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Old 12-11-2012, 14:38   #1
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Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

I would like to find a paralegal, advanced law student, professor, or good-hearted atty who doesn't have a crushing "bu$ine$$ model" to help guide me in a legal battle and stay alive through the process. The person I am dealing with is violent and would really like me dead so as to not show up in court, so the question of offense / defense / self-protection is also important. And no, the police don't seem to be concerned.

Following is my story - if you get nothing else from this, do learn that the DOL is apparently totally incompetent , and they will give your boat away for a candy-wrapper and then do nothing to reverse the problem until you pay thousands and get an order. DOCUMENT YOUR VESSEL!!!

I was very fortunate that my neighbor called me a couple weeks ago to say that someone was taking my 39' Morgan part-time liveaboard sailboat from my slip in the marina. The police were with the thief and it looked to my neighbor to be a "repo". In fact, it was a theft based on a fictitious lien. The Department of Licensing gave my boat to this guy who showed up with laughable and bogus paperwork. There was no court judgment, nothing filed at the assessors office that I am aware of, nothing received in the mail by me, no ownership dispute (I had boat the boat at auction with 100% of my own cash money), just a jerk who claimed he had paid me to buy the boat for him. He then drafted a letter claiming I owed him "one-million dollars" (actually, 40,000, but just as randomly conjured), called it some sort of moorage lien as if he owned the marina, put "mechanics lien" on the cover sheet (he had never done any work on the boat), copied a registered mail receipt with no city, state, zip or postmark and VIOLA! He gets registration to my boat.

I arrived at the marina only to find the police saying that, as he had the registration changed into his name, they were backing him and that it was now a "civil" issue. At one point the crook also told the police (and a yacht broker) that he had paid me to buy the boat for him - a complete and baseless lie I can adequately disprove. I explained to the officer that I stayed aboard part-time and had most of my possessions on board, to which he replied that I could take my things off, but as I didn't have a rental agreement with the "legal owner", they would not treat it as an eviction.

I got official copies of the paperwork from the DOL and pointed out that the letter was intentionally not deliverable. Both the DOL and the Police said it didn't matter that he didn't mail it, all he had to have was a "good faith effort" to deliver it. I pointed at the registered mail receipt with no city, state, zip or postmark, and the tracking info indicating it was mailed long after stated and returned for lack of a complete address - none of it mattered. The crook merrily went along and tried to sell the boat through a broker. I thwarted him there (thanks unnamed broker). Even if the letter had been delivered, it showed no stamp of approval, no judgement, nothing that would make me think it legitimate. It was very poorly worded and the RCW cited just made no sense.

Now, after huge legal fees and two weeks of the most Kafkaesque fight I could ever have imagined, I have my boat back in its slip. Yet, I still can't go there because he filed a restraining order, based on PURE fiction, that covers my slip, his liveaboard slip, the marina office, gas dock, parking lot, etc. I do have solid papers for filing prepared by my atty, and the judge says that the guy is in deep trouble 'if everything in my declaration, etc. is true', which it is - and he knows it - which makes him more angry and dangerous. What I may want to do is get him to leave me the F alone in exchange for not pursuing the criminal aspects of what he has done.

Request for advice -
My atty said he could be forced to pay the legal fees, but he has hidden all (limited) assets probably due to a $134k suit against him.
He is a dangerous and unpredictable person with a lot of violence in his background and intensive training in weapons and assault. He just this year got off a violent assault charge because the victim didn't show (I believe this was the reason).
He did show for court (to serve me the bogus anti-harassment order) and the judge told him it looked like he was in pretty deep for attempted "conversion" (theft, sale of stolen goods) but he continued to harass me.
The marina is staying out of it.
I can't communicate with him directly, and the lawyer is v. expensive - so I want to minimize those expenses - I want to arrange some sort of settlement
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Old 12-11-2012, 14:42   #2
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

What is your relationship with the other party?
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Old 12-11-2012, 14:43   #3
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

Wow. I think I would call the Seattle tenant's union. This is WAY outside their normal but at the very least they should be able to point you to some help with an anti-harrassment order. I have a good attorney I could refer you to, but it sounds like you have that covered. It's hard to argue with crazy.
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Old 12-11-2012, 15:17   #4
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

I had worked about 120 hrs. for him over the course of a year - unrelated to boating- we had been acquaintances / friends with boating in common and had attended an auction together, where I bought a boat. He called me 1/2 hr. before this auction and tried to get me to bid on his behalf - basically trying to order me to do it even though he knew I wanted the boat. Even though I was almost to the auction and had my money, etc. He acted like he owned and controlled me. Frankly, as I got to know him I was already distancing myself.
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Old 12-11-2012, 15:50   #5
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

Buy a gun and keep it on your boat once you can get back legally on the boat. If he comes on board or threatens you shoot him. I would continue with your suit but thats me. He sounds like a bully.
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Old 12-11-2012, 15:59   #6
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

Counseling to commit a felony is a felony.
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Old 12-11-2012, 16:11   #7
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by perchance View Post
Counseling to commit a felony is a felony.
I believe the comment was made from a 'stand your ground' Florida perspective, in which case there would be no felony.
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Old 12-11-2012, 16:17   #8
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

I'm an attorney, what state is this in?
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Old 12-11-2012, 16:17   #9
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

Id like to hear "Sue's{ side of the story before commenting..
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Old 12-11-2012, 16:27   #10
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

This isn't Judge Judy, it's the internet. Why do people seriously expect to receive free yet sound legal advice on a boating forum?
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Old 12-11-2012, 16:33   #11
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

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This isn't Judge Judy, it's the internet. Why do people seriously expect to receive free yet sound legal advice on a boating forum?
Look again at the first paragraph - the post has two main purposes:
!. DOCUMENT YOUR VESSEL
2. Help wanted - I am willing to pay for good advice, need document review, directions on how to proceed pro se.

That said, smart people have good advice and good ideas and often post them in forums. I would trust a random forum over Judge Judy any day
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Old 12-11-2012, 16:46   #12
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

NPR has a radio show called This American Life, truly a great show. IIRC a Couple of years ago they did a show on this kind of scam. But it was a home not a boat. Apparently not all that uncommon.
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Old 12-11-2012, 16:58   #13
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

I'm curious why the OP thinks that documentation would have negated his current problem. Scam artists could still put a lien on a documented boat, could they not?
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Old 12-11-2012, 17:07   #14
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

Why don't you *communicate* with him in a language that he understands?
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Old 12-11-2012, 17:09   #15
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Re: Warning - DOCUMENT YOUR BOAT! and request for advice

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Counseling to commit a felony is a felony.

And protecting one's life is protecting one's life -- not a felony. there has been no "counseling to commit a felony" here.
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