On the “Make Him Move” price …

When you are trying to buy something that is not listed for sale, it is reasonable to expect to pay some premium over the value of the item. We see this all the time when companies are taken over. These deals also do not necessarily close in a mater of days. When Dell went private recently, it took over a year for the deal to be completed.

Even though Bro is the one being sued, there is a presumption of innocence in our legal system. This is at least some of the reason why he is being given his choice of dates of when to meet. It is also unreasonable to expect him to be cooperative in this matter, because he has the same stakes that you do: if you lose this house, you are unlikely to be able to afford to buy another house unless you pick one of the “ten cheapest places to live” real estate markets. He is not a “motivated seller”, so other motivations have to be found. I don’t know whether there is the possibility of the judge being called in immediately should Bro blow off the next meeting, or whether more time has to be allowed to try to come to an agreement before the case reaches court.

What are the consequences of the administrative dismissal of the case? Usually when a case is dismissed, it can be refiled. Was the instruction to you to have some sort of arbitration or negotiation with Bro and his lawyer before the court would hear your case? Right now, you are in a position where you have to try to get Bro to agree to a buyout price, presuming that the “hammer” of going to court and seeking a partition of the property still exists. Another question that I’d ask is whether homes of your type and condition are selling above or below the appraised value. ┬áThis would affect the price that you would offer him.

Though you don’t want to bring all the drama with you and Bro up to your lawyer, it would be worthwhile to mention that this isn’t the first time that he has failed to pay his part of the costs, and you have enough data to make a case for being “slow pay/no pay” to be his standard operating procedure. If memory serves, you had a tax lien on your house a couple of years ago, so he put ownership of your house at risk through his actions and wound up costing you more money, because you had to pay interest to the holder of the tax lien.

One thing to check is whether the form of ownership of your house is “joint tenants with right of survivorship”. If it is, that’s good, because should Bro die, you inherit his interest in the house, even if his will leaves it to someone else.



6 thoughts on “On the “Make Him Move” price …”

  1. Sure…and the check that I cut to pay off that tax lien is there in that binder filled with every check I cut since 2007,

    This is a mess. I am sitting here marking time and wondering what is going to happen.

    As you said, he has a lot to lose, also — where would he go? not far, if she goes with him; she has a job in the immediate area. The 2 of them would have to pay rent and rents here in this part of the state are not cheap.

    I do not think it is “right of ownership.”

    The idea of it is to negotiate with a 4 way meeting; if there is no resolution, then it goes to a judge.

  2. Is having the meeting a necessary condition for calling in the judge? Bro has blown off one meeting and bought himself about six weeks of time in the process. Should he fail to appear next week, do you have the option of calling the judge then?

    He does retain certain property rights as a co-owner, regardless of his failure to perform his duties as a co-owner, such as pay property taxes and maintenance expenses in a timely way, which is why you have to attempt to negotiate with him.

    1. I was told that him calling in sick, etc for the meetings can go on indefinitely.

      What good is this going to do me?

      I would to take a big loss — I have no idea what he is going to say.

      And if a judge got called in it is likely this house would be sold. since he wouldn’;t like to see his house get put up for sale, who knows what direction he’d head into?

      I am sick of all of this. Sicn of waiting for resolution and sick of it all in general.

      In the midst of this, I am still trying to find a job. There was an interview on Monday and it was another company that asked “what range are you looking for”. Proves nothing to me; maybe you people are only offering $15 an hour and you won’t admit it…and what do you people think? All of us are going to ask for a paltry sum? No; we are going to ask for what we are worth.

      I got the idea that this place, too, went over like a lead bomb for me. What can I do? Nothing I can do.

      How did it get like this — not just for me, but for all of us? THings used to be done a certain way when interviews were held. Not anymore. There are no more rules and there’s no way you can even figure out if you are in the running or not. The only way you can: if you get an offer on the spot…but who is doing that?

  3. Indefinitely is not forever. Sooner or later, you will be able to ask that a judge decide the matter because the attempt to mediate the matter has failed, and then you get to wait more to get to a court date and do another round of trying to serve your brother.

    Even though I won my case against the handyman who ripped me off, all that I have to show for it is a misdemeanor conviction of him, two judgments in my favor (both criminal and civil) and no recovery of any money because the guy’s broke and difficult to find. He has no property that I can attach. I can take some small pleasure in the fact that being charged with theft and passing a bad check in an unrelated case cost him a job that probably would have paid him around $40K, good money for my town, and he’s been arrested several times over the last two years now and has a current warrant for his arrest because he hasn’t complied with what the court ordered.

    What I find difficult to remember, because remembering it is painful, is how nerve-wracking the whole thing was, even though the stakes were much lower for me than for him. I filed the initial complaint in August 2012, and the case came to court in late November 2012, after he had requested a continuance. Otherwise, the case would have been heard in municipal court in mid-October. Usually one can get one continuance in a court case with no firm justification. He pled no contest to the theft charge, claiming that he had no other option because he couldn’t get a lawyer. He was convicted of theft and ordered to make restitution of $300 for the property that he stole from me and to accept service by mail of a summons from small claims court where the matter of additional damages would be heard. I went right over to small claims court, filed my case, and had them send out the subpoena. I got some bullshit from the guy about how he had lost his ID and couldn’t pick the letter up at the post office. Usually they will redeliver a certified letter on a particular day if you ask. The first court date passed and I was told that I would have to get the sheriff to serve him because service by mail had failed and the letter had been returned to the district court. My new court date was late January 2013. I got proof of service, though his mother-in-law signed the subpoena, but he was a no-show in small claims court and I was awarded about $900 in damages, which included my costs for filing the case. Now I get to chase the guy and see if I can collect in the next seven years or so. It is not as if Colorado or the federal government allows tax refunds to be attached for court judgments, which I think that they should be. Yes, I would take money from his children via attachment of his earned income tax credit to get paid back.

    In your case, once the case gets to court, there are some tools to get him to comply, such as the risk of a default judgement, where you are awarded what you ask without objection from Bro because he did not show up, and contempt of court, which carries a fine of up to $1000 and some jail time if he does not appear in court. Inability to pay legal fees may also drive him to settle. No matter how it goes, there is not an outcome that lets you be made whole and for him to keep his interest in the house unless someone ponies up a lot of money, and that is an outcome that you don’t want, because it just lets the problem of “slow pay/no pay” start all over again. In the meantime, you can expect a lot of sniping from both of them. Few people are happy when their home is threatened, and Bro expects you to continue to suck it up as you have for years.

    Having to sue someone does take up all of your time, attention and focus because until the house is sold, the case won’t be over, and even then you can expect the sniping to continue from Bro, a la “you cost him his home”. No, he cost himself his home.

    People who are generally law-abiding are often shocked by the slowness of criminal and civil courts. I know that I was. If we get a traffic ticket, we will usually either pay the fine or appear in court as required, though the court date might be a few weeks away. We forget that when we sign for the ticket, we also sign that we have been served with a subpoena to appear in court, shortcutting the subpoena process. I don’t know whether the police or district attorney’s office makes a list of outstanding warrants available as a public record, but in my town of about 100,000, there are usually 3000-3500 outstanding warrants at any given time, and as a police sergeant who I know pointed out, they have no fugitive unit to chase people with warrants, so a lot of the time people with warrants are picked up in conjunction with a traffic stop or because neighbors are complaining about a disturbance, not because the police are actively looking for them. Many of the outstanding warrants are for “failure to appear” in court or for “failure to pay” various fines.

    There is a saying that when the facts support you, argue the facts, but when they don’t, to argue the law. This is why I expect him to ask for more and more time to do things, and the requests will come one item at a time. All the rewards are on the side of delay for him. There are things that Bro can do to delay having to negotiate with you, but eventually he will have to do that. Should the case get to court and Bro blows it off, I’d ask the judge to issue a bench warrant for his arrest for contempt of court. This would allow you to call the police at a time of your convenience to have him arrested. Bro’s only tactics are tactics of delay, in the hope that you will give up. He might try intimidation or guilt tripping, but you’re probably past the point of feeling sorry for him, and at the least threat of violence, call the police.

    1. And the cops are laughing at us already. This is a small town and word gets around.

      What a rotten thing to have happened to me. I can’t even begin to start on this one — I am grappling with a great many problems and that joker not paying up and trying to find a way to get an income in here are 2 of the things I have on my plate.

      They won’t get the opportunity to snipe. I refuse to be anywhere where they are; if I see them coming, I get out of sight.

      I very much doubt if he would go as far as to no show in a court of law.

      1. One of the benefits of working with the public is that there is so much absurdity that no single case holds your attention for long. The fact that is hard to keep in mind is that you’ve done nothing wrong, and have nothing to hide.

        Hiding from Bro and Girlfriend makes you look like you feel guilty or that you are doing something wrong. You don’t need to get in their face, but you also don’t need to hide from them. They are wrong and you are right. It is possible for people to negotiate in good faith and resolve issues, but for Bro, he is on the losing end of any argument that he might raise. It shouldn’t be necessary for him to be dragged into meetings and subpoenaed at every step, but the rewards for him are in delay and the hope that he can wear you down. What he might not understand is that his obligations as a co-owner continue even if you pay the bills, and you retain the right to sue him for recovery. It isn’t free for him to live in the house. Were I the judge in such a case, I would come down hard on him.

        Another thing that Bro might not understand is that he runs up a legal bill every time that he blows off a meeting and reschedules. The lawyer has to put aside the time to meet, plus he is charging expenses to get to and from the meeting, and probably travel time, so these missed meetings do have a very real cost to him. Whatever retainer that he gave the lawyer is probably gone, so it is only a matter of time before the lawyer fires Bro and refuses to work for him.

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