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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

What are You Afraid to Write?

I’m afraid to write that Vince Paglia, the president of Protech Construction, the contractor who lied to my face, stole my home, stole $80+K, and claimed he didn’t know me, is about to be cited by the Contractors State License Board. He may lose his license if he doesn’t pay me what he owes.

I’m afraid to write that Kent Stiles, the claims adjuster who works for Safeco/Liberty Mutual, has not yet been stopped. He has kept my claim file in suspense for a year. No matter who I speak to at Safeco/Liberty Mutual, no matter how many times I tell the story of how Stiles has falsified documents, lied to me, manipulated numbers, I get sent right back to him for resolution. Makes no sense. I am very concerned about customers of this insurance company. They have too many complaints, always said to lowball all estimates, poor general customer service, and the slowest response rates in Christdom.

I am afraid no longer. Funny how that writing what you fear works.

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.


AS

Of Engineering Reports and COs

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.

AS

I’ve Been Robbed!

Move-In Ready, Courtesy of Safeco Insurance Claims, December 2017
Kent Stiles, Vince Paglia, Nahal Mazandarani

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.

Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Criminal Organizations · Economic Anger · Homeownership · Insurance Claims · Paralegal Studies · trauma

Trevor Haaswyk

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.

AS

Ruminatin’

So, it’s like, my insurance company ripped me off. I contacted two CEOs about it, and the issue just loops right back around to the criminals perpetratin’ the fraud. At first, I was disappointed. Now, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!

Olivia Casarez is a representative of the Presidential Service Team who openly mocked me as I was trying to get what was supposed to be assistance with getting my claim properly handled.

For my life, I cannot understand this blatant disregard for the rule of law, the codes of professional ethics I know are mandatory for licensed insurance personnel. There is no concern for the human lives associated with the payments Safeco rakes in. Tyler Asher, CEO of Safeco didn’t respond at all when I contacted him. I got a letter from Olivia Casarez in answer to my inquiry sent to the Liberty Mutual CEO, David H. Long. She was letting me know that no matter who I contacted, either she or Kent Stiles would shut out and down all of my objections to being robbed.

That wunderkind, Kent Stiles. He runs the Claims Department, overruling his own manager. It is astonishing the number of people aware of this fraud, and they continue to cover it up.  I believe I have spoken to more than 20 people within Safeco about this matter. To a one, they have opted to cover up. I think corruption is widespread and of duration.

Olivia Casarez openly mocked me for suggesting an audit be conducted of Kent Stiles’ claim files. I think there may be a discernible pattern to his theft. If this scam has been run with the contractor before, I think I know how it was done.

I am so angry.

To get paid, a contractor must submit a certificate of occupancy to the insurance provider. Receipt of this certificate signals the provider to pay out. I think this was done in my case. The contractor, Vince Paglia, president of Protech Construction, personally oversaw the  demolition of my home in early 2017. He then submitted the certificate, dated March 2017, to Kent Stiles, the payout adjuster for Safeco. The insurance company hides behind the fact that they are solely responsible for paying out. Any problems with your work, take it up with the contractor. 

Vince Paglia then assigned the rebuild to Steve Willsey of Willsey Construction, but who presented a card that indicated he worked for Protech. It seemed odd to me that Willsey never had plans for a rebuild, but worked from plans that clearly said they were drawn for repair work.

There was a thing, a major thing. My home was demo’d, but the insurance paperwork never stated my home was rebuilt for the duration of the time the claim was open. The department that works out your payments, figures out your premium, was never notified that the house had been rebuilt. When I notified them of the fact, they sent someone out to verify the rebuild and measure the square footage. This is when I learned the house was 8 sq ft smaller than it had been.

I didn’t learn about the tripling of my property taxes until a couple of months ago. I had to pay for 2017 and 2018. My property taxes for the entire year were $622. My first installment is now $988. That is more than my monthly pittance from social security. What once was affordable is now unaffordable, through the fault of the contractor and insurance company. I am being beggared while Kent Stiles, Olivia Casarez, Vince Paglia, Nahal Mazandarani et al. mock me all the way to their respective banks.

Only in America?