Judge Schwall Issues Dispossessory against Homeless Task Force
(APN) ATLANTA — On Monday, October 17, 2011, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall issued a dispossessory against the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless and Anita Beaty, which allows Premium Funding Solutions–the building’s current owner–to evict them as early as October 27, 2011.
The ruling, a copy of which was obtained by Atlanta Progressive News, is an abrupt turn-around from the ruling Schwall issued last year preventing the Task Force from being evicted while the legal battle over who owned the building persisted.
Schwall ruled that “With regard to the pending matters before this Court, the Court determines that Plaintiffs have an adequate remedy at law and there is no evidence of irreparable injury, loss or damage.”
What this means is that, even if the Task Force prevails in proving that Manny Fialkow, the Benevolent Community Investment Company, Central Atlanta Progress, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, and Premium Funding Solutions engaged in an illegal conspiracy to sabotage the shelter, meaning that the initial foreclosure on the Task Force is invalid, that the Task Force can still turn around and sue for monetary damages, “an adequate remedy at law.”
“In fact, Plaintiffs have sought money damanges in several jurisdictions related to the allegations herein,” Schwall wrote.
But Steve Hall, attorney with Baker Donelson, who is representing the Task Force, told APN that they are arguing in their Motion for Reconsideration, which has already been filed, that real property cannot be replaced, so the loss would be irreparable.
Judge Schwall wrote that his order was issued “sua sponte,” or spontaneously, without a motion by any party.
“Plaintiffs have occupied the Property from the middle of 2010 to date without making any payment to the Defendant entity that foreclosed on said Property,” Schwall wrote. However, Schwall had ruled that the Task Force did not have to make any payments, Hall said.
“The Court ordered mediation, expanded from the original one-day session and led by two respected mediators from the community, has failed to resolve the pending disputes,” Schwall wrote.
“The record is replete with evidence that the Property is in deplorable physical condition and cannot offer adequate benefit to the less fortunate members of society, the very persons whom the property is mandated to serve,” Schwall wrote. Hall disputes this, arguing that the evidence shows the opposite to be the case.
“The Court is not assured that Plaintiffs have the best interest of those community members in mind. Indeed, given Plaintiff’s allegations and conduct, one could determine that Plaintiffs are less concerned about the plight of their community and more concerned with embarassing Defendants and tarnishing reputations,” Schwall wrote.
“Plaintiffs have rejected any suggestion that the Property be moved and upgraded; operated by other individuals in compliance with standards recommended by experts in the field; or otherwise improved without current management in place,” Schwall wrote.
However, Hall told APN that the Task Force was not presented with that as an offer.
“Moreover, the Court finds no support in the record that Plaintiffs can obtain the funding to repair and operate the Propertyin a productive way with the current management in place,” Schwall wrote.
“The handling of this crisis by Defendants, as delineated in civil action no. 2010cv187740, and the City of Atlanta also has been an embarassment,” Schwall wrote.
Meanwhile, as previously reported by APN, in federal court, Judge Thomas Thrash ruled that the City of Atlanta was entitled to sovereign immunity, and thus had not violated the law by participating in the conspiracy to sabotage the shelter. Thrash also ruled that the Task Force had to pay a water bill of about 150,000 dollars to the City.
Yesterday, Tuesday, October 18, Judge Thrash held a hearing on an injunction sought by the Task Force to enjoin the City from collecting on the water bill, pending the Task Force’s appeal to the higher court.
However, Thrash denied the Task Force’s motion, according to Hall.
Meanwhile, Anita Beaty told APN that they are preparing to occupy their own building.
Previously, Occupy Atlanta held a rally at the Task Force building in support of the organization. Given the support of Occupy Atlanta for the Task Force, it is certainly fathomable that the group might decide to join the Task Force in occupying the building, in the event of a dispossessory action.