NCFM NOTE: We’ll explain this more in future articles, but in my view some of those named in the lawsuit below surely assumed that government power would overcome Jerry’s rights in due time, simply because those involved could use government to bankrupt Jerry and force him off his land by default. Fortunately for Jerry, those bad actors did not anticipate the intervention of NCFM, and our attorneys and investigators. There are two articles here from the Mariposa Gazette. Greg Little, Editor, has done an excellent job of objective reporting and laying out the facts minus the legalize. Both read like chapters from a John Grisham thriller. Except, Jerry’s a real person persecuted by real and disgusting bad actors. Harry Crouch, President.
Cox files federal suit; may seek $150 million, or more
Local officials named in court filing
| August 29, 2019
By GREG LITTLE Editor
A federal lawsuit has been filed by local landowner Jerry Cox against Mariposa County.
The suit was filed last week in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, which is located in Fresno.
Though specific dollar amounts are left open, one section of the suit says Cox believes the damages “to be in excess of $150 million.”
The suit was filed against Mariposa County, Mariposa County sheriff, sheriff’s deputy William Atkinson, sheriff’s deputy Wesley Smith, Ashley Harris, California Receivership Group and Mark Adams, who owns the receivership group. It also lists unknown defendants and states there could be more people implicated during the course of the case.
In addition, Mariposa County Counsel Steve Dahlem along with county supervisors Merlin Jones and Marshall Long were all named specifically in the 70-page court document filed with the court.
The complaint alleges 14 violations of law. Those include violations of the 14th, 4th and 5th amendments, slander of title, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, conspiracy to violate constitutional rights, negligence, negligent hiring, training and supervision and other allegations.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Cox by Oakland based attorneys Kenneth Frucht and Frederick J. Geonetta. Also listed as an attorney for Cox is Marc Angelucci, the attorney who represents Cox in the current receivership case as well as who represented him in a recent protective order case in San Luis Obispo County. In that case, Cox prevailed against Harris, who had accused Cox of raping her; an accusation that led to 16 felony charges that were brought against Cox. After almost two years, the rape charges were dropped by the Mariposa County District Attorney’s Office.
The crux of the case revolves around both the rape allegation as well as the receivership matter; a case which is ongoing in Mariposa County Superior Court.
It also points to sealed records in that case. The allegations claim a search warrant was used to enter Cox’s property, a 477 acre tract of land located north of the airport near Mount Bullion, to inspect for “alleged building code violations and has never been released to Cox or his attorneys. The alleged code violations were all phony and made up from whole cloth to deny Cox possession of his property and to enrich defendants …” It further states about the sealed search warrant affidavit that county officials “have provided no valid reason for the necessity or legal justification for the sealing of this civil search warrant affidavit.”
The complaint alleges the sheriff’s office mishandled the case against Cox after he was accused of rape by Harris. It claims the deputies ignored text messages and cell phone records “that unequivocally disproved her allegations of a sexual assault.” It claims that when Harris was allowed to leave the sheriff’s office, she was allowed to keep her cell phone.
“In contrast,” states the complaint, “Cox was held in jail for three weeks. Unlike Harris, Cox’s cell phone was seized and searched, and Cox was only released after being forced to post a $500,000 bail to a company that is owned by Marshall Long, a member of the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors.”
It also claims the sheriff’s office “intentionally, willfully and recklessly disregarded this dispositive exculpatory evidence, and instead manufactured false police reports based on nothing more than Harris’ uncorroborated false statements.”
That evidence, the complaint alleges, was the basis for the 16-count indictment of Cox which could have meant a life sentence in prison.
“In fact, a preliminary hearing which is mandatory in felony cases, never occurred because there was no probable cause to prosecute the case. Instead, the defendant county and MCS (sheriff’s office), including county’s law enforcement officers (Atkinson and Smith) and its district attorney, acting in concert with false accuser, Harris, continued with the malicious prosecution when they had key exculpatory evidence in their possession for nearly two years,” states the complaint.
It also claims the two deputies ignored statements made by Darlene Windham, who was at the ranch at the time of the rape allegations. Since then, Windham has testified in the case in San Luis Obispo and the judge in that case called her credible and said her decision to exonerate Cox was, in part, based on that testimony.
“Yet, Atkinson and Smith covered up key evidence from these witnesses and misrepresented the substance of statements made by key witnesses such as Darlene Windham who corroborated Cox’s version of events. Atkins and Smith showed blatant disregard for the truth and facts and investigated the case with only an eye towards framing Cox through the false rape allegations of a known liar,” states the complaint.
It also accuses the county and sheriff’s office of hiding evidence from the defense, failing to gather key exonerating evidence from the phone of Harris and allowing “for the spoliation and destruction of important digital evidence which would have exonerated Cox from his first encounter with the sheriff’s office.”
Another section of the complaint states that on Nov. 14, 2015, Atkinson signed a sworn affidavit saying there was probable cause for executing a search warrant against Cox’s ranch. It claims that in the affidavit, Atkinson “intentionally omitted references to the fact that Cox denied the allegations. He also omitted references to the fact that Windham had made statements to Atkinson that she had not witnessed or heard anything unusual between Cox and Harris when she was staying in the same guest cabin as them during the period Harris claimed she was continuously raped and assaulted over three days.”
It also alleges that Dahlem, the county counsel, “initiated the receivership case in the midst of the” criminal case against Cox, authorized property inspection warrants “based on false evidence, directed county agents to make false statements, directed county officials to enter plaintiff’s property based on falsified inspection warrants, and did so with the intent to deprive plaintiff Cox of his property and take plaintiff’s property and its equity for the benefit of himself, the county, the receivership and its agents.”
It also alleges Dahlem did this “under the county’s supervision.”
The next day, the complaint states that former Mariposa County District Attorney Thomas Cooke and deputy district attorney Gina Florick brought an 11-count criminal complaint against Cox and then in February 2016, amended it to 16 counts.
It states they knew there was insufficient evidence but filed it anyway.
“Acting for the county, district attorneys Cooke and Florcik intentionally and/or recklessly disregarded this evidence and instead elected to maliciously and recklessly file a lengthy complaint against Cox, without probable cause, when they knew or should have known that the allegations had no physical or corroborating support,” the complaint states.
It states that in November 2015, Florick interviewed Harris and photographed “a selection of text messages” between Harris and Cox, but they failed to keep the phone of Harris and did not download its contents.
“Notably, Florick’s photographs do not depict any of the exculpatory text messages between Harris and Cox, including the semi-nude pictures of herself that Harris had sent to Cox, which were much later revealed through a download of the content of Cox’s phone,” it states.
It also alleges the district attorney, representing Mariposa County, failed to provide a download of Cox’s cell phone in a timely manner. It said the county “failed to explain this delay,” adding they eventually determined there were at least 22 messages sent between Harris and Cox “during the times that Harris claimed to be held against her will, without access to her phone and/ or without reception on her phone.”
Another claim by Cox is that county officials began the receivership proceedings because they knew the rape case was unraveling.
“Realizing the fraudulent criminal action against Cox was falling apart, the defendants were not done in attempting to destroy Cox,” the allegation claims.
They further allege the county worked with Rachel Lichau, a woman who was planning to visit the Bison Creek Ranch, which is owned by Cox. The visit was for a possible wedding at the ranch, the documents indicate.
The documents claim that Lichau “went on to make public and defamatory posts on social media sites and in text messages stating that Cox had ruined her wedding by getting charged with rape and that she would make sure that he would never host another wedding again.”
Further, the complaint alleges county officials “worked with Ms. Lichau to formulate false and defamatory material for use in affidavit(s) or other local government documents, to support an unlawful search and seizure of plaintiff’s properties.”
In this section of the document, it claims the county sealed the search warrant affidavit and has refused to give it to Cox or release it to the public but no valid reason has been provided.
The documents claim county officials were intent on driving Cox away from Mariposa County and that’s why they used this information in the search warrant.
They also point to an incident involving Supervisor Long, saying it goes to the overall motivation in the case.
“Thus, for example, at 6:25 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2018, defendant Marshall Long, duly elected county supervisor for the county’s Third District, taunted plaintiff Cox with an email, ‘How’s that homelessness thing working for you.’”
The execution of the search warrant happened, according to the complaint, when Cox was away from the ranch.
Here’s how the complaint describes the warrant execution: “While Cox was away from his ranch, in brutish acts reminiscent of third world dictatorships, rather than a local government in the United States of America, defendants county and MCS (sheriff’s office) dispatched a small army of 8-12 heavily armed law enforcement personnel, including at least one officer armed with an assault rifle, who stormed the ranch, breaking down doors to Cox’s residences, ransacking his home, breaking furniture, breaking fences, locking him out of his property and stationing armed guards to prevent him from entering his own home.”
The lawyers for Cox claim the majority of the alleged code violations were false or made up and have since been corrected for around $8,000, though the receiver in the case has claims for nearly $300,000 in the case.
They also point to the failure of Adams and his receivership company to properly follow the court’s orders.
• Failure to obtain rehabilitation estimates.
• Failure to develop a rehabilitation plan.
• Exaggerating repair costs.
• Failure to use receivership funds for repairs, taxes, etc.
• Falsifying the need for security.
• Failure to list permits.
• False claims about “neglected animals.”
• Receiver’s neglect and abuse toward ranch animals.
In one allegation, they cite the “false bridge claim.” It claims that violation number 94 listed by the county claims a bridge on the property was “inadequately constructed.”
Counters Cox: “That bridge is owned by the State of California with an easement over the property, primarily for purposes of fires. The State of California performs yearly inspections on the bridge to ensure its adequacy for use and regularly uses the bridge. On June 7, 2017, the State of California Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) found no violations on the property, including an inspection of the state-owned bridge over the creek, and issued a Notice of Defensible Space Inspection. … This was another falsified violation made to take control over the property.”
It also points to allegations of abuse of the property by the guards who were hired by the receiver after the property was seized.
“The guards’ children and grandchildren were seen vacationing at the house and on the property (despite all the alleged health violations that kept Cox from living on his own property),” the complaint states.
It goes on to say “the receiver or his agents broke into the adjacent 6108 Mosher Road property, vandalized it, and seized that property for two weeks even though it was not subject to the receivership.”
In the 11th claim of the complaint filed by Cox, it alleges county officials conspired against Cox.
“Plaintiff Cox and JDC Land allege that county officials, including Steve Dahlem and members of the board of supervisors, including Marshall Long and Merlin Jones, conspired with defendants CRG (the receiver) and Adams with a common plan to bring a phony health and safety code violations case (receivership action) to deprive plaintiff of their constitutional rights as alleged herein, including plaintiff’s property rights, livelihood and business, with the specific intent and aim to deprive plaintiff of his property, home, farm, animals and personal property.”
That was the only instance in the complaint where Jones was mentioned. Jones did invoke the Cox case recently during a board of supervisors meeting, complaining about the coverage in the Mariposa Gazette.
Though the $150 million claim was only listed twice in the entire document, at the end of the complaint there is a laundry list of damages sought by Cox.
• 1. That process be issued and served as provided by law, requiring defendants, and each of them, to appear and answer or face judgment;
2. For general, special, actual, and compensatory damages against defendants in an amount to be determined at trial;
3. For punitive damages against the individual Defendants in an amount to be determined at trial sufficient to punish, penalize and/or deter defendants and others from engaging in the conduct described herein;
4. For treble damages, interest and attorneys’ fees pursuant to 18 U.S.C §1964;
5. For costs and expenses of this litigation;
6. For reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs pursuant to statute;
7. For pre- and post-judgment interest on all damages and other relief awarded herein from all entities against whom such relief may be properly awarded;
8. For declaratory and injunctive relief against future violations of plaintiff’s constitutional rights; and,
9. For such other relief as the court deems just and proper.
An initial court date has not yet been set in the case.
More drama now unfolding in proposal by lawyer in Cox case
| August 29, 2019
By GREG LITTLE Editor
It appears Mariposa County is on the line for more than $230,000 in legal fees in the Jerry Cox receivership case.
In addition, the California Receivership Group has made an about-face in its position on selling the property owned by Cox and now claims it will take a major reduction in fees.
Or will it?
In a filing with the Mariposa County Superior Court, receiver Mark Adams is now requesting the proposed sale of Cox’s 477 acre ranch once again go forward, this time with the caveat the potential buyer have no liability and be able to “live peacefully with his dog.”
The receivership case against Cox has been ongoing for nearly two years after Cox was found in violation of more than 101 code violations by the county. The court ordered a receivership in the case and Cox’s property was seized by the receiver, with assistance from the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. Cox just last week filed a major federal lawsuit against the county, sheriff’s office and receiver. (See related story.)
But the saga of the Cox case continues in the receivership matter.
Another hearing was held on Monday of this week at the end of which the court decided to continue the matter until mid-September. That hearing will be held at 3 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19. The county and Cox had both requested the continuance.
It was also stated in the hearing the Mariposa County Board of Supervisor had scheduled a closed-door session on Tuesday of this week to discuss the Cox matter. Mariposa County Counsel Steve Dahlem confirmed the executive session, telling Judge Dana Walton it was only to discuss the terms of the latest offer concerning the property.
Receiverships in California can be ordered by courts and generally apply to properties where incomes can continue to be generated during the receivership. In this case, the property sat dormant for nearly two years before Cox was allowed back on his property by Walton. It was Walton who ordered the receivership during the court proceedings.
And in a new twist in the receivership case, Adams, in his report filing to the court, said he had received a bill from Ashley Harris for more than $46,000 involving a Mariposa County court ruling earlier this year. Harris is the woman who accused Cox of rape in 2015, but that case was later dismissed by Thomas Cooke, the former Mariposa County District Attorney. Harris did pursue a restraining order against Cox, but a judge in San Luis Obispo County tossed that out, as well.
It remains unclear exactly what Adams is seeking in this part of the motion. It includes an “abstract of judgment” in the case involving Harris and Cox. Normally, an abstract of judgment is a quick, usually one-page document from the court that summarizes the judgment without going into details.
As part of the filing by Adams, he is now asking the court to sell the property for $700,000 to a buyer who is unnamed after the judge allowed that to happen because of the high-profile nature of this case.
In a previous hearing, Walton put a stipulation on the proposed property sale that the buyer could be held liable as the court proceedings continued. The buyer did not move forward with the sale.
Adams, in his filing, said he met with the buyer in person and they have agreed on a new purchase deal. That deal, which includes the language the buyer “simply wants to live in peace with his dog on the property,” essentially made the buyer immune from any liability in court proceedings.
“He doesn’t want to be caught up in this (or any) litigation and he does not want to be a target of social media attacks or personal harassment by any party now or in the future,” Adams wrote in the filing.
The document also proposes that money from the purchase go to various parties, including Cox. Adams is proposing that Cox, the county and Adams himself receive $82,000 each as part of the settlement. He’s also asking that $50,000 be set aside in an account as protection for the buyer.
In addition, Adams wrote that since Cox is unwilling to take the settlement, that his $82,000 would be placed in that account, as well.
In other words, Adams is proposing the sale go forward and that Cox would lose his land and not get any part of the sale.
Cox has already countered, through his attorney Marc Angelucci, that he be able to keep his property and receive $2.429 million. It also requests Adams and his company waive all claims and costs as well as dismiss the receivership case and waive all current claims against Cox and his property.
The proposal is also asking that Mariposa County accept $82,000 in payment. It states the county is claiming more than $232,000 in legal fees associated with this case.
Adams, too, is requesting $82,000, saying he is willing to reduce it to that from the $269,920 which he has billed in the receivership case.
Angelucci has also submitted an update countering the one submitted by Adams.
He objects to the entire submission by Adams, saying it is “untimely, improper on such short notice, based in improper disclosure of confidential settlement negotiations … and wrongful violation of JDC’s ( JDC Land Company, which is owned by Cox) right to due process and against unreasonable penalties.
Angelucci also calls the proposed sale “unfair, unjust, unconstitutional and contrary to public policy …”
He also calls the request of fees by the receiver “exaggerated and grossly disproportionate” and the sale price of the property “ridiculously low and error-ridden …”
Angelucci also accuses Adams of not being truthful in the submission of the request to the court.
“The receiver represents that he is will to forgo 70 percent of his fees and that each party will receive $82,000. That is untrue. On page 36 of the line accounting, the receiver deducts $286,000 for a ‘receivership loan’ and $48,000 holdback to indemnify the buyer for future for future litigation. And of course, none of these funds were allocated towards rehabilitation of the property, which was the entire purpose of the court appointing a receiver.”
Angelucci also states in the filing is it “false” to say the “undisclosed buyer” is purchasing the property in “good faith.” He claims the buyer “is undoubtedly aware” of the fact the property is in litigation and is “taking advantage of the situation to enrich himself at JDC’s expense.”
He further adds they will “consider” adding the buyer to the federal lawsuit if the court approves “the fraudulent purchase agreement.”
Angelucci also objects to the “secrecy and lack of transparency” of the sale, saying since the buyer remain anonymous, it “deprives” Cox of “any way to determine any conflicts of interest, the relationship of the buyer to other parties, whether it is just a shadow buyer in collusion with the receiver, what the receiver may be receiving undisclosed, or other issues that JDC should have the right to determine.”
In Monday’s hearing, Angelucci once again objected to the sale of the property and told the court once again should it allow the person to buy the property, that would be added as part of the federal lawsuit.
Angelucci said the buyer “needs to be aware” that person “will be brought into” the federal suit should the court allow the sale.
Walton then brought up an interesting point, saying “if ” the federal court puts a stay on the receivership case, “so be it.”
However, he said that has “not happened yet.”
It is possible the federal court could put the proceedings on hold until that case is resolved. That would be a decision made by the judge in the federal case. As of our press time, a judge had not been assigned to the case.