ONGOING COVERAGE: In West Seattle eviction fight, sheriff’s deputies remove Bartons again, arresting them for ‘criminal trespass’


(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 8:23 AM: Jean and Byron Barton have been evicted from their former home in Morgan Junction again, according to King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates. We found her there after getting a telephone tip. This comes four days after a judge declined to order the city to enforce trespassing laws against them (WSB coverage here). They were already gone from the house when we got there; Sgt. Gates says people working for the company that bought the house at a foreclosure auction in April, Triangle Property Development, are in it now.

ADDED 8:37 AM: More information from Sgt. Gates: KCSO went in under auspices of a search warrant, not a new court order for eviction.

She says they “detained three adults for the crime of criminal trespassing,” including one of the Bartons’ grown sons, and that while Byron Barton was taken to the VA Hospital, Jean Barton and their son were taken to KCSO’s Southwest Precinct “for processing.” She did not expect they would be jailed. She said the search-warrant action happened “quickly” and that there were “no issues”; the three were the only people in the house, she said. No protesters (or other media) were there. Advocacy-group signage that had been outside the house for weeks has been removed, and the “no trespassing/video surveillance” sign shown in our photo above is in place. (added) This morning’s action comes one week after the court hearing on Triangle’s petition to force the city to take action, and four weeks after deputies first removed the Bartons from the house, which they re-occupied hours later. Triangle is not a party to the Bartons’ still-pending lawsuit (90-page PDF) against Chase Bank and two other entities, alleging the house was illegally foreclosed on.

ADDED 9:35 AM: The official KCSO news release has just arrived. In it, Sheriff John Urquhart alleges “politics (were) allowed to ride roughshod over the rule of law” prior to this morning’s action. Full text:

This morning just after 8:00 AM Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested 3 people and removed them from the residence at 6548 41st Ave SW. The charges were Criminal Trespass in the First Degree. The persons arrested were not booked and the case will be referred to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for filing of charges. Detectives entered the home with a search warrant as well as consent to search from the owners of the residence.

The arrestees included one man in his 60’s, the man’s wife, and their adult son. The older man was sent via ambulance to the VA Hospital in Seattle due to his health status.

The residence is generally knows as the “Barton house”.

“There are no winners in this situation, not the least of which is Mr. Barton, who is gravely disabled, and was living in extremely unsanitary and therefore dangerous conditions”, said Sheriff John Urquhart. “But Triangle Property Development, the lawful owner of the home, is a victim of bureaucratic inaction and back-and-forth finger-pointing between the City of Seattle and the Sheriff’s Office. That is inexcusable and that’s why I ordered today’s action. When politics is allowed to ride roughshod over the rule of law, everyone suffers. I was not willing to let that continue,” Urquhart added.

Triangle purchased the property on April 11, 2014 at a trustee’s sale after a foreclosure. The occupants and former owners of the residence (“the Barton’s”) refused to move, and subsequently the Sheriff’s Office received an eviction order from Superior Court on June 11, 2014. Before the eviction could be completed, the Barton’s received a stay of the eviction until another hearing could be held. The Barton’s attorney contested the eviction but was denied, and another eviction order was issued on July 3, 2014.

The eviction was finally completed on July 18, 2014. However, that same day the Barton’s, with the assistance of members from SAFE (Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction), returned to the house and broke in. The Seattle Police Department was called, but they refused to remove the occupants. The following day Seattle Mayor Ed Murray directed the police department to “stand down” and not arrest the Barton’s or remove them from the house.

Since then, according to Mayor Murray’s office, city representatives have been in “almost daily contact” with the Barton’s in an effort to find them suitable housing, as well as health and human services for which they may be eligible. However, according to the city, the Barton’s “have not pursued any of these options while choosing to remain in the home.”

The Mayor’s Office also reports they made a referral to Adult Protective Services due to “observed conditions inside the home.”

On August 8, 2014, Triangle Properties asked King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman to issue a writ ordering the city to enforce the trespass statutes and remove anyone in the residence. The City argued they have no duty to act or to enforce any particular law. Furthermore, the City argued the Sheriff’s Office, under state law, is required to enforce the criminal trespass laws in any city in King County, including Seattle, and said Triangle should demand the Sheriff’s Office make the appropriate arrests, despite the fact that the Seattle Police Department has primary jurisdiction in Seattle.

The City also wrote in their brief to the court, that “The Barton’s, under the circumstances of this case, are guilty of trespass in the first degree.” They also conceded in court that the eviction order was valid and was properly served.

Judge Spearman issued her written response on August 13th, denying the request for a writ ordering the Seattle Police to act. She ignored the City’s erroneous argument that the Sheriff’s Office was required to respond and enforce the criminal statutes inside the city limits of Seattle.

HISTORY: Reportedly the residence has been in the Barton family for over 60 years, and court records show the Barton’s mortgaged their home in 2007, then subsequently refinanced the loan and took out a home equity line of credit, with loans totaling over $650,000. The Barton’s stopped making payments, apparently in 2011, and they defaulted on those loans. The Barton’s filed two lawsuits in Federal Court to stop foreclosure actions. In the 2012 lawsuit Judge John Coughenour dismissed the lawsuit and wrote, “The Barton’s complaint is fatally lacking in both clarity and plausibility,” among other findings. The next year the Barton’s 2nd lawsuit in Federal Court was dismissed by Judge Robert Lasnik, this time with prejudice, and he wrote that this was essentially the same claims dismissed by Judge Coughenour a year earlier.

After the trustee’s sale of the property, the Barton’s filed a lawsuit in state court, asking to void the foreclosure and for damages of $4.8 million and other, miscellaneous amounts. That case is pending with a 2015 trial date expected.

We expect other comment on these developments as the day goes on and will add to this report whenever we get it. On its Facebook page, SAFE, the advocacy group that has supported the Bartons’ attempts to keep the house, has called its members to an emergency meeting later this morning.

10:53 AM: We went back to the neighborhood to see if anything new was happening. We found Jean Barton on the sidewalk, being interviewed by TV crews:

She confirms that Byron Barton is at the VA Hospital, and says she has nowhere else to go, in terms of a place to live.

12:36 PM: As noted in the ongoing comment discussion, we have obtained the search-warrant affidavit that led to this morning’s arrests. The warrant was signed by King County Superior Court Judge Helen Halpert. You can see it here (added) or embedded below:

1:17 PM: SAFE has e-mailed the following statement:

Two weeks ago, SAFE activists held a press conference where they asked the question, “Who runs this town?” Today, Sheriff Urquhart, stepping up to the role of corporate goon, answered the question definitively; property developers do. Thanks to a hastily-obtained search warrant, a mother and her son have been handcuffed, stuffed into a cop car, and taken down to county jail to be held. Byron Barton has been removed against his will from his childhood home and taken to a hospital. The Bartons’ home is now occupied by unknown “renters”.

This was not an eviction; it was a raid against Seattle citizens outside the primary jurisdiction of the King County Sheriff’s Department –an extraordinary move to place a family in jail at the behest of Triangle. The Sheriff’s department forced their way into the Barton home with a search warrant and detectives. Unusually, they did not have an unlawful detainer, which is the specific court document that would have allowed the Sheriff’s department to enact a legal eviction. The current unlawful detainer is under appeal.

The Sheriff issued a contradictory statement about today’s arrests. Sheriff Urquhart said of the arrests that “Triangle Property Development…is a victim of bureaucratic inaction…I was not willing to let that continue.” Does this mean that he will not allow elected officials to interfere with his interpretation of the law?

This is a clear about-face from just last week. At a court hearing regarding the Barton’s case, a representative of the Sheriff’s Department argued that the enforcement of criminal statutes, including trespassing charges, was in fact the purview of the Seattle Police Department, not King County Sheriffs. The Judge agreed. Why has the Sheriff’s Department now gone out of their own stated jurisdiction, and arrested the Bartons as criminal trespassers?

“This is a total violation of civil rights,” the Barton’s attorney Jill Smith said of the forcible eviction and arrest.

At this time, Byron Barton’s whereabouts within the hospital system are unknown. “The helplessness, I’m sure, is overwhelming for him,” Jean Barton said.

Note that while the statement suggests the Bartons were jailed, the King County Sheriff’s Office says they were not booked, and as reported earlier in this story, Jean Barton was back near the home, talking with media, within a few hours. It also should be noted, since the SAFE statement mentions elected officials, Urquhart also is an elected official. Meantime, if you don’t know this from earlier stories, Byron Barton suffered a stroke in 2012 that left him barely able to speak and in need of a wheelchair for mobility, as well as a hospital bed at home.

4:43 PM UPDATE: SAFE’s Facebook page said as of 4 pm that Byron Barton was headed back to try to gain admittance to the VA Hospital; a lawyer for the Bartons was quoted by SLOG earlier as saying he had been turned away there once and then taken to Harborview. We checked with both of those hospitals; the VA said they can’t comment on any patient, and Harborview said they had no one by that name (as of mid-afternoon). Meantime, SAFE’s Facebook page also says the group plans a demonstration against the sheriff Monday afternoon in Courthouse Park.

6:18 PM: Stopping by the 41st/Holly neighborhood yet again around 5 pm just to see if TV newstime had drawn anyone there, our photographer was waved down by Triangle Properties personnel who were still in the house, getting it ready for a tenant to move into immediately. They said other media crews had already come in the house for a look and wanted us to see it too. Here’s our photo of the living room:

Since the only part of the house we’d been in previously was the basement, and that was hours after the Bartons reoccupied the house following the July 18th eviction, we can’t really make a comparison.

9:31 PM: SAFE’s newest Facebook update says that Byron Barton has continued to be shuttled between hospitals and is headed back to the VA to spend the night.

193 Replies to "ONGOING COVERAGE: In West Seattle eviction fight, sheriff's deputies remove Bartons again, arresting them for 'criminal trespass'"

  • flimflam August 15, 2014 (8:36 am)

    weird. what has changed from the last time they were evicted?

  • skeeter August 15, 2014 (8:39 am)

    In the sentence “We found her there after getting a telephone tip” is the “her” DB Gates or Jean Barton or a representative of Triangle?

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (8:46 am)

      Sgt. Gates. She was there with the deputies who were carrying out what I have just learned from a followup conversation was a search warrant – though no other media showed up, just us (and moments after the Bartons were arrested).

  • Getaclue August 15, 2014 (8:43 am)


  • Pibal August 15, 2014 (8:53 am)

    Smart. Low key and avoided a media event. Well done. Nonetheless, best wishes that the Barton family gets back on track.

  • Matt Taylor August 15, 2014 (9:05 am)

    I witnessed the eviction momentarily as I drove up Morgan around 8:10 a.m. I saw Mrs. Barton in custody as well as their son, I presume. I saw about three cruisers with about four uniformed sheriffs, an ambulance, three unmarked cars and SUVs and a white van filled with officers in black. KCSO came prepared to say the least. When I drove by again 25 minutes later they were gone and the streets were empty. The fewer number of cars at that later time makes me think there were more KCSO vehicles and personnel.

    It’s been a regrettable drama for the neighborhood. At the very least a page has been turned. Now the West Seattle citizenry can go back to complaining about other things.

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (9:08 am)

      Thanks, Matt. What you see in the photos we added are the only personnel co-publisher Patrick Sand saw – all in the process of leaving – when he arrived; the ambulance left another way (the house has an alley access) out of view, apparently as Patrick was talking to Sgt. Gates to try to figure out what was going on. – TR

  • Eval August 15, 2014 (9:07 am)

    FINALLY…. Geez. Hope the family finds somewhere to go, but they definitely didn’t belong there.

  • old timer August 15, 2014 (9:15 am)

    And if the Sheriff’s little sneak attack had failed, who would they have called in next? State Police? National Guard?
    I wonder if the Judge who signed the “search warrant” is an elected official.

  • annaeileen August 15, 2014 (9:48 am)

    A good friend of mine had cancer, got laid off, fought mental illness and made some bad decisions (DUI) and was foreclosed on. Another friend lost his job, found a much lower paying job but had to short sale. My next door neighbor got divorced (husband was mentally ill and abusive) and tried to modify her loan but the bank wouldn’t work with her so she was foreclosed on. In all of these situation, my friends tried to keep their homes but couldn’t and found another place to live, found new jobs and/or took 2nd jobs and used social services for help. I bet lots of people have similar stories. What I have read based on the excellent reporting by the WSB is the Barton’s got a house free and clear and then had some bad luck and made a lot of bad decisions and then did nothing to help themselves. I have always been a liberal and believe in helping those less fortunate but the Barton’s have abused the system. The banking and mortgage industry is full of criminals (read Broke USA) but it doesn’t give any of us the right to not pay our bills and not accept responsibility for our own decisions. I hope the Barton’s take the help that has been offered to them and wish them well.

  • skeeter August 15, 2014 (9:50 am)

    “On August 8, 2014, Triangle Properties asked King County Superior Court Judge Mariane Spearman to issue a writ ordering the city to enforce the trespass statutes and remove anyone in the residence. The City argued they have no duty to act or to enforce any particular law.”

    I hope every voter in Seattle reads that last sentence.

  • Carol Harlow August 15, 2014 (9:51 am)

    This is outrageous. Especially when the eviction action for Unlawful Detainer that Triangle filed against the family is ON APPEAL. Can we all say that together: IT IS ON APPEAL. But I guess that only means something in the USA when you’ve got lots of money to throw around. When the little guy has something on appeal in the courts no one pays any attention.
    Why is this heavy handed tactic acceptable when a case is on appeal? This is a travesty.

  • flimflam August 15, 2014 (10:03 am)

    wow, after reading the full release I have gained a lot of respect for the sheriff…

    the response by the mayor and the city was very troubling, especially the quote that skeeter highlighted.
    I wish Mr Barton the best with his health issues. without knowing the specifics it still sounds clear that the conditions in the home were not helping…sad story for all involved.
    the question now is, is this really over?

  • trickycoolj August 15, 2014 (10:12 am)

    Why do I get the impression that Seattle passed the buck to KCSO to protect SPD from looking bad with all the federal scrutiny over them?

    I hope this family takes advantage of the social services that are available to them to see them through this situation. Breaking the law, pending suit or not, doesn’t stand to help the case or garner sympathy from the community.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (10:12 am)

    Carol Harlow – thank you so much for posting your comments. I don’t understand either why something like this can happen while the case is on appeal in the courts. From KCSO’s news release, it looks like Sheriff John Urquhart ordered today’s action. Whether one agrees with his decision or not, we all will have the opportunity to voice our opinion the next time he comes up for re-election.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (10:18 am)

    A comment about the previous lawsuit/s mentioned in the release: both were in Federal Court, which from what I understand is much more conservative on the issue of illegal foreclosure than are most state courts. The Bartons originally filed their case in 2012 in State Court, but Chase is the one that filed to change to Federal Court. From what I understand, state courts in general are a little more friendly to the homeowner in these situations.

  • HC August 15, 2014 (10:22 am)

    So SAFE is having an emergency meeting to help find the Bartons a new home? Because if they really want to help; if they really want to be effective; that would do it.

  • skeeter August 15, 2014 (10:24 am)

    Carol, can you provide us more details on the eviction appeal? We all know Barton filed several illegal foreclosure suits. That’s been reported. But I was not aware that the eviction had been appealed as well. I’m thinking the KCSO did extra, extra homework on this case before carrying out the first and second evictions. But if you have more information than what’s been reported I’d like to hear it.

  • Joanne Bradyen August 15, 2014 (10:24 am)

    still think the nice lady at Triangle Properties is the nice guy here?
    the judge said no so she found another judge …
    i understand her desire to take possession of her property.. but not her haste to do so before the appeals to the eviction work their way through court.
    in the end if the eviction was reversed on appeal she would have been made financially whole..
    but this action guarantees that the Bartons will never be made whole.. even if they win their appeal.

  • Phil Mocek August 15, 2014 (10:25 am)

    Let’s get the search warrant and supporting affidavit. I’ll file a request with KCSO this afternoon if someone hasn’t posted it here by then.

  • Maggie August 15, 2014 (10:30 am)

    What Annaeileen said!

  • PLS August 15, 2014 (10:30 am)

    The core of the problem is the foreclosure and that appears to have taken too long to figure out. Too bad the courts could not address that years ago and put this on a different path.

    However, people need to stop slamming Triangle, the KCSO and others following the law. Whether or not the foreclosure was good, the sale happened and the new owner has the right to the property. Period. And the Sheriff and other law enforcement agencies are bound to uphold the law. They are not “working” for Triangle any more than they would be working for you if they came and took me away from sitting on your couch for three months.

    Let’s put this out there for a second . . . I haven’t seen anyone contest the fact they they did, in fact, take out those loans and receive that money using the property as collateral. So, even IF the appeal goes in their favor, which is unlikely, it would seem they have a $650,000 mortgage (or more now) that needs to be dealt with going forward. Can we honestly say that they could address that $3,000/month payment at this point? Or sell the place that is described as so poorly maintained? If they really consider it theirs shouldn’t they be taking care of it?

  • B August 15, 2014 (10:35 am)

    Just because a case is on appeal doesn’t mean the previous decision is invalid. It’s up to the judge to stay a ruling to wait for an appeal or not.

    Otherwise, you’d be able to commit a crime and stay out of jail while waiting for your “appeal”.

  • Rev. Dr. Richard Curtis August 15, 2014 (10:35 am)

    Why are the financial interests of a big corporation more important than the human rights (to housing) of actual human beings? The people commenting seem to default to a view that powerful actors should be allowed to profit from human misery if that can be construed as “legal.” But what is “legal”? It is a political arrangement, a compromise between policy and ethics. Why would we side with policy over ethics? Because we haven’t thought it through. Think it through people, they will come for you next! It is the right and wrong that matter — law is triffling at nothing in this context. We know where this Sheriff stands — he stands against people and against human rights. Where do you stand?

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (10:40 am)

    Skeeter – I know you and I have had very different viewpoints on the situation but yes: the eviction is under appeal with the Court of Appeals. I haven’t pulled up the actual papers on ECR though, and don’t really know the particulars of how the Court of Appeals works but the briefs are due in the fall on the appeal. The appeal, though, appears to have been filed filed back in June.

  • ktrapp August 15, 2014 (10:45 am)

    “still think the nice lady at Triangle Properties is the nice guy here?
    the judge said no so she found another judge …”

    More accurately, the judge just reauthorized an existing eviction order. The judge in the previous order only stated that the City of Seattle and SPD couldn’t be compelled to enforce the law. You have the King County Sheriff’s office enforcing a legal court order, and you have the Seattle Police and City of Seattle refusing to respond to a trespassing complaint because they didn’t want to look bad on TV.

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (10:48 am)

      Ktrapp’s summary is correct – KCSO did clarify that this was not a new eviction order. Regarding the appeal, documents are not as available in those cases as they are in county court. Here is the docket, to which I can’t hotlink because Washington Court Search requires Captcha and other acknowledgments – but you can find it yourself through that engine, for which the URL is so complicated, I just always google Washington Court Search to get there.
      Case Number: 721135
      Filing Date: 06-23-2014
      Coa, Division I
      Event Date Event Description Action
      06-23-14 Notice of Appeal Filed
      06-23-14 Other filing Filed
      06-23-14 Filing fee Received by Court
      06-27-14 Case Received and Pending Status Changed
      07-11-14 Perfection Letter Sent by Court
      07-11-14 Court’s Mot to Dismiss for Fail to file Filed
      07-14-14 Affidavit of Service Filed
      07-23-14 Designation of Clerks Papers Filed
      07-23-14 Statement of Arrangements Filed
      09-08-14 Clerk’s Papers Due
      09-22-14 Report of Proceedings Due
      11-05-14 Appellants brief Information – not filed

  • Kelly Randall August 15, 2014 (10:50 am)

    To carole Harlow… you seem to ignore the fact that they stopped paying for their things… NO ONE gets to keep things they don’t pay for! The Barton’s are wasting tax payer money filling frivolous lawsuits. Maybe you would like to got the bill for that, I certainly don’t. move on people….

  • PLS August 15, 2014 (10:55 am)

    Don’t confuse ethics with the law, Rev. The law is the law, though. You don’t find it ethical? Vote and act to change the law . . . but you can’t ignore the law just because it doesn’t jive with your ethics. And last time I checked, it’s unethical in pretty much every culture and religion to steal, which is essentially what the Bartons are doing. They are claiming as theirs something which is not. They transferred their rights to that property when they accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in consideration of that property. Any claim to it now, or habitation of it as is, is theft. The KCSO is doing their job and were I to fall into similar situation I would fully support and expect them to come for me the same way.

  • au August 15, 2014 (10:58 am)

    Glad that folks are resisting name calling and other such nastiness from the previous ‘barton thread’.

    I am confused though, if an action is being appealed how can that action be allowed to take place? Is there a place in the law that addresses this question? If the Barton’s are found to be in the right will their home be returned?
    These are important issues at hand and I am wanting to have a deeper understanding.

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (11:09 am)

      Note: We are continuing to add new developments. We are based about a mile from the house so we went back over a little while ago to see if anything was happening; Jean Barton was there doing TV interviews. (No other media were there for the actual arrests, but they’ve all jumped in now.) Then she was apparently off to meet up with SAFE.
      Meantime, re: appeals: I am not a lawyer but I’ve covered a lot of cases involving law, and can tell you that, as somebody said earlier, appeals don’t necessarily stop whatever is being appealed. For example, criminal cases are appealed relatively often, but it doesn’t mean the person who was convicted gets out of jail in the meantime. I covered a land-use case that went to the Court of Appeals, involving a property owner appealing a decision against new homes he wanted to build on some land he owned – the fact he appealed the decision that went against him did not mean he could go ahead with his proposed project in the meantime. And so on. As discussed in the comments on our previous story, the Bartons tried to get a stay of the “unlawful detainer” (eviction) action but did not – the judge at the time (June) ruled that it could proceed, and that’s what led to not only the mid-July eviction action but also the little-reported earlier visit by a sheriff’s detective who declined to remove them (we hadn’t heard of the case at that time but a couple regional outlets had been contacted, apparently – here’s what KING reported in June) – Tracy

  • Case August 15, 2014 (11:00 am)

    Thank you Dr. Curtis

  • sittingbird August 15, 2014 (11:01 am)

    Time to pay the piper..

  • CandrewB August 15, 2014 (11:01 am)

    Reverend, they borrowed $600,000+ from that big corporation.

  • skeeter August 15, 2014 (11:02 am)

    Thanks Gatewood Neighbor. I’ll be curious to see how this all shakes out. The Bartons have sued Chase for illegal foreclosure and now you tell me they’ve appealed the KCSO eviction. Each suit is potentially worth huge sums of money. If the Bartons have a legitimate case then they’ll get their day(s) in court.

  • Legitimate Question August 15, 2014 (11:03 am)

    au, one of the commenters in a previous thread had posted the actual state law that applies in this case. Per that law, the only possible remedy for the Bartons would be monetary damages, so even if the court ruled in their favor they still wouldn’t have kept the house.

  • Really? August 15, 2014 (11:05 am)

    @ Rev. Dr. Richard Curtis – I think you are correct that housing is a basic human right, that doesn’t mean everyone is entitled to own a home. There are other way to put a roof over your head. Home ownership is a privilege that comes with responsibility. You brought up ethics; do you think it is ethical to take out more than half a million dollars in debt and stop paying it back? No one is coming for me, I pay my bills.

  • skeeter August 15, 2014 (11:11 am)

    Au- good question. My understanding is if the Bartons are successful in either the illegal foreclosure suit or appeal of the eviction then they still could not get the house back. However, they would get oodles of money. Not only their actual financial losses but also pain and suffering and punitive damages. They would then, presumably, use that money to buy a new house. I suppose they could try to buy the house back from Triangle but I don’t know if Triangle would want to sell. Probably makes more sense for the Bartons to just buy a different home with the proceeds of their suits.

  • Michelle August 15, 2014 (11:16 am)


  • JA August 15, 2014 (11:17 am)

    Appeals can take years. Unless the judge specifically orders that the parties to maintain the status quo during the appeal period, the “winning” party is usually free to move forward based on the original ruling.

  • k August 15, 2014 (11:31 am)

    annaeileen wins comment of the year.

  • skeeter August 15, 2014 (11:36 am)

    Rev. Dr. Richard Curtiss writes: “Why would we side with policy over ethics?”

    Rev., are you saying the Bartons don’t have an ethical obligation to either repay the debt or let the lender have the collateral? I like where you’re going with this!! I’m gonna start attending your church!

  • ktrapp August 15, 2014 (11:44 am)

    I think it should also be repeated that the current appeal is on the third suit that they have filed. The first, they lost. The second was tossed because it was identical to the first one. The third was filed in a different jurisdiction, they’ve lost that too, and it’s unlikely to fair better on appeal. It’s not like the Barton’s have been railroaded through the process. When people complain that they need their “day in court”, they should be honest, and note that the Barton’s have had several days in court. Their tactics strike me as continued stalling attempts, continuing to file the same lawsuit, knowing that it takes months, if not years for them to eventually be tossed, and using it as an attempt to stay in the house for free. I’m not unsympathetic to people who have lost their homes due to economic hardship. I personally know a few people who have had it happen to. I AM unsympathetic to people trying to avoid paying what they owe and exploiting a slow judicial system to do it.

  • Doug August 15, 2014 (11:46 am)

    I was sympathetic to the Barton’s and SAFE until I carefully read the background to this. My impression is that the Barton’s made a risky financial decision, it failed, and are now unwilling to accept the consequences.

    As others noted, it’s certainly true that there are predatory lenders, crooked property owners, etc. But it’s also true that when someone takes out a huge mortgage like that, they are accepting responsibility as well.

    KCSO seems to have acted very professional here in enforcing the law, which is what they’re supposed to do, while being non-partisan. Seattle Council seems to have done quite the opposite and are more worried about image than governing fairly and properly. As much as I support the Socialists in Seattle, I think this is a case of political demagoguery.

  • JoB August 15, 2014 (11:47 am)

    and in the meantime..
    a seriously ill man has been deprived of his home and his support system .. all for his own good
    he was taken to the VA…
    presumably against his will.

  • Kat in Highpoint August 15, 2014 (12:01 pm)

    Every time I read about this I think of “The House of Sand and Fog” by Andre Dubus III. It shows how no one really wins in these situations and the only way to avoid the inevitable damage to all parties is to halt proceedings until appeals, etc. have been concluded.
    For those not familiar with the book, a woman’s house gets auctioned off because the government incorrectly believes that she owes back taxes. This mistake is eventually realized but it is too late. It is unfair to the people who bought the house at auction (they didn’t have anything to do with the mistake behind the auction itself) to have the house taken back but it is equally unfair for the woman to not get the house back that never should have been taken in the first place.
    The only thing that could have prevented this was NOT auctioning off the house until the investigation/appeal was completed.
    These halts/delays happen all of the time in other areas. For instance, locally, the demolition of AH is being delayed because someone (frivolously, in my opinion) is appealing parts of the procedure. We need the same kind of protections built in for private property owners.
    Imagine if an Indian tribe was appealing a development project because it might be occurring on sacred burial grounds. Do you just go ahead and let them dig without allowing the appeals and investigation to go forward? Do you just let the developer go ahead and say “oops” when they start to uncover bones? By then the damage is done. These protections are written in for a good reason, even if they are expensive and inconvenient at times.
    The point, in my opinion, is that we need to come up with legislation that will halt property transfers until it can be determined that these mortgage companies have, indeed, acted in good faith BEFORE foreclosure proceedings. For instance, if the mortgage company encouraged the owners to NOT pay for several months in order to “qualify” for mortgage refi assistance. Then, rather than work with the family on refinancing they use the missed payments as a legal means to foreclose. This type of predatory practice needs to be investigated BEFORE foreclosures are allowed to proceed. The party that loses out temporarily is the mortgage company. Perhaps this would give the incentive they need to make sure that all of their business practices are above board.
    Just my two cents.

  • Timing August 15, 2014 (12:06 pm)

    I am glad to see the KC sheriff come in and do what are mayor, police chief and judges don’t have the guts to do, enforce laws that are already in place!

    Thanks King County Sheriffs Office!

  • A. August 15, 2014 (12:10 pm)

    Good! Finally justice!

  • s August 15, 2014 (12:10 pm)

    JoB–It wasn’t his home.

  • Water world August 15, 2014 (12:13 pm)

    On the appeal issue: Under the court rules for appeals, a trial court’s decision can be enforced during an appeal. If the person who is appealing the decision wants to prevent enforcement, he or she ordinarily must post what’s called a supersedeas bond, which is basically the amount of money at stake in the case (or marketable securities worth the same amount). If the appeal relates to the right of the person to keep possession of real property, the amount of the bond is not only the amount needed to satisfy the lenders seeking eviction, but also includes attorneys fees and a sum that would compensate the party who won at trial for the loss of the use of the property during the appeal. In other words, a homeowner can get a stay of an eviction order only by posting all the money it would take to get their home back, plus, for example, the rental value of the home in the meantime.

    I don’t know whether the Barton’s appeal would address the eviction or not, but if it did, then the bond required to get a stay to prevent eviction during the appeal would have been quite a lot of money. If they had it, they would have avoided foreclosure.

    On the issue Skeeter raised, regarding the City’s duty to enforce the law, my guess is that the City’s argument was a tiny bit more subtle than what the Sheriff says, although I could of course be wrong. The usual argument in a case where a person asks a judge to force law enforcement to do something is that the City’s duty is a general one, owed to all the citizens of the city, as opposed to a specific duty owed to each individual personally. Otherwise, it would be too easy for people to sue the City or the police any time they failed to act. The City and law enforcement agencies must have some discretion, because they cannot be everywhere, all the time, enforcing every law. The courts are not going to get involved in how the City and SPD exercise their discretion in an individual case where the City elects not to to take action.

    Or course there are exceptions to this, such as if the police were exercising their discretion in a way that is clearly improper. But the City’s decision to not arrest one family holed up in one house is not going to be second-guessed by a superior court judge.

  • au August 15, 2014 (12:16 pm)

    Thank You Everybody for the mini education on property law.

    ‘..move on people….’ Comments like this aren’t necessary. The best thing to do when we disagree is to face each other,parse it out. Listen and educate ourselves. Even though this forum is faceless we can still remain civil if we so choose.

    For me its more complicated than to simply say they are stealing. Sure that’s what the laws says but let’s remember who writes and enforces the laws.

    What I am trying to understand is if this is just or perhaps something that needs deeper scrutiny. Its seems to be an issue worth comprehending.

  • sittingbird August 15, 2014 (12:19 pm)

    Joanne, so do you think he should be able to stay in the home for free while the rest of us pay?

  • WMF August 15, 2014 (12:21 pm)

    Man, I hope you folks way high up on them horses have a good safety net.

  • alkikmac August 15, 2014 (12:24 pm)

    I thought a person wasn’t allowed to post using multiple aliases in the same thread.

  • Magic 8-Ball August 15, 2014 (12:28 pm)

    First off, I feel sorry for the Bartons as they got in over their heads and had no life preserver. Shame on the person that originally created their loan as the Bartons probably were not qualified $650,000. Prior to 2000 no one would loan you more than 80% of your collateral but that was changed as everyone thought home values would continue to sky rocket. Well no we know that did not happen and a lot of people were harmed horribly.
    My second point and main point is that everyone commenting wish to use only the laws that propagate their agenda and ignore (and denigrate) the ones that do not like
    Police are to enforce the Laws which to are doing
    The Courts are to interprete the Laws which they are doing but slowly
    The Mayor and Council are to create Laws which they are doing, but their are dictating which laws to enforce also. I believe this is incorrect

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (12:39 pm)

    ktrapp -as I have read it,the appeal is for the eviction, not the lawsuit(s) for illegal foreclosure. The illegal foreclosure lawsuit(s)have not been heard in Washington State Court, but rather Federal Court. I believe that there are some different considerations each of them follow. The Bartons originally filed their suit in State Court, but Chase filed to move it to Federal Court, which tends to find in favor of the banks in these instances (from what I have read). Plus now added to the mix is the issue of Quality Loan Servicing and sanctions our State Attorney General took against for violation of the Consumer Protection Act. I am not an attorney, but it seems to me that there may be some different issues and factors involved. Their current lawsuit for illegal foreclosure in Washington State Court has not been heard yet. The Bartons have never had the opportunity to present their case in Washington State Court.

  • BookEmDano August 15, 2014 (12:47 pm)

    Call a mulligan on the sale to Triangle Properties so that QLS has to return the money to them and let the foreclosure go through the courts. The state attorney general imposed a moratorium on foreclosing QLS homes just this year.

  • FreeWanderer August 15, 2014 (12:48 pm)

    This should teach everyone a lesson: Don’t take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans if you can’t afford to pay them back.

  • au August 15, 2014 (12:48 pm)

    It seems to me that ‘their day in court’ hasn’t happened yet. The issue with Chase and Quality Loan Service has not been resolved. Shouldn’t THAT happen first?

  • PLS August 15, 2014 (12:48 pm)

    You are right, au – it’s more complex than just “stealing” but at the same time is is that simple. The core, right-now part of the story is that they do not own that house any longer and should not be there.

    To Kat – nice idea but if all the world had to wait on the courts things would grind to a halt. Do you realize how many cases are in process like this? If buyers cannot trust in the laws on the books they will not put their money up. Our economy would be in freefall if such a step was taken.

    The deeper discussion, back to au’s point, which I agree should be had, is about housing costs, lending laws, foreclosure processes, judicial speed, etc. I think the good of this craziness is that it gets people talking. SAFE and others can bring light to foreclosure problems but I’d like to see the energy going into a solution, not just yelling “wrong!” +1 to Magic 8 for calling out the loan in the first place. That is the real crux of this problem – every other sour fruit comes from that bad tree. If you really are not satisfied with this situation, take the fight for low-cost housing and fair lending to the streets and get some laws in place that support that if you can.

    Over time many good changes have come about from people standing against laws and for something they believed in. Rosa Parks did not follow the law when she refused to give up her seat. Harriet Tubman was not following the law moving slaves through the underground railroad to freedom.

    That said, I think the Bartons staying in this house doesn’t meet that standard. Discrimination, slavery and constitutional rights are one thing. Basic contracts between two consenting parties are different. Housing may be argued to be a right, but borrowing money is clearly a privilege and an obligation. If indeed the bank messed up, they’ll get more than enough money to buy a house. That house is gone so indeed, move on.

  • au August 15, 2014 (12:55 pm)

    Which is exactly what GN just posted while I was reading the 90pg complaint filed in May 2014.

  • Thomas M. August 15, 2014 (1:00 pm)

    No, the property will not be returned to the Bartons if they win. Their sole remedy, having failed to file for an order restraining the sale is money damages. RCW 61.24.127(2)(c).

    There are procedures to stop foreclosure sales pending judicial review. The Bartons did not file such a suit. Their pending matter is as bad as any previous matter. It is rambling and does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action… which it was dismissed before under
    Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Section 12(b)(6).

    On a related note a restraining order or injunction is extraordinary relief and lies in Equity. To get equity one must have done equity. Review the facts and see if taking hundreds of thousands of dollars, not paying it back, and then violating a court order adds up to “equity”. I doubt it.

    As previously noted Mr. Barton was party to 15 STATE suits. I did not search the federal records via the PACER website. A frequent flyer should know to hire competent counsel… if he can get a lawyer to take the file.

    “Barton’s lawyer” was mentioned in the news item. What lawyer? This must have been Housing Justice Project or similar?

    SAFE is a good organization, with a good heart. They hopefully have developed a sharpened sense of where to stake their credibility. This case has not helped.

    Urquhart’s got my vote. He is not willing to let politics stand in the way of his duty. Finally an elected official with some brass.

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (1:14 pm)

      Thomas M. – their lawyer’s name is Jill Smith. Have never spoken to her personally – I don’t know if she was at the court hearing that co-publisher Patrick Sand covered a week ago, as the Bartons were not technically party to the writ of mandamus issue. She is quoted in a SAFE statement which I am adding to the ongoing coverage above, received a short time ago via e-mail. Thank you to everyone for the ongoing detailed discussion, on multiple sides – TR

  • WestofJunction August 15, 2014 (1:02 pm)

    Sad end to a sad story – a perfect storm of irresponsible lenders and borrowers. But in the end, its just stuff. And if anyone thinks this story is bad – stop paying your property taxes for the next two years and see what happens – you’ll be out way, way faster.

  • wetone August 15, 2014 (1:21 pm)

    Wish Sheriff John Urquhart would run for mayor, about the only chance we have to get this city turned around. Maybe he could bring Judge Helen Halpert along also. Seems to be the only one’s around that have the guts to follow and enforce the laws along with holding people accountable for their actions. Unlike all our political leaders in this city that are influenced so easily along with reading into the laws as they wish. What I find interesting with all the pro Barton people on here is why aren’t they opening their doors for the Barton’s to come and stay ? Sad deal for the Barton’s, but glad the sheriff and judge had the guts to do what they did by following the law. They get my vote and restore a little faith in the legal system. As said above quit paying property taxes or utility bills (water/sewer) and see how quickly the city puts a lien on your property, their not so nice funny how that works.

  • au August 15, 2014 (1:23 pm)

    ‘I think the Barton’s staying in this house…’
    This is part of the issue as well.
    Has any of us, seen or do we know the details of the mortgage default in question? No, we haven’t and we don’t. We, none of us, know the entirety of the situation and should stop making judgements. The Barton’s need to get their time in front of a jury like planned and then a decision gets made, not before.
    The property never should have been auctioned off in the first place. Not with unresolved legal issues, which Triangle LLC should have been aware of.

    If you felt property was stolen from you wouldn’t you fight for it? I mean, one doesn’t sue JP Morgan, Chase just for fun.

  • au August 15, 2014 (1:39 pm)

    Interesting. from the ST Feb 28, 2013 about QLS ‘…major players in the foreclosure industry violated the state consumer-protection law by falsely notarizing legal documents and not considering requests to delay the auction of a Whidbey Island home.’

    This is part of the allegations in the pending Barton suit as well.

  • Ray August 15, 2014 (1:39 pm)


    You are wrong. Flat wrong. Enough validated information HAS been presented in this and prior stories to support the current status. May I suggest you read the prior stories/comments as WSB has done a fantastic job collecting information and FACTS.

  • Wondering August 15, 2014 (1:41 pm)

    I am trying to recall from previous stories the details of this person’s disability. I see on all of the 3 local news stations that they use the term “Disabled Veteran” in their headlines. But I thought I understood that his disability was NOT directly related to his service in the military. While I still honor him for his service to our country, I do feel that it is misleading to use that term because it implies that he was injured in the line of service.

    Am I recalling this correctly?

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (1:51 pm)

      Wondering, it is not an inaccurate description. Mr. Barton is a decorated Vietnam-era US Navy veteran; the 90-page lawsuit, linked in our story above, includes some information about his military career, as part of a medical document that the Bartons chose to include in their suit, making it a matter of public record. He suffered a stroke in 2012 and that’s what the bulk of that information was about. I don’t know about pre-existing conditions.
      While I was writing this, GN’s note quoting Slog as saying the VA hospital “turned (him) away” came in. I will try contacting the VA and Harborview, though medical privacy laws mean hospitals are limited as to what they can say – TR

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (1:47 pm)

    So much for the promise of space in the VA facility for Mr. Barton. Quote from his attorney in SLOG:

    “Byron was taken to the VA hospital and turned away, which I think is appalling,” she added. She said they would not allow him to enter the premises. Byron—who has difficulty speaking due to a heart attack and stroke—was transferred to Harborview Medical Center.

    He asked medical staff to call her, she said. For now, “they’re allowing him to stay there as shelter but they’re not going to formally admit him,” according to Smith.

    Nice of KCSO to dump him at Harborview.

  • PLS August 15, 2014 (1:47 pm)

    Spot on, au! Let’s see the cash flow from 1990 forward so we can all be fair. Publish the loan documents, show the $650k that went into their bank, then the monthly payments back to the bank and everything that led up to Chase claiming a default.

    I’d happily change my tune if good effort to meet the loan’s obligations can be demonstrated. I don’t imagine they can. By and large banks don’t just foreclose for the heck of it. They would much rather get money, even cents on the dollar, than have a vacant trashed property. Exceptions exist, of course.

    You may be right – it would have been lovely had it not been sold in the first place. However the family did not file the suit to stop that from happening, as mentioned above, only the one to collect the damages from the resulting process. The loan defaulted, the property was sold and the owner is the owner.

    Can we honestly say the “property was stolen” from the Bartons, though, seriously?

  • PLS August 15, 2014 (1:49 pm)

    According to the documents I read, Wondering, he is disabled from a recent/post-service heart attack that lead to a stroke.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (1:50 pm)

    au – I am with you.

  • HC August 15, 2014 (1:55 pm)

    @SAFE – Mrs. Barton is standing on the sidewalk saying she has nowhere to go; she’s not in jail as you statement purports. Are you going to provide her housing?

  • HC August 15, 2014 (2:01 pm)

    @Gatewood Neighbor – why don’t you open your home to the Bartons?

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (2:16 pm)

    I actually was contemplating walking over to do so when I read Mrs. Barton was giving TV interview, but WSB reported that she was no longer there.

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (2:22 pm)

      We haven’t been back in a few hours – couple other things intervened – so I have no idea what/who is there now; we will be checking probably in an hour or so. Meantime, the VA tells me they cannot comment on whether any particular patient is or has been at their hospital (re: Slog quoting Barton lawyer saying he had been turned away); I’ve received out-of-office messages for both Harborview PIOs so am calling to see if someone is filling in for them, as I’m sure others are inquiring – Tracy

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (2:25 pm)

    PLS – I think au was looking at the money from a human perspective – what caused them to default? Was it economic hardship? Medical bills? Something else?

    I appreciate your interest in financial accountability and responsibility, but I am not making the connections as to how much and when the Bartons refinanced their home has a bearing on the foreclosure, other than that they ultimately defaulted. As far as I know, it has not and is not a crime to refinance and to take cash out. Maybe not the greatest business sense in today’s economy, but which may have made perfect business sense in the pre 2008 economy.

    The fact is that they had a mortgage (refinanced several times I believe), they paid on it for 8 plus years. They were business people that certainly probably provided a living for far more families than Triangle claims it does in the five months it has been in business in Washington State. Then the economy tanked (thanks to the banks) and the home remodeling business collapsed, along with a lot of business especially in housing. I suspect that most monies used were for in the business, possibly to finance expansion, but I don’t know.

    In any event, Chase should have offered a viable loan workout. Once the Bartons filed suit in 2012, the bank (like pretty any much bank) would have immediately stopped all efforts at a loan workout. To the contrary, Chase loves to foreclose-they just don’t talk about it so much since the 2008 recession. I think there was some mention by someone about the District Court lawsuit about efforts by Chase to modify the loan, but this would be highly unusually for an loan servicer with a pending lawsuit filed by the homeowner against them. Nor would it be in character for Chase, with a long reputation for its foreclosure mill.

    Although I don’t agree with you on some points, I am glad you are bringing up these points here.

  • Morgan August 15, 2014 (2:26 pm)

    Sure, I feel sorry for the Barton’s, but they were irresponsible with the very large loan they took out against their home. If you plan on keeping your home, you have no other option than paying back the money you borrowed against it. It’s not a difficult concept to understand. The eviction notices had to come months if not a year or more before the actual eviction, (and they should have been expecting it after they stopped paying the mortgage). They had more than enough time to find an affordable safe place to live. And with Mr. Barton being in poor health, staying in that house was a very poor decision. They could have found appropriate housing long ago.

  • cryan August 15, 2014 (2:27 pm)

    Tough situation, but not making payments and defaulting on loans … what did the Bartons expect to happen .. a free house ?

  • seaopgal August 15, 2014 (2:30 pm)

    “SInce my house burned down
    I now have a better view
    of the rising moon.”

    This haiku hung as a banner on the wall in the homeless shelter where I used to live and work. It was always interesting to watch new residents, volunteers, and visitors read and often re-read it, and contemplate its meaning for their lives. Some embraced it, gaining solace and courage to start anew with nothing; some resisted it with all their might, finding strength in fighting to protect what little they had saved from their previous life. Neither group was wrong, but the former, I think, was better able to come to terms with the injustice they had experienced and move more easily into the moonlight.

  • PLS August 15, 2014 (2:38 pm)

    Great points, GN.

    Understanding why the default occurred does lend empathy but it doesn’t really change the facts. I would love to see for sure that there was a valid default on the loan though. However, Chase is not obligated to modify, though I’d hope they’d try.

    The only way their story in the last few months really gains traction is if they DID pay and were foreclosed. That would be something. Otherwise if bad times just fell and they couldn’t pay, well, it’s sad but it doesn’t give them clearance to stay in the house. I wish there was a good alternative and we all should consider how we as a society can evolve so there can be in the future.

  • sam-c August 15, 2014 (2:38 pm)

    sorry, I have been reading along, all these stories (but haven’t read the legal documents), all the debate in the comments, etc. I haven’t commented though, but am now with a question. Remind me why is this news? I mean, I’ve seen other evictions in West Seattle…w/out any news coverage. Was it due to the original SAFE protests? Sawant and the Mayor getting involved, is that it?

  • Dear Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (2:40 pm)

    @Gatewood Neighbor – your personal vendetta against Triangle is appalling! Your speculations about them CONTINUE to be grossly inaccurate.

  • apostrophecatastrophe August 15, 2014 (2:42 pm)



    Oh, who cares?

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (2:49 pm)

      “Apostrophe,” what’s against a blue background is a direct cut-and-paste from the document/e-mail/whatever received. Much as punctuation, spelling, etc. errors grate on me as an editor (including any that we make), we don’t edit them out – it’s a direct quote, as received – TR

  • dsa August 15, 2014 (2:51 pm)

    I’m liking the way the Sheriff stepped up to the plate and took care of matters. It’s too bad all those who want the Bartons to live off others good will have not offered help them.

  • apostrophecatastrophe August 15, 2014 (3:06 pm)

    Yes, so I thought.
    My comment was directed at quite a few of the other comments in this thread, aside from those with a blue-background.
    I realize it’s basically inconsequential, but as you acknowledge, such things can “grate on” the reader.

  • flimflam August 15, 2014 (3:06 pm)

    imo, SAFE discredits themselves immediately when they begin their tirade by calling the sheriff a “goon”. make your points without name-calling and it would be easier to even want to read your position.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (3:19 pm)

    Dear Gatewood Neighbor – I have no personal vendetta against Triangle, and I made one reasoned opinion about how many people the Bartons employed in their much lengthier career in the housing industry here than Triangle in its short tenure here. I have not found anything in publicly available information to the contrary but if it is different please feel free to share. As I have told you in previous postings, I was neutral about Triangle until the negative attack media campaign conducted by Triangle on the Bartons personally, as well as your comments about the Bartons, you who self admittedly has some sort of connection or relationship with Triangle. I don’t think those are good business practices, certainly not the type of company with which I would want to do business. Today’s events have not improved my perception of the company, nor do I think among many West Seattleites posting here. Chastising people for expressing a reasoned opinion is not going to help improve anyone’s perceptions of Triangle, nor make Triangle’s properties more enticing to prospective buyers.

  • s August 15, 2014 (3:21 pm)

    Gatewood Neighbor–Good for you that you thought about offering the Barton’s a place to stay. I’m sure you can get in touch with them if you do indeed have a sincere offer.

  • Seattle West Hipster August 15, 2014 (3:26 pm)

    The coverage of this event by the WSB has been nothing short of stellar, thank you for detailing all of the facts in this matter.


    Excellent journalism.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (3:27 pm)

    Hi PLS – yes I understand. I do think that Chase could have made a better effort, especially since they were one of the banks bailed out in 2008 and doing loan workouts was one of the contingencies of the bailout. There was a report by the Inspector General for TARP last month that basically said that the long delays by servicers were putting homeowners at risk for foreclosure, and that with nearly 2/3 or the funds set aside for loan workouts in 2008 still unused six years later, that the Treasury should pull out all stops to see that applications are processed in a timely manner. There is more and I am over simplifying things, but that is the essence.

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (4:12 pm)

      Thanks, SWH. And I did want to answer Sam-C’s question upthread … can’t speak for other news organizations but can at least tell you how we have wound up covering this. The day before the actual July 18th eviction, we had received an alert from SAFE, saying they planned to have a demonstration and news conference at the house. It seemed potentially interesting; we’ve covered at least one of their actions before, the South Park eviction of Jeremy Griffith. And yes, they said councilmember Sawant would be there, and that was interesting too. Then came the next morning, and our decision was made when, at least an hour before their set news conference, people started texting and calling about some sort of loud shouting in the Morgan Junction/Gatewood area. We figured out pretty quickly that it was likely something related to the action, and went down the hill (we’re a mile away) to check. The sheriff’s office had arrived earlier than SAFE anticipated and they were in the process of carrying out Byron Barton. The whole thing became quite the spectacle and there was no question of not covering it – this sort of thing doesn’t happen around here every day – sure there are evictions, but when was the last time one was accompanied by protesters, a city councilmember, and involved a person being carried out on a stretcher? The day swept on with multiple developments, and like it or not, we were “in” for covering how it unfolded from there. No matter who you side with, this has brought up a lot of issues, shone some light into the ways the court and legal and law enforcement and political systems work (and don’t), and we’ll just see what happens from here … TR

  • Bradley August 15, 2014 (3:38 pm)

    SAFE was not helping the Barton’s by assisting them in breaking the law. SAFE should have used their resources to locate proper housing and medical care for Mr. Barton and his family rather than using him as a pawn in their illegal cause.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (3:48 pm)

    s – thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I am sure I can too. I probably won’t post what happens here though.

  • unknown August 15, 2014 (3:53 pm)

    How are the Barton’s filing all these lawsuits when they don’t have any money to pay their mortgage? mmm makes me wonder who’s the victim in this?

  • sna August 15, 2014 (4:05 pm)

    Technical clarifications….
    The original TARP agreement didn’t required banks to modify loans. It was about a year after the original TARP that that requirement was implemented for TARP going forward. By then Chase had paid back TARP.
    Secondly Chase wasn’t really bailed out. They didn’t need TARP, but the Treasury & FED didn’t want to give TARP to only a select few banks. They needed to give TARP to all the big banks, regardless of need, because giving funds to only a few banks would have been a clear signal that those banks were in deep trouble and you would have had a run on those banks ensuring their demise.
    Lastly, not everyone qualifies for modification. I believe the basic modification test is “What’s the loan worth if I modify” vs “what’s the loan worth if I don’t modify”. This takes into account probability of foreclosure and foreclosure recovery. Since the home’s value was more than enough to repay the loan, they probably failed that modification test.

  • HC August 15, 2014 (4:06 pm)

    @Gatewood Neighbor – what is your connection to the Bartons?

  • skeeter August 15, 2014 (4:06 pm)

    Did anyone else read the statement by SAFE posted above? Calling the Sheriff a “goon.” The Sheriff is the hero – actually doing the job he was elected to do.

  • Laura August 15, 2014 (4:08 pm)

    That SAFE statement is a masterpiece of delusion. Whether you think it’s fair or right or nice, it’s not their house any longer. Referring to it as theirs and saying things like Mr. Barton was “removed against his will from his childhood home” (FYI, I’d also be removed from my childhood home if I were in it uninvited, because it’s NOT MY HOUSE), and “The Bartons’ home is now occupied by unknown “renters”” is completely misleading and does not help the Bartons look more credible.

  • HC August 15, 2014 (4:09 pm)

    @Gatewood Neighbor – speak for yourself and not for “many West Seattleites.” You are one West Seattelite; you are not many.

  • Dear Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (4:19 pm)

    @ Gatewood Neighbor – Grain of Salt posted on a previous thread “I’d like to read Triangle’s negative media campaign against the Bartons. I am searching the internet and can’t find anything except a few references to public record, which seem to be accurate. Gatewood Neighbor, can you please tell me where I can find this information?” You never replied. I am still waiting to hear your response… Clearly there are many of us fellow West Seattleites that find Triangle’s action more than fair. If your research and position were a little less bias, I am sure it wouldn’t be too hard for you to figure out that the members of Triangle own and operate several businesses in Washington for many many years. And yes, I did mention on a previous thread I know them socially.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (4:27 pm)

    sna – good points. There are lot of technical things relating to TARP that I am not going to address. The that I am going to address is the NPV test. Putting certain unknowns aside, based on the amount of the mortgages (first and second) and what it sold for at foreclosure, I think that there is a very good chance it would have passed the waterfall test. The amount of the mortgages verus what they house sold for at foreclosure auction apparently are close, and on that point I do think they could have qualified either for a MHA loan workout or an in house loan workout.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (4:32 pm)

    HC – I don’t think it is really your business, but I will tell you this: I do not know the Bartons. Also, please note I said “many West Seattlites,” not “most” or “all”. Certainly I wouldn’t include you in the category of people to whom I was referring. But there are a fair number of people posting here that show sympathy to the Bartons. Those were the people to whom I was referring.

  • Morgan August 15, 2014 (4:36 pm)

    I agree with Bradley, SAFE finding the Barton’s appropriate housing would have been much more constructive.

  • JoB August 15, 2014 (4:48 pm)

    “The point, in my opinion, is that we need to come up with legislation that will halt property transfers until it can be determined that these mortgage companies have, indeed, acted in good faith BEFORE foreclosure proceedings. For instance, if the mortgage company encouraged the owners to NOT pay for several months in order to “qualify” for mortgage refi assistance. Then, rather than work with the family on refinancing they use the missed payments as a legal means to foreclose. This type of predatory practice needs to be investigated BEFORE foreclosures are allowed to proceed. The party that loses out temporarily is the mortgage company. Perhaps this would give the incentive they need to make sure that all of their business practices are above board.”
    thank you Kat

  • HC August 15, 2014 (4:53 pm)

    @Gatewood Neighbor – thanks for the answer. You come across as having personal knowledge and I was just wondering.

  • Dear Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (4:58 pm)

    @Gatewood Neighbor – How are you going to say it’s not HC’s business as to your affiliation, when you have clearly made it your business trying to speculate and call out other people’s affiliations?! Let me remind you of your previous post “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.” At least HC was righteous enough just to ask you outright and not make speculatory comments…

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (5:03 pm)

      Once again, folks, stop with the “who’s affiliated with who.” I’ve been really happy that this entire thread has drawn only one or two trolly comment attempts today (not published) and really don’t want to have to shut things down. It’s been an educational discussion overall. The comments can speak for themselves. As I’ve said before, we watch for astroturfing as best we can.

  • JoB August 15, 2014 (4:59 pm)

    HC.. killing the messenger doesn’t change the message..
    this West Satellite doesn’t know any of the parties and agrees with Gatewood Neighbor ..
    at this point i would be hard pressed to consider doing business with Triangle..
    I am not impressed with the they way they do business

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (5:03 pm)

    unknown – good questions. The Bartons have filed “pro se” meaning that they filed representing themselves. I am not an attorney, but it also looks to me that they prepared the legal documents on their own. There are low cost/no cost legal services available to which they could have availed themselves for guidance. The only hard fees would be the court filing fees.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (5:09 pm)

    @Dear Gatewood Neighbor – regardless of my opinion, I answered the question.

    • WSB August 15, 2014 (5:29 pm)

      Another update will be added shortly above. Apparently TV people have been asking to go inside all day and were allowed to. Co-publisher Patrick Sand just went to the neighborhood again because we were curious if TV newstime would bring out a protest or something else – I worked in TV for so many years, it wouldn’t have surprised me – and while he didn’t find the Bartons or SAFE, Triangle waved him over and invited him in. They recognized him from last week’s court hearing. He’s back now and processing photos. – TR

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (5:18 pm)

    HC – thank you so much for responding. Most of what I have commented on are public records which are readily available to the public; others are my knowledge over the years of banks and the loan workouts. If I get a little passionate about this, it is because I have seen so many people hurt by this, where the banks stall, delay and ultimately fail to do modifications or workouts. And we ultimately end up with situations such as what happened today. So sad for all.

  • Dear Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (5:32 pm)

    @Gatewood Neighbor – You did answer. But, you did not rationalize your opinion “that it is not HC’s business to know whom you are”, yet you made it your business to speculate who others are… I just don’t understand the hypocrisy.

  • OneOfThePeople August 15, 2014 (5:46 pm)

    I don’t know the particulars of the Barton’s situation, but from my understanding of what’s behind the foreclosure crisis, it is very likely that Chase stole the Barton’s house.

    Unfortunately, it seems the public is still largely unaware of the real reasons so many are defaulting and being foreclosed on (thanks to the false coverage of the issue in the main stream media). Not to say that everyone who took out a home loan was doing so responsibly or that all in the mortgage industry are corrupt. But in general, the criminal actions of the banks have more to do with the foreclosure crisis then borrower irresponsibility.

    We hear of toxic mortgages or loans in the main stream media, but do we really understand what they are? Toxic loans are not simply loans that are in default. Toxic loans are those that were made by shady bank players using false, misleading, deceptive and fraudulent means. The securitization of mortgages is the means for creating a Ponzi scheme that involves predatory selling of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to investors and predatory lending to borrowers. Illegal transactions are conducted behind the scenes that the well-intentioned borrower (and investors who bought the MBS) had no clue about.

    Many times loans are intentionally given to people that are nearly impossible to pay back because the bank expects/wants the borrower to default. It is easy money to just purchase insurance such as credit default swaps (usually overvalued) so the bank gets paid xxx thousand dollars in a lump sum and far quicker than it would if it just waited for monthly payments for 30 years! Then it can foreclose and get the house, too!

    The borrower is harmed by these practices because s/he is not only set up to fail, but is most likely not paying the party that actually loaned the money (the investors of the MBS are the real lenders, but they aren’t getting the mortgage payments either because it’s a Ponzi scheme). Instead, the pretender lender and their servicers are stealing the money from the investors and then stealing the money and the houses from the borrowers. These fraudulent practices cause the homeowner to lose their home to parties who lent nothing to them. It is an elaborate scheme done with intention to rob the people of their property and their wealth. It is the banks that are getting the free houses, folks!

    Yes, we must be responsible and pay our bills…but we must also understand that the defaulted borrower is not necessarily the bad guy. The people must take responsibility for understanding how we are ALL being fleeced by these “too big to fail” banks whether we are paying our bills or not!

    If the borrowers must be responsible and follow the law then so should the banks and the courts! The banks must be subject to the law and must also be prosecuted for breaking it! Forcing the banks to follow the law could only improve the economy since it is already devastated by the endless Wall Street manipulation of the good will of the people.

  • sittingbird August 15, 2014 (5:47 pm)

    Last thoughts on this matter from me. I would never be able to show my face around town again if I was them. Too embarrassed to do anything in public.

  • Dear Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (5:49 pm)

    @Gatewood Neighbor – We have something in common, I too get a little passionate… I get a little passionate because, I am repulsed by people on here’s comments trying to vilify Triangle by stating speculation and empty facts.

  • M August 15, 2014 (5:49 pm)

    For me, the strangest part of the sudden, and probably final, chapter in this unfortunate story is how viciously the Sheriff went after the City, the mayor and the courts in his statement. It’s disturbing to think that the two have such an openly hostile relationship that insulting and accusatory public statements are called for. One can only imagine what impact this has on the cops and deputies on the street, or their willingness to share information and work together on solving crimes. It can’t be good.
    -But the sheriff got her done, whether you agree with him or not. and probably saved a lot of additional drama and pain over something that was inevitable. But I have to say, again, that the military over-kill they bring to one of these things is always weird and shocking to see. Like the situation really calls for a van full of guys dressed like black Ninjas snipers to be standing by just in case the small army that’s already at the house goes down. But this was the Barton clan after all, and I suppose you can never have too many Ninjas standing by when dealing with their kind.
    -The Bartons may be fighting this so hard because they hope to get a larger settlement from Chase, or whoever their lenders are. And they may have a right to that money. The banks were fined huge amounts for their reckless mortgage practices back then, and would never loan the Bartons that much money today. Lenders were greedy and careless and the courts may very well side with the Bartons, which if we’re talking 100k+, would probably be worth fighting for, and may be why such a seemingly hopeless battle is being fought – for the size of any settlement rather than the house. It isn’t an either or situation.

  • M August 15, 2014 (6:08 pm)

    Here’s a good personal example of bank lending fraud: right before the collapse, in 2008, refinanced my home. I’m self employed, and based on my previous quarterly income, I didn’t qualify for the size of the loan I wanted. I called the lender and the rep I got asked me if I had any other source of income that would bring the magic numbers into alignment. I half joking said “how about if I just borrow it from friends and family, and to my utter amazement, his next words were “Congratulations Sir, you just qualified for the loan.” And the lender made $5000 in loan fees, and everyone was happy. And I still have the home.

  • ScubaFrog August 15, 2014 (6:08 pm)

    Urquhart’s absolutely right. Murray’s liberal politics ran roughshod over the law. And the SPD Chief let him command her which laws to follow – and which not.

    I hope Triangle sues Murray and SPD Chief O’Toole – I wouldn’t mind my taxpayer money paying for that lawsuit, if it taught Murray/O’Toole (and other local politicians) that they’re not above the law. Mayors and police chiefs don’t get to pick what laws they want to enforce.

    I hope Triangle’s able to get in and change the locks, then fully reclaim their property from the squatters’.

  • mrsB August 15, 2014 (6:21 pm)

    Any loan modification would only have prolonged this situation; it’s unlikely that it would have resolved it. As it has been widely reported, the Bartons failed to make any effort to repay even part of the loans, so reducing the monthly payments, for example, likely would not have changed matters.

  • Karen Pooley August 15, 2014 (6:24 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 (6:26 pm)

    In addition:
    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.

  • au August 15, 2014 (6:29 pm)

    Ray, I am correct. I googled information on Quality Loan Services and quickly came up with many judgements against them. They have previously been found guilty of what the Barton’s are accusing them of.
    Why on earth would I limit myself to one news source?

    The Barton’s have a pending case against JP Morgan, Chase and QLS. A real trial with a judge and jury. Its about whether they were being illegally foreclosed on or not. Before anything happens to this property and this family one would think it pertinent to know if they were illegally foreclosed on or not.
    How is this NOT common sense?

    Remember that none of us here in blogosphere know all of the facts so how can anybody judge them guilty or innocent?

  • Danno August 15, 2014 (6:42 pm)

    In a WSB comment re: Terminal 5 above, ‘dsa’ posted “I think I voted wrong.”

    My reply:

    “Seems like that could be said by the majority most recent local voters. Voters’ remorse. Vote better next time.”

    It seems that my reply carries more import to this thread!

  • To the Barton's August 15, 2014 (7:19 pm)

    I do feel really bad for you guys. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a home you lived in for 60 years. For that my heartaches out for you.

    This was an unfortunate event for both parties. But this is not the end of the world. I do think now that the eviction has been finalized the healing process can begin. The stress of the last few months to years cannot be good for Byron’s health. Maybe once the healing process is completed you guys can focus on the bigger picture, Byron’s health.
    It is unfortunate that some of the bad financial decisions, either mislead or bad choices, came back to bite. The reality is that you owed money and you couldn’t pay it back.
    I am disappointed with SAFE, a group based on a great principle, being so unprofessional in this matter (ex posting Mitch daher’s phone number on your website, protesting outside his condo, inaccurate stories). I do hope you stick this out and keep supporting the Barton’s in the healing process.
    I do not understand why triangle and the nice woman (Wendy Adams) were brought into this situation. They did not foreclosed on the family or forced the banks to. They purchased a property based on calculations that it was a good investment opportunity (I’m guessing it probably might not be any more). Doubt they knew anything about the people living there.

  • sam-c August 15, 2014 (7:25 pm)

    huh??? who is Mr. Knecht? I guess I better stop following this, I’m lost

  • joel August 15, 2014 (8:06 pm)

    glad Murray is not over the sheriff’s office – they would have lived their for years without paying anything. you take 600k plus in cash out and then don’t pay it back and then want to live in your house for free? that’s not how it works. the new owner of the house should have taken possession weeks ago.

  • G August 15, 2014 (8:08 pm)

    I know the Barton’s opened themselves up to public scutiny – some of us know more about their situation than they do themselves – but I don’t think the living room photo was necessary. Maybe it is small potatoes after their lives have been dissected in fine detail, but it feels like voyeurism.

  • joel August 15, 2014 (8:13 pm)

    WSB – any pictures you can post on the condition of the inside of the house? its’ bad enough they are living for free but at least maintain the house…….If they continued squatting I am sure Murray would have ordered the house to never be condemned…..regardless of the filth and unsanitary conditions.

  • inquiring minds August 15, 2014 (8:19 pm)

    I’d like to read Triangle’s negative media campaign. Gatewood Neighbor, where is it posted?? Can you please post it here so everyone can see it in black and white instead of just referencing it? Or at least tell us where to find it?

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (8:23 pm)

    mrsB – How do you know that a loan modification would not have helped here? I am curious for your basis on this. Also, I believe your are incorrect that the Bartons didn’t make any effort to repay even part of their loans. Their original loan was taken out in 2003 with a couple of refis through 2007. The time of default as reported in the media was around 2011. Clearly they were paying between 2003 to 2011.

  • Mike August 15, 2014 (8:41 pm)

    So according to the King Counties Writs of Restitution laws, Triangle is responsible “provide sufficient personnel and materials to expeditiously remove the tenants’ and/or occupants’ property from the eviction location. This includes equipment necessary to move and transport the tenants’ property. The King County Sheriff’s Office recommends large, heavy-duty trash bags, cardboard boxes, gloves and any other protective gear deemed appropriate by the landlord or their representative.”
    So assuming they have a tenant ready to move in immediately, I can only assume they’re following the law and doing exactly what the law says as quoted above, correct?

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 15, 2014 (8:43 pm)

    au – you are correct about Quality Loan.

  • Inquiring Minds August 15, 2014 (9:06 pm)

    Hello? I am Googling and there are no results for this. Gatewood Neighbor, you have mentioned a negative media campaign several times in your comments. Also you mentioned just above that Triangle quoted how many jobs that they created, or something similar. ***Where are you reading this??***

  • pse August 15, 2014 (10:29 pm)

    I wonder if these Bartons are any relation to the award-winning preschool children’s book author and illustrator, Byron Barton? Would make this an even sadder story for me…

  • HC August 15, 2014 (10:40 pm)

    @Mike – what’s your point?

  • HC August 15, 2014 (10:42 pm)

    @joB – Killing the messenger? Please explain.

  • HC August 15, 2014 (10:51 pm)

    @G – I think because Triangle let (or invited?) the press into the house shows transparency; that they have nothing to hide.

  • heather August 15, 2014 (10:52 pm)

    I second the comments commending excellent news reporting. Thank you for excellent detailed factual coverage WSB. And the additional timeline breakdown in the comment section as well – much appreciated.

    I haven’t read many comments on this but I find it disconcerting that Mr. Barton was and seems like, is still, being shuffled between hospitals. 8 am – 9pm back and forth between the VA and Harborview, for someone quite ill…

  • Tcbc August 15, 2014 (11:18 pm)

    So let me get this straight, a family refinances a house and then defaults on the payment, the home is foreclosed on and sold. they are legally evicted from the home and removed through eviction. They then illegally move back in and have to be criminally trespassed from the home and removed by the sheriff and people think that they should be able to stay? Really? It is time for people to take accountability for their lives and bad decisions. Yes I feel bad that there is yet ANOTHER disabled vet without a home but that is a bigger issue. There are people evicted everyday for choices they have made and must be somewhat accountable for there lives. I understand there are a bunch of bleeding hearts out there but it is time that people realize that there are consequences to their actions. This the appropriate resolution to a bad situation and the sheriff has acted within the law and not for votes ad the mayor and certain city council members did. When public officials start doing what is right like the sheriff department instead of what is popular or may get a vote, then things will get better. Until then get over it everyone it was done correctly.

  • Waterworld August 15, 2014 (11:27 pm)

    Mike: That’s not the law, that’s a form printed by the Sheriff’s office. Get a grip.

  • Karen Pooley August 15, 2014 (11:39 pm)

    To Sam c:
    I posted the excerpt of another foreclosure case Knecht v. Fidelity National Title that was ruled on today. It shot down MERS and it was a very good ruling for homeowners in Washington that are fighting the banks in the courts.

    I am sorry for the confusion.

  • cj August 16, 2014 (12:07 am)

    I hope the sick man will be ok. :/

  • sittingbird August 16, 2014 (2:08 am)

    Time to focus and kick Ed Murray out of office for not upholding the law of duty as he’s supposed to when he was sworn in as Mayor. I’m tired of rogue city leaders who think they are above written law.

  • JoB August 16, 2014 (7:03 am)

    HC.. killing the messenger refers to attempting to discredit the messenger instead of discrediting the message.
    if your argument doesn’t hold up of it’s own merit.. making accusation of others does nothing to bolster it.

  • JoB August 16, 2014 (7:04 am)

    No amount of money will replace your childhood home.

  • JoB August 16, 2014 (7:05 am)

    did you wonder why Triangle properties was so eager for the press to photo the upstairs of the home but not the actual living quarters in the basement?

  • annaeileen August 16, 2014 (9:12 am)

    The pictures show how far over their heads the Barton’s are in being able to take care of the house. Even the interview with Mrs. Barton was concerning with her explanation of why there was so much cat poop and her denial of rodent droppings. She says they were packing but she refuses to find a place to live and was desperately trying to stay so why pack? If they don’t have money to pay for repairs to the house, the house will continue to mold and deteriorate to the point it will need to be torn down so their leaving will allow the owners to fix the house. Where are the cats? Again, all of this just shows how much help they need. SAFE has done them a big disservice in not helping them and only using them to as a poster family for mortgage loan crisis.

  • Mike August 16, 2014 (9:29 am)

    HC, it’s a question, not a point.
    Waterworld, it is the law.

  • Good Point August 16, 2014 (10:57 am)

    “No amount of money will replace your childhood home” -JoB

    Good point Job. The Barton’s should have realized that when they were borrowing and spending $650,000 against a home that was GIVEN to them free and clear.

    Sherriff Urquhart just scored big points in my book. The law must be upheld, even in sad situations. Good for him for doing the job everyone else was afraid to do.

  • K August 16, 2014 (11:07 am)

    It’s really sad. I know what it is like to have “life experiences” beat you down and make it really hard to get up. The man in the story obviously cannot get up. But the wife seems to be very able bodied. With all of the time she has apparently spent on lawsuits and media presence, I wonder when she has time to work at her job? Does she have a job? I wonder… and I wonder why she hasn’t stood up for her man and her family. It’s a pet peeve of mine when ladies refuse to work to help their family… as if they are entitled to some kind of special treatment? I don’t get it? Maybe she is also disabled?…

    And I know that lots of people will say that her job is taking care of him. I call BS on that before you even say it and will call it after you say it. There are plenty of community resources that this man is eligible for, I am pretty sure, that would benefit him.
    He likely would qualify for home health care… someone to bath him, dress him, nursing, physical and occupational therapy as well as other non govt related services such as shopping help, help with getting to MD appts, help with housekeeping.
    I am very sorry for this guy. I am a woman, and I kind of get the feeling that most of this is driven by the wife.
    Quite frankly… a lot of this story is not logical. Maybe I am missing something.
    And BTW… I am an educated professional. I am burnt out at job and living paycheck to paycheck. Just today … I considered taking a job “well below” my skills at Costco so that I can keep my house….just my thoughts.

    • WSB August 16, 2014 (12:06 pm)

      K, yes, Jean Barton has been widely reported as working at a local shelter. And whether you agree with what’s been happening in this situation or not, I’d say it appears to me she has certainly “stood up for her man.” Also, as a woman who has been working for a paycheck for two-thirds of her 54 years on the planet, and as WSB editor, I need to say that sexist generalizations aren’t welcome here. Even if a woman – or a man – is a homemaker not drawing a paycheck, that is damned hard work that makes it possible for the other half of the couple to handle their outside-the-house job.
      HC – our photographer was invited to go through the entire house. We did not ask to go inside, that to me wasn’t a particularly important part of this story, but they yelled over at Patrick when he was checking out the neighborhood around 5 pm, as I wrote, and they said all the other media already had done it and we should too, so he did. (On the other side of the story, same thing happened four weeks ago on eviction day – during one visit back into the neighborhood, he was invited into the house to see the Bartons in the basement, as were other media.) Patrick usually reviews his photos and sends me what seems worth contributing to the story, and this was the only one he thought worth using, so we included it as a datapoint, as opposed to the TV people (see the SAFE Facebook link) who reportedly went off on an OMG DID YOU SEE THIS tangent. – TR

  • BearsChick August 16, 2014 (11:28 am)

    Mike. The evicted tenants have to make a request in writing if they want their belongings stored. They are also responsible to pay for the costs associated with storage. If the Barton’s did not make a written request, then the owner’s can dispose of the Barton’s belongings per landlord/tenant laws.

  • HC August 16, 2014 (11:40 am)

    @joB – thanks for the explanation. Wasn’t trying to discredit or otherwise, just didn’t want the poster to act like they are representing all West Seattleites (sp?).

  • HC August 16, 2014 (11:41 am)

    @Mike – thanks.

  • HC August 16, 2014 (11:44 am)

    @joB – did Triangle prevent the photographer from photographing other parts of the house or did the photographer only choose to photograph the living room? I don’t know.

  • K August 16, 2014 (12:09 pm)

    I have never been married, but I know that there is a general vow, ” In sickness and in health”…. it doesn’t seem like this is being observed. Or if it is… her thinking is mixed up and she needs some help to understand the vows… maybe that is why adult protection services was contacted. It seems to me that the “house” might be the lease of their worries….

  • K August 16, 2014 (12:19 pm)

    @WSB… I completely and totally respect the homemaker. I must not have made my opinions clear… I am in no way, shape or form a sexists. But… I have seen a lot of ladies taking advantage of a lot of situations. I am a lady myself, so I don’t understand how you could think my opinion is sexist. What I do believe is that man or woman should stand up for there family and work. That is great that she works at the shelter. I am constantly trying to keep my head above water… and look for ways to make more money. Maybe she should consider that?
    I am not trying to be a jerk, but I have seen many who do not think that they need to fulfill their role, both men and women. In this case it’s a woman. And I have personally seen lots of women let their families go to crap because they refuse to work. Maybe men too, but I don’t associate with those kind of men. Sorry… I am a hard working gal and will not change my opinion. I really do not believe that any person (male or female) who lets their spouse live in squalor, does not have appropriate “help” involved, and most likely does not work is anyone that I would consider a contributing member of society. When you love someone, or you are at least a decent human being, you provide the basics… housing, clothing and food. Not something I have seen here. Sometimes, you have to “cowboy up” and live in a studio or one bedroom apartment… but you provide for those you love (woman or man)… that is what, in my opinion people are supposed to do. Maybe two jobs would help? Give me a break…
    AND… working at “a shelter” is probably something that makes her feel good inside. Maybe she (in this case a she. Could be a “he” in another situation) could buck up and get a job that doesn’t make them feel good inside but actually supports the family.
    Just putting out my big girl ideas… sometimes we have to do things we don’t like to do. Buck up, lady!!! You can do it. Provide!

  • K August 16, 2014 (12:59 pm)

    Either way… I am a certified and qualified health care professional. I find your comments offensive WSB. I am glad that adult protective services is involved and hope that they will help this man.

  • K August 16, 2014 (1:53 pm)

    Bottom line.. someone should take care of this man. It would be greatest if it was his wife.

  • sittingbird August 16, 2014 (2:07 pm)

    K-the VA is taking care of him now. He’s in good hands. Better than being couped up in that filfthy house they let deteriorate.

  • Alphonse August 16, 2014 (3:20 pm)

    K – Perhaps you could state which health care provider you are associated with as a “certified and qualified health care professional” so that I can decide whether I would want to seek care there. While you’re at it, please list all those resources that are out there for full-time, in-home or facility-based care which aren’t 100% out of pocket or require qualifying for Medicaid. Because I haven’t been able to find them in the years that I’ve been working full-time and being a full-time caregiver to a family member, and I’m kind of worried that it’s going to kill me soon, so I’d like to avail myself of those resources ASAP. I guess I’m not sufficiently “bucked up” so any wisdom that you have gleaned from working full time and providing 24 hour in-home care for a loved one would be appreciated. (BTW, I can also provide my occupation if needed so you can assess whether it’s a real job or one that just makes me feel good inside.)

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 16, 2014 (4:44 pm)

    Bears chick – I believe your are wrong. I am a landlord, and although I have never had to evict someone I understand that Washington State law protects the properties of the tenant. It requires the owners to store property and if they chose to sell it to provide proper notice to the tenants. Hopefully Triangle will take the high road in this instance and go above and beyond what is required by law to ensure that the Bartons property is returned to them. Dear Gatewood Neighbor, you may take umbrage at this but this would be a really decent thing to do. Not just to follow the letter of law and no more, but to make real efforts here. I certainly hope the cats in the house are properly provided for, and not dumped on Seattle Humane Society. It is an opportunity to take the high road and show the humanitarian side of things.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 16, 2014 (4:51 pm)

    Hey ALphonse – lovely you are doing what you do. My support is with you. How hard it is, but you will be blessed for it ultimately.

  • G August 16, 2014 (5:14 pm)

    WSB: In fairness to HC, I was the one who objected to the photo. (Thanks for the response, and no, I don’t think you guys included it for sensational value.) It was just a poignant photo, regardless of how one feels about the Barton’s.

  • JoB August 16, 2014 (5:15 pm)

    life happens
    while it’s true that the Barton’s risked their home to try to build a better future for themselves
    it is also likely true that the bank didn’t exactly play straight with them when they hit the same financial wall that hit us all
    and then his health failed
    and suddenly she had a husband recovering from a stroke to take care of
    and then it got worse
    when you talk about people this way
    how will you face yourself in the mirror if this ever happens to you?
    will you have to count on those of us whose “bleeding hearts” will still care about you?

  • Gatewood neighbor August 16, 2014 (6:53 pm)

    JoB – how lovely and well said…

  • Hugh August 16, 2014 (8:04 pm)

    One of the people… I’ve been paying my mortgage on time since 2006 and chase has not tried to steal it from me. They make far more money off me when I pay off the note.

  • Good Point August 16, 2014 (9:02 pm)


    “how will I face myself in the mirror if this ever happens to me?”.

    Let’s see…

    First off, what is this ‘better future’ that the Bartons were building? Do you know more of the story than has been discussed? Or are you making assumptions? It appears to me that they were actually digging a bigger hole.

    To put it bluntly, $650K is a sh!tload of money, more than I will ever see at one time. It had to go somewhere. And at some point, if that were me, I would have asked myself “Is this thing that I’m pumping $650K into more important than my childhood home? Because I am risking it with all these mortgages.” And the answer is actually quite simple:

    No (not worth it), which means that I would have put the brakes on the mortgage gravy train before I ever even got close to that amount.

    Yes (worth it), which means that I would have kept pumping money into something (what?) for quite some time until I reached $650K in loans. Then, if I ended up not paying anything on my massive loans for three years I would have at least saved something for the inevitable eviction. It’s just a fact of life. But even if I didn’t save anything, I would have taken the $90K payout after the auction and bought a small place somewhere less expensive. I would have recognized that I was in over my head and thank goodness I had a little something to start over with.
    Now I’m sure you’ll accuse me of being ‘high and mighty’ or something like that. So here’s where I’m coming from: Age 16 – 26 I had ZERO safety net. Parents were absent, incoherent; completely on my own. I learned to manage risk. No one gave me house. Ever. If I fell in the mud no one pulled me out but me. Over time I’ve built a life for myself. With all due respect, If I end up in a bad situation I’m pretty sure I won’t be relying on you. I will be relying on the family and friends I’ve happily helped and supported over the years. It takes work to build a support network but it’s worth it.

    Thanks, though. I appreciate your wish that I learn empathy by digging a big giant hole for myself and then falling on hard times. I already have plenty of empathy! It just doesn’t apply in this situation..

    I do have some sympathy for Mr. Barton and hope he finds the care that he needs.

  • au August 16, 2014 (9:37 pm)

    Why is the fact that the Barton’s having a pending trial being ignored? It is entirely possible their house was illegally foreclosed on.
    Who among us is so naive to think that the banks aren’t screwing people out of their homes all across this nation? Why do some immediately and vehemently judge and condemn this family?

    ‘I am constantly trying to keep my head above water… and look for ways to make more money. Maybe she should consider that?’ quote from K
    What?? You want Mrs. Barton to consider how hard you work? Why?
    If you are a licensed professional in West Seattle I will be sure if I ever need mental health services to seek help in another neighborhood.

  • Legitimate Question August 16, 2014 (10:20 pm)

    For the Nth time, the reason that their pending case has no bearing on anything is 1) partially because, even if successful they won’t get the house back. Read previous coverage for why. And 2) primarily because this isn’t their first attempt at the case. Or the second. Or the third. This is an attempt to appeal the previous 3 judges’ rulings.

    I hate that they’ve found themselves in this situation, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But the fact remains that they haven’t paid their mortgage since 2011. I’m amazed they were able to stay as long as they did, and I hope they can move forward to a better situation now.

  • JoB August 16, 2014 (10:32 pm)

    good Point..
    the silver spoon you are thinking i fed on was more tarnished than yours..
    starting at a much younger age.
    and my “luck” didn’t get any better with time.
    i have worked hard my entire life
    I have had my ups… financially way way up
    and my downs.. homeless more than once..
    with kids to convince that car camping was great fun
    i am currently doing well financially
    with a husband who works harder than he should
    but I am disabled
    and struggle to stay on my feet…
    i know all about building support systems
    and just how easily they can fail.
    having built many in my lifetime
    you might say i have earned my empathy the old fashioned way
    with lots and lots of personal investment..
    i am grateful every day for the kindness of strangers
    today as i tried to get myself from the car into the grocery
    and countless times in the past when someone who didn’t know me still cared enough to be kind
    and i hope i have returned kindness to others
    because … that’s the investment that holds those support systems you think people should build for themselves together

  • JoB August 16, 2014 (10:39 pm)

    sorry.. i tried to edit it clean but it was marked for moderation.. and i am done for the night..
    you’ll have to take it failed edits and all..

  • Seattle Hipster West August 16, 2014 (10:46 pm)

    Thanks for injecting some common sense in the discussion Good Point.


    Sometimes, emotion clouds judgment.

  • Hugh August 16, 2014 (10:59 pm)

    If you don’t pay your mortgage for two years, there is nothing illegal about the foreclosure process. Why cling to the pipe dream that the bank was wrong in foreclosing when they would still not be paying the mortgage next month if they were back in the house. They took $600k out of the house and don’t want to pay it back.
    Believe me, if YOU had loaned them the money and they hadn’t paid you anything in over two years, you would want them out to.

  • Good Point August 17, 2014 (12:03 am)


    For the record, I’m happy that you can easily receive kindness from strangers in whatever capacity you need (help to the grocery, etc.) And I truly mean that.

    There is a huge difference between what you described as the kindness of strangers and the expectation that a $650K debt will go away, or can somehow be ‘modified’ to fit the salary of a part time employee,. That is an unsustainable situation, pure and simple. Echo Hugh’s comment above.

    Life is a series of choices. Some of them are very difficult, some are not.

    I’ve noticed a few regulars on this blog really don’t like it when someone comments on a sad situation and then has the gall to speculate that the situation was avoidable. That is usually followed by a remark such as “What if this happened to you? Oh, you’d be sorry then, wouldn’t you??” Or something like that. Imagining me, the anonymous commenter, falling off my silver pedestal into the muck seems to produce a sliver of glee. Think about that.

    Borrowing a ton of money is an avoidable situation. Having a stroke is not. I’m very sorry that the latter happened to Mr. Barton, but the former was a choice that he made with sound mind. That decision followed by that unfortunate life event turned out to be a very sad situation for the family, but I would argue that they are still in a much better place than some with the modest payout they received. But the unrealistic scenarios of somehow modifying a $650K loan to fit their situation or just simply continuing to stay in the house for free are simply not viable options. Shame on SAFE and anyone else that argued they were, it wasted this family’s scant time and energy in the process.

    And a lot of other people’s, too.

    Best to you, Job.

  • Shelley August 17, 2014 (4:27 am)

    “I believe the banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
    If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around(these banks) will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power(of currency)should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

    Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 17, 2014 (8:43 am)

    JoB – it is nice to read compassionate sentiments such as yours here. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Au – I am with you on this. I find the Quality Loan issue deeply disturbing, especially in light of the attorney general’s actions against them earlier this year. At least the Bartons will be able to have their case heard in light of this. No one can take that away from them.

    Good Point – I completely disagree with your assessment, but I am not going to get into at this point-it serves no purpose. The Bartons are gone, Triangle has the property and there is nothing that changes that. I don’t think your remark about those of us here who are supportive of the Bartons to be very fair or appropriate, especially at this juncture. It would be nice if we could move beyond the personal criticisms at this point.

    Shelly – thanks for sharing the quote. Good food for thought there.

    General comment – this situation has been very emotional and divisive I think, with strong opinions on all sides. It would be great if we all could start moving forward, if nothing other than for the sake of the healing of this community over it.

  • JoB August 17, 2014 (9:15 am)

    Good Point..
    let’s play the game of what if..
    what if the housing industry hadn’t taken a nose dive taking the Barton’s investment in their remodeling business with it?
    would that have been a good investment then?
    life happens.
    often what happens in life is out of our control.
    it might make us feel safer to blame others for their misfortune
    but it won’t stop misfortune from landing at our door.
    the only safety net we have is each other

  • JoB August 17, 2014 (9:19 am)

    good point..
    i forgot to thank you for your kindness
    how we talk about one another matters
    more than we know

  • JoB August 17, 2014 (10:26 am)

    one last thing and then i am going to stop commenting..
    there is a huge difference between thinking that the bank should forgive a $650,000 loan
    and thinking the bank should be held to due process in their dealings with mortgage holders
    and that evictions should not be legal until the legal process is exhausted.
    if there was more accountability in the eviction proces
    there would be far more incentive for mortgage holders to work with mortgage holders
    and that would be better for all of us

  • au August 17, 2014 (11:43 am)

    I am thankful to those who are managing to civilly disagree. It makes it easier for me to understand your point of view.
    For those of you who said horrible things about the Barton’s, please consider, irregardless of who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in this situation, is this how we want to treat each other, blaming, shaming and name calling?
    We can do better than that!

  • waterworld August 17, 2014 (5:51 pm)

    Shelly: That is an oft-repeated, mostly spurious quotation. Check out, the site run by The Jefferson Foundation, to get some information on the history of this misquotation:
    Jefferson did say that bank paper should be suppressed and he also wrote in an 1816 letter to John Taylor that banks were more dangerous than standing armies, although for a different reason than that in the fake quotation:
    “And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

    • WSB August 17, 2014 (6:30 pm)

      For those still checking back here, we noted in the original story, added around 4:45 pm Friday, that SAFE had scheduled a 1 pm Monday protest against the sheriff, at Courthouse Park downtown (next to the courthouse, where the KCSO has its office). They have just sent a news release with more on that, adding that they expect it will include Jean Barton “making a statement for her family” as well as participation by what the n/r described as “other representatives of households wrongfully displaced.” – TR

  • sittingbird August 17, 2014 (6:24 pm)

    All wars are started by bankers by the way. Read this link below and learn. The banking system will collapse our country more than you can imagine. It almost did in 2008. They are the terrorists. But to not pay your bills is also being a deadbeat and I have no sympathy for those types.

  • Gatewood Neighbor August 17, 2014 (6:57 pm)

    Tracy thanks for posting the update.

    “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy”

  • Beachdrivegirl August 18, 2014 (9:02 am)

    I’ve been following this story and I don’t recall seeing it mentioned but why can’t their kids step up and help?

    Maybe I’m old fashioned but I can’t imagine just sitting back and watching my dad suffer and parents get evicted. And yes I do believe the Bartons deserve to be evicted. Yes it’s sad it’s a childhood home BUT they *chose* to gamble that away by taking out loans against it.

    And yes as Gateway Neigh…. Said Triangle absolutely has to store their items for 30 days.

  • K August 18, 2014 (10:11 pm)

    Well this is obviously bigger than I can understand. Too much banking, money and back and forth. All I was trying to point out, and respectfully point out… is that the one who is complaining doesn’t seem to be working for money to support the family.
    I have no idea what her intentions are… but I respect the workers.
    My family has for generations… pulled ourselves up and out of bad situations. I am in a bad situation right now. I work and don’t love it as much as I have in the past but still do it, because that’s what we do. I am not judging or criticizing anyone… but it kind of makes me think about the women’s rights movement and how far has thinking really come… I have discussed this with friends and neighbors…
    Here is my question for you…If it were a man who was “responsible” for the “patient” and the patient was a woman………. would you react the same way? Just curious…

Sorry, comment time is over.