On writing Seattle City Council member Sally Bagshaw

My work is cut out for me as a victim of a real estate mobbing in the United States, a country that has not yet recognized this crime that the United Nations lists as a major cause of forced eviction worldwide.

Forced evictions violate, directly and indirectly, the full spectrum of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights enshrined in international instruments.

A partial list of the rights that forced eviction violates, rights that have direct bearing on what my life has been over years of being victimized by this organized crime, includes:

  • Freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, art. 6.1)
  • The right to security of the person. (Ibid., art. 9.1)
  • The right to non-interference with privacy, home and family. (Ibid, art. 17)
  • Freedom of movement and to choose one’s residence (Ibid, art. 12.1)
  • The right to health (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, art. 12)
  • The right to work (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights., art. 6.1)
  • The right to an effective remedy (Ibid, arts 2.3 and 26)
  • The right to property (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, art. 17)

—Forced Evictions, United Nations Human Rights Fact Sheet No. 25, p. 6 http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FS25.Rev.1.pdf

I note that a lease agreement is considered property. Even so, the Fact Sheet lays out the extension of these rights to those who do not own their own domiciles.

Security of tenure means that, whether living in public or private rental accommodation, cooperative housing, lease, owner-occupation, emergency housing and informal settlements, including occupation of land or property, everyone should enjoy the protection of the law against being arbitrarily displaced from housing and land. (p. 9)

The Fact Sheet’s assertion that “women often tend to be disproportionately affected and bear the brunt of abuse during forced evictions” is relevant to my own situation.

Forced eviction entails direct and indirect violence against women before, during and after the event. Frequently, women are the direct targets of psychological or physical intimidation and harassment before the eviction. Stress and anxiety linked with the threat of eviction or the eviction particularly affect pregnant women. In societies with traditionally defined gender roles, the eviction is often timed to take place when men are absent and women alone so that there will be less resistance. During evictions, verbal abuse and physical violence, including sexual violence, often take place. (p. 16)

I note that I, a single woman who lived alone and survived years of open civil harassment in my neighborhood, was selected by captains of the neighborhood watch in concert with real estate speculators for this brutal style of forced eviction. A couple who rented down the street for a year was harassed in ways considered “civil,” and I know that other renters in my area have at least been targeted to have their vehicles “red-tagged” as abandoned, but to my knowledge, none of them have been criminally victimized in their own homes as I have been. It’s safe to say that a single woman living alone has greater vulnerability to forced eviction at the hands of those who would practice it, than a woman who lives with a partner.

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In my continuing attempts to persuade authorities to open an investigation that will lead to the prosecution of those who have been attempting to “turn over” the rental home in which I reside, I try to write officials from the City of Seattle and the State of Washington on a monthly basis. Among those I write are Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, City of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, and Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.

Last night I wrote to City of Seattle Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, having noticed that she is in some ways, uniquely qualified to understand how the phenomenon of real estate mobbing would play out in a neighborhood such as my own.

Councilmember Bagshaw has served both as an Assistant Attorney General and a Chief Civil Deputy Prosecutor of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. With the depth of legal understanding that these roles require, Councilmember Bagshaw should easily understand how the real estate mobbing that has affected me is an organized bullying crime that is likely racketeering. I have documents that show how the neighborhood watch and its speculator friends orchestrated the bullying effort that preceded the escalation of the “civil” harassment to the criminal harassment. Even Windermere real estate agents played a contributing role, contacting my landlords repeatedly with intimations of lawsuits their clients would bring for “valuation.”

Councilmember Bagshaw should also understand how real estate mobbers would cultivate and use bias to enlist the aid of police and the courts in their aims, in a manner that is ultimately obstructive of justice. I imagine that Councilmember Bagshaw, would also understand the severity of the breach of trust that criminal forced eviction represents when it is fronted not only by those active in a neighborhood watch and neighborhood council, but by an apparent organized ring whose public face is made up of not only medical professionals, but at least one member of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA).

Moreover, Councilmember Bagshaw is familiar with some of those who have sadly involved themselves in this criminal forced eviction that has turned my home into a prison for years now. I would hope that she is an able judge of character and can see past the thin veneer of respectability of those involved. Perhaps she can put 2 and 2 together and see civil actions and courtroom defamation they included, for their purposeful obstruction of justice.

For all these reasons, it seemed a good idea to write Councilmember Bagshaw and ask for her help in pressing for an investigation. There must be a way to investigate and prosecute crimes such as this one in which the perpetrators are confident they can evade prosecution  by using hoaxes, scams and cons; by using clandestine stalking and cyber-crime side-by-side with threats of civil actions and civil actions themselves; and by using novel devices and means of harassing victims in plain sight. My understanding, as I wrote in the blog My neighborhood has a problem with bullying, is that grand juries and racketeering charges allow for criminals like these to be brought to justice.

There must be a way to bring these people to justice. Those who would real estate mob must be severely dealt with to minimize future occurrences of this human rights crime instead of encouraging it in the United States. We must find ways to enable victims to report cybercrime and to have those serious crimes escalated to the FBI. The Seattle Police Department is not equipped to handle crimes like stalking a victim over wireless networks citywide. This lack of protocols to deal with rapidly increasing technology crimes leaves victims to languish, and even to perish. Based on the practiced nature of the crime, real estate mobbing is likely a criminal trend in real estate speculation across the nation. Having a victim like me survive it for long enough to begin to understand and be able to document it as I have done on this blog, is almost certainly a rare opportunity to expose and prevent it from happening to others.

There must be a way to bring these people to justice. The restoration of my life depends on it.

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