John Colby's Freedom of Information Campaign against Human Rights abuse in Santa Cruz [link]
* Santa Cruz retaliates against Human Rights advocate John Colby [link]
* Human Rights abuse in itty-bitty Santa Cruz [link]
2013-06-22 "Can you submit a FOIA request to HUD for me?"
(edited) message from John Colby to community journalists:
I made the copied FOIA request to HUD stemming from my advocacy for an elderly disabled women — a whistleblower — who has been forced out of the Elizabeth Oaks Section 8 apartment complex in Santa Cruz on Jose Avenue [www.apartmentratings.com/rate/CA-Santa-Cruz-Elizabeth-Oaks-Apartments.html].
HUD is challenging my application for a FOIA fee waiver (because the information will reveal malfeasance by their San Francisco Office regarding Elizabeth Oaks owned by rich philanthropist Jack Baskin [www1.ucsc.edu/oncampus/currents/97-05-19/bio1.htm] and managed by behemoth housing corporation The John Stewart Company). Residents there have suffered for many years with rats, crime and lacked hot water for showers and dishwashing — according to my sources — for almost 15 years. Even worse crimes seem to have occurred, presently unconfirmed although believable. It will probably show a pillar of the community — Jack Baskin — has been receiving favors from the government while being a terrible slumlord (along with The John Stewart Company acting as his hatchet man). UCSC programs are being funded from ill gotten money from Section 8 ripoffs. We could gain a federal investigation from this like I have at the Mission Gardens Apartments. It would be a monumental story — this could be a tremendous boost to your career.
2013-05-28 "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST for Elizabeth Oaks records documenting crimes, fraud and abuse"
from John Colby to Ophelia B. Basgal, Region IX Administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
[600 Harrison Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94107–1300]
via email to [Ophelia.B.Basgal@hud.gov]
via facsimile to [email@example.com]
attached: May 26, 2013 letter with Elizabeth Oaks FOIA request
attached: June Abbenante's May 13, 2013 authorization for me to represent and advocate for her
attached; JSCO attorney Nathan Benjamin's April 23, 2013 90 day notice of termination to June Abbenante
Dear Regional Administrator Basgal:
In order to assist other residents at John Stewart Company (JSCO) managed Section 8 projects — in this instance at the Elizabeth Oaks Apartments on Jose Avenue in Santa Cruz, California — exercise their rights to safe, habitable and crime free housing, I am writing to submit a FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
First, please read the PDF attachments:
* My FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST in a letter dated May 26, 2013. In it I ask for the following records about the Elizabeth Oaks Apartments — its most current Section 8 HAP contract, its most current regulatory agreements, its most current management contract, all of its property inspection reports, all written correspondence between the HUD San Francisco Multifamily Hub and individuals and groups on Jose Avenue, logs of such correspondence, all written correspondence between the HUD San Francisco Multifamily Hub and individuals and groups on Jose Avenue as well as JSCO and its agents, and the County of Santa Cruz which are about, pertain to, or refer to “rats”, “hot water”, “security”, “cameras” and “crime” at Elizabeth Oaks. I have objective witnesses to this correspondence and what it's about. If HUD does not provide it to me, that would constitute a coverup: it would be scandalous. Apparently Elizabeth Oaks residents have been quite vocal in complaining to HUD about serious crimes, fraud and abuse, which HUD completely shirked. This shows a systemic failure in government oversight.
* Elderly, disabled Elizabeth Oaks resident June Abbenante's authorization for me to represent and advocate for her. JSCO attorney Nathan Benjamin is forcing her out — she requires my representation and advocacy because her disabilities and frail condition make it impossible for her to address this campaign to remove her for outspoken defiance of the deplorable conditions JSCO Senior Vice President Mari Tustin has created at Elizabeth Oaks. Ms. Abbenante is a whistleblower just like my sister and I. Ms. Tustin and her subordinates have been punishing Ms. Abbenante for many years, pressing upon her disabilities. This is the standard modus operandi which JSCO seems to apply at its properties to curb dissent, just as they have tried to do to us at Mission Gardens. Ms. Tustin seems to use her attorney Nathan Benjamin as an enforcer, violating his ethical obligations as a bar association member.
* Nathan Benjamin's 90 day notice to terminate Ms. Abbenante's long tenure at Elizabeth Oaks. As usual, he seems to be employing exaggeration, pretext, deceit and inaccurate framing to force out a tenant who Ms. Tustin sees as a trouble maker, just as he tried to falsely evict me with bogus claims of harassing the resident criminals who have been terrorizing us, then when that failed, using the false pretense of claiming I interfered with the management. This shows systemic tenant abuse by JSCO unethically using their attorney as a hit man to remove outspoken (disabled) tenants who cannot protect themselves, which HUD has allowed to continue unabated: this is scandalous.
That said, I ask for the following:
1. The most current Section 8 HAP (Housing Assistance Payments) contract for the Elizabeth Oaks Apartments.
2. The most current regulatory agreements for the Elizabeth Oaks Apartments.
3. The most current management contract for the Elizabeth Oaks Apartments.
4. All property inspection reports, e.g. REAC and CAHI inspections, for the Elizabeth Oaks Apartments between January 01, 2000 and May 26, 2013.
5. All electronic and non–electronic written correspondence between HUD San Francisco Multifamily Hub staff and anyone and any group at Jose Avenue in Santa Cruz, California, from between January 01, 2000 and May 26, 2013.
6. Logs of all correspondence between HUD San Francisco Multifamily Hub staff and anyone and any group at Jose Avenue in Santa Cruz, California, from between January 01, 2000 and May 26, 2013.
7. All electronic and non–electronic written correspondence between HUD San Francisco Multifamily Hub staff, anyone and any group at Jose Avenue in Santa Cruz, California, JSCO and its agents, as well as any officials, employees, agents, agencies, departments, divisions, bodies, commissions and committees of the County of Santa Cruz about, pertaining to, or referring to “rats”, “hot water”, “security”, “cameras” and “crime” at the Elizabeth Oaks Apartments from between January 01, 2000 and May 26, 2013.
Although I am willing to pay a fee of up to $100, I ask for a waiver of all fees as described in my letter to you (attached as a PDF). If the cost will exceed this, I ask you to provide me with a fee estimate before completing this request.
Note that Ms. Abbenante is willing to authorize you to release her private information in responsive records to me. Also note that JSCO staff, their agents and government officials and employees do not generally enjoy privacy rights when conducting the people's business. Thus I ask you not to redact their private identifiers nor private government/business information present while conducting the people's business.
Thank you for fulfilling this FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST without evasion, tampering, or hiding, so that HUD does not impede me in helping Ms. Abbenante and other Elizabeth Oaks residents preserve their tenancies and exercise their civil rights.
Respectfully yours, [signed] John E. Colby, Ph.D.