Plaintiff/Defendant
Case Number
City of San Francisco v. Richard Kiwata, (San Francisco Laurel Heights Duplex) 

Background:

This property is owned by a trust, but the trustee has not maintained it for years. Neighbors have complained for years, so San Francisco County officials declared the property to be a danger to the surrounding community.

So on October 24, 2019, they appointed Gerard Keena and Bay Area Receivership Group (“BARG”) as a receiver to mitigate the problem. Mr. Keena has since removed the squatters, cleared out the years of accumulated items in the apartments, cleaned up the yard, and now is working to abate the codes violations on the property.

CGC-18-567984
City of Elk Grove v. Kiran Rawat , (6136 Demonte Way, Elk Grove, CA 95757) 

Background:

This property was the site of substantial criminal activity, which included over 200 calls for police service. Furthermore, neighbors homes were being shot, dogs were running loose from the property, and all sorts of nuisance activities were arising. () This property was owned by a notorious landlord after this case convicted of fraud and sentenced to .

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 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 negotiated a deal with the occupants to vacate the property and began addressing all the nuisance conditions that were there. He eventually was able to obtain court permission to list the property for sale, and then held an auction to sell the property to a responsible buyer. The entire neighborhood celebrated the sale of the property to a responsible owner, which was documented on the nightly news. ()

34-2017-00216691
City of Fremont v. Bessie Jane Burger, as Trustee of Burger Family Trust, (42691 FontaineBleau Fremont, CA 94538) 

Background:

The owner of this property and a severe hoarding problem and could not even access her home. The women slept in her front yard and among food that rotted, because she could not access her kitchen to refrigerate it. The City and County tried to offer her psychological and financial services, but she was not receptive of 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, but 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 as a Receiver of the Property and he began working with the Owner. With the authority of the Court order Gerard worked delicately yet forcefully with the Owner to clear out the Property. Clearing out the property required the Receiver Gerard F. Keena and his project manager to order seven dumpsters capable of holding forty-cubic yards of material. The receivership team did not just dump everything in though, it 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 Ms. Burger 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.

HG16828054
City of Hayward v. Bay Area Property Developers, LLC , (22330 Main Street, Hayward, CA 94541) 

Background:

This was a major commercial property that consisted of a college, a medical building, and other commercial large structures. However, the project was abandoned and 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 has ever seen.

In order to address the problems at the property the City of Hayward sought the appointment of 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 Cities 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, Gerard Keena was appointed as Receiver over the Property on December 18, 2019.

Once Mr. Keena was appointed he immediately began working with the Hayward Police Department, Fire Department, and Code Enforcement to address the numerous issues at the Property. Since, Mr. Keena’s appointment the property has been secured, a video surveillance system has been installed, and discussions about selling and demolishing the property are underway.

HG19046792
City of Vallejo v. Bank of New York (330 Moorland Street, Vallejo, California 94590 ) 

Background:

This was a property owned by an elderly woman who passed away with a mortgage to Bank of New York. However, her son had substance issues and began living at the Property upon her death. The son stopped paying all the bills so water, electricity and all services were shut off. Nevertheless the son of the deceased owner invited all of his friends that did very hard drugs to have large parties on an almost nightly basis. The parties resulted in the cops being called out nearly every night, great disturbance to the neighborhood, and debris being thrown out everywhere. Bank of New York did have a mortgage on the Property, which the son never paid, but for unknown reasons it never took title.

With the Police and Code Enforcement efforts of fines and arrests on the party goers not resulting in a permanent solution, in his role as a Neighborhood Law Attorney for the City of Vallejo was asked to file a lawsuit and seek the appoint of a receiver over the Property pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7. On June 4, 2014, Mr. Griffith was able to successfully argue for the appointment of a Receiver. Once the Receiver was appointed the Receiver was able to take immediate control of the Property and order it vacated. From there the receiver rehabilitated the Property and sold it to a responsible owner.

It is worth noting the as-is value of what was a nuisance drug house at the time of the Receiver’s appointment was $68,500, but the Receiver was able to sell it to a responsible owner for $199,000. This is a property value increase of $130,500, and the City of Vallejo recovered its attorney fee’s and enforcement costs pursuant to California Health and Safety § 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1). Most importantly of all the neighborhood nuisance was abated.

FCS043485
City of Vallejo v. Deutsche Bank, (221 Tennessee Street, Vallejo, CA 94590) 

Background:

This was a property owned that Deutsche Bank foreclosed upon, but it left vacant and never listed for sale. The property became overrun with squatters living in nuisance conditions such as no running water, no electricity, and leaving junk and debris everywhere. In addition to the extremely unsanitary conditions at 221 Tennessee Street the property was the site of substantial criminal activity.

As a result of the dangerous conditions at the Property in his role as Neighborhood Law Attorney for the City of Vallejo filed a lawsuit against the property to appoint a Receiver pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7. The lawsuit appointing a receiver pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7, was granted on January 12, 2015. Once Mr. Griffith had the receiver appointed he coordinated with the receiver and Vallejo police department to clear the property of the criminal squatters. Once the criminal squatters were removed Mr. Griffith and the Receiver worked together to abate the dangerous conditions at the Property.

At the the time of the receivership appointment 221 Tennessee Street was a run-down property that was valued at at $79,000. However, once the Receiver completed rehabilitating the property it sold for $385,000. This means as a result of the work of the City, Mr. Griffith, and the Receiver the property value increased $306,000. Furthermore, the City recovered over $10,000 in attorney fee’s and enforcement costs pursuant to Health and Safety Code § 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1). Most importantly of all the surrounding community was thrilled that the City and the Receiver were able to abate the nuisance property, which had plagued their neighborhood for years.

FCS044595
City of Vallejo v. Edgardo and Nenita Dacoron, (263 Reynard Lane, Vallejo, 94591) 

Background:

This was a zombie foreclosure property where the owners filed bankruptcy and believed their lender NationStar Mortgage would foreclose on their property. The owners believing they were being foreclosed upon vacated the property, but once it was vacant it was overrun by squatters. Furthermore, the owners thinking they had been foreclosed upon stopped paying the water, power, and other bills so all those services were shut off. Therefore, numerous squatters were living without running water, electricity and other services in highly unsanitary conditions. Additionally, these squatters were using heavy drugs and engaging in criminal activity.

Based on these circumstances the City of Vallejo called upon Ryan Griffith to appoint a receiver over the nuisance property. Therefore, filed a lawsuit seeking to appoint a receiver over the property pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7. At the appointment hearing the judge was concerned that the bankruptcy would prevent the appointment of a receiver, but Mr. Griffith argued that the Cities police power under 11 U.S.C. 362(b)(4) superseded the automatic stay of bankruptcy. Based on this argument the judge appointed the receiver on June 16, 2014. It is worth noting that around this time a California Appellate Court confirmed that the a cities police power under 11 U.S.C. 362(b)(4) supersedes the automatic stay of bankruptcy. (City of Riverside v. Horspool, (2014) 223 Cal. App. 4th 670, 676.)

Once the Receiver was appointed Mr. Griffith, the receiver, and the Vallejo Police Department cleared the property of the squatters. The receiver then rehabilitated the property and sold it a responsible owner. It is worth noting that the as-is value of this property, which was a nuisance drug house when the receiver was appointed was $200,000. However, once the property was rehabilitated the property was sold for $420,000, which was a property value increased of $220,000 Additionally, the City recovered its attorney fee’s and enforcement costs pursuant to California Health and Safety Code section 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1). Most importantly of all the nuisance conditions at this property were abated and everyone in the neighborhood celebrated.

FCS043487
City of Vallejo v. Elmer Brewster, (907 Falcon Drive, 94589) 

Background:

This property involved an a couple without any children. The couple led a happy and productive life and grew old together and paid off the mortgage to their house and owned it in full. However, eventually the wife passed away peacefully at old age, but the husband could not stand being in the house any longer. Therefore, he abandoned the house and moved to a retirement community in Sacramento

The husband was elderly and had no family or children to care for him. He stopped paying the bills for his Vallejo property and with it abandoned it became overrun by squatters. Eventually water, electricity and other services were shut off at the Property. The squatters then began dumping debris at the Property and engaging in heavy drug use.

contacted the husband in Sacramento and he was upset about what had happened to his home, but he not physically or mentally able to abate the conditions. Therefore, he did not oppose the appointment of a Receiver over his property. On August 22, 2013 a receiver was appointed and the Receiver began working to abate the conditions at the Property, and sold the Property as-is to a responsible owner that abated the conditions. The City then recovered its attorney fees and enforcement costs pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1). Then there was also a good amount of money left from the sale of Property for the husband to care for himself in Sacramento.

FCS041824
City of Vallejo v. Lim, (424 Coughlan Street Vallejo, 94590) 

Background:

In this case, the original owners filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and believed their mortgage holder Deutsche Bank would foreclose on their property 424 Coughlin. Therefore, the owners vacated the Property, but for reasons unknown Deutsche Bank never foreclosed. Therefore, the property sat vacant and was eventually overrun by squatters living in unsanitary conditions, which included no running water, no electricity, and junk and debris were thrown everywhere. Furthermore, the squatters were engaged in substantial drug use and other disturbing behavior, which burdened the surrounding neighborhood.

Based on the nuisance conditions at 424 Coughlan Street in his role as a Neighborhood Law Attorney for the City of Vallejo filed a receivership lawsuit seeking to appoint a receiver over the Property pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7. On January 12, 2014 a hearing was held to appoint the Receiver, and the appointing judge questioned how he could appoint a receiver when there was a bankruptcy. Ryan Griffith responded with the fact that the City’s police power under 11 U.S.C. 362(b)(4) superseded the automatic stay, and Judge David Powers agreed. Therefore, a receiver was appointed over the Property. It is worth noting a later California appellate decision has found that in a 17980.7 case the City’s Police Power under 11 U.S.C. 362(b)(4) supersedes the automatic stay of bankruptcy. (City of Riverside v. Horspool, (2014) 223 Cal. App. 4th 670, 676.)

Once the Receiver was successfully appointed he began working with the City and Mr. Griffith to abate the nuisance conditions. It is worth noting that the as-is value of the Property at the time of the Receiver’s appointment was $90,000. However, after the Receiver completed rehabilitating the Property it was sold to a responsible owner for $310,000, which brought an increase in value of $210,000. Furthermore, the City recovered it’s attorney’s fees and enforcement costs pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1). Most importantly of all the community was grateful to the City and Receiver to have the nuisance that plagued their community abated.

FCS044594
City of Vallejo v. Russell Ahlgrim (150 Farragut Avenue, Vallejo, CA 94950) 

Background:

This property was an apartment building owned by two friends that used it as an investment property. The friends began fighting, because the other thought the other was not doing enough to maintain the Property. Eventually the fight became ugly and for all intents and purposes out of apparent stubbornness both thought it was the others responsibility to deal with the Property. Therefore, the Property became dilapidated and all the paying tenants eventually left.

Once the property was vacant it was overrun by squatters living without running water, electricity, and throwing debris all over the place. Furthermore, the police were called to the property over 50 times in less than a year, and there were pitbulls living at the property that would get loose and attack people walking by.

The City asked in his role as a Neighborhood Law Attorney to put the property into receivership. Mr. Griffith filed a receivership action in Solano County Court and successfully appointed a receiver over the Property on December 17, 2013. Once the receiver was appointed the Receiver and Mr. Griffith had to coordinate a S.W.A.T. team raid with the Vallejo Police Department as numerous pit bulls and armed squatters at the Property.

Once the S.W.A.T. team was coordinated the Receiver immediately secured the building and spent months rehabilitating it. It is worth noting that at the time of the Receiver’s appointment in December 2013 this property, which was a hub of criminal activity was valued at $210,000, but it was sold to a responsible owner for $428,000. Therefore, the property value increased by $228,000 and the City of Vallejo recovered its attorney fees and enforcement costs pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1). Most importantly of all this hub of substantially dangerous criminal activity was abated community safety was preserved.

FCS042681
City of Vallejo v. Testate and Intestate Successors of Dolores Kempton (137 Muller Street, Vallejo, CA 94590) 

Background:

This was a sad case where a women owned two properties in Vallejo at 140 Martin Street and 137 Muller Street. This woman had a mentally ill son that also battled with substance abuse, but he was a nice person. However, when she passed away the son was left all alone and low-level drug dealers and criminals started taking advantage of him, and living at his property.

Slowly more and more people started living at the Property and stealing from the son. Furthermore, the son did not have the mental capability to pay bills and eventually water, electricity, and other services were shut off. This led to highly unsanitary conditions combined with a number of transients coming and going from the property. These transients engaged in criminal activity and used dangerous drugs, and eventually started terrorizing the neighborhood.

The City then asked in his role as a Neighborhood Law Attorney for the City of Vallejo to appoint a Receiver over the two Properties pursuant to California Health and Safety Code section 17980.7, to bring peace to the neighborhood. On September 8, 2014 a Receiver was appointed over both 140 Martin and 137 Muller in two separate actions.

Once the Receiver was appointed the Receiver, Ryan Griffith, and Vallejo Police Department organized a team to take over the Property. Upon arrival at the Property numerous people were discovered some with guns, and a number of drugs. Arrests were made, but the son was able to leave and a sympathetic neighbor said he take the son in and care for him.

Once the criminals were cleared and the son was cared for the Receiver began rehabilitating the Property. It is worth noting that at the time of the Receiver’s appointment 140 Martin was valued at $86,500, but after rehabilitation the Receiver was able to sell it for $195.000. This means the value of the property increased by $108,500. Furthermore, the City recovered it’s attorney fees and costs pursuant to California Health and Safety Code section 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1). Furthermore, peace was brought to the neighborhood and there was a substantial amount of money left from the proceeds of the sale of the properties to care for the son.

FCS044054
City of Vallejo v. Testate and Intestate Successors of Dolores Kempton (140 Martin Street, Vallejo, CA 94589) 

Background:

This was a sad case where a women owned two properties in Vallejo at 140 Martin Street and 137 Muller Street. This woman had a mentally ill son that also battled with substance abuse, but he was a nice person. However, when she passed away the son was left all alone and low-level drug dealers and criminals started taking advantage of him, and living at his property.

Slowly more and more people started living at the Property and stealing from the son. Furthermore, the son did not have the mental capability to pay bills and eventually water, electricity, and other services were shut off. This led to highly unsanitary conditions combined with a number of transients coming and going from the property. These transients engaged in criminal activity and used dangerous drugs, and eventually started terrorizing the neighborhood.

The City then asked in his role as a Neighborhood Law Attorney for the City of Vallejo to appoint a Receiver over the two Properties pursuant to California Health and Safety Code section 17980.7, to bring peace to the neighborhood. On September 8, 2014 a Receiver was appointed over both 140 Martin and 137 Muller in two separate actions.

Once the Receiver was appointed the Receiver, Ryan Griffith, and Vallejo Police Department organized a team to take over the Property. Upon arrival at the Property numerous people were discovered some with guns, and a number of drugs. Arrests were made, but the son was able to leave and a sympathetic neighbor said he take the son in and care for him.

Once the criminals were cleared and the son was cared for the Receiver began rehabilitating the Property. It is worth noting that at the time of the Receiver’s appointment 140 Martin was valued at 95,000, but after rehabilitation the Receiver was able to sell it for $240,000. This means the value of the property increased by $145,000. Furthermore, the City recovered it’s attorney fees and costs pursuant to California Health and Safety Code section 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1). Furthermore, peace was brought to the neighborhood and there was a substantial amount of money left from the proceeds of the sale of the properties to care for the son.

FCS043976
City of Vallejo v. Testate and Intestate Successors of Floretta Brumfield, (1914 Florida Street, Vallejo, CA 94590) 

Background:

This property was owned by a woman with two children that both struggled with substance abuse and criminal activity. The owner also had mortgage on the property with Wells Fargo. When the woman passed away the two children could not inherit the property, because of the mortgage. However, they began staying at the Property and using hard drugs there. Eventually the two children started inviting their transient friends to the property and even charging them rent.. However, the children did not pay the water, electricity, or any other bills and all those services were shut-off. The property eventually became overrun with people living in unsanitary conditions engaging in substance abuse and criminal activity.

The City then asked in his role as Neighborhood Law Attorney for the City of Vallejo to appoint a receiver over the nuisance property pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7. Ryan Griffith filed a lawsuit against the estate of the owner and successfully appointed a receiver over the nuisance property on November 13, 2013.

Once the Receiver was appointed Mr. Griffith, the Receiver, and the Vallejo Police Department organized a police raid to clear the property of squatters. Once the squatters were cleared, as were the two children who had not yet opened up probate the receiver began securing the property. The receiver then fully rehabilitated the property and sold it to a responsible owner. It is worth noting that the as-is value of the property, which was a nuisance drug house when the receiver was appointed was $67,000. However, once the Receiver rehabilitated the property he was able to sell it for $205,000, which was a property value increase of $138,000. Furthermore, the City was awarded $10,000 in attorney’s fees and enforcement costs pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1). Most importantly of all the neighborhood nuisance was abated and peace was brought to the community.

FCS042567
City of Vallejo v. Testate and Intestate Successors of Karen Peters, (104 Greenwood Street, Vallejo, CA 94591) 

Background:

The owner of this property passed away, but had a daughter. However, her daughter has major health issues and is unable to care for the property. Once the mother passed away the property became overrun with squatters and was the site of numerous nuisance conditions.

Therefore, the City of Vallejo filed a Petition to appoint as Receiver over the Property. Once Mr. Keena was appointed he began to immediately abate the nuisance conditions and hired a licensed contractor to fully rehabilitate the Property.

Once the rehabilitation was completed the Receiver was able to list the Property for sale and sold it to a responsible owner. This case is now wrapping up and the Receiver plans to file his Final Report and Accounting pursuant to California Rule of Cout 3.1184.

FCS052494
City of Vallejo v. Testate and Intestate Successors of Ochoa Arphaxad, (618 Branciforte Street, Vallejo, CA 94590) 

Background:

This Property was owned by a Filipino National who immigrated to Vallejo alone for a job, and he sent money back to his family in the Philippines. It appears his goal was to eventually bring his family from the Philippines to the United States, but sadly he was diagnosed with cancer and died. The owner owned the property outright so there was no lender on title and he had no family in the United States. Therefore, the property was left vacant and eventually overrun by squatters. There was nobody to pay the bills at the property so the squatters lived without running water, electricity, and in other unsanitary conditions. Furthermore, the squatters engaged in heavy drug use and other criminal activity.

With a deceased owner on title and no heir in the Country there was nobody to contact. Therefore, the only solution was to appoint a receiver over the property pursuant to California Health and Safety § 17980.7. in his role as a Neighborhood Law Attorney for the City of Vallejo successfully appointed a receiver over the property on October 22, 2013. The receiver was then able to clear the Property of squatters and eventually sell it to a responsible owner. The City then recovered its attorney’s fees and enforcement costs pursuant to California Health and Safety § 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1).

FCS042356
City of Vallejo v. Todd Bishop, (318 Kentucky Street, Vallejo, CA 94590) 

Background:

This property was a typical situation. Here the Owner believed that his lender Bank of America had foreclosed on his property, because he received a Notice of Default from Bank of America after missing a few mortgage payments. However, Bank of America never foreclosed on him. Neverthless, based on the owner’s mistaken belief that he had been foreclosed upon he vacated the Property.

Once the Property was left vacant it was overrun by squatters living in the typical substandard conditions of no running water, no electricity, and junk and debris thrown everywhere. However, the criminal behavior that the squatters were engaged in was horrific. There was substantial drug use, prostitution and other crimes, but there was even a kidnapping victim brought to the property at gunpoint, and countless other crimes. The surrounding community eventually became so upset that they stormed a Vallejo City Council meeting asking for assistance. () After the City Council meeting was assigned the task of dealing with the Property, and first he worked with the Bank to board up the Property with a state of the art metal board up system. ()

Everyone thought the board up was enough, but within a few months the squatters had come back and the same problems resurfaced. Therefore, Ryan Griffith in his role as a Neighborhood Law Attorney for the City of Vallejo sought the appointment of a receiver over the Property pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7. On April 25, 2014 the Property was placed into Receivership, and from there the squatters were removed, the code violations were abated, and eventually the property was sold to a responsible owner. It is worth noting that at the time of the receivership appointment on in April 2014 the as-is value for this nuisance drug house was $90,000. However, once the receivership was completed he was able to sell it to a responsible owner for $370,000, which meant the value of the Property increased by $280,000. Furthermore, the City recovered its attorney’s fees and enforcement costs pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1), and most importantly of all the neighborhood nuisance was finally abated.

FCS043264
City of Vallejo v. Walter Carter, (121 Luann Court, Vallejo, California 94589) 

Background:

This property involved a couple with an adult mentally challenged son. One day the wife passed away of old age and the father tried to continue caring for the son. However, the father was growing old as well and decided to move to the east coast and left the son to run the house. The son was incapable of running the house and it became overrun with debris and eventually burned down.

Thankfully, the son was not harmed, but he continued to live in the burned out building that covered in debris. Everyone was frightened another fire would start so the City requested that appoint a receiver over the property pursuant to California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7. Ryan Griffith successfully petitioned the court for an appointment of a receiver on October 2, 2014.

Once the receiver was appointed he worked to find the son adequate housing then began rehabilitating the property. Eventually he sold the property to a responsible owner. It is worth noting that the burned out property at the time of the Receiver’s appointment was worth $130,000. However, once the Receiver made repairs he was able to sell it to a responsible owner for $251,000. This is a property value increase of $121,000. Additionally, the City recovered its attorney’s fees and enforcement costs pursuant to California Health and Safety § 17980.7(c)(11) and (d)(1). Most importantly the fire danger was abated the neighborhood was at peace.

FCS044179