In 2017 I invested my retirement savings in a mortgage arranged by a licensed mortgage broker and secured by a brand new house in Patterson. Last December, after doing enormous damage while turning it into a ‘grow-house,’ the borrower got arrested for cultivating marijuana. He’d quit paying the mortgage so I foreclosed. Now I own it. When selling, the title company found Patterson liened this property to enforce fines they’d levied against the doper. I explained to the City’s lawyer that I had zero contact with this borrower, certainly no knowledge or involvement in this illegal enterprise described in the 12/19/2019 Patterson Irrigator as a “Huge Marijuana Grow Ring.”

The City continues to insist I must pay the fine for another person’s crime! Isn’t this America? Where, exactly, do crime victims pay fines for the very crime that victimized them?

The end result of this ill-conceived, disastrous public policy will be to scare off all mortgage money from Patterson which will rapidly destroy home values. What bank will lend here if their loan might be wiped out by a unilateral, capricious and illegal pen-stroke by a City bureaucrat?

Patterson’s Code Enforcement Ordinance only authorizes fines against the “responsible person” - clearly not me, yet the City inexplicably continues to demand $276,250! The ordinance requires notification to affected lenders but the City routinely ignores its own rules: they did not notify me so I would have had an opportunity to mitigate damages. This is wrong.

The City of Patterson ought to work with me to restore this house to habitability so a nice family can raise children here, not abuse its immense governmental authority to harass an innocent crime victim in the name of the good people of Patterson. Please tell them so.

Jeffrey D. Arnold

Orinda, CA

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