sorry the world doesn’t work the way you’d like it to – this is not about whether or not you pay your mortgage. You’re supposed to pay it, you don’t earn a cookie for doing what you’re supposed to do. This is about a potentially crooked organization, Quality Loan Services, stealing, yes stealing, an individuals home with a fraudulent foreclosure. If triangle got themselves mixed up in it, well, I guess oops – maybe you’ll learn from your mistake. If they go out of business because of it, good riddance, they didn’t do their due diligence on the sale, they missed or ignored serious legal issues with the purchase, now it’s coming back to bite them – that’s again, how it works, sorry you don’t like it. Triangle is using the media to try to sway the public to their side, and it’s working, it’s scary that you are so easily swayed. I’ve seen Triangle provided opinion cited as facts on most of these threads.

    $ktrapp – Retired Police Detective Jaquelin Barber in Atlanta won her illegal foreclosure case, she got her home back. So….

  • Bradley August 13, 2014 (4:35 pm)

    The new owner should just move in (with all of their stuff) with the squatting family.

  • heather August 13, 2014 (4:48 pm)

    Wow. So many opinions. So little facts. So much judgement in these responses it’s hard to read through them.

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (4:53 pm)

      Just added to our story above: A statement from SAFE, which most notably includes a quote from Jean Barton re: the city’s suggestion she and her husband have ignored/spurned offers of services/help. Meantime, still no comment from Triangle Properties’ attorney. We’ll be checking other court files, too, since that’s where a legal response might appear first, although their lawyer Dimension Law Group announced the writ of mandamus filing with a news release – TR

  • natinstl August 13, 2014 (4:54 pm)

    Regardless of the outcome, as sw mentioned they can’t pay for the mortgage they took out and I do believe they did borrow the money knowingly so the outcome of this is going to be the same in the end. I would take the 100k in excess and the moving allowance being offered and move to a more affordable area.

  • D.D.S. August 13, 2014 (5:04 pm)

    Don’t You mean the Responsible Adults?

  • JJ August 13, 2014 (5:06 pm)

    Im sure some of you pro squatter folks own some rentals, so why dont you entrust the bartons to one of them. Feel free to post any of your available properties here, i will mow the lawn out of the goodness of my heart.

  • dsa August 13, 2014 (5:14 pm)

    There ya go! Make it boarding house for a while. Change the locks again, pass out keys to whoever is willing and be sure to include the Bartons a key and an invoice.

  • To Zark August 13, 2014 (5:15 pm)

    Zark – I am sorry you are misinformed. A lawsuit asking the court to temporarily stop the foreclosure so that you can resolve the legal issues in court has to be filed by the homeowner prior to the foreclosure sale. The Barton’s did not file this suit. At this point they are suing QLS for monetary damages. I encourage you to do some research on the Non-judicial foreclosure process.

  • To Zark August 13, 2014 (5:30 pm)

    Zark stated, “I’ve seen Triangle provided opinion cited as facts on most of these threads.”

    Triangle has posted on one thread, how you deem that as “most” baffles me.

  • sittingbird August 13, 2014 (5:33 pm)

    Maybe the Barton’s are attempting adverse possession. Makes sense.

  • West Seattle Hipster August 13, 2014 (6:03 pm)

    Has anyone from the media asked the Bartons what they did with the $600,000 they borrowed while they used their paid off home as an ATM? That is a question I would like to hear an answer to.


    And Colleen, your stereotypical comment is unfounded. I am a proud lifelong Democrat who believes in responsible money management and accountability, clearly attributes that the Bartons lack.

  • Venom August 13, 2014 (6:25 pm)

    This is directed at Zark:

    “Not sure why you all feel the need to defend Triangle property, they’re laughing at you”

    “If they go out of business because of it, good riddance”

    I have so many questions running through my mind about what is motivating you. You have so much hate in your words. Do you know the people who own Triangle personally? What did they do to you to make you harbor such intense feelings of hatred? I’m fascinated by how you have embraced this cause like it was your mother…maybe I should ask: is Mrs. Barton your mother?

    Also, what makes you think they are laughing at all of the people who are supporting them?

    Last, and most important, why would you wish for families to lose their jobs because of an improperly filed lawsuit? Particularly one that can only end with the Bartons winning money – NOT winning that house back? This is what would happen if Triangle went out of business. Families would lose their jobs.

    If I were Triangle, I would have given up on being nice a long time ago. I am astonished at how polite they are. I don’t know them, but if I had to guess, I’d say they are decent people who are impossibly frustrated. Why they would EVER try to save that house after all this is beyond me.

  • joel August 13, 2014 (6:26 pm)

    if I own the home I am going to enter it…if that means going thru a window that’s what I do. If I find someone in my house I make them leave…if the police aren’t allowed to do their job (thanks to the Mayor) then I do the job for them. I have title in hand showing ownership and weapon of choice in the other hand.

    I’d give the Barton’s 2 minutes to grab their wad of cash they got from refinances and then they’d be out the door.

  • VFM-Seattle August 13, 2014 (8:24 pm)

    Look, there are a couple of undisputed facts that make this matter really easy.

    1. the Bartons were given the house free and clear;
    2. the Bartons’ mortgaged the house to the tune of $600,000;
    3. the Bartons’ have not paid the money they owe on the house back, and in fact, have not made any payments for well over a year;
    4. the Bartons’ lawsuit does not offer the possibility of their reposessing the house.

    Again, those are the facts people that are beyond dispute.

    Oh, another undisputed fact, the Bartons perviously made the same claims against Chase in federal court, and the matter was dismissed as lacking merit. In the words of the court:

    “The Bartons own a home in Seattle. (Dkt. No. 1 at 31.) They mortgaged their home in 2007, subsequently refinanced that loan, and took out a home equity line of credit, which they drew down on. . . . They eventually defaulted on the loans and have brought this lawsuit to stop the foreclosure sale of their home and to obtain other relief. The Bartons’ complaint is fatally lacking in both clarity and plausibility. Nevertheless, the Chase Entities made a serious, good-faith effort to parse the complaint, construe it liberally, and give the Bartons all benefit of the doubt. They advance seven meritorious arguments for why the Court should dismiss the Bartons’ claims against them.” Order Granting Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 12] in Case No. 2:12-cv-01772-JCC (Western District of Washington).

    It gets better, the Bartons had another case against their lender dismissed. In that matter, the Court stated: “Nor have plaintiffs plausibly alleged that the Chase Entities had a duty to modify their loan, that defendants failed to respond to a qualified written request under RESPA and/or that such failure damaged plaintiffs, that defendants engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, or criminal profiteering, that plaintiffs are entitled to quiet title, that the promissory note or deed of trust was breached, or that any of the other statutes mentioned in the complaint are applicable in the circumstances presented here. Plaintiffs’ theory of the case appears to be that, because the Chase Entities refused to produce the original, “wet ink” promissory note in Seattle upon demand, the note somehow ceased to exist and there is no contractual obligation or indebtedness running from plaintiffs to the Chase Entities.” Order Granting Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 12] in Case No. 2:13-cv-00808-RSL (Western District of Washington).

    So, yeah, the Bartons have a case pending. They also have a history of having meritless cases against their lenders being dismissed and making ridiculous arguments.

    Let’s get real folks.

    Sometimes there is corporate evil and personal hardship.

    Here, we just have cheapskates trying to work the system and garner pubic sympathy from the sheep who always believe big companies must be evil.

  • LivesInWS August 13, 2014 (8:35 pm)

    “All we’ve gotten are a list of phone numbers, applications for 3 to 5 year waiting lists, and a case worker from the VA who has done nothing. The idea that we’ve turned down resources is ridiculous,” says Jean Barton.

    So — called those phone numbers? Filled out applications just in case? (yeah that option is a long shot) Taken the steps recommended by the VA case worker? No?? Sounds like indeed you have turned down resources. You don’t get an apt or house handed to you. You have to do some calling, applying, and follow-up.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 13, 2014 (8:36 pm)

    The court has spoken. It is the decision of the courts.

    Colleen, I tend to vote Republican, but I found your comment very funny.

    Zark, thanks for all your comments. Though I tend to vote conservative, I think you’ve seen enough of my comments in past threads to know how I feel about the situation. One house, one family at a time. Every step is good. Our economy will not recover until we deal with the housing situation. It is not the people who stumbled into toxic loans that caused the problem, but the banks who developed and actively marketed them. I would say more but I probably would get attacked by others (the same ones who attack you) on this.

    As for the Bartons, it was and is not a crime to refinance a house and take cash out. Never has been and hopefully never will be.

  • Case August 13, 2014 (8:41 pm)

    Go Zark

  • flimflam August 13, 2014 (9:05 pm)

    yep, turning down all resources short of a free house…

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 13, 2014 (9:21 pm)

    Just a general comment: there are several commentators on this and other threads who suspiciously look like they are affiliated with Triangle Properties. Not that there is any problem with Triangle posting comments, but in all fairness they really should identify themselves when posting.

  • VFM-Seatte August 13, 2014 (9:22 pm)

    “The court has spoken. It is the decision of the courts.”

    Yep, the courts have spoken and twice dismissed similar actions by the Bartons as meritless. This included claims of fraud and bad faith refusal to modify their loan. All of them meritless. In essence, the crux of the Bartons’ claim was that because the bank did not provide the original signed document upon request their debt somehow ceased to exist. Ridiculous.

    I am no cheerleader for banks. But this is not the displaced homeowner you want to rally around as an example of bad acts on the part of a bank. It just makes you like you will side against a bank irrespective of the facts. Not exactly an intellectual or reasoned approach.

  • Jason August 13, 2014 (9:30 pm)

    @Ray, I’m not defending the actions of these people because I don’t feel like I really have a firm enough grip on the whole story, but given your stance regarding laws and corrupt government, don’t you think the Bartons should have their day in court if the law states they were foreclosed on illegally? As I said, I don’t know everything about this case so maybe they didn’t follow the proper steps or something.
    @ktrapp, even if it’s inevitable they still have rights – I’m surprised how many people are willing to just have rights tossed out. Even if you don’t like what they’re doing, if it’s within their legal rights then its in all of our interest to let it play out.
    @Venom, Triangle is a shill LLC created only to hold this single property, it’s a common thing for investors to do.
    @”To Zark” – what I believe Zark is saying is that people are posting information in these threads as if they are facts, however they are the words of Triangle’s legal team.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 13, 2014 (9:31 pm)

    As an aside, Triangle Property has 91 records filed with the King County Recorder’s Office relating to properties they have purchased since starting business in Washington State in March of this year, apparently mostly foreclosed properties. Since March of this year, they have conducted four evictions on said properties also according to public records.

  • VFM-Seattle August 13, 2014 (9:48 pm)

    Jason, I understand your contentions to a point; but honestly, if your measure of fair is letting everyone exercise their legal rights irrespective or merit or consequence it seems a bit silly. I mean, your neighbor could play load music 24/7 out of a speaker aimed at your house at just the legal threshold. Within their legal right? Yes. Total jerk move that encroaches on your right to peace, yes.

    Likewise the Bartons can file this action, the third in a long line of frivilous cases that have already been dismissed for lack of merit. Anyone can have a day in court – you don’t need merit or facts to file a claim – especially when you have no assets to lose, like the Bartons.

  • Jason August 13, 2014 (9:56 pm)

    Actually I just read VFM-Seattle’s posts, well written with lots of information – thank you! If that’s all true then I agree.

  • Venom August 13, 2014 (10:12 pm)

    But wait just a moment. I thought Triangle was “a shill LLC created to hold this single property”. I thought it was NOT a business that provides jobs for a number of families. Is Jason telling the truth? Or is Gatewood Neighbor telling the truth? And what do you know about Triangle that makes you call it a shill LLC? Do you know them personally? Again I ask, what did they do to you to deserve such a poor opinion?

    Also, you make it sound like purchasing a foreclosed property is an evil thing. It is a property for sale, like any other property. The fact that Triangle has so many records only proves that they are actively infusing money into our local economy – THOSE FIENDS – and putting food on working Seattle residents’ tables – THOSE MONSTERS.

    How dare they try to earn a living while beautifying neighborhoods. What some of you don’t seem to understand is that it’s not just “big corporations” that deal in foreclosures. It’s regular guys like you and me. Regular people trying to earn a living and feed their kids. I have purchased homes at foreclosure to supplement my income and provide for my family. I have never had to evict anyone, but if they behaved the way these people have, I would not hesitate. That’s the difference between me and the Bartons. I have a child with a disability, and I provide for her. I don’t (quite literally) demand that someone else do it for me, or worse, when that fails, steal it from someone else.

    By the way VFM-Seattle – Incredible post. Absolutely on point and completely relevant.

  • MellyMel August 13, 2014 (10:39 pm)

    I dont have a dog in this fight. My take away is this is a cautionary tale.
    If you buy an investment that doesn’t have a free and clear legal status, you shouldn’t be too surprised when it turns into a bogged down mess.
    But as a dealer in the unhappy world of foreclosures, no doubt Triangle knew their exposure to these risks.

  • MF August 13, 2014 (11:03 pm)

    Joel – And if someone from Triangle Properties climbed through a window at the Bartons with a gun in one hand and the title in another, they would be in jail faster than you can say ‘I am the landlord from your worst nightmares’. But a real landlord would never do anything like that, simply because anyone who would do something that absurdly reckless and nutty, as you claim you do, couldn’t possibly have the business savvy or judgment to actually own any rentals in the first place. Taking the law into your own hands with your “weapon of choice” is generally not something you see in most business plans.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 13, 2014 (11:07 pm)

    VFM – Why don’t we deal with the current court cases? Triangle lost this round and I am sure they have lost others in the past. It has no merit on the Barton’s current case.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 13, 2014 (11:17 pm)

    Venom and VFM – great coordination. Not very good PR tactics though. Hopefully people will see through it. And hopefully the WSB will publish this. I’ve seen bigger companies use public comments under anonymous names to further their position. Tracy, you can edit this as you see fit or delete it. Sorry if I am mis-reading this but I don’t think so.

  • ktrapp August 13, 2014 (11:34 pm)

    “there are several commentators on this and other threads who suspiciously look like they are affiliated with Triangle Properties.”

    Frankly, the people who continue to claim that the people who dare find the Bartons the least bit unsympathetic sound like they’re affiliated with Triangle Properties aren’t doing themselves any favors. All it is, is an ad hominem attack. I can just as easily note how more than one pro-Barton poster in this very thread happens to use the same “day in court” phrase as the SAFE comment. Seems mighty suspicious to me.

    “@ktrapp, even if it’s inevitable they still have rights – I’m surprised how many people are willing to just have rights tossed out. Even if you don’t like what they’re doing, if it’s within their legal rights then its in all of our interest to let it play out.”
    Yes, they have rights. And so does the owner of the house (not them). Which is how they got an eviction order. What the Bartons have done is play to the court of public opinion. They’ve successfully used the “woah is me, I’m a disabled vet getting kicked out of my home” story to freeze a bunch of government officials. If this was any other couple without the sob story, they’d already be out of the house. So please don’t try to use the “they have rights!” argument. Everyone has rights. Including the people who own the house and got the eviction notice. Yet those rights were denied by people who think that a sad story should be able to take the place of a mortgage payment.

    • WSB August 14, 2014 (12:35 am)

      Everybody who wants to guess or allege who somebody else is – STOP RIGHT NOW. That is completely against the spirit of this site. We do our best to catch astroturfing, certainly fail sometimes, but in the end, we don’t require that you disclose it if you have an affiliation with somebody you’re discussing. We would hope you have enough integrity to, but we know from all sorts of stories that sometimes people just don’t.

  • Ms. Sparkles August 14, 2014 (12:01 am)

    VFM-Seattle, I think I love you! Everything you said was spot-on; clear, concise facts supplemented by logic :-)

    @ Colleen I’m actually registered Democrat, but I’m a home-owning accountant who believes in paying her bills & paying back loans.

  • i'mcoveredinbees August 14, 2014 (1:03 am)

    I’m with Gatewood Neighbor. There are some very obvious plants going on here.

    I remember Triangle coming on here publicly to comment on one of the earlier stories, writing something very calming and pseudo compassionate. It rang hollow. Not saying they are in the wrong but I think they are going about this in a predatory way. Lame.

    As for the Bartons, they need help. I hope they get it. Don’t judge someone else until you have walked in their shoes.

  • VFM-Seattle August 14, 2014 (7:01 am)

    Gatewood Neighbor and i’mcoveredinbees

    It is sad that you think anyone who is smart, and makes points you don’t agree with that are backed by logic and facts must have an affiliation with the party you disfavor. It is precisely this type of anti-intellectual stance that leads me to post on great sites like WSB.

    I have been a WS resident since 1990. I have two kids in the schools and love my community and neighbors. I believe in compassion, understanding, critical analysis and measured thought. I am a left leaning independent, and value the insights and perspectives of others, so long as they are not grounded in abject ignorance.

    I suspect you are thinking – how can you call yourself a left leaning independent if you side with the Triangle view on this matter? Its real simple – I believe in intellectual honesty. I don’t want to take a political stance based on unfounded bias, I want to take each matter on a case by case basis, and call it as the facts warrant. I believe in having my own house clean before I go tell others to clean up theirs. I call a spade a spade, even if it tends to support the position of the bigger dog in the fight.

    In my world view, there are serious issues with our country being fleeced from the top down by big business (and even more so by a corporate-fostered consumption based mindset). That said, our country is also being fleeced from the bottom up by opportunists, who denigrate the cause of those who really need protection and help through no fault of their own.

    I tend to call both side out, not just one or the other. And I do it on an informed, case by case basis.

  • Morgan August 14, 2014 (7:17 am)

    I’m a shareholder of JP Morgan stock. Many of you in this thread are as well either directly or through your 401ks. The Bartons STOLE from us. Pay us back.

  • Just an Observation August 14, 2014 (7:44 am)

    Gatewood Neighbor – it seems as though you have a personal vendetta against Triangle…

  • Legitimate Question August 14, 2014 (8:21 am)

    VFM-Seattle wrote a more eloquent version of what I was going to say. I have no connection to either the Bartons or Triangle. I’m solidly in the deep left liberal camp politically, and a careful and critical researcher of issues.

    As for Triangle “knowing the risks”, the ownership of the property was not in dispute when they bought it. The Bartons’ case had been found by the courts to be without merit and the title was not in question when Triangle bought the house.

    Yes, there are predatory banks. Yes, there are people who need help and protection. I think that’s what bothers me most about this one case getting so much attention, because frivolous cases like this make it that much more difficult for the people who really need help to get it.

  • sw August 14, 2014 (9:06 am)

    VFM Seattle is spot on. I appreciate posters that can articulate their point without resorting to name calling or debasing others.
    Simply put, the Bartons do not have the means to continue living at the property no matter what happens with their pending lawsuit, and that is the reality which they have yet to accept. They have been living for years on every last bit of cash equity they could pull from the property, until the well ran dry. The foreclosure and subsequent $100k payout would be considered by many as an opportunity for change, but their history indicates that they have no desire to do so.

  • Venom August 14, 2014 (9:15 am)

    I don’t know the Bartons or Triangle. But it wouldn’t change my opinion if I did. Do have to say… I’mcoveredinbees = best name ever!! I don’t agree with you in the slightest, but that name made me want to.

  • skeeter August 14, 2014 (9:57 am)

    VFM states: “So, yeah, the Bartons have a case pending. They also have a history of having meritless cases against their lenders being dismissed and making ridiculous arguments.
    Let’s get real folks.
    Sometimes there is corporate evil and personal hardship.
    Here, we just have cheapskates trying to work the system and garner pubic sympathy from the sheep who always believe big companies must be evil.”

    Well said VFM. I would take it one step further. The Bartons are not just cheapskates. They are also criminals. After King County officers removed them and changed the locks on the door, the Bartons broke into a home they didn’t own and trespassed. In any city other than Seattle the police and mayor would have done their job and removed the trespassers from the property immediately.

  • UnderAchiever August 14, 2014 (10:32 am)

    Easy solution that would have made none of this happen although too late now. No lawsuit, no foreclosure, no Triangle, no sheriff, no SPD, no SAFE, no drama, no Blog reporting:

    Barton pays what they agreed to when they chose to mortgage a free and clear residential property. I fully understand that financial circumstances change – I also understand that commitments are commitments.

    How sad for all involved. But none of this had to happen. I can’t imagine putting my family at such risk.

  • Near Alki August 14, 2014 (11:27 am)

    As I remember the foreclosure auction brought $100,000 more than the Barton’s owed so they were going to get that money. My question is did they get that yet? If so, then they still have possession of the house and another 100k payout?

  • au August 14, 2014 (11:48 am)

    The comments on this blog have gotten out of control. Really? All the name calling and ASSumptions made about a family that we know nothing about except thru the media.
    So, venom (that’s about right) because Zark is saying check deeper into Triangle Properties and the illegal foreclosure issue you consider it hate speech?
    This thread is about at the caliber of or the stranger slog. Cheap and dirty.

  • VFM-Seattle August 14, 2014 (12:08 pm)

    Near Alki – not sure if they got the money yet or not. Either way, Triangle is doing them a solid by offering them relocation assistance and not going after them for rent for the holdover period (market rate would be about $2,500 per month).

    • WSB August 14, 2014 (12:27 pm)

      Actually one of the court documents does include Triangle asking for a bond equal to rent. I have read many documents (downloaded from ECR Online, 15 cents a page, available to anyone, you just have to sign up for an account and prepay for some pages) and just pulled a desktop search which brought this back up. This document from June requests a bond for at least 6.5 months of what Triangle estimated as equal to $2,835/month of rent, which they based (as attached in the document) on a estimate of rental value for the house. This was part of Triangle’s unlawful-detainer (eviction) complaint against the Bartons. Document:
      Going back into the case file, if I am interpreting it correctly, that was rendered moot by the judge ruling that the Bartons were “guilty of unlawful detainer” and should be evicted, which then led to the King County Sheriff’s Office carrying out the eviction order – the suggestion of a bond equal to rent was made when the Bartons were trying to get a stay, a motion that was denied, with the judge upholding the ruling that they should be evicted, and it appeared to be Triangle saying “OK, *if* you are going to let them stay for now, please at least order a bond.”

  • VFM-Seattle August 14, 2014 (2:34 pm)

    Tracy, thank you for the information.

    You are correct about the bond amount and it being rendered moot.

    CR 65 (the civil rule regarding injunctions) requires that a bond be posted as security for an injunction, and in the case of eviction/unlawful detainer it is generally the estimated rental amount.

    It essentially sets the outer bounds of liability in the event the injucntion (in that case, eviction) is found to be wrongful after the fact.

    In other words, it was not something being sought as damages, it is just a required security mechanism.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 14, 2014 (4:39 pm)

    VFM – You are incorrect in your assessment that anyone who is smart and who posts here that I don’t agree with is anti-intellectual. That quite frankly is an anti-intellectual argument. I will post more, but not until the hate level dies down on the comments here

  • VFM-Seattle August 14, 2014 (5:27 pm)

    Gatewood Neighbor – you are misstating what I said.

    I said it is anti-intellectual to make unfounded claims that those who make points you don’t agree with that are backed by logic and facts have an affiliation with the party you disfavor.

    The above is precisely what you did with respect to me and Venom. You didn’t like how we effectively articulated our positions with actual facts from actual orders of the court so you took a cheap and unsupported shot at us by calling us plants.

    Please, tell me how I am wrong in the above assessment.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 14, 2014 (5:49 pm)

    Hi VFM – you have every right to take umbrage at me calling you a plant. I had some earlier situations on this site in regards to this but Tracy does not want this type of thing on WSB which I totally understand. WSB is a wonderful and great forum for free discussion – the best of the new emerging form of journalism. I do disagree with your position though. I really want some of the emotional level to tone down before I respond. I think you should think that is fair. I am a business person and I deal with facts. I am happy to engage with you in conversation.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 14, 2014 (6:00 pm)

    And if I said “I deal in facts” it does not mean that you don’t. I think your are open to discussion from your responses. I certainly am.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 14, 2014 (6:18 pm)

    And Tracy if I said anything to offend I am sorry. Please, please keep WSB the way it is. Just tell me (and others) if we have crossed a line,like you did the other day. You really are pioneering a new type of journalism and I for one appreciate it. Please continue to have compassion on your readers like you have.

  • VFM-Seattle August 14, 2014 (9:08 pm)

    Gatewood Neighbor – I agree, toning it down a bit is in order on all sides. I know I am guilty of getting a bit riled up sometimes (especially when the dialog is from behind a keyboard instead of face to face).

    Thank for suggesting the return to a more civil, even keeled approach. I too have the utmost respect for WSB and want to keep it to the level it should be in terms of the comments and user dialog.

    Your thoughtful, measured response is appreciated and well taken on my part. Thank you.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 14, 2014 (9:37 pm)

    VFM – thank you as well. I appreciate your thoughtful and measured response too. Your response says a lot about you and your integrity.

  • Venom August 14, 2014 (10:47 pm)

    Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I wish I was a plant because then I would know what Triangle is thinking. I’ve been watching the outlets, have they commented yet on the judge’s ruling? Here’s a question for everyone: Say it was your house. Your money sitting there in a property that no bank will lend on, you can’t improve and sell, you most likely can’t collect market rent on and, if even if you do, it’s probably a liability issue given the condition of the home. You are facing a quagmire of unprecedented proportions, even in the foreclosure world. I think we can agree that is a pretty accurate picture, regardless of what side of the fence you’re on. So, what would you do? I ask because I posed the question to myself and drew a complete blank! I have no idea what I would do.

  • Thomas M August 15, 2014 (8:50 am)

    Ruling proves this: If the cops are too lazy to respond to your situation, you are on your own. When seconds count, they may exercise their discretion to let you suffer and die, and there will be no recourse. Think hard when voting this fall.

    The fastest route is to evict them again. They have no defense (other than police inaction). They are not residential tenants, they are a 59.12 eviction. Run them out. Follow on the new lockout by moving in a crew of your own “construction workers”. Put the sprinkler system on motion detectors.

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (8:58 am)

      For anybody just coming in on this thread, new development this morning: KCSO went in and arrested the Bartons and one of their sons (both of whom are in their 20s), and Triangle is now in possession of the house. We got there after a tip minutes after it all started, and they were already gone.

  • Thomas M. August 15, 2014 (11:40 am)

    That is as it should be. A writ is a court order authorizing the Sheriff to remove all persons and property from a premises. Re-entry is forbidden, is a trespass, and stands in defiance of the court order transferring possession to the new owner. Defiance of a court order is called “contempt”.

  • Karen Pooley August 15, 2014 (5:34 pm)

    I have a request into Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata’s office to pressure the King County Council so that King County may undertake an audit of the King County Recording Office. Without an audit of the forgeries, back-dated documents, counterfeited documents filed in this office, the State Legislature does not have DATA to understand how massive the fraud is.

    I wish all of you: those of you concerned about these homeowners; sellers and buyers of real estate; and homeowners who *believe* wrongly that these crimes do not affect them (THEY DO!) would contact CM Nick Licata’s office and support this effort for an audit. I have shown a County Councilmember that one of his own documents was forged. I have shown a State Senator that their “Deed of Satisfaction” was forged. Both of those people were not in default. So, these crimes affect ALL property owners in the State of Washington and frankly in this nation.

    Perhaps if we have a full accounting of what is recorded in King County and provide real DATA, the State Legislature will finally pass the FOUR homeowner bills that they totally ignored last session. These four bills were HB 2656, HB 2657, HB 2658, and HB 2659. Stealing a home in the State of Washington should be a felony, don’t you think?

    If you are a homeowner in distress, please go to RealPropertyResolutions dot com (website coming soon). We will assist you with the mediation program offered by the WA State Foreclosure Fairness Act and help you achieve a successful resolution.

  • Karen Pooley August 15, 2014 (5:40 pm)

    This excerpt for a Federal District court case TODAY:
    “From its inception, Mr. Knecht’s deed of trust ran afoul of the Deed of Trust Act by designating MERS as its beneficiary. The Act declares that the beneficiary of a deed of trust is “the holder of the instrument or document evidencing the obligations secured by the deed of trust . . . .” RCW 61.24.005(2). Banks and other well-heeled financial interests, in an effort to facilitate the easy transfer of mortgage obligations, created MERS in the mid 1990s. Bain, 285 P.3d at 39-40. MERS is, in essence, a database for tracking mortgage rights that permits MERS’s member institutions to transfer mortgage obligations without publicly recording the transfers. Id. In Washington, lenders hoping to take advantage of the MERS system designated MERS as the beneficiary of deeds of trust, just as ABC did in Mr. Knecht’s deed of trust. But it is now clear that Washington law does not permit MERS to act as a beneficiary unless it is also the “holder” of the note secured by the deed of trust. Bain, 285 P.2d at 47.

    There is no suggestion that MERS ever held Mr. Knecht’s note, and yet it purported in April 2010 to assign to DB “the Promissory Note secured by [the Knecht] deed of trust and also all rights accrued or to accrue under said Deed of Trust.” The assignment, which is recorded in King County, was executed by “MERS as nominee for [ABC],” but there is no evidence that ABC actually authorized MERS to effect the transfer. See Bavand v. OneWest Bank, FSB, 309 P.3d 636, 649 (Wash. Ct. App. 2013) (noting MERS’s failure to establish its agency relationship with a noteholder).

    There is no dispute in this case that MERS lacked the power to transfer anything to DB. DB does not rest its claim to be the beneficiary of Mr. Knecht’s deed of trust on the MERS assignment, or at least it does not do so in these motions. Indeed, DB consistently refuses to acknowledge that MERS purported to assign not only the deed of trust, but Mr. Knecht’s note as well. DB avoids the MERS assignment, it appears, because it prefers that the court not focus on that apparently void transfer of the deed of trust and note. DB prefers that the court conclude that it acquired its interest in the deed of trust and note without MERS’s assistance.

    Even assuming that Mr. Knecht bears the burden to prove that DB is not the beneficiary of his deed of trust, an issue the court does not decide,3the evidence he has provided is sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact that only a trial can resolve. Mr. Knecht has offered two pieces of evidence: his original note and deed of trust, in which DB held no interest; and the MERS assignment, which was a legal nullity. A trier of fact could determine that this evidence makes it more likely than not that DB has no valid interest in Mr. Knecht’s note or deed of trust.”

    We Homeowners are winning! RealPropertyResolutions dot com.

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