William Dale Howard has been ordered to vacate multiple properties by May 31. Howard and anyone else on-site after that date will be subject to removal.
That is the word from Andrew Adams, general counsel for California Receivership Group, PBC in a letter to Howard dated May 2, 2017.
Receiver Mark Adams in a motion dated March 23, 2017 asked the court to confirm “the specific sale of 1109 Mayo Street for $85,000, 1340 Porter Street for $17,000, and ten vacant lots for $30,000 to IWV Construction Inc. for a total of $132,000.”
In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily Independent, Andrew Adams writes that the court on May 1 confirmed the sale of the properties covered by the receivership and the properties are to be vacated as “immediately, but in no case later than May 31, 2017.” He adds that “anyone left on-site after May 31, 2017 will be considered a trespasser and removed.”
According to the letter, Howard mentioned appealing the order. Adams writes this would require an undertaking to be furnished to stay any order directing the sale of real property. “But until that undertaking is set, and the actual amount entered with the Court, we will continue to carry out the Court's Order,” according to Andrew Adams in the letter.
At press time, it was unclear whether or not Howard intended to appeal.
Adams further warned that appealing the process could cost Howard more money. “Also, please keep in mind that the current arranged-for-sale is expected to nearly cover all of the outstanding receivership amounts. Any actions you or any of your associates take to slow the process, or damage the receivership Property will only result in additional receivership fees and costs that are not covered by the sale, and thus will be a personal expense to be allocated to you and the other named parties personally.”
The motion filed by Mark Adams March 23, 2017, indicated the receiver anticipated difficulties removing Howard and others from the properties.
“They no longer have any right to possession, but based on my experience, law enforcement will require a specific order from the Court directing all parties to vacate before they will enforce such a directive.
And based on my experience with Respondent, I expect that law enforcement will be required to remove him and any other occupants that Respondent has placed on the Property,” according to that motion.
If Howard does not appeal the order, it may be the end of a long dispute with the city. The receiver was appointed in September 2013 to facilitate the clean-up of the properties after complaints about their conditions, including peafowl on the premises. Howard appealed that decision. He was eventually ruled against. After Howard’s appeal was denied, a stay was lifted and the receiver began to follow through on the court’s orders.
A separate criminal trial was also held. Howard was acquitted in August 2014 of 11 misdemeanor counts, having one count dismissed after being charged with 12 misdemeanor counts of maintaining a nuisance after notice under Section 373A of the California penal code. One count was dismissed in the furtherance of justice. Howard was ultimately found guilty of an infraction, land use in violation of zoning, under Section 20-8.2 of the Ridgecrest Municipal Code in November 2014.
A plan to have a third party, George Bertrand, purchase the Deed of Trust created by the receiver's certificate and take ownership of the lien ― allowing Howard to remain in the properties ― also failed to materialize.
Howard has at least one vocal defender. Former mayoral candidate Mike Neel frequently speaks up at city council meetings on Howard's behalf. For his part, Howard has consistently maintained that he was denied his rights, particularly the right to a jury trial in the civil matter.