Disabled Cancer-Stricken Woman Has Day in Court, Leaves Still Locked Out of Her Home

Categories: Court, Main
Thumbnail image for Niko Black.jpg
Niko Black
Niko Black, a terminal cancer patient who was controversially evicted from her Garden Grove home last month by Orange County Sheriff Deputies with weapons drawn, lived long enough to finally see her day in court. Unlike a previous hearing in late July, representatives from Wells Fargo appeared before Federal Bankruptcy Judge Theodor C. Albert in Santa Ana this morning.

"It appears to the court that there may have been a violation of the stay," Albert wrote last month summoning them to explain why they shouldn't be held in contempt, sanctioned and made to pay damages for the eviction. Black had long contended that the federal court order in question from Judge Albert precluded the Orange County Sheriff's Department from carrying it out.

Despite that, leading into today's ordeal, a tentative ruling written beforehand did not bode well for Black and her motion was ultimately denied.

Prior to all this, Wells Fargo's Media Relations & Corporate Communications staffer Lisa Woolery wrote to the Weekly that, "Ms. Black has filed a total of two bankruptcies within one year. Because the second bankruptcy was filed within a year of the first one, the automatic stay against creditors Ms. Black received in the second case terminated by operation of law on the 30th day after she filed the second case."

As for not showing up in court on a prior date to reaffirm that position? "In [Wells Fargo and Carrington Mortgage Services'] case," she says, "it was believed that arguments would not be necessary on a motion that itself was no longer necessary."

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Black, a Mescalero Apache, retrieves religious belongings from her evicted home

Judge Albert essentially agreed with the first part, saying he was unaware somehow of the second bankruptcy--a notion the bank also submitted to him in a manner convincing his judgement. 

"I denied the motion," Albert continually reiterated to Black's pro bono attorneys with Stephen R. Golden & Associates. "I did not resurrect the stay." 

He later stated that he could have extended it preventing eviction, but that Black did not file for a rehabilitation of it. For her part, she felt she was led to believe she had no reason to do so.

From his bench, Judge Albert declared that his decision was that no sanctions, nor damages would be levied against Wells Fargo for the October 10 eviction unless it could be convincingly argued otherwise.

"The bank is not without blame here" he later qualified. "They have egg all over their face."

Asked if a representative from Wells Fargo would like to explain their absence over the summer, Judge Albert said to the man who spoke on the bank's behalf, "May I suggest to you that was a tactical mistake?" arguing that a "cleaner," and "less hurtful" eviction could have been had.

"I'm, perhaps, not as of a stone heart as I appear," he added. Judge Albert wanted assurance that Black would be able to retrieve all medical equipment sometime in the next 48 hours, but that the OCSD be present to oversee matters.

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Towards the end of the hearing, Attorney Stephen R. Golden emphatically argued, "This loan is one that she did not sign!" while his office has deemed it predatory in nature with high starting interest rates and a large balloon payment built in. "[Wells Fargo] did not show up to avoid showing any proof!"

"What the court did today washed its hands of the case," Golden would later say after the fact, disagreeing with Albert's actions. "The next step for us is unlawful detainer court. It decides who is in immediate possession of the property. We've also got a superior court action going, a wrongful foreclosure and quiet title lawsuit. We're going back and saying that she never signed the loan papers. We're trying to overturn the trustee sale and get the title back to her."

"Within the next week we hope to get Black back in her home, " he adds optimistically. "It might takes months if that doesn't happen."

This morning, still locked out of her Shannon Avenue home in Garden Grove, Niko Black, wheelchair bound, removed the mask covering the lower-half of her face to make one final, heart-wrenching plea before Albert's court. "They injured me so badly," she said of the October eviction. "I'm dying, your honor, I'm dying."

The motion for sanctions and damages was denied.

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18 comments
enormous_vagina_me
enormous_vagina_me

Hmmm...this is wrong, but I'm starting to wonder about this chick...she has a great rack, though, too bad about the cancer...shame...

www.nikoblack.com
www.nikoblack.com

Educate yourself before you speak Damon.  You sound like a fool.

Shane Archiquette
Shane Archiquette

This is really sad, I hope they can get her back in her home soon. This is not how someone should be treated in this condition.

_Damon
_Damon

It's really terrible that Ms. Black has cancer while going through an ordeal like this, but that shouldn't be a factor in deciding whether she was legally evicted or not (though it makes OCSD look really bad).

 

The missing piece of the puzzle is why Wells Fargo evicted her when Ms. Black (and the Change.org petition I got) claim that she has been the rightful owner since something like 1993. I doubt Wells Fargo is successfully going around making random claims on houses that they don't own. It would be great if the Weekly could investigate this further.

Omar David Sanchez
Omar David Sanchez

This breaks my heart. Props to Gabriel San Roman for the scoop! I hope and pray Ms. Black can survive through all this to see justice on her behalf.

Laura Spangler Lewis
Laura Spangler Lewis

So disgusting...the home will sit, empty. Give her dignity!!! Will a few months hurt the bottom line? No, actually, they will get a tax write off, which they don't need because "They're too big too fail" and if they get deep in muck, we, the American people, will bail them out. Just completely disgusted...how do they sleep??

lovelyday
lovelyday

"I'm, perhaps, not as of a stone heart as I appear," 

Really?

And what's this about egg on their faces?  At least they got a place they can wash up.  She doesn't.    A stone has more heart than you.   

Niko, hang in there girl, you are a real fighter.  Keep your head up, we care about you.

elGuano
elGuano

 @_Damon 

> why Wells Fargo evicted her when Ms. Black (and the Change.org

> petition I got) claim that she has been the rightful owner since

> something like 1993

 

Simplest explanation... Ms. Black and/or the Change.org people lied (or at least severely distorted the truth).

 

 

elGuano
elGuano

 @lovelyday 

 

> "I'm, perhaps, not as of a stone heart as I appear,"  Really?

> And what's this about egg on their faces?  At least they got a place they

> can wash up.  She doesn't.    A stone has more heart than you.

 

Its the judges job to follow the rule of law.  I would certainly hope that they don't let emotions and sympathies cause them to make judgements that are incorrect and/or illegal.

 

> Niko, hang in there girl, you are a real fighter.  Keep your head up, we care

> about you.

 

If you 'care about her', why don't you offer to let her live with you? Or why don't you offer to buy the house for her and let her live there for free?

 

Or does your level of concern only extend so far as to make others (the shareholders of the bank who legally owned her home) be the ones who have to donate to Ms. Black?

 

 

cellopoet
cellopoet

 @elGuano  @lovelyday >Its the judges job to follow the rule of law.

 

Judges don't always do their job.  Why would he reassure her THREE times that she could not be evicted in the original hearing, and then tell her in the latest hearing that she made an improper assumption that his denial of Wells Fargo's motion to lift the stay would protect her from eviction.  

 

I would also "certainly hope that they don't let emotions and sympathies cause them to make judgements that are incorrect and/or illegal", but I would be naive to turn that hope into an assumption and be blinded to the reality of the situation.

elGuano
elGuano

 @cellopoet  @_Damon 

 

First of all, as the poster _Damon stated, even corporations have the right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty.

 

Secondly, if you look into the details of that other Wells-Fargo "foreclosure" case, the details were completely different. In the case you referred to, the house was never "foreclosed"... the problem was that there was a house in the neighborhood that WAS properly foreclosed, but that the contractor who was supposed to empty the house had the wrong address. Unfortunate, but more of a mistake than anything else. This is quite a bit different than the claims of "Forged paperwork" that this woman is claiming. 

 

If the woman truly is the owner of the home, it should be a simple enough matter to prove it. (The fact that her lawyers are all over the place in their arguments makes me think she'll probably loose that case too... "She never had a loan! She had one but the payments were too hi!"... pick a story and stick with it.)

_Damon
_Damon

 @cellopoet  This what I would expect to happen if Ms. Black truly never had any loan with Wells Fargo- they were caught and/or admitted they made a mistake immediately. A bankruptcy judge should be able to figure out whether or not a loan actually existed or not. Follow the money.

_Damon
_Damon

I'm not going to "believe" that Wells Fargo did anything without evidence. That's why we have legal system.

 

Forged documents or not, it should be pretty easy for a court to decide whether a loan actually, you know, existed. Either Wells Fargo gave Ms. Black money or they didn't. That's what doesn't add up to me.

cellopoet
cellopoet

 @elGuano  @_Damon It's nice to believe a big corporation like Wells Fargo would never steal someone's home, but it's also naive...

elGuano
elGuano

 @cellopoet  @lovelyday 

>Judges don't always do their job.  Why would he

> reassure her THREE times that she could not

> be evicted in the original hearing, and then tell

>her in the latest hearing that she made an improper

>assumption that his denial of Wells Fargo's

>motion to lift the stay would protect her from eviction.

 

It explains that right in the article...

 

The judge was unaware that this was a second bankruptcy, which caused his court order to expire.. Had he known it was a second bankruptcy, he might have warned her that it would expire. 

 

A judge can only rule on information that has been provided to him. Perhaps it was the woman who failed to pass on this information to the judge prior to his ruling. And even if the judge did make a mistake in telling her she couldn't be evicted, Wells Fargo is not to blame.

 

At the very least, the lawyers who are representing her NOW should have recognized the problem. The fact that they didn't shows that they are incompetent.

 

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