2014-09-15 02:44:48 UTC
Arden Van Upp and Sam got to know each other at an SFL Party at the University of California at Berkeley in 1966. They married in October 1967. Not long thereafter, Sam got in trouble because of his parties and student club at the University of California at Berkeley and moved to New York. He got a job working on Wall Street and eventually became a registered broker-dealer as Samuel H. Sloan & Co.
Meanwhile, they forgot about their marriage and married other people.
Sam did not return to California until 1991, 24 years later. By then, Arden had become a wealthy real estate mavin. She owned rental properties plus the 28-room Bourn Mansion, one of the most famous private residences in San Francisco, located at 2550 Webster Street at the peak of the Pacific Heights section of San Francisco. Arden and Sam got back together where they had left off and Sam moved into the Bourn Mansion.
Arden had bought the Bourn Mansion in 1973. It is a 28-room historic mansion on the national registry. However, soon thereafter she had met a young doctor named Lawrence Badgley at a party. He wanted in on the deal. He paid Arden $25,000 and became half owner on the deed. He moved in.
Not long thereafter, the police raided the place and caught Dr. Badgley just as he was leaving. He claimed that Arden had called the police because he was smoking marijuana. However, this was not true as Arden would never call the police. We later learned that another tenant named Judy Lamb had actually called the police on Dr. Badgley after he had propositioned her while he was naked.
Dr. Badgley sued Arden in 1974. The case went on for 25 years until 1999. It was the longest running active case in the history of San Francisco. In 1991 a corrupt judge awarded Dr. Badgley $500,000 damages without ever hearing the testimony, even though Badgley had paid nothing for the maintenance and upkeep on the house after his initial $25,000 down payment.
Arden appealed. To stop Dr. Badgley from foreclosing, she filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. She hired a big law firm to represent her. After several more years of litigation, the law firm got the $500,000 judgment overturned on appeal, but she had to pay a legal bill of $750,000. She would have been better off just paying the $500,000 judgment.
Even after the judgment was vacated, Dr. Badgley still owned half the house. To end all this, Arden Van Upp borrowed three million dollars in a hard-money loan. Up until this time, she had been virtually debt free. To secure this loan, she put up her three properties. 1019 Ashbury, 2807 Steiner Street and 2550 Webster Street. This paid off everybody and Judge Montali let Arden out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
After making this hard-money loan, the lender (actually a group of lenders) kept raising the interest rate and threatening to foreclose. Arden often had to sign papers agreeing to an increase in the loan to keep her properties. The rate of interest was usurious, over 10%. As an elderly woman, Arden is now 77, she could not read or understand the documents so she just signed them without reading them.
At the end of 2008, there was the famous financial collapse where many banks and brokerage firms such as Lehman Brothers went under. Because of this, Arden could not roll over her loans and could not refinance. She kept falling further behind in her payments. Finally, in July 2009 her creditors scheduled a foreclosure auction on the steps of San Francisco City Hall. In order to stop the foreclosure sale, she had no choice but to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Case No. 09-31932 TEC
Unlike the previous judge who had allowed Arden to reorganize, borrow new money, pay off everybody and come out of bankruptcy, this judge would not let her out. Only three weeks after Arden had filed for Chapter 11, Arden came up with money from a new lender with enough to pay everybody off. It should not have been a surprise that Arden would raise the money so quickly. The three buildings combined had an appraised value of over $12.5 million and she only needed $3 million to pay off the existing loans. However, the judge, Judge Carlson, would not allow it. Instead he appointed a trustee, a homosexual by the name of David Bradlow.
Trustees make their money by selling properties and collecting a commission. If they do not sell anything they do not get any money. Therefore Bradlow would not allow Arden Van Upp to refinance even though she had the money in hand. At this point, Arden and Sam Sloan were still living together in the Bourn Mansion at 2550 Webster Street. Bradlow appointed a real estate agent named Osama bin Freij to handle the sales of the three buildings. When Osama bin Freij came to the Bourn Mansion to take possession of the property, Arden and Sam were not at home but a schizophrenic homeless man named Jeffrey Porteze happened to be in front of the building. Jeffrey Porteze had been in and out of mental hospitals for years. He would go around looking for houses that seemed to be empty, often because the owners were away on vacation, break in and settle down there until the real owners came back. In a recent case when the owners of a home in Marin got home from vacation, they had found Jeffrey Porteze sitting in the living room, his feet on a table, casually watching TV. He seemed not at all concerned when the real owners arrived. He said hello to them and he continued to watch the TV as though nothing had happened. Naturally the police were called and when they arrived they quickly determined that Jeffrey Porteze was insane and thus could not be charged with any crime. They let him go and Jeffrey Porteze therefore went about looking for other homes to break into.
Jeffrey Porteze had a history of breaking into the Bourn Mansion and Arden Van Upp had called the police and had him arrested there several times. Because of the way that the Bourn Mansion is constructed, it is almost impossible to stop break-ins. There are cubby holes in the bricks along the sides. A person athletic enough and brave enough can climb up the walls or go around the landing and get in through the roof or the windows. So, it happened when Osama bin Freij came to secure the building, Jeffrey Porteze had just walked by. He followed Osama bin Freij in the front door. Osama bin Freij changed the locks on the doors and, assuming that Jeffrey Porteze was a legal tenant, gave him the new key to the Bourn Mansion. As a result, only Jeffrey Porteze had the key and nether of the real owners had the key to the building.
Jeffrey Porteze continued to live there for several months. He climbed on the roof and made roof repairs. When David Bradlow had tarps placed on the roof (unnecessary because Arden Van Upp had spent several hundred thousand dollars repairing the roof) Jeffrey Porteze tore off the tarps. They were not replaced.
Without the usual public notices, Judge Carlson abruptly held a courtroom auction of the property on Webster Street. Normally such auctions are held on the steps of San Francisco City Hall. The only bidders at the courtroom auction were those who happened to be in the courtroom on that day who were there for cases that happened to be on the calender for that day. The winning bidder was somebody who just happened to be there for another case and had no prior familiarity with the property. The winning bid was $2.79 million for a property appraised at over $8 million. A few days later the winning bidder informed the court that he did not have the money to pay. Instead of holding a new auction, Judge Carlson just awarded the property to another entity for the same price.
However, neither Arden Van Upp nor her creditors nor her estate received any of the $2.79 million. All of the proceeds went to David Bradlow and his attorneys, the law firm of Wendel, Rosen, Black and Dean. They claimed high legal expenses of more than two million dollars for several reasons, such as the need to evict Jeffrey Porteze, even though it was their agent Osama bin Freij who had let Jeffrey in the building and given him the key and even though Arden Van Upp had called the police on Jeffrey Porteze and had him arrested several times. They also called Sam Sloan a "vexatious litigant" because by changing the locks on the doors they had effectively evicted him. They filed an "adversary proceeding" against him. They charged the Arden Van Upp bankruptcy estate a legal fee of several hundred thousand dollars to file this adversary proceeding against Sloan and got a default judgment against him even though Sloan had never been served nor had he appeared or responded. As Sloan had made derogatory remarks about David Bradlow and posted them on the Internet, they charged the Van Upp Estate several hundred thousand dollars so as to get those derogatory remarks removed from the Internet. They got Google to remove a blog on which derogatory statements had been posted. Under court order from Judge Carlson, Google removed the blog. There were also remarks made by unknown persons on the Internet that David Bradlow was a "flaming faggot". They also got Google to remove those remarks and charged Van Upp more hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees for their removal.
All this time, Arden Van Upp had raised the $3 million to pay off the creditors. So she paid everybody. With everybody paid and no debts owing, she moved to dismiss the bankruptcy proceeding. However, Bradlow and his attorneys cross moved to convert to a Chapter 7 proceeding so that they could get her two remaining buildings, 1019 Ashbury and 2807 Steiner, and steal that money too.
Another year went by with Arden trying to have the case dismissed and Bradlow trying to convert to Chapter 7. Finally, Arden hired a new effective attorney (her previous attorneys having been ineffective) and the bankruptcy case was dismissed.
However, the Bankruptcy judge would not agree to dismiss the case until Arden Van Upp agreed to sign a statement that she would not sue Bradlow, his attorneys and any of the other crooks and criminals who had stolen her money through these proceedings.
Going back, the reason Arden Van Upp was in bankruptcy in the first place had to do with earthquake retrofitting. San Francisco is notoriously prone to earthquakes, such as the famous 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Therefore, San Francisco required all residential buildings to be Earthquake retrofitted. This involved essentially lifting the buildings up on jacks and putting spongy material underneath so they will not fall down when a earthquake comes. However, Arden's building at 2550 Webster is on a peak and built on solid rock so it will not shake or fall down when an earthquake comes. Earthquake retrofitting is a million dollar project especially on a huge 28 room mansion like the Bourn Mansion. Naturally, Arden resisted, although she did eventually get the mansion earthquake retrofitted.
Meanwhile, the City of San Francisco sued and got a $600,000 default judgment against Arden in 1999. By 2009, after interest and penalties, the default judgment had increased to $950,000. This was the reason why Arden had not been able to refinance her properties and had been forced into bankruptcy.
However, in late 2009 a San Francisco lawyer Peter Hadiaris had performed a miracle. He filed a proceeding to set aside the $950,000 judgment on the ground that Arden had never been served with legal process. He was successful. Naturally, the City of San Francisco was upset that they were not going to get the million dollars they thought they were getting and appealed, but in 2010 the California Court of Appeal affirmed so Arden was free of this debt.
It was only after the $950,000 default judgment was set aside that Bradlow and the others moved in to get her assets. Prior to the judgment being vacated, there was not enough money for anybody as the City of San Francisco had a prior claim. However, with the $950,000 judgment extinguished there was money for everybody.
David Bradlow claimed that because of derogatory remarks made about him in court pleadings and on the Internet, he is unable to secure work as nobody will appoint him as Trustee in Bankruptcy any more. This appears to be true. He does not seem to have been appointed by any judge or court ever since.
The question is can Arden sue to recover any of the millions that were stolen from her by Bradlow and his attorneys and by her creditors who kept raising the interest rates on her loans.
The obvious problem would be that a lot of the actions were approved by the bankruptcy court. She filed notices of appeal from all the decisions of the bankruptcy court but the appeals were all dismissed. She was often charged for things that had nothing to do with her. The law firm Wendel, Rosen, Black and Dean charged her for the costs of evicting Jeffrey Porteze, even though they had let him in and had given him the key. They charged her for erasing the statement from the Internet that David Bradlow is a Flaming Faggot from Google, although she had not made that statement. They charged her for an adversary proceeding against Sam Sloan and for evicting Sam Sloan from the premises where he had resided since 1991. For each of these items, they charged her several hundred thousand dollars, although the normal legal fees for such items would be only a few thousand dollars. That is how they consumed the entire $2.7 million from the courtroom bankruptcy sale.
Arden's mother, Doris Rich, had made her living buying and selling houses in Vallejo. This is how Arden got into that business. Her mother had owned seven houses in Vallejo. Arden had inherited several of these houses. In one of these houses, Arden had hired a contractor to renovate the house. The contractor had needed money to buy building equipment, wood and construction materials. He made a deal with Arden. She would temporarily deed the house to him, he would fix it up and then deed it back to her. However, when the time came, he did not deed it back to her and instead sold it and kept the money. Arden wants to sue him for this.
All of these claims need to be evaluated to see if Arden can file suits to recover this money. Could Arden also get the courtroom sale of her mansion reversed as she says the mansion is now worth $50 million. As an elderly woman over 70 they were obviously taking advantage of her. Can she recover?