October 03, 2019 hot, fiery, tell it like it is letter to the Editor of the Mariposa Gazette…
I represent Jerry Cox in the receivership case brought by the county of Mariposa, which has been covered significantly in the Gazette. So far I have avoided statements to the newspaper. But after seeing the false statements made by Mariposa County Counsel Steve Dahlem in the article “Lawsuit Filed” (Sept. 26, 2019), I’m compelled to respond.
Dahlem’s statement that Cox refused to comply with court orders is absolutely false. There
is no court finding that Cox violated any order. Before there was any court order, the county sent Cox a notice of abatement, and Cox asked for more time due to the holidays, but reasonable time was not given.
Then the county obtained an order to eject Cox and place the receiver Mark Adams on his property, without any prior order existing, and without allowing oral testimony or the opportunity to present videos and other contrary evidence. The county used the baseless criminal case that was still ongoing as an excuse to eject Cox from his ranch. This forced Cox to defend an unjust criminal action while his liberty was at stake, while simultaneously fighting a complex civil action for ejection and appointment of a receiver.
For over a year, while Cox was not allowed on his property, the receiver trashed the property, failed to pay utilities and failed to get competitive bids on repairs as ordered by the court. So Cox got his own estimates, and the nominal repairs only cost $8,000 to fix. Cox paid the $8,000 and everything has been fixed for nearly a year now.
But the receiver and county want their $800,000-plus in legal fees that they racked up while Cox was unjustly ejected and the court is about to order Cox’s property sold at a much lower price than the appraisal value just to pay those bloated fees to entities that have a financial incentive to bankrupt Cox, destroy his business and take his property, which is exactly what they did with help from the court.
Dahlem also falsely said the court’s orders were upheld by the court of appeal. But the court of appeal never made any ruling on the merits yet. Instead, the court of appeal dismissed or denied several of our appeals and petitions because the orders we challenged were not immediately appealable yet. That only means we have to wait until after a final judgment to appeal. And most recently, the court of appeal dismissed our appeal because the order of sale was not finalized yet, but the dismissal was “without prejudice” and the court of appeal said we can re-file once it is finalized.
These were not just errors. Dahlem is fully aware of this. But dishonesty has been the modus operandi of the county this entire time.
Other localities are increasingly rejecting these types of land-grab profiteers who take people’s land over nominal violations. The City of Palm Springs, for example, changed their mind and got rid of Silver & Wright (law firm) due to public backlash. The Orange County Register and Desert Sun have both confronted Silver & Wright’s policing for-profit scheme.
This is the most abusive and unethical proceeding I have seen in my 20 years of practice. I will not stop fighting it, no matter what happens. Nor will I be intimidated by the abuse of power. I only hope others will step up and voice their concerns. This plundering of the public must be stopped. If this can happen to Cox, it can happen to anyone in Mariposa.
Marc E. Angelucci, Attorney at Law
NCFM VP Marc Angelucci, Esq., Dahlem not being truthful about Cox