Just stepped out of the shower and nearly went through the floor. I reported the questionable support structure under the bathroom floor to Los Angeles County Public Works, Building and Safety department several weeks ago. Because they are involved with the scam, they are ignoring my requests for service and leaving me in an unsafe condition because they do not want to require the contractor, who allegedly pulled the permits, to make the necessary corrections to this unfinished job.
I am now certain this scam involves Building and Safety inspectors and administrators. Had I not persisted in demanding reinspection of this mess that somehow passed final inspection, only to have the Certificate of Occupancy rescinded and a list of the same corrections that needed to be made when the first corrections notice was issued in 2017. Another was issued in 2018, but it was set aside for 18 months with a hope that I would just go away or would be intimidated into silence by the contractor.
The contractor is suing me for defamation, claiming I have cost him one million dollars in damages. I have filed an anti-SLAAP in response. I guess he has been designated to handle me while Building and Safety, Department of Insurance, Safeco/Liberty Mutual close off communication and ignore me.
I experienced similar treatment in the military. I reported sexual harassment to an officer. Next thing I know, he is transferred. I was prevented from getting to the Inspector General, so I stayed a one-woman protest, refusing to do anything except go to class until I was allowed to report what women were suffering at the hands of the Sargent Major in charge of the trainees. We were short-timers. It was easier to stop the behavior while we remained rather than let me report a lifer. Might mess up his retirement.
I now know with certainty that this structure was built without plans, with second-rate materials, and improperly with the blessings of LA County Building and Safety. The project manager who actually worked on this unsafe structure is dead. I think the dead have no rights, so it is safe to name him: Steve Willsey. I never would have known he died had not the contractor who is suing me called to tell me. He also told me I would never get the money he was given by the insurance adjuster. I think I was told about Willsey and was supposed to be afraid. I was threatened. I felt the contractor was attempting to intimidate me, just as he is doing by filing this frivolous lawsuit that violates my right to free speech.
I may not be able to sue this gaslighting crew, but I can let as many as can and will read this know that they need to be wary about insurance claims adjusters, building contractors, insurance companies, and public agencies that are supposed to stand for the consumer but don’t.
The first adjuster who worked my claim requested an engineering report to better assess the damage than the appraiser who came out to make the initial assessment. It was the appraiser who recommended an engineer come and take a look because there might be hidden damage that he was not able to check. The engineering report, May 2016, concluded that what was needed was about $48K of repair as the damage was confined to my bedroom. The report’s conclusions were to be considered relevant until their expiry in March 2018. The engineering company reserved the right to amend or supplement the report if additional relevant information became available.
Enter the second adjuster. I was under the impression that the contractor brought to my home by the field adjuster came to make repairs based on this report. Instead, I was told that repairs could not happen because I had no foundation. My entire house would have to be torn down. I guess the report was read and focused on the statement that the foundation system of the house was unknown. There was no damage to my workshop, but they tore that down, too.
I have requested the additional relevant information from the adjuster that I think of as the mastermind of this fraud. They need to present a documented justification for tearing down my home. The contractor submitted a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) to the adjuster to get paid, but he started getting paid in February 2017 when the house was in demolition. The CO was dated March 2017, issued in September 2017. Submission of the CO to the insurance company is an indication that all work is completed. There needs to be some explanation of why the contractor was paid after I told the mastermind that material and services listed on the sole document in my first claim file did not exist at this house. There was a check cut in March 2018 for $80K for things not present, but paid for, like hardwood floors, vent-free heaters, and an Alder door. I told the mastermind this. He told me to file a police report. I did, submitted it to him. He gave it to another adjuster, creating another claim, effectively making the police report that noted the stolen items in detail, disappear. No matter what I told the mastermind, he paid the contractor.
What began as a $48K repair job mushroomed into a $430K gaslighting nightmare for me, and plenty of money for the adjusters and contractors to spread around, I guess. The Claims Department and the Presidential Service Team of Safeco Insurance have worked for a solid year to prevent me from speaking to anyone other than the mastermind and his coworkers. They want me to go away. They tell me I have gone as far as I can with them and should consider alternative methods for dealing with this problem as I am still dissatisfied with their resolution of this fraud. Gall. Brazen gall.
For more than a year, I have been paying an insurance premium that I thought was too high for what this here is. I contacted Underwriting after being told by a conscientious employee who provides policy service that Underwriting had placed some sort of hold on my account. I called in and got a bot, asked for Underwriting, and was put through. Had I called and been directed to Claims, I would never have been allowed to speak with them. I was able to inform them of all the changes to my house, which were never reported to anyone outside of Claims, but should have been, and realized a substantial reduction in my premium and a refund of the monies spent over the past year. I asked if I should have paid a premium while there was no house standing in this empty space and was told no, they did not insure empty lots, and I would have to have the adjuster contact them to correct this error. I did ask the mastermind to address this, but doubt he will.
Fraud takes a long time to trace and uncover. Heading into the third year. I have no doubt the mastermind and his friends have run this scam on many people, but they didn’t have time to follow-up or were satisfied with what they were given. In fact, the adjusters suggested that I should be grateful for the “brand new house” that I’d been gifted. They really make me want to Wayne Brady them. They need to be audited. I hope I can shut these bastards down so they can’t do this to any more people.
When Vince Paglia, president of Protech Construction, and Nichole/Nahal Mazandarani, a senior adjuster at Safeco Insurance, came to my home to discuss the timetable of repairs, I thought they had been sent to repair the damages to my bedroom, caused by a tree limb falling on my house on Earth Day, 2016.
It took Safeco 19 days to respond to my claim that I entered 15 minutes after it happened. Trevor Haaswyk was the adjuster who responded and he sent an appraiser and an engineer to my home to assess the damages. The first adjuster responding requested the engineer’s assessment as he could not assess any structural damage that was not readily visible. The engineer assessed the damages and wrote a report that totaled the damages at around $48K. There was no damage to my storage/workshop, no damage to any other room in my home except the bedroom. The bedroom definitely suffered structural damage, but because my home was handbuilt in 1923, it withstood the weight of the wild pecan tree that fell on it. If you know anything of wood, you know pecan is dense and heavy.
When Mazandarani shows up with Paglia, they told me repairs could not commence because I had no foundation. The entire house would have to be rebuilt. Mazandarani called me a couple of days after this pronouncement to tell me the rebuild had been approved. They would begin after Paglia returned from his vacay in Croatia. He said he would start with the “garage”.
There was never a garage on this property. There was a workshop for metal and woodwork that I expanded to accommodate storage needs. When we needed off-street parking, the drive in front of the house easily accepted two full-sized vehicles. No matter how often I said I didn’t have a garage and didn’t want my workshop torn down, as it wasn’t damaged, I was told that LA County Building and Safety and Planning required me to have a garage and covered parking. A driveway had to reach from the sidewalk to the garage.
This scheme to rebuild my home with only an authorization for repair was signed off on at every instance of money disbursement by Kent Stiles of Safeco. Stiles took over my claim from Trevor Haaswyk and would never answer me when I asked what happened to Haaswyk’s findings.
I have been suspicious of the behavior of my insurance provider and their contractor since March 2017. By then, they had surpassed the 3-6 month time estimate in the “contract” I signed with Protech. I felt I was being subjected to bad faith. It took quite some time to find the department to report problems with claims, but I was told the Presidential Service Team could assist me.
Through first Fernando Moreno and then, Olivia Casarez, both of the PST, I was subjected to further stalling and attempts to call me off the complaint. Ms Casarez would report everything I said to Kent Stiles, who would then alter his documentation to counter whatever my complaint may have been. Ms Casarez openly mocked me when I suggested an audit needed to be done on all claims handled by Stiles. He is much too practiced at covering up, stalling, making paperwork, like police reports, disappear. The narrative that had included rebuild suddenly went to repair only, and it was as if Protech had not been the one to rebuild this house, but came in only to make repairs about items I said were missing or never installed on this site. This is not the first time a consumer has been subjected to this skimming scam, this fraud, that seems to be a systemic failure of Safeco Insurance.
Throughout the process, I noticed there were never any plans drawn for a rebuild, that the contractor was building the house from a poor drawing of my home that didn’t take into consideration the angle at which my lot lies. And that is only the first of many wrongs that occurred here.
The trap pictured above was put in as a replacement for my handbuilt 1923 Rambler. It is not up to Code, yet it passed inspection. It lacks a back door, venting, access to the crawlspace or attic, my recessed lighting, my shelves, a closet, a mirror and vanity in the bathroom; to list more would bore you. The fact that they effectively killed all of my flora, and my library, that they destroyed my kitchen with its built-in, floor to ceiling shelves, I will never get over. I’ve been stuck in this trap a year and still cannot use my stove because there is no connector to the gas line.
Move-in ready. I’m supposed to be grateful for a “brand new house” according to Mazandarani. The project was abandoned when I walked into it. When the Porta Potty is gone, the project is done or abandoned. It looked abandoned to me, having no fencing, no porch, not even a real step, only a plywood board in front of the only entry or exit from this junk.
I want this house torn down. I had no choice in it, was lied to about it, had my home of 60 years taken from me. I now have a property that is worth less, taxed higher, is smaller, and in no way suits my needs. Much of my property that was in storage stands outside because I cannot fit it into the house or the garage. If everything came out of my home, why can’t it go back in?
Most disturbing is that Kent Stiles has been investigating himself. No matter to whom I reported the fact that he was robbing me, everything comes back to Stiles. He has no manager, no supervisor. Neither CEO of Safeco or Liberty Mutual seem interested in knowing they have an embezzlement ring in their Claims department. I think I have spoken to no less than 20 people at Safeco about this matter. Stiles had a security block on my file to prevent any one other than himself from seeing my claim file. The Presidential Service Team is a joke. Consumers should not be subjected to this treatment. Don’t insurance companies have a fiduciary responsibility to their customers? Guess not.
Trevor Haaswyk was the Safeco adjuster who responded to my claim 19 days after I logged it.
He sent an engineer here to assess the damage. Donan’s engineer’s report said there was no structural damage to my storage unit, nor was there any damage to any other part of the house, save the bedroom.
Proof, I did not imagine Trevor Haaswyk.
Proof, Kent Stiles and Vince Paglia conspired to defraud me.
Proof, Kent Stiles signed off on and “paid” for the destruction of my home.
One of the crimes commited here is conspiracy to commit fraud. Then, there is the grand theft. Corruption of government inspectors may be involved as no building permits exist and code violations continue in effect. From the time Kent Stiles took over the handling of this claim from Trevor Haaswyk, the intention was to defraud, plunder the claim for as much money as possible.
I am so sure I am not the only one who has been victimized by these thieves.
Stiles manages the paperwork. He creates, alters, and otherwise manipulates documents to fit the needs of the time, whatever is needed to facilitate theft. His field adjuster, Nahal Mazandarani, was sent out to gain my confidence, survey the site, and act as if the lack of a foundation under my house was a thing significant enough to warrant the complete demolition and rebuilding of my house and storage shed, even though there was no structural damage done to the storage shed. All destruction, including the cutting down of my healthy, fruit-bearing, 31-year-old lemon tree and the decimation of all of things planted to support pollinators and clear the air around my property, following from there being no foundation was blamed on Building and Safety inspectors.
Somehow, Protech managed to rebuild this house with plans for repair, regardless of my complaints. It is no wonder I am now short 8 sq ft from my house, according to the company that came out and measured the objects on the lot to provide me with a premium based on the property standing here now, not my 1923 Rambler. Neither Protech nor Safeco notified anyone that this house and shed had been rebuilt. As this work was considered complete in December 2017, when it was abandoned by Protech and my family and I were forced in, I think the rebuild was never going to be reported. Plunder access point number one.
Tactics to which I was subjected during the commission of this fraud included bullying, gaslighting, lying, and stalling. Stall for time, drag it out. I was given an estimate of 3-6 months to complete the project. Why was I out of my home for 18 months, not counting hotel time? Protech invalidated their own contract by not completing my home within the estimated time frame. It didn’t matter how many complaints I lodged; they had a plan and were sticking to it. The crime is in the plan and the sloppy execution.
The second plunder access point was the $165K in personal property monies that went untouched throughout the claim. I didn’t save the insurance company any money, that’s certain. You’d think they’d care to know how these schmucks not only robbed me, but also them. When I complained to Stiles that the items for which he was being asked by the contractor to pay were nowhere in this house, he told me to file a police report if I thought things had been stolen from the site. He then made the police report disappear by giving the report to another adjuster, telling him to process it as a fresh theft claim. Stiles previously told me that he wouldn’t pay for the items I said were missing, but he sent the police report number and a list made up of items he told me were not covered to the new adjuster. That adjuster processed this new theft claim, charged me another deductible, and poof! the police report with Grand Theft on the cover, that details $75K worth of nonexistent items vanishes as a closed claim.
Because the relationship between adjuster and contractor is confidential, they can accomplish all sorts of tricks with no oversight. It is as if the relationship is sacrosanct. It is because of the nature of the relationship that Stiles and Paglia have likely done this job of work several times over the last 16 years. I know I am not the only victim, but I may be the only one to have realized what was happening and alerted one agency when the estimated 6 months of being out of my home was exceeded. Had to stick it out to the bitter end to really see what was going on. I am 7 months past the time I should have been talking about this, but it is only now that I am receiving paperwork from the Assessor’s Office and Safeco regarding premium renewal that I can see, clearly, how Stiles pencilwhipped me and my complaints out of existence.
My home is smaller and there are many things wrong with it that will necessitate tearing this mess down and starting again, this time with the proper documentation and proper procedures followed. Now, there is an investigation into fake inspections because not one building permit exists for this horribly rebuilt house. No building permits, no warrantys, no invoices, no receipts, except for fabricated ones. Nor were there supposed to be any. It was supposed to look as if Protech was only recently hired on to correct errors for which some other contractor was responsible.
I have 6 estimates for the same job. None of the final numbers match. I was asking for the return of the $80K Safeco paid Protech on my birthday, but I realized I must ask for much more because there is so much that must be corrected and paid for.
I entered into this contract in good faith, and have been treated nothing but badly. I am looking for justice for all of us who have been duped by these scoundrels.