Amount of Lawsuit: $14.6 million

Plaintiff Attorney: Richard Close

Filed: ?

4-17-07
Energency Mobile Home Park Conversion Ordinance Public Hearing. View PDF

7-17-07
Mobile Home Park Conversion Ordinance 305 enacted. View PDF

The owners of Palo Mobile Estates officially applied to convert their East Palo Alto mobile home park into a condominium-like park with individually owned lots. Simultaneously the group, headed by a New York investor, filed a $14.6 million claim against the city.

Go to East Palo Alto Official Website

Further Reading:
Palo Alto Daily News Article 03-08-07
Palo Alto Daily News Article 03-14-07
Palo Alto Daily News Article 04-25-07
Palo Alto Online Article

Amount of Lawsuit: $15.5 million

Plaintiff Attorney: Richard Close

Filed: July 7th 2007 View PDF

07-07-07
Paul Golstone Trust, owner of Alimur Mobile Home Park in Soquel, California, files a $15,582,000 lawsuit against Santa Cruz County. Paul Goldstone is represented by Richard Close of Gilchrist and Rutter. View PDF

08-07-07
As expected, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors denies Paul Goldstone’s lawsuit. Paul Goldstone continues with lawsuit. View PDF

5-01-08
Paul Goldstone asks for a stay. Each side agrees to pay it’s own legal fees. Lawsuit on hold until further notice.

Further Reading:
Good Times Article 5-9-2007
Santa Cruz Sentinel Article 11-6-2007
Mid County Post Article 8-21-07

In 2002 California Government Code section 66427.5 was amended to address the 2001 El Dorado decision. AB 930 (Keeley, 2002) clarified that the intent of the resident survey language in 66427.5 was to ensure that all mobile home park conversions were “bona fide” and not merely an attempt to avoid local rent control. Unfortunately AB 930 did not specify how one is to determine that a conversion is bona fide (20% resident support? 50% resident support? 75% resident support?) To fill in the gaps left by the state legislators, California cities and counties are enacting ordinances which flesh out what must be contained in the surveys and factors that may be considered in determining whether a conversion is bona fide. Richard Close and the mobile home park owners he represents claim that the resident surveys they are required to submit under California Government Code section 66427.5 are a meaningless formality of the conversion process and cannot be used to deny an application for conversion. They further claim that ANY conditions imposed by city and counties that go beyond a strict interpretation of California Government Code section 66427.5 constitutes an illegal taking of their property. This is is why all county and city ordinances revolve around the resident survey. Because it is the only tool provided by state law that involves direct participation of mobile home residents it has become the battleground for the conversion process. City and county governments, and mobile home park owners all know that if given the choice residents will overwhelmingly choose NOT to convert their parks.

03-06-07
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors passes emergency moratorium temporarily halting all mobile home park conversions. View PDF

04-17-07
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors extends emergency moratorium halting all mobile home park conversions until February 2008. View PDF

07-07-07
Paul Golstone Trust, owner of Alimur Mobile Home Park in Soquel, California, files a $15,582,000 lawsuit against Santa Cruz County. Paul Goldstone is represented by Richard Close of Gilchrist and Rutter. View PDF

08-07-07
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors passes ordinance (Chapter 14.08) to establish requirements and procedures to comply with state laws related to the conversion of mobile home parks to resident ownership. View PDF

08-07-07
As expected, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors denies Paul Goldstone’s lawsuit. Paul Goldstone continues with lawsuit. View PDF

Further Reading:
Santa Cruz County Official Website

Park:
Alimur Mobile Home Park

Location:
4300 Soquel Dr. Soquel, CA 95073 (Santa Cruz County)

Resident Contact Information:
Homeowne’s Association Official Website

Angela Dysle President
Phone: 831-247-0254
Email: Dyslebillnangela@aol.com
Clay Butler Vice President
Phone:831-477-9029
Email: clay@claybutler.com

Park Owner:
Paul Goldstone Trust

Local Conversion Ordinances:
Yes – View Conversion Ordinance

Owner Lawsuit:
Yes – View Lawsuit Update

Paul Goldstone, owner of Alimur Moblie Home Park in Soquel, Ca, enlists the services of Richard Close to convert park to residential ownership. Residents fight back with the help of attorney Terry Hancock. More updates to come shortly.

Further Reading:
Mid County Post Article 8-21-07
Good Times Weekly Article 4-09-2007

Just the Facts: Susy Forbath is a paralegal who works closely with Richard Close while representing mobile home park owners seeking to convert their parks to resident ownership.

Star Wars Analogy: The dark side of The Force is strong with her but she has yet to fully control it’s power.

Recent Public Statement of Questionable Accuracy: To justify her assertion that the owner of Alimur Park has the legal right to convert his park regardless of any city and county ordinances and in spite of nearly 100% resident survey opposition, Susy invoked the Governors veto of AB1542. “Governor Schwarzenegger made it clear that he supports the conversion process with his veto of AB1542? she claimed.

This is a clear misreading of his veto. In his veto statement Governor Schwarzenegger only commented on the rent control protections that, in his opinion, were too aggressive as they included everyone regardless of income level. He didn’t mention the key component of AB1542 which gives counties and cities the right to deny a conversion application if it is not “bona fide” as defined by their local ordinances. Invoking his veto is also a non sequitur as the Governor is not a judge and will have no say in deciding the legality of city and county ordinances as they apply to current state law.

Below is the full text of his veto message:
( You can download it as PDF)

AB 1542 Veto Letter from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

To the Members of the California State Assembly:

I am returning Assembly Bill 1542 without my signature. I am greatly concerned about housing affordability and homeownership for all Californians. I understand the sanctity of the home and the importance of having stability in your living situation. This need for stability was eloquently expressed by the many seniors throughout California who have written to me on both sides of this bill.

I also recognize that compared to other housing issues there is a uniqueness regarding mobilehomes and all the varied manners of ownership, leasing, affordability, and opportunity. It is because of this uniqueness that laws were enacted to create statewide standards for mobilehome parks.

The intent of current state law is to provide an opportunity for home ownership to those mobilehome owners who desire to own both their home and the land it rests on. The law also offers protections for low-income individuals against unwarranted rent increases.

While the bill’s intent is to preserve low-income housing, it also extends rent control in certain circumstances to mobilehome owners in much of the state no matter what their income level. It is unclear what state interest is served by the extension of rent control for those who do not have an economic disadvantage.

In addition, establishing two statewide standards for rent control seems confusing and unnecessary.

It is clear that mobilehome issues require a comprehensive approach to ensure that low income individuals and families are protected, homeownership opportunities are afforded to those who choose them, and stability of the home and property is preserved.

I urge the Legislature over the coming year to find a solution that provides true balance for all the stakeholders involved in mobilehome issues.

Sincerely,

Arnold Schwarzenegger

William J Constantine Attorney At Law
303 Potrero Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060-2741
Phone: (831) 420-1238
WConst1238@aol.com

Santa Cruz attorney at the forefront of protecting mobile home park residents from being shafted by sham mobile home conversions promoted by the park owners. Represented the residents of El Dorado Mobil Home Park in their landmark fight against conversion. Highly active in California state legislation matters involving mobile home law.

Further Reading:
Santa Cruz Sentinel Op Ed Article 9-07-07
Mountain View Voice 1-05-01
Mountain View Voice 6-08-01
Oakland Tribune 10-13-06

Amount of Lawsuit: $34.4 million

Plaintiff Attorney: Richard Close

Filed: August 2nd 2007

Rohnert Park is being sued by the owners of Rancho Verde Mobile Home Park, Florida-based Sunset Strip Corporation and California-based Indian Springs, Ltd., the action seeks $34.4 million in damages.

Rohnert Park denied the owners’ application for subdivision, calling it inconsistent with the city’s general plan, particularly the section dealing with the need for affordable housing. Stated secondary reasons for the denial include a plan to replace single-wide homes with double-wides, allegedly reducing the amount of permeable surface needed to absorb storm water runoff. There was also a dispute over the sort of map required for the application. View PDF

Further Reading:
Press Democrat Article 6-23-07
Sonoma News Article 8-20-07
The Community Voice 8-13-07

In 2002 California Government Code section 66427.5 was amended to address the 2001 El Dorado decision. AB 930 (Keeley, 2002) clarified that the intent of the resident survey language in 66427.5 was to ensure that all mobile home park conversions were “bona fide” and not merely an attempt to avoid local rent control. Unfortunately AB 930 did not specify how one is to determine that a conversion is bona fide (20% resident support? 50% resident support? 75% resident support?) To fill in the gaps left by the state legislators, California cities and counties are enacting ordinances which flesh out what must be contained in the surveys and factors that may be considered in determining whether a conversion is bona fide. Richard Close and the mobile home park owners he represents claim that the resident surveys they are required to submit under California Government Code section 66427.5 are a meaningless formality of the conversion process and cannot be used to deny an application for conversion. They further claim that ANY conditions imposed by city and counties that go beyond a strict interpretation of California Government Code section 66427.5 constitutes an illegal taking of their property. This is is why all county and city ordinances revolve around the resident survey. Because it is the only tool provided by state law that involves direct participation of mobile home residents it has become the battleground for the conversion process. City and county governments, and mobile home park owners all know that if given the choice residents will overwhelmingly choose NOT to convert their parks.

05-01-2007
RESOLUTION NO. 26829 – Resolution of the council of the city of Santa Rosa urging the California legislature to amend government code section 66427.4 and to repeal government code section 66427.5 View PDF | Website

05-08-07
Conversion Ordinance 3831 – Santa Rosa city council adds chapter 19-76 to the Santa Rosa city code which outlines the conditions and procedures that a park owner must follow when converting a mobile home park to residential ownership. View PDF | Website

Further Reading:
Santa Rosa City Government Official Website

Just the Facts: Lead counsel in the successful, ground-breaking California case involving conversion of manufactured housing estate (mobile home park) from rental to condominium resident ownership. Counsel clients with respect to such conversions to increase property value and replace local rent control, as well as acquisition, financing, sales, tax-deferred sales and rent control litigation related issues.

Our Opinion: The man who started it all in 2002 by successfully converting El Dorado Park in Palm Springs against the wishes of residents and the local government. This case has created a backlash that has spread throughout California as city and county governments and mobile home park residents vow to never let it happen again.

Star Wars Analogy: Dark Lord of the Sith. Keep your shields up and your homes out of range of his Death Star.

Recent Public Statement of Questionable Accuracy: El Dorado Park in Palm Springs currently has about 45 of it’s 377 spaces vacant. When asked what effect on the property values and the quality of life these abandoned lots of concrete slabs and weeds have on park residents, Richard had this very original take on the situation: “When you have empty lots it creates more open space. The houses aren’t so crowded anymore. This open space increases the value of the remaining homes.”

Vacant lots in El Dorado
Above is a recent photo of a two lot “Green Belt” in El Dorado Park. Richard Close calls this equity enhancing “open space” although most would call it an equity draining eyesore. It wasn’t clear in Richard’s statement how much the yellow police crime scene tape adds to the surrounding property values or if the slump block retaining walls are also considered “open space”.

More
This person is very lucky to live next to so much beautiful “open space”.

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