A group of guys broke into all of my cars and my RV, and ransacked everything. They stole all of my power tools and my work laptop...Click link for more details.
For many of us, 2022 was a recovering year from the passing effects from COVID through 2020 and 2021. It was a year for recovery for most of us, and like some may already know, ours was full of challenges, ups, and downs. Many of the time we spent during 2022 was moving on from the challenges resulted from COVID, the economic lockdown, and the effects it left on us. However, for me personally, 2022 was a huge challenge. Today, I'm going to talk about unfortunate events that include homelessness, multiple car crashes, death, COVID, divorce, and a lawsuit filed against my management for committing fraud. If I cannot get help, I will lose most of everything I have and everything I've invested years and years of hard work into.
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if you'd like to help buy important necessities, such as dog food, or crucial parts to help winterize my RV for these cold months. Anything helps!
The Two Wrecks
On Dec 23rd, 2021, we were in a bad car crash that resulted in my car, a 2008 Pontiac G8, I had been paying off to nearly be totaled out. It put both myself and my wife in the hospital that night, all because a lady driving a truck pulled out in the middle of traffic in the rain. The result could have been much, much worse. Then in May 2022, I was involved in another crash, one near fatal. On the way back from running errands I was travelling about 45mph down a busy back road behind a large SUV in the same left lane. After travelling through an intersection, the SUV suddenly and spontaneously decided to swerve into the right lane, then take a u-turn in the middle of traffic. Because I was a few cars behind him, and travelling at the same speed, I had barely a fraction of a second to react; my 1988 Pontiac Fiero slammed into the side of the turning SUV, and if I had not reacted in time and leaned away from the steering wheel, I would have went through the windshield of my tiny car. Thankfully I was only bruised up and had been checked out of the ER that night with only bruises and aches. I was very lucky; the entire front end of the car was smashed, and the entire frame was tweaked from the front passenger corner all the way to the back driver corner.
During that summer I acquired new clients at our small car shop, and business was looking better than ever. We had several high dollar classic cars show up, and we also got to attend one of the largest PNW classic car shows that early July. Business was looking good. We had finally got both settlement checks from the December and May wrecks, and started to restore both cars (We purchased a new, exact-year donor for the Fiero); things were looking up for 2022.
Divorce, COVID, Death, and Hospital Visits
Unfortunately, a life changing event happened in mid July that will sadly shape my future with a lot of challenges and rough obstacles. My wife, my best friend of 8 years, 4 years married, decided to leave the marriage unexpectedly. There are a lot of details about this incident I want to purposely leave out of respect for them and respect for our relationship, but it was very, very hard and very sudden on me. I had worked very, very hard to secure us a new home I was currently working on at the time, and to provide for my family. Our 6 year old son and my lovely wife were my world, and my top priority. But overnight, that all changed in a way I could not control, and has become an emotional disturbance since.
During this time, we had a 1969 Chevelle, show room condition, in our shop under a tight deadline to finish, and the client was high paying and well respected. Unfortunately right after the distraction of a now new problem of divorce, I also got extremely sick with COVID days later. It started as a nasty cold, and developed into COVID. I lost that customer, along with his respect and future planned jobs I had scheduled out. Several thousand, and more, lost, and my work schedule dropped for weeks. This sickness resulted in me being ill for 4 weeks into August, and then things got even worse. When I finally started feeling better, and started picking up work again, the first day I started I lost eyesight in my left eye without warning. I thought I was dizzy from fatigue or my blood sugar level, but I ended up being rushed to the hospital, the loss of sight becoming worse and worse. It was like a white cloud washing over my eye sight over both my eyes.
Immediately I was rushed into a room and I was told I was having a stroke. A stroke at age 30 (My birthday a week after this); I was terrified. I stayed in the hospital alone for a night, then I was transported via ambulance to another, larger hospital where I then spent the next night having more scans and a lengthy MRI scan. In the end, I was cleared later having a "minor stroke" with very little injury occurring, and luckily nothing permanent sustained. I was told my chronic migraines and my overwhelming stress during the month triggered it, and my eye sight slowly returned.
Sadly, things only got worse for me. Days after my birthday (August 12th), a really close friend and brotherly figured I had gotten close to in my life suddenly passed away from a heat stroke; my shop neighbor and I found him unconscious in his shop unit behind ours (We were all in the same business park). We called 911, had EMTs show up 8 minutes later while we were giving him CPR. Unfortunately he was already gone and had left us. It was beyond devastating, and not only did it emotionally bring me down, but we had several car projects were going to tackle together I had already purchased; he was my welder. This would unfortunately hinder my business more at no fault of anyone.
Over the course of several weeks after his passing, I tried my best to help the family, who some I know well, clear out and move his shop. It was heart breaking for everyone, and I cannot express the amount of emotional experience I had from this. His funeral was beautiful, large, and fitting for such a well respected, amazing, generous man. I was lucky enough to make a speech there too... we miss him a lot.
Following these events into mid September 2022, I had used up almost my entire savings I had got from the settlement checks from the two wrecks, and business began to drastically slow down because of my lack of attendance at the shop and the cold season moving in. Into October, finances only got worse, and jobs fewer and farther in between. It was this time I began to drastically fall behind on bills, and it has been a challenge since.
Unfortunately our only cars I could sell are incomplete, two of them were going to be done with my welder's work, and now just sit (Our 55 DeSoto, and our 78 Lincoln Continental Town Car). The rest are also incomplete, and or currently do not run. Making them a huge, huge financial loss and unable to sell for much value at all, especially considering what I've paid for them over the last two years.
The next months got even worse...
But first, let's roll back in time a little bit.
The Class Action Lawsuit
Back in April 2021
, our business park my shop is located in was purchased and bought by new property owners and property management. It was a huge, lengthy process for us, and quickly difficulties arrived. It's no surprise that any large business property exchange isn't smooth sailing, and bumps are bound to happen. However, what happened that summer of 2021 triggered a series of events to occur that will continue present day. During this time, there was a lot of confusion and vague details about how to properly send our rent payments to the new management, whose office was located 50 miles north of us. Before the transfer of ownership, the previous landlord would just come by frequently and would take our money orders. I would keep the receipts, he would take the order, done deal. However, new management only had two options for us: either mail it in or wire it to their bank account.
Because I quickly found out wiring took $40+ each time through my bank, I decided to later open up a bank account with the same brand name bank the owners used to streamline, and lower the cost, of sending rental payments. However, in July 2021 when I was discussing this with our management rep, I was instructed to "just mail it in" for the time being. So, I took out cash, went to Walmart, made a MoneyGram order, and sent the payment. Later come the very end of Sept, on the 25th, I got an email saying I owed July's rent plus several hundred dollars in legal fees (They had sent a 10-day notice via mail I hadn't got yet) and late fees. When I confronted our only contact with management, our rep, about this, I fell on deaf ears every single time. They would not listen to anything I had to say, and just wanted me to "pay up", even though I had proof I sent the payment.
I was instructed to pay the total involving the missing rent and fees, and if paid, all legal notices and fees would drop. So come October, the following week, I raised enough money with the help of friends and working 12+ hours days to pay x2 times rent, plus the several hundred in fees, and wired it to them to get them off my back, and have the legal notices dropped. That following Oct 25th, when the next rent ledger came in, there it was: additional legal fees regarding the "missing July rent". I had already paid double, plus the fees, and still was hit with more at the end of that month. Due to the constant ignoring of my calls and emails, and the continuous rise in fees, I was forced to seek legal counsel. I had been at this location since Feb 2018, and never had missed a month's rent; I felt used and played. It wasn't long until other tenants I knew personally came forward with similar or the same problems, and with a purposeful lack of communication from our management, we all felt we were the victims of fraud.
Soon after 5 of us decided to join together to create a class action lawsuit, and unfortunately it took all of 2022 before much action was committed, but it kept management off of us temporarily being in the middle of a legal battle. During this time we had squatters take hold of the large unit next to mine, and it quickly became a dangerous homeless camp. This also stalled the legal process, them taking over half the building from November 2021 to October 2022. During their forceful stay (Multiple times the local Sheriff's office ignored our 911 calls with the excuse that it was a "civil matter" and the squatters continued to stay) we had several dangerous encounters with them that hindered my business. Including fires, tons and tons of trash everywhere, they had a 40ft long RV camped out for 8 months beside the building that stank of sewage, and multiple times the squatters attempted to attack or "jump" some of us tenants, including myself. One night I had to defend myself with my firearm (I carry a revolver at night) that thankfully stopped them from their attack. Because of this, I had to get a protection order for the rest of the year from my amazing
Now into December 2022...
After several inconvenient and shady actions taken by our attorney, he decided he wanted more money from us: $5,000 more. And with very little notice, and with our lawsuit barely taking off, and our evidence/exhibits not even filed, or anything else... and then suddenly withdraw'd from our case without much of a warning while tacking on a $22,000 bill. Almost nothing got achieved by him, and he moved states back in spring of 2022; he didn't even have our stack of binders of evidence with him.
So now come January 2023, our class action lawsuit is to go to court on the 10th of this month, and it's not looking good for us. While the defendants claim I "haven't paid rent since Sept 2021", I've given them the whole year of 2021 and its rental receipts as proof of payments. Their counter settlement and claim is to have me removed within 15 days, and owe legal fees, if the court turns to their favor. Only days ago I found out none
of our evidence/exhibits have been submitted. I'm just now trying to properly get everything organized and submitted to the clerk's office myself, since the attorney didn't for us. It's become a nightmare, and we have little time left.
Because of this...
it looks like I will lose my shop location come Jan 25th, likely. There is still a small chance I will not, but the odds against me are stacked high, primarily with this attorney situation, and we may very well lose this lawsuit because of our attorney's seemingly act of malpractice. If my shop is lost, I will lose my entire inventory of cars, all of my large equipment, years and years of classic car parts collection, and most of my tools. I will also lose my place of business, my work environment I've worked years and years for (This has been my dream for years since I was a kid), and my situation will likely prevent me from being able to relocate.
What's more is that I've not even touched on the finer details and the many, many other difficulties I've faced just in this year alone, and I'm still catching up on some bills. I am in no way prepared for moving both mentally and financially. I'm already losing so much because of this sudden divorce that's also taking place this month or next, and I am just completely and utterly overwhelmed right now.
The reason I am creating this donation campaign is to help offset the enormous amount of costs that are about to hit me. Either from a sudden forced move of my business, or because of this unfortunate divorce and legal fees involved (The average cost for my situation involving a lawyer in this divorce is around $10,000). I know 2023 will be a hard year for me, no matter what happens, even in the best of circumstances coming out of this. But as I have survived many, many hardships in my life before, I will continue to push, fight, and run headfirst into the obstacles in front of me.
It is foolish of me to say I'm not afraid of what's ahead of me, but courage is not defined by the lack of fear, but the action you take while being afraid.
I am just a simple guy trying to make his way through the world, and I'm met with an unfortunate series of simultaneous disadvantages. It is with great humility and modesty that I humbly and respectfully ask for your help in my difficult journey, that I may get through this reasonably unscathed for myself, and for my son.
UPDATE 03/01/2023 Both of my neighbors were removed from the property, and one behind (same building) that were in the lawsuit. Myself and my buddy are the only ones left in the building (divided into units). Nothing else has been filed with the courts by management; I assume they are waiting it out until the trial date. I've been struggling paying bills and rent having no business at all since late November; it's been very difficult on top of everything else going on.
I'm also having to remove all of the cars from the property, including my storage in the back lot area. It is putting a huge strain on me, and is proving very difficult.
UPDATE 01/23/2023 I have filed for the Motion of Vacate Order of Default, along with several other motions to support it, and additional evidence/facts, but it does not appear we are being heard. Our newly scheduled hearing date is still left unconfirmed since 1/18. This is looking bad for me.
UPDATE 01/18/2023 I am filing for a Motion to Vacate Order of Default and scheduling a new hearing to hopefully remove the default the judge unjustly ruled last Friday on 01/14/2023. By ruling this default, it's provided them awards of damages against us and a forced eviction. Because our attorney dropped from the case (This is a separate updating issue), I'm having to do everything myself. It's challenging, but I'm confident I can get it done. I've learned so much just in the last few days. If the motion isn't scheduled asap by the court, we may get evicted before the motion gets heard. Timing is crucial.
UPDATE 01/14/2023 We were scheduled to have the first Summary of Motion hearing at 9am on 01/13, involving the primary plaintiff (my shop neighbor who became the primary on our class action lawsuit). We attended this hearing (Not a trial, can only present cold hard legal facts; meant to strategically skip the main trial) and had the motion dismissed, continuing the lawsuit into the trial we needed.
However, we also had a second hearing we were not informed of at the same exact time, at 9am, across the hallway in another courtroom the defendant's attorney somehow got scheduled, and we never were informed of. During the first hearing, a lot of what was e-filed prematurely for the hearing wasn't present during the hearing, and we could not figure out why. On top of this, the judge saw right through the other side's shady tactics. Turns out all this time what was e-filed was sent to the second court hearing we didn't even know we had. Because we were not present during this court hearing (Impossible to be, seeing as it was at the same time as the first hearing), we lost and defaulted. They won.
We are currently working to have the judge who presided over this second hearing, overturn the default and have the hearing a second time, as we have binders and stacks of papers full of proof and supporting evidence of their malpractice and fraud.
If we are unable to get this overturned, the sheriff will show up likely within a week to have my shop vacated. We have several classic cars here, unable to drive, and tons and tons of equipment that would take at least a few weeks to find room for, and move. This is a tough situation.
UPDATE 01/09/2023 New court date for the class action lawsuit is set for Jan 13th.
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