Breaking news on Garden Grove cancer victim Niko Black, and her fight to get her home back from Wells Fargo.


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BREAKING NEWS ON THE CASE OF … Oh wait, maybe you don’t know about this yet, let me back up.

Apache fortune-teller and HOMEOWNER Niko Black, with friends, in happier times. Picture OC Register.

As the Weekly‘s Gabriel San Roman and the Huffington Post have already reported, terminal breast cancer victim Niko Black was evicted on the morning of October 10 from her Garden Grove home, lifted out in her wheelchair, thrown out into the street, and forced to seek treatment in the Garden Grove Hospital Emergency Room as the locks on her home were changed and half her property removed..

Sad, yeah, a terminal cancer victim getting evicted.  Maybe you’re saying “What a shame, it’s a tough life.”  So would I.  But the thing is, this eviction was illegal:

  • Number one, Ms Black had an ORDER FROM A FEDERAL JUDGE forbidding the eviction, taped to her door, clasped in her hand, and on file with all local law enforcement agencies;  our bold OC Sheriffs, opting to follow the orders of a Wells Fargo attorney instead of a Federal Judge, crumpled the document up and proceeded with the eviction.
  • Number two, the foreclosure itself was based on a FRAUDULENT LOAN on which Ms. Black’s signature was faked and misspelled;  a loan which, whatever else it may have been, was predatory as well, at an exorbitant rate and requiring a balloon payment, but in any case a loan Ms. Black had nothing to do with.

As I ALWAYS point out when I write about these criminal foreclosures, these kinds of fraudulent practices are practically the norm;  it only gets into the public consciousness when the victim is especially sympathetic or photogenic, like Anaheim’s Perez family with their three service members, or this terminal cancer victim.  As Ms. Black says with just a bit of hyperbole in the video below, she’s practically “the last person standing” in her Garden Grove neighborhood, as the banks and lending institutions continue to wage their war against us in usually illegal ways, and usually get away with it.

But this eviction was rife with extra abuse, guns pointed, windows smashed, everything.  I’ll let Niko tell the story for herself here, in her neurologically damaged voice.  Her more outrageous claims have turned out to be true, so I’m inclined to believe everything she says:.

[Recognize the voice of the interviewer?  That's our old friend, troublemaker Naui Huitzilopochtli;  like Occupy OC and LA, and like this blog itself, he has not gone away, but is kicking more ass and taking more names than ever.]

The negative publicity over this case has just been growing like crazy, even as I work on this article.  After interviews on KFI’s “Bill Handel” and AM 1150′s David Cruz, Nico’s new pro-bono team of attorneys at Stephen R. Golden have been contacted by CNN.  A Change.org petition, “Wells Fargo: Don’t break the law — leave cancer patients alone ” has already received 140,000 signatures, and tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 9, a huge protest is expected at Irvine’s Wells Fargo headquarters.

So, naturally, Wells Fargo is attempting to spin its way out of this this morning.  Watch how they comically try to blame everything on their partner in crime, Carrington Mortgage Holdings, in this morning’s exchange with Huffpo’s Richard Zombeck and Ms Black’s counsel:

Wells Fargo and Carrington Mortgage Holdings, LLC, the servicer for Niko Black’s home, contacted Huffington Post editors about this blog post on Thursday, November 1, 2012 claiming that the facts were wrong. “Both of the key premises of this article are factually incorrect,” they wrote.

Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President, Carrington Mortgage Holdings, LLC., the servicer for Wells Fargo, wrote:

1. There was no court ordered stay in place on the property in question at the time of the lockout. The former homeowner, Ms. Black, had previously obtained a stay, which expired after 30 days (on June 21, 2012). The expiration of the stay was in accordance with the bankruptcy code. The lockout took place on October 21, 2012, well after the expiration of the stay.

2. Wells Fargo did not evict Ms. Black. All foreclosure and eviction decisions were made and managed by the servicer (Carrington Mortgage Services). Wells Fargo is the Trustee for a trust containing the loan on this property. As Trustee, we manage certain administrative matters and court documents are filed in our name as trustee. However, all foreclosure decisions are made by the servicer.

In an earlier email, Wells’ Communication Manager, Elise Wilkinson wrote, “This story is highly inaccurate. Please remove it or correct the facts as soon as possible.”

It’s an odd claim to make since the motion for relief of stay was requested by attorneys for Wells Fargo in a court filing on June 14, 2012, according to attorneys for Niko Black.

I contacted Stephen Golden of Stephen R. Golden & Associates, the attorneys for Niko Black, and asked them to respond to the allegations.

According to a recent motion filed by Stephen R. Golden & Associates, Wells Fargo Bank, filed a Motion For Relief From The Automatic Stay Or For Order Confirming That The Automatic Stay Does Not Apply Under 11 U.S.C. 362(l), on June 14, 2012.

The request for relief from automatic stay was denied by Judge Theodor C. Albert, when Wells Fargo’s attorney’s failed appear in court for the hearing.

Here is the statement issued by Stephen R. Golden, in response to the claims above:

It is understandable that Wells Fargo wants to at this time to disavow all participation in the foreclosure and eviction proceedings.

It is undisputed that Wells Fargo was the Plaintiff evicting Miss Black in the Unlawful Detainer proceedings. Furthermore, legal counsel for Wells Fargo, Jason Burris, was at the home of Miss Black and advised the Orange County Deputy Sheriffs at her home that she had no right to possession despite her Bankruptcy.

Secondly, Carrington Mortgage Servicers, as the loan servicer, is acting on behalf of Wells Fargo undoubtedly pursuant to a loan servicing agreement between these two entities. As trustee for the trust where Miss Black’s loan was deposited, Wells Fargo is the purported legal holder of that loan. All actions on behalf of the trust regarding foreclosure on such loan would be the actions of Wells Fargo assuming any rights to do so in the first place.

In addition to the statement above, Stephen R. Golden & Associates said in a press release:

The law office is also aware that both Wells Fargo and Carrington Loan Servicing have contacted the media in an attempt to mitigate negative public opinion. While our law office will let the facts of the case speak for themselves in Federal Court, we are making public statements from Stephen R. Golden and Senior Attorney Thomas Freidman….

So, in response to the first claim, why did Wells Fargo or attorneys for Wells Fargo file a 44 page motion for relief of stay, seven days prior to what they were claiming was the expiration date — why not just let it run out?

As for the second claim, that Wells Fargo is not responsible for the eviction and that decisions concerning evictions fall on the servicer, “there is undeniable proof that the claim is false under the facts of this case,” said Thomas Friedman, an Attorney with Golden & Associates. According to Friedman, who produced the documents to back up his statements, Sergeant Robert Sima, in a Declaration, dated October 29, 2012, submitted to the Bankruptcy Court, and signed under penalty of perjury, states “On August 27, 2012, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department received a court ordered eviction and instructions from an attorney for Creditor Wells Fargo to conduct the eviction of Niko Black at 9581 Shannon Avenue, Garden Grove, California, 92841.” Pretty clear, right? Then, on October 2, 2012, counsel for Wells Fargo sent a letter to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (attached to Sergeant Sima’s Declaration), in which Wells Fargo’s counsel instructs the Sheriff’s Department to proceed with the eviction because “there is no automatic stay at this time”.

Anyway, I said I had news, from the Golden firm.  The Federal Judge whose order was disobeyed, the Honorable Theodor Albert, is furious with both Wells Fargo and the OC Sheriffs’ Department, and a court date of November 13 is set for the miscreants “to show cause as to why they should not be held in contempt.”  But Golden feels that time is of the essence, given Ms Black’s medical needs, and they have filed an emergency motion that may be heard as early as this Monday, to get Niko back into her home as quickly as possible.

Here is the press release from

Press Release

Miss Niko Black

The Law Office of Stephen R. Golden is preparing an ex-parte motion in Federal Court asking for an order returning Miss Niko Black’s house to her. We are all aware that Miss Black was evicted in violation of a Federal Court order and that Wells Fargo and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has been ordered into Federal Court on November 13,, 2012 to show cause as to why they should not be held in contempt for violation of the order.

The law office is also aware that both Wells Fargo and Carrington Loan Servicing have contacted the media in an attempt to mitigate negative public opinion. While our law office will let the facts of the case speak for themselves in Federal Court, we are making public statements from Stephen R. Golden and Senior Attorney Thomas Freidman.

Our office has received a vast amount of requests from the media for information regarding Miss Black, we will begin to post non confidential information on our website beginning tomorrow.

www.stephengoldenlaw.com

And their response to Wells Fargo’s arguments yesterday:

“In response to the Court’s Order to Show Why they should not be Sanctioned, Wells Fargo sets forth various legal arguments, each of which is poorly reasoned, contrary to law and lacks any factual basis. The Submission is essentially a personal attack on Niko Black, and her handling of legal matters while acting pro se (as her own attorney). Therefore, in our view, it is anything but a clear and convincing response to the Court as to why Wells Fargo decided to violate the Court’s Order, dated August 29, 2012, and disregard the Automatic Stay.”

Thomas Friedman Esq.

It is understandable that Wells Fargo wants to at this time to disavow all participation in the foreclosure and eviction proceedings.
It is undisputed that Wells Fargo was the Plaintiff evicting Miss Black in the Unlawful Detainer proceedings.

Furthermore, legal counsel for Wells Fargo, Jason Burris, was at the home of Miss Black and advised the Orange County Deputy Sheriffs at her home that she had no right to possession despite her Bankruptcy.
Secondly, Carrington Mortgage Servicers, as the loan servicer, is acting on behalf of Wells Fargo undoubtedly pursuant to a loan servicing agreement between these two entities. As trustee for the trust where Miss Black’s loan was deposited, Wells Fargo is the purported legal holder of that loan. All actions on behalf of the trust regarding foreclosure on such loan would be the actions of Wells Fargo assuming any
rights to do so in the first place.

Stephen R. Golden Esq.

Stephen R. Golden & Associates
Attorneys at Law
224 N. Fair Oaks Avenue, 3rd Floor
Pasadena, CA 91103-3618

 


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County. Performs regularly with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem, and at regular concerts at the Huntington Beach Central Library.