The CotoBuzz Journal

Community Journalism, Newsletters and  Blogs Covering South Orange County, CA

The CotoBuzz Journal is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and NAHJ


June  2007 Issue

We do not make jokes, we simply watch the LA Times, the Orange County Register and the Coto de Caza Board of directors and report the facts!



Power hungry association steals home from mentally ill person for $540 in Assessments

The monthly fees for the home paid in full for nearly 20 years ago is only $183 a month. Brother  tried to pay the money but the board would not accept it.

May 18, 2007

My brother lost his home in Coldwater North Cooperative, Inc because he is mentally ill and didn't know he had to pay $540 in dues.  My mother left her home to us to protect my brother. The monthly fees for the home she paid in full for nearly 20 years ago is only $183 a month.  I tried to pay the money for him when I found out, and they would not accept it.  He will never be able to support himself and is currently on the streets with nowhere to go.

My mother passed away last July.  My mother and my brother lived in their cooperative (like a condo)  prior to her passing on.  He is mentally ill and did not pay the association fees for 3 months, so they used the Unlawful Detainer process to evict him and take away our interest in the CID.  They then sold the membership to someone else for about $50,000 less than its worth on the open market. I was told, originally it was going to be sold to the sister of one of our board of directors, but my lawyers and others called them on it and they sold it to someone else a few days later.  I am told that the association will not give me the money that they got for the "illegal" sale until my mentally ill brother signs a settlement offer that removes the association of any liability for their wrongdoing. In my book that's called blackmail no matter how you look at it. 


I have racked up over $4,000 in attorney fees (on just letters and fax responses alone) and still cannot get any results.  Doesn't it seem like the attorneys are the only ones who seem to profit from methods like this.   In this transaction I'm referring to the association where my mother's homes is, have a law firm by the name of Swedelson & Gotlieb.  My understanding is that the HOA attorneys are charging me almost $40,000 in fees and additional charges to "process" this against us.  I stated in our cease and desist letters that the Davis-Stirling Act prohibits this and the association through their counsel say the Davis Stirling act does not apply  (it does apply see: CA Civil Code 1367.4) Looking back at 1367.4 it was my understanding that that the reason for this law is that several lawyers were stealing property for fines and assessments and profiting by reselling them. 


Imagine having a home and losing it because you were behind in only $540 in dues, then have them strong-arm you into loosing nearly 30% of its value and then also charging you $45,000 for the pleasure of it. We lose our lifetime home and the HOA lawyer gets to buy a new Hummer. Sad, very sad indeed!


I sent letters to the Assembly and Legislators (Sheila Kuel, Jane Harmon and Diane Watson) and have received nothing.  How can this happen, Who are the people to go to when this happens?  I am at a loss to how to deal with it. I don't have $25,000 to hire an attorney who will only take the case on retainer at $375+ an hour.  Our HOA broke the law, period,  Who are the "police" we call when we get raped in this manner? I've tried every avenue available; Legal Aid, ADA , HUD, Attorney General, etc and am told that I should just walk away because unless I can pay to hire a private attorney it is just a lost cause.  The HOA attorneys are just thinking that we will give up and they will get away with it. 


Can anybody help me? 


Sincerely yours

Jay Goldstein



Note:  From Buzz:  


We are publishing Jay Goldstein's contact information in case CotoBuzz Journal readers want to contact him and provide any type of support.


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Power hungry association steals home from mentally ill person for $540 Assessments. The monthly fees for the home paid in full for nearly 20 years ago is only $183 a month. Brother tried to pay the money but the board would not accept it.
My brother lost his home in Coldwater North Cooperative, Inc because he is mentally ill and didn't know he had to pay $540 in dues. My mother left her home to us to protect my brother. The monthly fees for the home she paid in full for nearly 20 years...















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