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NCFM Member Jerry Cox drama continues with Mariposa County fighting the California Receivership Group for all the money

November 4, 2021
By

Filings in Cox case seem to pit county against receiver group

Discharge hearing still scheduled to go on Nov. 22

There is no question the matter involving Jerry Cox has been almost circus-like since its inception more than five years ago.

However, in the latest filings by the parties involved in the case, it appears the language being used has gone from circus-like to horror novel, or maybe a teenage term paper.

There are many aspects to this case, from the murder of an attorney to allegations of rape to further allegations by Mariposa County of “padding” of the bills by the receivership group.

For some background, Cox was found in violation of 101 code violations on his sprawling 437-acre property located north of the airport in Mariposa County. As part of that process, the county sought and received the appointment of a receiver to oversee handling of the property.

A receiver is appointed by a court and, generally, uses borrowed money that will eventually be paid back through approvals by the court as work is completed.

But this case is so much more and it appears a showdown may be coming on Nov. 22 when the court is set to conduct a discharge hearing. Interestingly, however, is it appears the showdown may be between the receiver and Mariposa County.

Both of those parties have submitted strongly-worded filings to the court, with language that might be more fit for a horror novel than a formal court.

The case will be heard by Judge Robert Moody, a retired jurist from Monterey who was appointed to the case following the retirement of former Mariposa County Superior Court Judge Dana Walton. It was Walton who handled the case for years, including finding Cox in violation of the codes, approving the receiver and eventually approving the sale of the property — a point of contention for Cox who said the property was sold for half of its value.

To delve into this case would take as many pages as a horror novel, however, the nuts and bolts are pretty simple.

Cox was found in violation of the code violations which were initiated by the county, the court appointed a receiver to oversee the matter and now the case is heading to a conclusion.

But the pages in-between are anything but simple and include allegations by Cox the county has been out to get him for years and did so publicly when he was arrested on 16 felony charges alleging he raped a woman he met on the dating website farmersonly.com.

Those charges were eventually dropped but only after two years with the charges hanging over Cox’s head — as well as the possibility of him spending the rest of his life in prison. The county has contended all along one case had nothing to do with the other.

The case also involves the death of Marc Angelucci, Cox’s former lawyer who was murdered in his Crestline home in a case that still appears to be open, though very little has been said about it by officials in San Bernardino County where the murder happened.

Angelucci’s murder has led to even further delays in the proceedings as Cox was without a lawyer for a long time before attorney Omair Farooqui told the court he would be representing Cox during the discharge hearing, which is now just a few weeks away.

As part of that discharge hearing, all of the parties involved have filed responses to the court — and a couple of them contain some strong language.

It appears Mariposa County officials are trying to get as much of the $700,000 from the proceeds of the property sale as possible. It also appears the taxpayers of Mariposa County are on the line for more than $268,000 in court costs and legal fees. The county wants to jump to the front of the line to recover those costs and is accusing California Receivership Group of padding its invoices and more.

The receivership group, on the other hand, is accusing the county of trying to subvert the law so they can recover all of the legal fees and costs. In addition, the receivership group in its filing is saying it will not recover the full amount but wants nearly all of the $700,000 — which would leave the county taxpayers holding the bag.

The county has not released exactly how much money has been spent on the case, saying it does not do that until the case is closed.

The language

The court filings by the receivership group and the county both contain some strong language.

Here are some phrases from the receivership’s filing from last month:

• … meritless conspiracy theory-laden litigation

• … litigation odyssey

• … cartoonish assignment of motives

• … divorced from reality

Likewise, the county’s response uses strong language, as well. It was filed by both Mariposa County Counsel Steve Dahlem and the law firm of Silver & Wright, which the county hired years ago to represent it in this case.

Here are some of the phrases from the county’s filing, which was in September:

• … absurd but unjustified
• … outrageous amount
• … unfathomable
• … boggles the mind
• The receiver has treated this case like an ATM …
• … cash in

The county filing

The case against Cox has resulted in reams of paper involved in various filings by the many parties involved.

But it’s the latest ones targeted at the discharge hearing which use the language listed above.

Mariposa County was up to the plate first in its filing in September.

The county’s filing began with what it called the “shocking request” by California Receivership Group for a payment of $437,084 in “fees and costs.” It states the amount requested “does not include the cost of actually remediating the subject property and bringing it into compliance with the law.” It says the money is for fees the receiver “and his 26 employees charged for more than 1,500 hours they billed on this receivership.”

The filing admits the receiver has a right to obtain “reasonable” compensation, but they claim there is “duplicate billing entries, excessive billing entries, unauthorized billing entires and unauthorized billing rate increases.” The county is asking the court to reduce that amount by more than $151,000.

In addition, the county said the receivership group is seeking an additional $170,555 in fees and costs which were incurred since it filed its discharge motion in the case. The county claims the work of the receivership group was “basically over” since the property was sold in November 2019.

The county is seeking three main things from the court:

• Reduction of $209,213 for a total award of the receivers fees of $398,426. That reduction is both from the original amount in the discharge motion and the subsequent supplemental award requested by the receiver.

• A reduction of at least another $98,811 which the county is asking to go toward its costs of “initiating the action, successfully appointing the receiver and bringing the subject property into compliance.”

• A reduction of an additional 25 percent “to send a message to the receiver that he just cannot submit an outrageously unreasonable fee request and then expect the court to trim some hours to end up a reasonable amount.”

According to the county’s filings, the receivership group is now requesting $607,639 in fees and costs. Some of that is based upon fees incurred after the discharge motion, the county claims, including a little more than $170,000 “in fees and costs by billing time for 18 different employees. That figure is not only absurd but unjustified in light of the procedural history of the case since the receiver filed his discharge motion on Dec. 26, 2019.”

The county further charges that to award the receiver “such an outrageous amount,” the court would be required to “abdicate its responsibility to ‘closely scrutinize the receiver’s amount to mare sure that all expenditures are reasonable.’”

The county claims the numerous entries submitted by the receiver relating to costs “cannot be considered reasonable by any stretch of the imagination.”

It adds it is “unfathomable” that the receiver still had “18 different employees working on billing for their time in this case. If further states it “boggles the mind” the receivership group had two particular employees submit bills for more than 100 hours of work after the discharge motion was filed.

The county also claims the “billing records filed” in conjunction with the supplemental filing have the “same fatal flaws” as the billing records submitted with the discharge motion filed in 2019. The county is also claiming the receivership group “unilaterally, and without the court’s permission,” increased the hourly billing rates of 11 of its employees, some as much as 84 percent.

Later in its filing, the county addresses the issue of how much has been spent by the taxpayers in this case. It states that in July 2017, the county submitted an “interim demand” for its fees and costs to the receiver in the amount of $93,811 and requests that amount “be held in the receivership estate, and not used to pay the receivers fees and costs …” Additionally, it states the county has “incurred costs of $170,000” in additional fees and costs in the case. That leaves the total for the county spent on the case at $268,811 with a two-day hearing still to come this month.

Another portion of the filing includes “the receiver’s fess are outrageous” in the title of the section.

“The receiver has treated this case like an ATM, billing time for dozens of employees in his company,” states the court document filed by the county.

The county is apparently referring to Mark Adams, president of California Receivership Group. For the past couple of years, his son, Andrew Adams, has been the lead attorney on the case.

The filing concludes by saying the receivership group “has sought to cash in on requesting fees” and billing “a whopping 666 hours” for work done after the property had been sold.

“The court should send a message to the receiver that he just cannot submit an outrageously unreasonable fee request and then expect the court to trim some hours to end up at a reasonable amount,” states the document. “Doing so simply encourages the receiver to continue to submit outrageously unreasonable demands.”

The receiver filing

In its filing, the receivership group didn’t hold back either, citing various instances in which it believes the county is not being honest with the court.

The filing admits in the beginning because of the length of time of the case, as well as the many twists and turns, there will be costs that “go unpaid.”

“This is what makes the county’s response so ridiculous — even if all the wild accusations and unsupported claims in the county’s response were plausible, there is no difference in the result,” it states.

It goes on to say the county is making “very serious allegations without an ounce of factual support, which is all the more insulting just because it is so pointless.”

It also states that because of the nature of the case, a lot of the money will never be paid back because Cox does not have the means should the court order he is responsible.

“Even if the request was connected to reality and this court bought it, it represents a reduction in name only, because it cannot be paid,” states the filing.

It further states the county’s filings “are hypocritical and self-serving” but also have “zero factual support.”

Addressing the $170,000 in fees billed after the discharge motion, the receivership group says it is “dumbfounded” about the county questioning those fees.

“It empties the thesaurus to argue that this amount is wasteful, ignoring the fact that during this time the following time-intensive and expensive actions were take,” if states.

It goes on to outline those expenses, including the final report, discovery responses, appellate work when the matter was taken to the California Supreme Court and other costs.

“The feigned shock in the response is not useful or helpful,” it adds.

Another sentence reads: “The lack of specificity belies the hollowness of the allegations.”

It also accuses the county of simply saying there is a “large number” on the table, referring to the costs, but says the county does not justify its reasoning.

“The allegations they attempt to make in their response are already incorrect; it they cannot make their showing, then those allegations are careless, disingenuous and dangerous as well.”

Later in the document, the receiver claims the “county’s response has to engage with the real world and not just wish for a simpler resolution to this case.”

The receivership group also alleges the county is simply looking out for itself, and not justice.

“This is the county lashing out, trying to save some of the receivership estate to pay down their own fees, and willing to try to do so at the expense of the appointed receiver,” it states. “It is beneath the dignity of the county, and the lack of any true examples of proof in making these wild and extreme allegations is shameful. The county is taking a bid situation — that was spun out of control by the owner — and seeks to blame the very agent tasked with fixing it. The court has to reject this unmoored and depraved line of argument.”

A later passage says the county “errs when it gets so greedy that it attempts to create some sort of impropriety or to blame the receiver then so that they can carve out ‘at least $93,811’ for themselves.”

The filing concludes with the receiver saying the county “debased themselves in their response, inventing wild accusations that they cannot begin to legitimize, and this in itself gives the court more reason not to give them an exalter place in line for the sale proceeds.”

It ends by implying the court should award the receiver its entire requested amount, which would all but drain the proceeds of the sale, and then let the county try to collect what is owed from Cox — who has said for several years he has no money and can barely survive.

“The proceeds should pay down the receiver’s fees and costs as far as possible, and then the county has to be paid by the owner directly — this is the only remotely fair way to deal with this large shortfall,” it concludes.

The receiver filing – part II

If all of that wasn’t enough, the receivership group also filed documents countering Cox’s request of the court to discharge the entire matter.

It claims Cox is telling the court he is not responsible for “all the time and effort spend responding to his meritless conspiracy theory-laden litigation.”

It also says that Cox should be responsible for the seeds he has sewn.

“A receiver is not a government employee nor agent that has some pot of money to pay for the work that a Superior Court directs, and so when a property owner kicks off a litigation odyssey and loses at every level, then that owner has to pay for it.”

The document also addresses what it calls are conspiracy theories made up by Cox.

“These are conspiracy theories, as wild and unsupported as they get. Even with nearly two years to conduct research, investigations, to demand documents and communications and then to make Mark Adams sit for a deposition, Cox has turned up nothing to support his theories,” it states.

It adds it is “not for a lack of trying” but said it all has filed “because it relies on a cartoonish assignment of motives where the receiver is doing evil acts just to be mean.”

national coalition for men

NCFM Member Jerry Cox drama continues with Mariposa County fighting the California Receivership Group for all the money

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