NCFM NOTE: This article was posted August 23, 2018 in the Mariposa Gazette.
Though it appears repair work is being done at the controversial JDC Land Company property in Mariposa, another issue looms large over the matter.
The case involves local resident Jerry Cox, owner of JDC Land Company, who was found in violation of more than 100 code violations at the property.
When the violations were deemed to be true by Mariposa County Superior Court Judge Dana Walton, the case was put into receivership. A receivership is when the court appoints an outside firm to oversee the property, including repairs. Many receivership cases in California involve large housing complexes where income can continue to be generated during the repairs.
But in this case, Cox has not been on his property in more than a year — and getting estimates on the work have been anything but easy for the receiver.
In fact, the receiver, Mark Adams of California Receivership Group in Santa Monica, ended up using an estimate from a firm recommended by Cox. Adams has said in court he was unable to get estimates because of the high-profile nature of the case. He also cited social media threats as a reason.
But on Monday in court, it was Walton who brought up the question that hasn’t been raised in a while.
The judge called it the “elephant in the room,” and that is the money that could be owed by Cox once the work is completed. As part of the receivership process, Adams has been granted by the court more than $224,000 to use toward the project. That money is through loans he has secured with the understanding it would be paid by Cox.
But Cox has argued from the start that amount of money is inflated and his attorneys don’t feel he should be held liable for the funds.
During a recent hearing, the court ordered Cox to pay an additional $8,400 to cover estimated costs by the contractor. That brought the total to just over $26,000 — well below the estimates given by Adams. Those estimates, though, were not based on actual information from contractors but from Adams himself and were more than $250,000.
During Monday’s hearing, Adams told the court it was his understanding the work was beginning this week. Adams did say it was likely the work would take three to four weeks.
“I am glad to see the work is underway,” said attorney Imran Khaliq of Menlo Park, who represents Cox in the case.
That’s when the judge made his “elephant in the room” comment.
Following that comment, Adams did tell the court he was in the process of withdrawing a notice of foreclosure on the property.
According to a report filed by Adams with the court, a notice of default was recorded by the receivership lenders which began a 120-day process leading up to a foreclosure auction.
Cox and his attorney have contended that was the intention all along of Adams and is why he did not get estimates for the work. They believe his end game was a foreclosure in order to profit from the sale.
The court filing by Adams states the lenders understand the $224,495 which has been ordered by the court in the case “has now been outstanding for over 12 months without a single payment of any principal or interest by Mr. Cox. The receivership lender is very aware how challenging it has been to get Mr. Cox to pay even the relatively small sums still needed to do the actual work on his property. The lender quite understandably has little confidence that Mr. Cox will ever even attempt to pay off the court-approved balance of the receivership certificates.”
But, the filing also goes on to state since Adams has not completed the work on the property, he is requesting the lender rescind the notice of default.
Adams told Walton that was in the process of happening.
The filing by Adams also stated: “So while the notice of default is being rescinded, the lender does intend to exercise its rights under California law to demand assurance of how Mr. Cox does intend to pay the amount due when the work is all done.”
And that is undoubtedly the elephant in the room.
Cox has contended throughout the case the receiver wasted money at the site, including having excessive security and even allowing security workers to use the property for family events. At one point, Cox had a video of a security officer riding one of Cox’s all-terrain vehicles.
The judge brought up issues like the loan as well as “costs and fees” during the court hearing this week.
But the attorneys were reluctant to discuss the issue in depth, saying it would be coming up when the work is completed.
Adams said “all the financial issues” will “come to a head in the next couple of months.”
Khaliq said he wanted to see the work “proceed” and then the issue of the funds will be taken up, including discharging the receiver.
But the judge said he was “not sure” there would be a discharge of the receiver until the financial decisions are ordered by the court.
He also told those in court the situation is likely to become difficult.
Walton said the “reality” is the case is “on the verge of becoming a very difficult situation.”
He didn’t elaborate on what that could mean, though earlier this year the judge did say he could appoint a “special master” should the financial matters not be resolved. That master, the judge said earlier in the year, could work on issues outside the scope of the court’s order of the rehabilitation work on the property.
Khaliq told the court this week he was hopeful the work could be completed and that Cox be allowed back on his property. He said Cox has plans, should he get back on his property, to have livestock and other means to make money.
Cox has said he has very little money and blames the lawsuit as part of the reason. However, he also points to what happened to him prior to this case when he was charged with 14 felonies related to alleged sexual assault.
That case, though, was dismissed after two years by Mariposa County District Attorney Tom Cooke. Cooke has only said he felt he could not win the case in court.
Cox and his legal team have contended the charges stemmed from revenge by the county and officials knew the woman accusing him was not credible. They also believe it became a motivating factor for the receivership case though county officials contend the code violations go back many years.
The woman in the sex assault allegations case, who Cox met on the website farmersonly.com, does have an extensive criminal record involving similar incidents in which she sought to bring charges against men she had met.
She has not been charged in relation to the dismissed felony case.
The next court hearing for Cox will be at 2 p.m., Monday, Sept. 17, in Mariposa County Superior Court.
NCFM Jerry Cox persecution update, Elephant in the room
Powered by WPeMatico