Justice One Year in the Making

Lady JusticeAfter nearly a year, or two years depending on how you look at it, justice was finally served today.

Some of you know of the issue but for those who do not, here is a short explanation of a very long story. We have a house in the wine valley that had some work being done. Our contractor doing the work started getting a little shady, started living in our house and eventually became hostile about the situation.

We served him, twice, eviction notices with multiple verbal instructions to leave the house. Today we had our day in court and the judge ruled in our favor and we now have legal possession of our property again.

So that’s what I’ve been tweeting about a squatter and then going to the Sheriff’s Department or the courthouse. I didn’t mean to be ambiguous but for certain reasons I couldn’t elaborate on the situation.

For the longer story (including murder), follow on.

When I first moved to California several years ago I moved into our family cabin in the wine valley. We built the house in the early 1950s as a summer cabin, a retreat from the cold in San Francisco.

Located amongst some of the best wineries in California, just a 15 minute walk from the river and a five minute stroll downhill to a quaint local market, this cabin was our home every summer.

It wasn’t anything super special, small, two bedroom, 1.5 bath on a hill, huge back porch, tennis court and hot tub. When I moved back to the house, after years of it being vacant, we discovered it needed a bit of work.

A bit of work = a lot of work (in this case)

So we hired a handyman to do some work here, some there, he was shady, we fired him. Blah blah, a few others, and then this last dude. He was recommended by a family friend.

He did some work, blah blah, time passes. Turns out he has been squatting in our house since at least January 2010. Also, he might have been squatting there since he started work on the house a few years ago, and destroying the house and everything else inside.

The guy is a total creep. Has a handful of restraining orders against him, was once on trial for murder (received verdict of “self defense), has no teeth (not a judge on character but for-what-it’s-worth), has installed listening devices and wireless cameras in our house and has just generally turned out to be a freak show. Did I mention he started renting out one of the bedrooms to help pay his bills?

So, we followed the law, gave him 30 days notice to release control of the property (he didn’t). Then we gave a 60 days notice of eviction, he did not accept the terms and refused to release possession of our house back to us. So, back to our awesome lawyer, perhaps more on her later, and a court hearing was setup.

Today was our day in court, a year later and we won. He is to leave the property within five days of the latest eviction notice and then we can once again, take possession of a house we have owned for some 60 years.

Eventually I hope to get the house back into the condition it was when I moved back to Missouri, when all it needed was a few touchups. I want to invite my friends for weekends in the wine valley, float trips down the river and bicycle rides through the redwoods. If we can rent it out to someone for longterm or short term periods, even better.

I’ll be driving up to the wine valley more often to check on the house, maybe do some of the finishing work myself and steal away some time to enjoy the valley and my friends here.

16 thoughts on “Justice One Year in the Making

  1. Glad this all got settled favorably; such an ordeal!

    The description of the cabin sounds amazing. Visiting you is among the top entries on my places-to-visit list.

  2. Glad this all got settled favorably; such an ordeal!

    The description of the cabin sounds amazing. Visiting you is among the top entries on my places-to-visit list.

  3. @rzhale I’d love for you guys to visit, especially if the cabin is back in working order.

    Unfortunately, we have no idea what state the house is in. It could be totally functional and in near perfect condition. Sadly, it is somewhat likely that the current tenant(s) have or will damage or destroy the property prior, and even potentially after, releasing possession of the house.

    So, I might show up with the Sheriff to find a great little cabin or I might show up with the Sheriff to ashes. That part is still terrifying. The guy has no money so suing him for damages would go nowhere and with me south an hour in San Francisco, monitoring the house on a daily basis won’t be feasible either.

    I hope to make the time to rent a car and drive up a few times a month to check on it, especially if we have new contractor doing work on the house. Once it is all setup, who knows, perhaps I’ll make it our weekend home and we can spend much more time enjoying some peace and quiet!

    But once it is fixed up, you and yours have NO CHOICE but to visit and stay a while!

  4. @rzhale I’d love for you guys to visit, especially if the cabin is back in working order.

    Unfortunately, we have no idea what state the house is in. It could be totally functional and in near perfect condition. Sadly, it is somewhat likely that the current tenant(s) have or will damage or destroy the property prior, and even potentially after, releasing possession of the house.

    So, I might show up with the Sheriff to find a great little cabin or I might show up with the Sheriff to ashes. That part is still terrifying. The guy has no money so suing him for damages would go nowhere and with me south an hour in San Francisco, monitoring the house on a daily basis won’t be feasible either.

    I hope to make the time to rent a car and drive up a few times a month to check on it, especially if we have new contractor doing work on the house. Once it is all setup, who knows, perhaps I’ll make it our weekend home and we can spend much more time enjoying some peace and quiet!

    But once it is fixed up, you and yours have NO CHOICE but to visit and stay a while!

  5. Wow…that is some story Justin. I’m glad that you were able to reclaim the place that’s given you relaxation for many years. Kind of ironic when you think about it. The place that’s meant to be your escape becomes your nightmare. Ohh…little fact about me (unrelated to the entry above), I was born in Northaran California in Walnut Creek (there’s my California connection).

    As for your blog, I really enjoy your writing style. You write very conversationally and are able to move the reader to the very end. I am sure to revisit your blog for time to time.

  6. Wow…that is some story Justin. I’m glad that you were able to reclaim the place that’s given you relaxation for many years. Kind of ironic when you think about it. The place that’s meant to be your escape becomes your nightmare. Ohh…little fact about me (unrelated to the entry above), I was born in Northaran California in Walnut Creek (there’s my California connection).

    As for your blog, I really enjoy your writing style. You write very conversationally and are able to move the reader to the very end. I am sure to revisit your blog for time to time.

  7. @MRHibbard It is a crazy story and I didn’t even tell the gory details! Like how he and his brother (who lives up the hill with his ex-prison employee girlfriend) are both ex-cons and how multiple people have restraining orders on the each of them!

    When I think about the happiest moments of my life, laying in a hammock in the backyard of my house, under the warm summer sun, reading a book, pops to the very top! I can’t wait to relive that experience. We also used to have awesome parties on the tennis court grilling food, drinking wine and roasting marshmallows over the fire pit.

    I know exactly where Walnut Creek is! Did you go to Northgate?

    And finally, thanks for the compliments. I do my best to write the way that I talk. I like to write with my readers, not at them. Glad you like my style!

  8. @MRHibbard It is a crazy story and I didn’t even tell the gory details! Like how he and his brother (who lives up the hill with his ex-prison employee girlfriend) are both ex-cons and how multiple people have restraining orders on the each of them!

    When I think about the happiest moments of my life, laying in a hammock in the backyard of my house, under the warm summer sun, reading a book, pops to the very top! I can’t wait to relive that experience. We also used to have awesome parties on the tennis court grilling food, drinking wine and roasting marshmallows over the fire pit.

    I know exactly where Walnut Creek is! Did you go to Northgate?

    And finally, thanks for the compliments. I do my best to write the way that I talk. I like to write with my readers, not at them. Glad you like my style!

  9. @justex07 To be honest with you, there are just a few things I remember about California. Our family only lived in Northern California for about two years before moving to Southern California and finally to St. Louis. Things I do remember though: Carl Junior, In & Out Burger (let’s be honest, who would forget this), a few birthday parties and a song on the radio ever once in a while.

    I understand now where your love for wine comes that’s for sure!

  10. @justex07 To be honest with you, there are just a few things I remember about California. Our family only lived in Northern California for about two years before moving to Southern California and finally to St. Louis. Things I do remember though: Carl Junior, In & Out Burger (let’s be honest, who would forget this), a few birthday parties and a song on the radio ever once in a while.

    I understand now where your love for wine comes that’s for sure!

  11. @MRHibbard haha, anyone who forgets about In-N-Out is probably a terrorist. Fact. I actually went there yesterday and, being a vegetarian, had their grilled cheese animal style with fries. Amazing!

    Yeah, my love for wine started here thanks in part to my friend Kayla. It only got stronger when I re-discovered Top Ten Wines in Columbia. Now you might say I’m obsessed haha.

  12. @MRHibbard haha, anyone who forgets about In-N-Out is probably a terrorist. Fact. I actually went there yesterday and, being a vegetarian, had their grilled cheese animal style with fries. Amazing!

    Yeah, my love for wine started here thanks in part to my friend Kayla. It only got stronger when I re-discovered Top Ten Wines in Columbia. Now you might say I’m obsessed haha.

  13. I’ll come work on your house. But I promise neither quality craftsmanship or that I will actually do anything besides sit in the hot tub.

  14. I’ll come work on your house. But I promise neither quality craftsmanship or that I will actually do anything besides sit in the hot tub.

  15. @SamuelAveryHunt so, as long as I don’t have to take you to court for illegally moving into the house, I won’t be worse off than anyone else… Sounds like a win!

    Sadly, the hot tub was the first thing to go a few years ago when I moved there… damnit!

  16. @SamuelAveryHunt so, as long as I don’t have to take you to court for illegally moving into the house, I won’t be worse off than anyone else… Sounds like a win!

    Sadly, the hot tub was the first thing to go a few years ago when I moved there… damnit!

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