SOURCE: LA Business Pros

LA Business Pros

June 03, 2015 06:00 ET

L.A. Business Pros Calls for Investigation of Sierra Madre City Officials to Expose Public Nuisance Sham

Innovative Couple Use Crowdfunding to Defend Themselves in Lawsuit

SIERRA MADRE, CA--(Marketwired - Jun 3, 2015) - Tawnya Gilreath, president of L.A. Business Pros, today announced the creation of an informational website, www.PublicNuisanceSham.com to alert property owners to a fraudulent process used by city governments to take control of private property, without providing compensation or a trial. The website, www.PublicNuisanceSham.com, documents the retaliatory lawsuit that Sierra Madre city officials filed against property owners Taryn and Jeff Hildreth, who had previously asked state authorities to investigate the City Administration. To date, the City's prosecution of the couple has already exceeded $500,000 for which the Hildreths have set up a Crowdfunding site to help pay their expenses.

The Hildreth's problems began in June 2009 after a new Sierra Madre building official issued a Stop Work Order while they were converting their property from residential to commercial to conform to the existing manufacturing zone. After providing copies of all City-issued permits and documents requested to lift the ban, the city inspected the property and it looked like everything would move forward. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

After waiting over a year with no further action, the Hildreths began corresponding with State officials in October 2010, asking for an investigation of the Sierra Madre City Administration. Two months later, the City of Sierra Madre filed a lawsuit against the Hildreths deeming all their permits invalid and their property a "public nuisance." Alleging that all previous construction dating back to 1998 was illegal and unpermitted, the City had the property placed into receivership.

"While researching our case," says Taryn Hildreth, "we discovered a process that we call the 'public nuisance sham' in which properties are taken from their rightful owners and subsequently sold to pay attorney and receivership fees and alleged enforcement costs -- all without a trial. We discovered this process has been utilized against others, particularly the elderly, and it is also used as a retaliatory method to run people out of town.

In order to educate others about how the public nuisance sham works and why it remains under the radar, LA Business Pros created the informational website www.PublicNuisanceSham.com. By exposing this sham, they hope it will help others save their properties and create awareness of how the public nuisance laws are being abused.

The Hildreths now face a trial date of September 28, 2015 in Los Angeles Superior Court at which time, Sierra Madre officials will finally have to provide evidence to support their allegations -- six years after the original Stop Work Order. During this time, the Hildreths have been unable to complete construction. In addition to tying up their financial resources, the ongoing hardship has taken a toll on their personal lives and they continue to wonder how a City can rationalize spending over half-a-million taxpayer dollars claiming a purpose of "abating a public nuisance."

As the hour draws near to their court date, they have again asked the State Attorney General to investigate the City Administration and its misuse of public funds.

The Hildreths have incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees defending themselves from the City. To help save their home and assist with attorney's fees and other costs brought on by the public nuisance sham, the Hildreths have set up a Crowdfunding page at: www.gofundme.com/sterlingoak, which they hope will draw attention to their plight and help them continue to fight for their home.

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