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What I’ve Lost

I am certain it is not clear to you the extent of my loss. The lemon tree that took 19 years to bear fruit; buried atop my son’s placental home; planted by my mother who died in my son’s nineteenth year in her bedroom, in the house I’d lived in all my life-she knew him, she helped birth him, she drove like a javelin to Santa Monica, to the converted farmhouse that served as a freestanding birthing center, ensuring his literal birth in a barn. This lemon tree was cut down…by the subcontractor…who is now dead.

My son grew up in that house. He called it a crapshack because he was, in childhood, quite gangling and sometimes ungainly. He was forever stubbing his toes. It was a cottage. It couldn’t be helped that he was a bull in a china shop. Nevertheless, that crapshack was his childhood home and the satellite around which we wove our travels in the world.

We built, my mother and I, a library in that house. Venice thrift shops provided much of our largesse.  We collected, and read, hundreds of books. Destroyed, now, many of them, the bookcase standing in the yard with many of my other klediments.

I knew the man who built my crapshack, by hand. He was a JW. His name was Elmer Lambert. His wife’s name was Ima. I remember they had a daughter, but might also have had a son. The house was a one-bedroom cottage with hardwood floors, built in cabinetry, a counter between front room and kitchen that could be used as a table, serving area, and lookout point. The front door boasted a barn-door type window, giving an unimpeded view of the front and side yard. The doorway was wider than average.

All the doors in my house, save the front entry, opened to the left. Behind the door to the bedroom, Mom had built a linen closet to house our dishtowels, cuptowels, bath towels, sheets, small blankets, some small kitchen appliances. The left-opening door, when left open, provided cover for the cabinet.

I had to step down once into the kitchen. I had a white ceramic sink that was deep, and boasted knobs for hot and cold. It was a piece of a countertop, cookware storage, and under the sink storage unit. Facing the sink, my stove was to my right. I had hooks, hangers, cabinets on the upper walls to the left; a hanger for mugs, a couple of places to hang dish towels. Had a mirror mounted in there, and a light. The large rectangular window above me provided morning light from the east.

I love to cook. My son loves to cook, but he has to have a whole lot of room and prep area. Me? I can whip up something palatable with a couple of burners, but it gets monotonous. I’ve been living like poverty for over a year now with a gas stove that is not connected to the gas line because the contractor left the line capped, providing no connector. There are many gas lines under this structure because a gas line was run to operated the gas dryer I do not have and to the hot water heater that was placed alongside the “driveway” because this structure was built without plans.

The flooring in the bathroom is mushy and feels about to give way at any moment; there’s a leak somewhere, likely because the shower was not installed properly and was not sealed. I have no warranties, even thought I was promised three years of warranties by Safeco Liberty Mutual if only I worked with their preferred contractor.

I had a back door, through which I could generate cross-ventilation, get to my back yard easily. I still have the t-poles for my clothesline, but my undamaged workshop was torn down to make way for a “garage”. There was a scheme to turn my verdant paradise into a heat island, bordered by asphalt and cement. My yard was full of green and flowering plants, including succulents, bougainvillea, lavender, night-blooming jasmine, honeysuckle, a variety of roses. This in an area zoned for livestock and farming. I live in the County of Los Angeles. There are horses here. There are chickens here. There are nurseries here. But the County is gentrifying, which brings me to my property tax status.

In California, in Los Angeles County, in 2015, my property taxes were ~$650 per year. Now, in 2019, my property taxes have tripled. This job, done by Vince Paglia, was accomplished by tearing down my 1923 hand built Rambler home. I had a workshop in the back yard with a waist-high, full-length hard wood worktable. There were shelves that I remember saving magazines in because of the vertical dividers in the cabinet. There were shelves and cubbyholes on the walls. There was a great, heavy wooden drawer, that I possess still, that fit into the worktable. Vince Paglia tore down my workshop, the unpermitted expansion that was used for storage to put up a parking lot and I don’t eeeven have a car.

I miss Segovia. Segovia was a death cactus that grew in a ring of tires. Segovia was very tall, perhaps 7′-8′, and bloomed at night. When in bloom, Segovia’s scent wafted over the yard, blending with the night-blooming jasmine, sometimes the honeysuckle and lavender very faintly. Segovia provided most of the privacy in my back yard, grown along with the honeysuckle that grew on the fence. When Mama Gin lived next door, she was a homeowner who worked for the IRS. Her son served in the Air Force. Her daughter was a flit. She and Mom shared the care of the trees planted along the property lines between the houses. Mr. Lambert took care of most general maintenance, but Mom was pretty handy with tools.  Mom and I took care of the gardening and yard maintenance when I was growing up.

I remember Mr. Lambert gave me my first nickname. He called me Sputnik because I was his satellite as he worked about the place, prattling to him with my 2 or 3 year old self. Ima, Mrs. Lambert, always offered me fruit. I grew up kindly towards the JWs because I grew up with experience of the Lamberts.

I used to play and work in my workshop. I haven’t been able to use my spinning wheels because the inadequate garage is packed to the gills with my household goods. I haven’t been able to unpack because the house is now smaller, configured differently, has not even a closet, though a one-bedroom, one-bathroom was paid for. More than $80K was given to Paglia for goods not in this structure. I wish I did have the vent-free, infra-red heaters for which he received pay. I wish I had my back door. I wish the attic vents had been installed instead of the fire sprinklers for which I have no instruction manual. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with these things because I never had them in my home before.

Vince Paglia and Kent Stiles of Safeco Liberty Mutual have put me in a bad way, I tell you what. I learned from reading the legal bric-a-brac that your insurance provider is not supposed to leave you any worse off than you were before you filed your homeowner’s claim. Maybe this is why Stiles has changed my claim number from 12-digit number to 22-digit number, and when I call to inquire about this claim number that I don’t recognize, no one else recognizes it either.  This brand new claim number is recorded on my claim history with the databases that record such data and hold it for seven years, along with the date of loss of every claim I’ve ever allegedly filed with Safeco Liberty Mutual, the cause of said loss, and the amount paid out to mitigate the loss. This brand new to me claim number even says my loss was caused by water. Imagine, the insurance company is recording false information; my loss was caused by the wind.

If my claim settled and paid out $48K under one claim number, why are $430K and $439K recorded under that new claim number as the amount paid out on those official records? Those records can impact the premium I’ll have to pay for insurance when I manage to escape from Safeco Liberty Mutual.

I have referred to the scam through which I’ve been put as GASLIGHTING. I hate being gaslighted, especially by a corporation that should have a fiduciary responsibility towards me, the insured, who paid premiums, on time, since 2011. Instead of being appreciated, I’ve been robbed.

I believe Safeco Liberty Mutual and Paglia and Associates do not appreciate the severe loss they have caused me. I think the dead contractor kindled the wrath, though….

AS · Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Civil Court · Criminal Organizations · Disaster · fraud · Homeownership · Insurance · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Paralegal Studies · Probate Housing Creditors Mortgages Mortgage Fraud · racism · research · social observation · Sociology · trauma

The Case of the Changed Claim Number

Kent Stiles, adjuster for Safeco/Liberty Mutual Insurance, changed the claim number of the claim I filed on 22 April 2016. If you’ve followed my blog, you know I have been submitting descriptions of my first-time consumer experience of submitting a homeowner insurance claim with Safeco Insurance.

Kent Stiles and Nahal Mazandarani changed a settled $48,000 claim into one for more than $430,000, though I am certain much more money than this has been expropriated. The scam is too widespread, too longlasting, involves too many players for the sums recorded on paper to properly compensate them all.

After figuring out Mazandarani and Stiles were conning me, I asked Mazandarani if she was on drugs. She had us move into what I described at the time as an “abandoned” project. This same language is used in the citation issued the contractor, Vince Paglia dba Protech, by the Contractors State License Board. Mazandarani took extreme umbrage to my suggestion that she must be out of her mind if I was supposed to move into a building with an open trench in my back yard and a pallet serving as the step into the only point of ingress or egress without resorting to a window. I spoke with Stiles about this; he claimed to be her supervisor. I may have suggested to both of them that I would whip Mazandarani’s ass if she showed her face ’round me ever again in life. Hence, all subsequent interactions have been with Kent Stiles.

I patiently waited for the Department of Insurance agent, John Mort, to help me get answers to my questions about the irregular ways my claim has been handled. Little did I know John Mort was working for Kent Stiles even though the Department of Insurance is supposed to be looking out for consumers. Kent Stiles has a very long reach is what I’ve learned in this 3.5 year homeowner claim experience. John Mort had to have been aware of the change in claim number; homeowner claim history is recorded in external databases for at least seven years. The claim number for the claim I filed 22 April 2016 and for which I possess a physical claim file, has been changed. The new number is something I have never seen before. For the past 3.5 years it has listed the cause of loss as water when the actual cause was wind, like those blowing fire now. The tree that lost the limb that fell on my bedroom still stands and sways in the high winds, but Kent Stiles paid for project, that now adds a rescinded Certificate of Occupancy to its faults. Recently, through the dispute process with one of the databases, Kent Stiles reversed himself, changed the cause to wind, but holding fast to the more than $430K charged against my insurance policy, charged against the consumer, charged against this unfamiliar- to – me claim number.

Think the IRS needs to know about this?

No matter how many times I told Kent Stiles something was wrong, he either ignored me or told me a lie. No matter how many people I spoke to at Safeco/Liberty Mutual, no one batted an eye at what Kent Stiles was doing and continues to do to me, my claim. If I spoke to one person, from supervisors, managers, the Presidential Service Team, I spoke to twenty and er’rbody was ultimately working for Kent Stiles.

Can anybody tell me why Kent Stiles would change my claim number; why John Mort of the Department of Insurance, regulatory body, would let me waste two years waiting for his intervention in helping me get, what I thought at the time were, documents relevant to my claim? The Stall is a major part of this scam. Time must elapse so that the unassuming consumer won’t catch wise until the claims history disappears from view.

This seems like embezzlement to me and fraud at my expense, conducted by an institution I am forced to use to protect my property. I question the impartiality of the regulatory body, the Department of Insurance. I question how Safeco/Liberty Mutual is allowed to stay in the insurance business, except I’ve always thought insurance is a racket.

Building Contractor Scam · Civil Court · Criminal Organizations · fraud · Homeownership · Insurance · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Law · Paralegal Studies · trauma

PTSD Blues (Public Service Announcement)

I lived in my home for over 60 years. Then, I made an insurance claim with SAFECO INSURANCE. Instead of simply repairing the damage done by the tree falling on my bedroom, they told me lies and stole my home through destruction. SAFECO INSURANCE, PROTECH CONSTRUCTION, LOS ANGELES COUNTY BUILDING AND SAFETY are all involved in this theft by deception.

Protech Construction was found to be in violation of the Professional Conduct Code, and was ordered to pay me for damages assessed by the Contractors State License Board. Protech did not pay as ordered. I filed a claim against the contractor’s bond, and they are now stalling me about payment.

If you are insured with SAFECO INSURANCE or have any contracting work scheduled with PROTECH CONSTRUCTION owned by Vince and Kimm Paglia, you need a new insurance company and a new contractor. SAFECO INSURANCE does not have any oversight. There is no one in charge there. The Presidential Service Team is no joke as it does not assist consumers resolve problems with claims adjusters. Claims adjusters and contractors maintain a confidential relationship that disadvantages the consumer. Once they close ranks, no help will be forthcoming from within the company. Consumers are forced to seek assistance from the Department of Insurance, but they do not help consumers get answers to pertinent questions and they make no demands of the insurance company to provide consumers with answers to legitimate questions about the handling of a claim.

SAFECO INSURANCE appears to have every law firm capable of fighting them on retainer. Not even PUBLIC COUNSEL would help me bring a case against the insurance company because of conflict of interest concerns. Unless one has an incredible amount of money, there is no legal help available. Stalling, along with lying, is the chief action employed in the commission of this scam. SAFECO INSURANCE repeatedly notified me that I could not file a lawsuit against them if it was not brought within a year of the commencement of work, hoping to convince me that the statute of limitations would expire and I would be without recourse. That might be so if I was only looking to prove bad faith, but this is fraud and a civil suit can still be brought.

CAVEAT: AVOID SAFECO INSURANCE AND PROTECH CONSTRUCTION, PERPETRATORS OF A CLAIMS SCAM THAT DEPRIVES CONSUMERS OF THEIR HOMES AND THE INSURANCE CLAIM FUNDS NECESSARY TO PROPERLY RESOLVE A CLAIM.

Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Criminal Organizations · Disaster · Health and wellness · Homeownership · Insurance · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Law · Paralegal Studies · trauma

CRIME SCENE

As of Earth Day tomorrow I will be living in this crime scene for over a year and have been attempting to resolve my problem with Safeco Insurance for three years.

Safeco adjuster Kent Stiles continues to fail to provide me with requested documentation. Vince Paglia lies to the Contractors State License Board about plans that never existed.

I am unable to get corresponding, itemized statements like the only one I have that corresponds to an $80+K check for materials and services not provided here, but paid for by Kent Stiles.

I am exceptionally tired of living in this crime scene. I think I have succeeded in having my property taxes lowered as I was finally able to get the assessor to come back out here and measure the property. When he came here before, he didn’t measure. He took pictures and the contractors word for the dimensions of the structure. The contractor told him the structure measured 816 sq ft. It actually measured 585 sq ft.

Not only are the insurance company and contractor crooked, the Los Angeles County Building and Safety seems to have some issues with their building inspectors. Not all of them are honest dealers. I had to write an online request to get the appraiser to come back here. He took a page from Stiles and Paglia and ignored my first three calls. Sending written notification prevented him from ignoring me any longer.

I am so angry about this situation that I could not sleep at all last night. Three years of claim mishandling and abuse from Safeco and Protech. Insurance companies have a fiduciary responsibility to their consumers. I should not have been less well off than I was before I filed my claim for damages. I should not have a smaller house with no amenities. I should not have to continue being a customer of Safeco, but I have already experienced Stiles’ manipulation of the information regarding my claim; he attributed my claim to water damage when it was wind that blew a tree limb onto the roof of my bedroom, the only room damaged in the incident. Stiles and Paglia destroyed my undamaged workshop, the entire front three-quarters of my home, all of my landscaping grown to support pollinators. I had to look at my front yard, barren and without any growth, or color for such a long time that I refuse to cut the grass. I prefer looking at green to brown.


Bad Faith · Criminal Organizations · Homeownership · housing · Insurance · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Probate Housing Creditors Mortgages Mortgage Fraud

Protech Construction’s Shoddy Work: Lamentation

Do any of you remember that choreopoem by Ntozake Shange that starts Somebody almost walked off with all of my stuff? If you’re not familiar, go read For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf.

My home of 63 years was stolen from me by Safeco Insurance and Protech Construction. They conspired to tear down my home when the only damage was to my bedroom; cracked open at the seams when a huge tree limb laid down on the roof in high winds. They tore down my workshop, which had no damage. They destroyed all of my pollinator plants; I had grown a honeysuckle blind on my side fence, had roses, rosemary, lavender, night-blooming jasmine, cacti and succulents, also night-blooming. I had a fig tree, a lemon tree, Christ’s Thorn. So much here for human and insect enjoyment, now completely gone.

This house is not a house. It is a poorly constructed structure that doesn’t have a front step that passes the Building Code. I had a front porch; now there is a slab. Rain comes into the front door because there is no longer any cover. I have to get drenched to come into my front door because it is open to the elements now, nothing like I had. I was training the bougainvillea to create an arch across my front; they killed half of the archway. Protech’s builder even stole all of my heavy duty steel fencing, my steel doors, my window bars. I do not have a back door, sufficient windows in my bedroom, no closet and none of the shelving I had was replaced. This structure does not meet Building Code standards, yet Kent Stiles signed and paid off Vince Paglia for destroying my home, and he did not report any of this to Underwriting, as he should.

I had copper piping; it was replaced with PVC. I had a heater in my bathroom ceiling; it was not replaced. I had recessed lighting in my living room; it was replaced with fire sprinklers, something I didn’t have before and for which I have no instruction manuals. I have no idea how to maintain them and Protech did not provide me with any instructions.

The entire time Protech worked on this shack, they lied to me about what I could expect. They didn’t even get plans to rebuild the house even though I repeatedly asked that this be done. I was told not to worry. I was told there would be crawl space access available underneath my dryer. There is not. My attic access was not replaced. The roof is not vented, though the roof of my home was vented. In fact, my home was hand built of hard wood. I know the man who built my home. He gave me my first nickname, Sputnik, because I would circle around him like a satellite whenever he came to do maintenance. Mr. Elmer Lambert was a very tall, broad Jehovah’s Witness. His wife, Ima, always gave me fruit as a treat, never candy. They were both gentle, kind people who taught me to appreciate their religion. JWs are smart and we can thank them for helping develop surgeries where transfusion is not necessary. I like reading their publications and still do to this day because of Mr. and Mrs. Lambert.

I had the cutest built-in cabinets in my kitchen. I could fit all of my “company” dishes, glassware and special cooking tools in that built-in. Needless to say, it no longer exists and most of my cookware is now in the garage, all that isn’t sitting on the side and at the back of this structure. Guess it doesn’t much matter as my stove is still not connected to the gas line because there are no cut-off valves installed. Just a capped pipe. The shelves are too small to hold my klediments, literally. My home measured 800 sq feet. This structure measures about 618 sq feet. Safeco sent an agent to measure the space after I reported to them that my home had been rebuilt and replaced with junk. My property lost value, but the property taxes tripled. My net worth took a hit, too. My home was and is my owned free and clear asset. Now, it is worth less, of poor construction, and I don’t trust it could stand up to a treefall like my 1923 Rambler Custom.

I have to thank Protech president Vince Paglia and his wife and, I believe, owner of the company, Kimm Paglia; his builder, Steve Willsey of Willsey Construction; and, of course, Kent Stiles of Safeco/Liberty Mutual for this destruction. How any of them are still in business, how they still possess licenses is a genuine mystery to me. Insurance companies owe a fiduciary responsibility to their customers. Safeco/Liberty Mutual has failed grossly in meeting their responsibility.

As I have said in the past, if you have Safeco or Liberty Mutual as your insurance provider, find another, fast. If you have a need for a contractor, do not contact Protech. You will regret it for the rest of your life if you use their services.

Yes, someone did walk off with almost all of my stuff. They took the home I lived in since I was 6 months old. They took the home in which I was midwife to my mother’s death. They took the home in which I and my mom raised my son. I had to give away much of my stuff to charity because I could not put it into the structure. The rest stands outside under tarps. It would decide to rain as soon as I have no place to store my things. My greatest loss is my library. Built over a lifetime and composed of a variety of texts, many of the books are in the garage, but I couldn’t open all 800 boxes that came back from storage, so some books were not located until after the rains had done their damage.

My library and my lemon tree…someone must pay for those two things if for nothing else. My mother planted the lemon tree to commemorate my son’s birth. It did not bear fruit until he was 19, in the same year as mom’s death. She did get to see that tree bear fruit and her grandson is a wonderful young man now. Protech cut down my lemon tree, with fruit on it, but left the tree hazard that started this entire fiasco. They are going to pay to have that removed, too.

Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Criminal Organizations · Disaster · Homeownership · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Law · Paralegal Studies · Probate Housing Creditors Mortgages Mortgage Fraud

AVOID SAFECO INSURANCE and PROTECH CONSTRUCTION continued

Kent Stiles is a Senior Claims Resolution Specialist III for First National Insurance Company of America, the underwriter for Safeco Insurance. He is a crafty yet craven man. He will not answer direct questions about his handling of my claim. Yet, he is the only person I am allowed to talk to when I call about my claim. He lies, twists facts, or will not answer questions that he doesn’t want to answer. This is bad faith.

I requested a copy of my claim file through an individual who answers the phone at Safeco. The pleasant woman happily sent what was enclosed in my claim file at the time of my call. I received a sheaf of papers that detailed work and materials that did not exist on this site. No hardwood floors, no vent-free infrared heaters, no alder door. I don’t even have a back door, though I used to.

Once I started questioning Stiles about this invoice and telling him that the items were not present at this site, that he should not pay Protech, he straight ignored me and sent payment for $80+K. I have repeatedly asked him why he did this, but he never answers this question no matter how directly it is put to him. This, too, is bad faith.

I requested my claim file directly from Stiles’ alleged supervisor, Jeffrey Walker, and received a large box full of documents. At the very top was the engineering report I’d asked Stiles about over two years ago. You see, he kept my claim file on a restricted status after I received it directly from Claims. No other eyes but his or his Claims Department cronies could view my file, and one adjuster, James Hudson, said he wouldn’t read the file anyway.

How can I trust these people? They have closed ranks to protect their own and no one at Safeco cares about the now well-documented damages I’m suffering.

Kent Stiles wrote my claim up as repair only. All paperwork relates to repair only. It would have stayed at repair only had I not begun to fight with him about my treatment. He is currently trying to spin what was obviously a rebuild. This structure is smaller than my home. This structure is poorly constructed. My home was well-built by hand of old walnut. That’s likely why it stood up to the blow of the tree fall. My property taxes have tripled when the assessor didn’t bother to get the correct measurements of this structure.

This claims experience has been exceptionally awful, but there seems to be no help for me coming from within Safeco.