ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - At this point, the octogenarian ("owner") was so distraught, that she was practically begging the deputies to help her. "
You need to get in the paramedic vehicle," one of the deputies said sternly.
She became so frightened, "No! My husband is not well and will be coming back soon from Dialysis. I can't do that. Please."
She had been pushed to the ground by a much younger person armed with a cellphone, and for the second time in a week, deputies had come out to review footage and write summons.
The young woman identified herself as the fiancée ("fiancée") of a man who Duane Morris LLP claims they do not represent. We'd been directed to that firm by the previous Trustee.
On two occasions law enforcement officers came out and made citizens arrests against the elderly owner (who does not like that expression).
"Ma'am, are you refusing medical treatment?" said the deputy who the owner described as "mean."
She said, "I cannot go to Santa Monica in an ambulance and sit in an emergency room for four hours. I need to take care of my husband. I'll have to go to Urgent Care in Malibu when my son arrives."
Something was really not right in Wellville.
Earlier in the day, the owner had walked out her front door to discover that 400 lbs of about a dozen potted plants and cactus that she'd been tending to for years, had disappeared overnight, leaving an enormous mess and the head of a plastic owl facing the owner's front door.
She called law enforcement to report the stolen plants. A man that none of us had ever seen, who identifies as Robert, the godfather of Joe, came out from the upstairs unit repeatedly calling the owner "very pretty." He tried to offer her $2,000, for the missing plants, saying, "I'm sure they meant no harm."
Then, the fiancée returned and snarkily confronted the owner, again, smiling "Oh, I see you moved your plants."
The owner, who qualifies as a tiny person at just over five feet and just over 100 pounds, said, "Do I look like I could move those plants?"
I got a text: "She just shove mei l to the Wall"
I replied, "Oh, no go inside."
The owner was very worried that her frail husband, would come home for the third time to several Sheriffs vehicles out front.
These are longtime senior citizens and one deputy told her, as she wondered why the fiancée was not arrested, "If you don't like it, then move!"
How could the 'just the facts, ma'am" reporter who had come out in response to her call about the stolen property, say such a thing?
The deputy, told her, "Ma'am, your blood pressure is very high..." before berating her for being confused by a pair of paramedics, dressed in blue uniforms.
A few days earlier, the fiancée called the fire department paramedics causing a wave of eye rolls up and down the road, claiming she'd injured herself slamming the door in the owner's face, after she had accused her grandson / handy man, of trespassing.
He was in a common area doing a small repair. After the fire trucks drove away, the fiancee was seen moving the luxury vehicles in and out of the driveway. Many of these vehicles are registered in Florida and have expired tags. But the shoulder seemed to have recovered quickly.
Gaslighting is a colloquialism, used to describe a person who presents a false narrative to another group or person which leads them to doubt their perceptions and become misled, disoriented or distressed.
As I held the owner's hand, she trembled. We discussed filing a grievance about the deputy comment, but instead reached out to the Top Commander of the correct law enforcement agency.
Neighborly: Beach Alert
The beaches in LA county are so beautiful, you really want everybody in LA county to have a chance to enjoy them come park along the side of the road and go for a walk. Take advantage of the beautiful environs along the Pacific Ocean where the Chumash once roamed.
But you have to get started early as the parking fills up quickly.
Although it is more fun to lecture local governments about their rights and responsibilities here in the overlapping jurisdictions of Los Angeles, occasionally a message must be delivered directly to the people (via the Sheriff).
As we head into the summer, it's time to reflect on how we behave along the beach with our fellow community members and visitors.
Though living along the coast is a magical gift, it does not entitle those people who are lucky enough to live there, to special beach privileges. The beaches in California are public and if you happen to live on the right of way, everything below the mean high tide line on the beach is public. Ask Steve Lopez! But the tides change daily, and nobody frankly knows exactly where it is, so ordinarily -- over the last 35 years that I've been visiting Malibu (Disclosure: a member of my family is a longtime resident) -- we just wing it.
Poor beach etiquette is a little bit like obscenity, you'll know it when you see it.
So, obviously hanging out under a person's house cannot be construed as appropriate, and in my experience that almost never happens. What about in front of a person's house?
Well, visitors and the residents have to be respectful of one another. What is not okay and emerged as a thing during the pandemic last year, is residents putting orange road cones out on the beach to send a strong signal to Angelenos who might like to dip their toes in the Malibu shore, to keep moving. The cones are inappropriate.
If one wants to sit or stand on the beach or place a towel or a chair that might do the trick.
Imagine if someone tried to put a cone on a public roadway? In an area where it is crowded and difficult to find a spot, say Koreatown or Malibu Road. Imagine if a resident blocked off a space or two with cones. That would, I submit (your honor! I can't stop) be outrageous! Preferential parking districts: this will be probed more deeply in another column to get at the same issue -- the interface between the public and the public right of way.
Suffice it to say, the outrageous example cited above has happened on Malibu road. Many buildings contain several apartments, so there are more cars than driveway spaces.
It is never appropriate to cone off a public parking space for private usage, but evidently, not everybody agrees. That's why I flagged down an LA County white-shirt, citation sheriff, and said, and I’m paraphrasing, "Do something!"
I urged him to take a break from writing a dizzying number of other parking tickets to ticket the damned cone. He shrugged and suggested that maybe I could call the City of Malibu or deliver a public comment. (This section first appeared in the article Grand Park)
The Estate of Esther Ash: A lucrative hate story
The first day that the fiancée arrived in the entryway of the two condos, one atop of the other, I greeted her, "May we help you?" She snarked, “I am the new owner!"
"Oh, okay," I said.
A man popped his head out of the garage, "Hey, Eric. It's me, Joe." It was Joe, the son of someone we knew to be our HOA partner, Esther Lina Ash. We welcomed them warmly.
Before continuing, a word about Duane Morris, LLP. It is hard not to have anything but respect for one of the most celebrated law firms in America.
And Ms. Chang should get a major bonus from Matthew A. Taylor, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the firm who also serves on the firm's Executive Committee. Taylor is regarded as a good corporate directors and officers liability and indemnification guy and handles all sorts of state and federal litigation across the United States out of Philadelphia.
Esther Lina Ash, the woman who had purchased the neighboring condo in the Home Owner's Association (HOA) around 2015 passed away in 2020 with a myriad of assets in multiple states.
The owner never actually met the individual, Esther Lina Ash in person, but an exhibition of her Estate activities is being curated by Marsha Madorsky, a Partner at Duane Morris, LLP.
Cyndie Marie Chang #227542, who is an LA-based Duane Morris attorney, took the time to respond for Madorsky, who still has not provided information about who our Home Owner's Assocation (HOA) partner is. In sum she said, 'cease and desist.'
One summer, Esther arrived in white Mercedes sports car. As a mental health worker for many years, it was quite clear to me that Esther was under the influence of something. She confessed that she took an enormous dose of Adderall, so I volunteered to drive her the coffee shop near Tra di Noi and helped her get organized.
She became very emotional and said that she had been involved in a super high-conflict divorce. She apologized profusely for the fact that the water of our senior citizens, had being turned off due to her disorganization and negligence. She blamed a lot on her ex-husband, with whom she had one child, and on her many lawyers. Her ex died in 2020 a few months after she passed away.
We never met actually met the ex who is the father of Joe, but by all accounts, he'd made a lot of money through his various endeavors.
Esther was a dirty fighter and if you don't believe me read the appellate case. The trial judge in a Federal Contempt case against Esther Lina Ash by Joe's father, saw firsthand Esther's “fire attorney, seek continuance” method of avoidance. Just before the contempt hearing, Ash terminated her then-trial attorney (approximately the tenth to represent her), sending a new one the next day, who arrived mid-hearing to request a continuance.
The father's exasperation with her ceaseless harassment apparently took a real toll, if you believe his pleadings.
We'd had our own nightmare... because the owner, had to pay out approximately $15,000 over a few years, to keep the place insured, while she was battling like mad.
That one time I met her on her trip out to California, and we had a coffee, she called up a bank on her speakerphone and asked for her balance, "Hello, Ms. Ash, the balance is $13,303,873."
"OK, how about paying the fifteen thousand you owe to the OWNER?" I demurred.
She said, she would, "But all of her litigations... the money will be coming soon. I promise."
The Golden State:
The owner and I go way way back (as she's my mother). She never forgiven the original HOA partners, the Rubenstein heirs, for not providing any due diligence period or even notification that our partnership with the Estate of Esther Lina Ash had closed escrow. To simply sell their parents’ home to a famously litigious woman. She remembers Dr. Rubinstein and Elayne made a big deal out of vetting her, and now we are stuck with...
I received a text message from Joe a couple months ago, "I do not appreciate being disrespected BY MAIDS TO TREAT THE OWNERS OF THE UPSTAIRS WITH SOME FUCKING RESPECT PLEASE."
My reply, "what happened?" was delivered in lower case, from 35 miles away. Best to reserve ALL CAPS for when one is really trying to emphasize something.
The next communique a coupled days later, after the new tenants announced, "we have a lot of cars" and had understandably hired a moving company.
As I arrived to bring the owner a home cooked meal, there were boxes of furniture and clothing and such, so rather than ask the movers to slide everything over pointlessly, I simply parked in the available spot, mostly in the middle of the adjacent parking spaces. I told the movers, that "I'd be happy to slide over when they were finished moving." The movers were appreciative.
Twenty minutes later I got an angry text message from Joe: "If this car isn't moved within the next 20 minutes I will be calling a tow company, I tried to be cordial I really did, but your family has given me no choice but to be this way". Well, it wasn't ALLCAPS, but we thought... How did this happen? Who can help us?
Duane Morris LLP and Marsha Madorsky, and the LA based attorney representing Duane Morris, LLP and presumably Ms. Madorsky, reserve all their rights to pursue any and all legal and equitable remedies.
This was in reply to a very strongly worded note demanding answers about who these people were, and why they were tormenting our senior citizens. To what end?
Even though Ms. Madorsky admits to being the curator and Ms. Chang feels it is not the law firm's responsibility to provide transparency about the property's disposition in Ms. Ash's estate.
Because Marsha works in the Sunshine State and Cyndie works in the Golden state.
Well, if they can't agree... maybe the CEO who is in Pennsylvania and the FBI who work in all states might help us understand who is gaslighting who?
[Blow whistle here!]
The Sunshine State:
Duane Morris' real estate attorneys represent a broad range of high-profile institutional and individual clients in all aspects of real estate transactions and related matters.
Duane Morris' clients include investors, corporations, developers, asset management firms, insurance companies, title companies, construction companies, property owners, financial institutions, communities, public agencies, educational institutions, and others.
It is terrifying when a pack of attorneys reacts to an outspoken advocate against lawyers that rip off the taxpaying public, older people, communities that have been subjected to redlining, and racism etc. When powerful lawyers wield their power by threatening legal entanglement, strong measure are required.
For one thing, high net worth litigants have and endless supply of money to spend. [Think LA County, LA City, Will Smith, two-time Oscar winner, The Estate of Esther Lina Ash].
Even if our family had endless supplies of money, we don't want or need litigation, that's why we reached out Duane Morris, LLP.
The resultant letter from Ms. Chang, reserving all rights, and making false claims about my efforts to get clarity about who new “HOA" partner will be framed by me.
Ms. Chang, who appears to be a big shot, not a small fry, provided a few shards of information, but we are still in the dark.
I carbon copied my letter to the public corruption unit of the FBI and the CEO, because I have deep and growing concerns -- about legal fraud.
The lawyers representing this unusual group need to abide by State and Federal law, even if that might impact billable hours. The owner has every right to document this horrible disruptive journey into the "Estate of Esther Lina Ash" curated by Marsha Madorsky. The exhibits are truly frightening.
But Kudos to Chang who used the expression "Florida" six times in the opening two paragraphs of her letter to me demanding that I... cease and desist. She's really trying to keep the CEO, Matthew A. Taylor, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, who is based in Philadelphia, who was copied on my letter to Ms. Madorsky, out of it.
So, what happened to the Trustee from California who directed us to Ms. Madorsky? If Madorsky represents the Estate, and the Trust...
Why has nobody including Ms. Chang of the Golden state, update us as to who our new HOA partner is, or what a Heggstadt petition is, or why Madorsky curated the "son of a high conflict" litigant, to aggressively move in to my parent's golden years, repeatedly threatening and attempting to whip up litigation.
To paraphrase, Gustavo Arellano of the Los Angeles Times says, "we only do truth."
Now we have a name of an LA based lawyer that Madorsky hired to handle the Probate that started near the beginning of April 2022.
We will get to the bottom of this, but we do need protection for our elders.
One question for Ms. Chang -- who I have never met or spoken to, which is not harassment -- do I need to check with your office before copying the FBI on future correspondence?
(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. The opinions expressed by Eric Preven are solely his and not the opinions of CityWatch)