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For years the Marlton Square Shopping Plaza has been an eyesore in the community. With a sale pending, residents hope that the new owner(s) may be able to revitalize the area.
On May 6, the Marlton Square Shopping Plaza, which is located next to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, was set to go to sale at a trustee’s sale auction at the Pomona Superior Courts Building. Today, three months have passed and the sale has not yet been consummated. It has been continuously postponed up to and including this week. The next proposed sale date is set for August 18 “at 11:30 am per the beneficiary request.” How can this be?
According to Integrated Lender Services, the trustee, on its priority posting and publishing website, the estimated debt is $51,615,159.77. Since the sale has not taken place on any of the pending dates, the neighborhood residents are still in a quandary as to when will the problems be resolved. It has not only become an eyesore but it is also a health hazard. Because of the deteriorating conditions that prevail at the plaza, the environmental impact on the surrounding neighborhood is worsening.
Renae C. Smith is the senior trustee sale officer of Integrated Lender Services and she did not seem to have any concern about the neighborhood other than to protect her company’s client(s), the beneficiary(ies). A call to her generated the following comment, “The public doesn’t get to know whatever the situation is; all you need to know is that it’s been postponed and we are being instructed by the client.”
When she was asked additional questions, she followed up saying, “That’s all you get.”
Pertaining to when the sale may probably take place, she said, “You only know when it happens. There is nothing we can do to force them (the beneficiaries) to go to sale.”
Tim Robbins is one of the remaining tenants at the plaza who holds a trust deed secured by the property. He spoke to the Sentinel and said, “I just filed a lawsuit against the lender and they have been calling me to sign off on the lawsuit because my law suit has nothing to do with them. They called me last Thursday or Friday.”
Besides Robbins, a legitimate tenant, there are some squatters who are occupying vacant spaces and their presence seems to be making the situation more cloudy. Robbins continued, “I put them off—attorneys from San Francisco because they failed to let me know the property was in foreclosure. I had a lien against the property and they should have notified me and that’s why I brought the lawsuit against them.” It appears that Robbins is not fully aware of all the circumstances relative to the continuous postponements or the apparent efforts by the borrowers to hold onto the property thereby salvaging the deal. According to Robbins, he has included others (defendants) in the lawsuit including Chris Hammonds of Capital Vision Equities and Jeff Lee of Lee Homes, the developers; and CRA.
In addition to the lender and the borrowers/developers, the City Redevelopment Agency (CRA) also plays a part in the project. Calls were made to all the players in project but no responses were forthcoming by press time.
Joyce Perkins, an interested resident of the Crenshaw community area and a member of the Crenshaw Advisory Committee for the Redevelopment Project did not know the status of the project. She said, “I don’t know anything about it. This is the first I’ve heard that the sale was put off.” Perkins sounded genuinely surprised when she learned of that the auction had been continuously postponed since May. She concluded, “I would suggest that you talk to the CRA because they are the ones most closely associated with what’s happening—the players in this and the details.”