1) City of Elk Grove v. Kiran Rawat, (6136 Demonte Way, Elk Grove, CA 95757) Sacramento County Case No. 34-2017-00216691
This property was the site of substantial criminal activity, which included over 200 calls for police service. Furthermore, neighbors’ homes were being shot at, dogs were running loose from the property, and all sorts of nuisance activities were arising. CBS Sacramento Article
This property was owned by a notorious landlord, who after this case was convicted of fraud and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
It seems that the occupants at the property were paying rent to the landlord and it was kept up to some degree, which meant a California Health and Safety § 17980.7 Receivership was not appropriate. However, the City of Elk Grove was able to declare the property a nuisance and a drug house. Under the authority of that order, the City of Elk Grove was able to use California Code of Civil Procedure § 564 to enforce the judgment by appointing Gerard F. Keena II as a receiver to abate the nuisance. Therefore, on August 5, 2019, Mr. Keena was appointed as receiver over the property.
Once Mr. Keena was appointed as receiver, he and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group negotiated a deal with the occupants to vacate the property and began addressing all the nuisance conditions. The receivership eventually obtained court permission to list the property for sale, and then held an auction to sell the property to a responsible buyer for $475,000. The entire neighborhood celebrated the sale of the property to a responsible owner, which was documented on the nightly news. CBS Sacramento Article.
2) City of Fremont v. Bessie Jane Burger, as Trustee of the Burger Family Trust, (42691 FontaineBleau Fremont, CA.) Alameda County Case No. HG16828054
The owner of this property had a severe hoarding problem and could not access her home. The woman slept in her front yard among rotted food, because she could not access her kitchen to refrigerate it. The City and County of Fremont tried to offer her psychological and financial services, but she was not receptive to them. The City even had contractors look at the property in an effort to offer her financial assistance to make much needed repairs to the home. However, the contractors could not access the property. The property became the site of numerous rats, insects, and other vermin, which endangered the surrounding homes.
Therefore, the City had no other option but to seek the appointment of a receiver pursuant to California Health and Safety § 17980.7. The City of Fremont successfully appointed Gerard F. Keena as a receiver of the property and he and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group began working with the owner. With court authority, Mr. Keena and his team worked delicately yet forcefully with the owner to clear out the property. Clearing out the property required the receivership to order seven dumpsters capable of holding forty-cubic yards of material. The receivership team carefully and methodically worked with the owner to determine what needed to be stored and what could be thrown away.
Once the property was cleared of the debris, significant repairs needed to be made and the receivership hired a contractor to bring the property up to code. The owner then agreed to move to North Carolina to be with her family, which allowed the receivership to sell the property for $825,000. Once the receiver, contractor, and city fees were paid, the owner was left with $574,442, which she agreed to receive. The property was then sold to a responsible owner, the nuisance property was abated, and the owner was reunited with her family.
These results show that instead of punishing an owner with mental health conditions using fines and citations, a receivership is often the best answer.
3) City of Hayward v. Bay Area Property Developers, LLC, (22330 Main Street, Hayward, CA) Alameda County Case No. HG19046792
This was a major commercial property that consisted of an abandoned college, abandoned medical building, and other large abandoned commercial structures. The property, for reasons unknown, was abandoned, but it had $14,500,000 in mortgages on it. Once the property was abandoned, it was overrun by squatters and became a nightmare. Police were called out on a nightly basis, and some police officers were sent to the emergency room responding to calls there. Dead bodies were found in trash cans and fires were a common occurrence. This was one of the worst properties that the professionals at Bay Area Receivership Group has ever seen.
In order to address the problems at the property the City of Hayward sought the appointment of Gerard F. Keena II as a receiver over the property pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7. Then on the day of the receivership appointment hearing, in an effort to stop the receivership, the owner filed bankruptcy, but the City’s police power under 11 U.S.C. 362(b)(4) superseded the automatic stay of bankruptcy. (See also City of Riverside v. Horspool, (2014) 223 Cal. App. 4th 670, 676.) Therefore, Mr. Keena was appointed as receiver over the property on December 18, 2019.
Once Mr. Keena was appointed, he and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group immediately began working with the Hayward Police Department, Fire Department, and Code Enforcement to address the numerous issues at the property. After Mr. Keena’s appointment, the property was secured, demolished and ultimately sold for $15,000,000. In more good news, the City of Hayward was awarded over $250,000 in attorney’s fees. This case was a great success for the City of Hayward and brought relief to the neighbors who had been terrorized by this property for years.
4) City of Oakland v. Chau, (1030 and 1130 Foothill Oakland, CA) Alameda County Case No. RG20062539
These two properties are occupied by tenants who have been subject to horrible living conditions, which include lack of running water, no heat, and substantial unpermitted construction. When the tenants complained to the owners, they were allegedly harassed and intimidated. The City of Oakland could no longer tolerate this situation and filed a lawsuit against the property owners on May 28, 2020, for violations of Oakland’s Tenant Protection Ordinance, the Bane Act, and other civil rights violations. The lawsuit also sought the appointment of a receiver to bring order to the numerous issues that were arising at the property.
During the pendency of the lawsuit, the buildings caught fire and the Oakland Fire Department believes these fires were caused by arson. As a result of these fires, the City of Oakland sought the immediate appointment of Gerard Keena from Bay Area Receivership Group over the property and on December 9, 2020, Mr. Keena was appointed as receiver by the Alameda County Superior Court. Once Mr. Keena and Bay Area Receivership Group were appointed, the team began to immediately address the nuisances on the property for several months. However, the owners have filed an appeal and sought a limited stay of the receivership pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 917.5 pending their posting of a $200,000 bond. This appeal has caused some interesting legal issues to arise. Of course, paramount as always to Mr. Keena, Bay Area Receivership Group, and the City of Oakland, is the health and safety of those impacted by the unsafe building conditions and their safety continues to be monitored.
5) City of Oakland v. Shaghasi, (4110 Fruitvale Oakland, CA) Alameda County Case No. RG19043608
This property was brought to the attention of the City of Oakland authorities in 2017, when neighbors began complaining of illegal construction occurring at all hours of the night, as well as the arrival of numerous vehicles, that may have been stolen, being stored on the property. Furthermore, grass at the property had grown over seven feet high and numerous people came in and out of the property at all hours of the night.
Had this activity been short term, the City may have left it alone, but these activities continued to increase over the years, which disturbed everyone in the neighborhood. Furthermore, as the illegal construction at the property continued, the more dangerous the entire building became to surrounding neighbors. To prevent this issue, the City of Oakland filed a public nuisance lawsuit on November 18, 2019. Thereafter, the City successfully appointed Gerard Keena from Bay Area Receivership Group over the property on September 2, 2020. Since the appointment of a receiver the vehicles at the property have been removed, the foot traffic has ceased, the weeds have been cut and the current plan is to demolish the property, which a receiver has a right to do according to the California Supreme Court’s ruling in City of Santa Monica v. Gonzalez (2008) 43 Cal. 4th 905, 931.
6) People of the State of California v. Rose, Redding, Shasta County Case No. 13-176689
In this case, the California Attorney General’s Office obtained a judgment with penalties worth over $2,000,000 in 2015. However, for years the debt went unpaid until the California Attorney General’s Office sought to appoint Gerard Keena and Bay Area Receivership group as a post-judgement receiver in the case. Receivers can be appointed for a variety of reasons up to and including to collect money judgments. (Olsan v. Comora, (1977) 73 Cal. App. 3d 642, 646; see also California Code of Civil Procedure 564(b)(3) & (b)(9).)
Once Mr. Keena was appointed as receiver in this case on December 14, 2020, the receivership team worked diligently to collect the funds owed to the state. Within a few months the receivership team reached a settlement agreement on April 23, 2021, to recover nearly the entire balance owed on the judgment.
7) People of the State of California and the County of Sacramento v. Rawat, (21 Total Properties in One Case) Sacramento County Case No. 2017-00281126
This may be one of the largest nuisance receivership cases in California history. This case stems from the City of Elk Grove v. Rawat case, which gained substantial media attention due to the horrific conditions at the property. These conditions included gunshots routinely emanating from the property, debris piled as high as the eye could see, as well as the use of hard drugs by numerous occupants all hours of the night. The media deemed the property the “House from Hell.” That was until Gerard Keena and Bay Area Receivership Group worked with the City of Elk Grove and the Neighborhood Watch to fix the issues. This positive news piece from Sacramento shows what a great impact receivership can have. CBS Sacramento Article.
However, while the nuisance issues at Raj Singh and Kiran Rawat’s Hell House property in Elk Grove were ultimately resolved in Sacramento County Case 34-2017-00216691 , the owners of that property Hell owned 21 other properties in the Sacramento area. Therefore, the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office sought to press criminal charges against the owner, Raj Singh, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in numerous scams. The question the D.A.'s office had to answer was what to do with all of Raj Singh and Kiran Rawat’s properties, which endangered neighborhoods throughout Northern California. The answer was to appoint a receiver over all the properties owned by Raj Singh and Kiran Rawat, which included properties in Sacramento County, Placer County and Sierra County. The Sacramento County Superior Court granted the extraordinary remedy of placing 21 properties from three counties into receivership.
Since the appointment of Gerard Keena and Bay Area Receivership Group to these properties, almost all of them have been sold to new responsible owners. This has resulted in neighborhood nuisances across the three counties being abated.
8) City of Sacramento v. Linda Siegrist, (2246 Waterford Street Sacramento, CA) Sacramento County Case No. 32017-00208157
This case has been with the Sacramento County Court since 2017, and contains unfortunate facts. The owners, for all intents and purposes, appear to be kindhearted people that are unable to care for their property. The residents also appear to have hoarding issues, which include harboring dozens of cats at the property. As a result of the residents’ inability to care for the property, and subsequent potential mental health issues, the property has become a nuisance to the entire neighborhood.
The City of Sacramento has tried for years to obtain voluntary compliance from the couple, but these efforts have been unsuccessful. Therefore, on March 16, 2021, nearly four years after the initial lawsuit was filed, Gerard Keena and Bay Area Receivership Group were appointed over the property. Since the appointment of a receiver the nuisance conditions have deteriorated significantly and substantial progress has been made to improve the property and the surrounding community.
9) City of Sacramento v. Nadia Zhiry, (1039-1049 Claire) Sacramento County Case No. 2017-00208154
This property was the site of an animal cruelty investigations due to numerous animals, such as pigs, chickens, and dogs, living in a home full of debris and illegally stored vehicles. The owners had previously agreed to an injunction to clean up their activities. However, when animal control and code enforcement attempted to confirm the owners were abiding by the court order they were turned away. Therefore, a police helicopter was used to take photos of the property, which confirmed that the activities were ongoing.
As a result of the ongoing nuisance activities at the property the City of Sacramento successfully appointed Gerard Keena as a receiver over the property on April 7, 2021. Since that time the receiver and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group have been diligently working to abate the numerous conditions at the property.
10) County of Sonoma v. Tinker, (18450 First Ave, Sonoma, CA) Sonoma County Case No. SCV264342
This property was in substandard condition for nearly twenty years and the County Health Department became involved when the smell of rat urine permeated the neighborhood. When county health officials inspected the property, they found numerous vehicles with smashed headlights, trash all over the interior and exterior of the property and no running water, which meant people living at the property could not flush toilets, and a number of other health hazards were noted.
On May 15, 2019, the court appointed a receiver over the property, but that receiver was headquartered in Southern California and had difficulty with the hazards this property presented. Therefore, the receiver reached out to Gerard Keena and Bay Area Receivership Group to take over his appointment. Once Mr. Keena and Bay Area Receivership Group were in control they began to immediately abate the numerous conditions at the property.
11) City of San Francisco v. Richard Kiwata,, (54-56 Collins, San Francisco, CA) San Francisco Case No. CGC-18-567984
This property is owned by a trust, but the trustee has not maintained it for years. Neighbors have complained for as long, so San Francisco County officials declared the property to be a danger to the surrounding community.
As a result of San Francisco's findings, on October 24, 2019, the San Francisco Superior Court appointed Gerard Keena as receiver and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group was authorized to resolve the issues. The receivership has since removed the squatters, cleared out years of debris, cleaned up the yard, and abated the numerous code violations at the property. Once all of this was complete, the receivership was able to successfully sell the rehabilitated property to responsible owners for $2,600,000 on October 21, 2020. The final matter of how to distribute the sale proceeds among the owners and lienholders is the final step to resolve before closing out this case.
12) Daniel L'Abbe v. Aeron Howell, (232 Downey Street, San Francisco, CA) San Francisco Case No. CGC-19-579149
In this case, a frustrated Neighborhood Watch saw one of their neighbors intentionally destroying his home. It is believed this neighbor was destroying his home in order to win money in a separate probate lawsuit, but those findings are inconclusive. Regardless of the reasons why it occurred, the owner let the property become a nuisance that impacted the surrounding community by having debris everywhere, which resulted in rat and insect infestation.
The neighbors were able to get the City and County of San Francisco Health Department to inspect the property and issue a finding that the property constituted a nuisance. Using this finding, the neighborhood group moved forward with a public nuisance lawsuit. Once the court found the property to be a public nuisance, the neighbors were able to appoint Gerard Keena as receiver pursuant to CCP 564(b)(3) and (b)(9) to enforce the judgment.
Since the receiver's appointment, the property has been rehabilitated significantly and will soon be listed for sale to a responsible owner.
13) City of Santa Rosa v. Davis Properties, (116 E. First Street, Santa Rosa, CA) Sonoma County Case No. SCV-265933
This property has been an issue for the City of Santa Rosa since 2015. It appears an elderly couple that began having hoarding issues let an infestation begin on their property. The reason it caught the City's attention is that there was significant lead at the property, which caused lead poisoning in a child. The child had to be taken to the ER, but ended up being okay.
After that terrible incident, the husband of the couple passed away and the wife has given up taking any responsibility for the property. This caused the property to deteriorate into such a state of disrepair that the City of Santa Rosa filed a receivership petition in January 2020. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 delays in the Sonoma Court system, Gerard Keena was not appointed as the receiver until December 2020.
Now that Mr. Keena and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group are in control of the property, significant repairs and lead abatement are underway.
14) City of Brisbane v. Henson, (34 Visitacion Brisbane, CA) San Mateo County Case No. 20-CIV-02498
This multi-unit apartment building in the heart of downtown Brisbane is owned by a 97 year old woman who has struggled to maintain her property and the tenants residing in it for years. For example, there have been multiple fires at the property and the damage was never repaired.
As a result of the ongoing nuisances presented by the property, the City of Brisbane sought the appointment of a receiver. Therefore, on August 31, 2020, the San Mateo County Superior Court appointed Gerard Keena as receiver over the property. Once Mr. Keena and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group were appointed, they began working with the tenants at the property to address the numerous housing violations, as well as fixing the fire damaged units and other code violations.
At this time, it appears the property will be sold to a responsible owner once the property is fully rehabilitated.
15) San Jose v. Ciaro Cabading, (546 Guerra Court, San Jose, CA) Santa Clara County Court Case No. 20CV368001
This property became the site of substantial illegal activity when the son of the former property owners moved into his parent’s house after they passed away. The son began running an illegal casino out of the home, which resulted in all sorts of criminal activity totaling 60 calls for police service to the address in less than a year.
As a result of the numerous illegal activities at the property, the City of San Jose sought the appointment of a receiver pursuant to the Red Light Abatement Act (Cal. Pen. Code § 11225 et. seq.) and for Unlawful Business Practices (Business and Professions Code § 17200 et seq.) As a result of the numerous calls for police service and substantial illegal activity, the Santa Clara Superior Court appointed Gerard Keena as receiver over the property on November 4, 2020.
Once Mr. Keena and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group were appointed over the property they negotiated a deal with the owner and the numerous individuals residing at the property to vacate the premises. The receivership then abated a number of code violations at the property and then successfully sold the property to a responsible buyer on April 2, 2021, for $800,000.
16) City of San Jose v. David Tsai, (2485 Autumnvale, San Jose, CA) Santa Clara County Case No. 20CV370803
This property was the site of prostitution, drug sales, including meth, and illegal gambling. Furthermore, during the height of COVID-19 this business took no measures at all to prevent the coming and going of people entering its premises resulting in a reprimand from the Santa Clara County Health Department.
The City of San Jose repeatedly warned the owners of the dangers their property was presenting to its occupants and the surrounding neighbors, but those warnings were ignored. Therefore, the City of San Jose sought to appoint Gerard Keena as receiver over the property pursuant to the Red Light Abatement Act (Cal. Pen. Code 11225 et seq.) and Unlawful Business Practices (Cal. Bus. Prof. Code 17200 et seq.). On March 11, 2021, the Santa Clara County Superior Court granted the City of San Jose’s request to appoint Gerard Keena as receiver over the property. At this time, Mr. Keena and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group are working diligently to bring order to the property.
17) City of Vallejo v. McBride, (2618 Redwood, Vallejo, CA) Solano County Case No. FCS054747
This property became a nuisance when the owner passed away. Sadly, the owner passed away during the height of COVID-19 and nobody knew of his passing for weeks. Unfortunately, squatters began occupying the property and putting debris at the property, and without anyone responsible for the property it quickly became an out of control situation and a fire occurred. The fire department then found the owner’s body and notified the family, but the damage had been done.
The family was unable to make repairs or deal with the numerous issues caused by the squatters that continued to invade the property even after the fire. Therefore, the City of Vallejo sought the appointment of a receiver over the property to bring order to this out of control situation. The Solano County Superior Court granted the City of Vallejo’s request appointing Gerard Keena as receiver over the property on September 8, 2020.
Once Mr. Keena and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group took control of the property, they began addressing the numerous violations at the property. Unfortunately, the damage was too extensive for a rehab and the only solution was to demolish the property completely. Receivers have been empowered to demolish properties by the California Supreme Court. (City of Santa Monica v. Gonzalez (2008) 43 Cal. 4th 905, 931.) Once the property is demolished, the current plan is to sell the vacant lot to a responsible owner.
18) City of Vallejo v. Testate and Intestate Successors of William Peters, (104 Greenwood Street) Solano County Court Case No. FCS052494
This property was an ongoing nuisance in the City of Vallejo for years. The owners of the property died in 1992 and 2002 respectively, but they had a daughter. Unfortunately, their daughter was unable to care for the property due to personal reasons. As a result, the property sat unattended for years and became overrun by squatters. The daughter would call the police, but the squatters would claim to be tenants and even provide fake leases with the daughter’s name on it. A patrol officer is in no position to make legal determinations about the validity of a lease so this continued on, but the squatters began destroying the property, allowing weeds to grow over eight feet tall, strewing debris all over the property, and allowing a rat infestation that endangered the surrounding community.
The City of Vallejo could not wait for the daughter to take action any longer and sought to appoint a receiver to take control of the property. On June 27, 2019, the City of Vallejo successfully appointed Gerard Keena over the property. Once Mr. Keena and Bay Area Receivership Group were appointed over the property, they began working to address the numerous issues occurring there.
The property was eventually fully rehabbed and sold to a responsible owner for $351,000. There were significant remaining funds left over for the daughter as well and the funders who were interpleaded into her probate case. This case was a great success all around.
19) City of Fresno v. Curtis White, (136 W. El Dorado, Fresno, CA & 430 S. Thorne Fresno, CA) County Superior Court Case No. 19CECG03273 & 19CECG03274
These properties were owned by a family that simply refused to comply with Code Enforcement Orders. The family owned two parcels of land in Fresno across the street from each other and both became eyesores on the neighborhood.
The City of Fresno then sought to appoint Gerard Keena as a receiver over the properties. The Fresno County Superior Court granted the City of Fresno’s request to appoint Mr. Keena over the property on January 28, 2020. Once Mr. Keena was appointed, he and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group began working to abate the conditions at these properties.
The properties were then made ready for sale and sold to responsible buyers for $56,000 and $152,000 respectively.
20) City of Fresno v. Successor of Brittany Andrade, (1630 S Third Street, Fresno, CA) Fresno County Case No. 20CECG00407
This property was abandoned once the property owners passed away. The owners had a daughter that was somewhat involved in the maintenance of the property, but once squatters overran it, she was in over her head and did not know what to do. Sadly, before she could take any sort of action, the squatters caused a fire at the property, which substantially hurt any chance of simply selling the property as is.
Once the fire occurred, the City of Fresno sought an ex-parte appointment for a receiver. On April 21, 2020, the Fresno County Court granted the City of Fresno’s request and Gerard Keena was appointed as a receiver. Once Mr. Keena and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group were appointed, they began working diligently to resolve the issues at the property.
The receivership was then able to sell the property to a responsible owner for $74,000. The owner is now commencing work to finalize rehab on the property.
21) City of Emeryville v. Laura Balderree, (1270 64th Street Emeryville, CA) Alameda County Case No. RG19002032
The owner in this case seems to, for all intents and purposes, simply have abandoned the property. It was known she had a love of trains and apparently began exploring them over the United States, but left her property abandoned. Once the property was abandoned, it became a habitat for squatters that littered it with debris, weeds grew over 10 feet high, hard drugs were used at the property, and eventually a fire occurred.
The neighbors repeatedly complained about the property, which caused the City of Emeryville to seek the appointment of a receiver over the property on June 5, 2019. Once Gerard Keena and his team at Bay Area Receivership Group were appointed, they began working diligently to abate the numerous issues at the property.
The receivership was then able to successfully sell the property to a responsible owner for $420,000. The City of Emeryville also recovered $56,529 in attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to California Health and Safety Code 17980.7(c)(11) & (d)(1); see also City and County of San Francisco v. Jen (2005) 135 Cal. App. 4th 305, 311.)