Mobile homes sit vacant on GCCC property
By ANGIE HAFLICH
After a nearly four-month standoff with Garden City Community College, the remaining residents of a mobile home park that sits on land previously acquired by the college either have been forced to vacate the property or have left voluntarily.
Five vacant mobile homes are all that's left on the property at 1706 E. Spruce St., which the college purchased in December from Bob Kreutzer, who previously managed a mobile home park on the property.
Kreutzer notified tenants on Dec. 4, 2012, and again on Feb. 6, that they needed to vacate the property on or before March 15. That date was later extended to March 31.
Many tenants didn't budge, in part because of a city ordinance that states that only mobile homes built in 1986 or later can be moved in the city and mobile homes built between 1975 and 1985 can be moved within the county, if the owners get a conditional-use permit. Models built before 1975 cannot be relocated. The years the mobile homes were manufactured ranged from 1970 to 1980.
For that reason, many tenants remained on the property beyond the March 31 deadline, saying they should be compensated for the mobile homes they would have to leave behind.
Then on May 8, GCCC Attorney Randy Grisell said, the college served notice to the tenants that they needed to vacate the premises.
"Most of them didn't (vacate), and then we filed the lawsuit May 22," he said. "We determined that the trailers, whether occupied or not, were still present on the lot, and therefore we had to file a lawsuit against seven of the owners and or tenants."
Grisell said only five of the seven were located for service.
"(On June 4), we went to court on five of them that we had service on. One was a default, they just didn't show up. And then the other four were represented by counsel, but they confessed judgment, meaning they didn't contest it, so we obtained judgment and they had until July 3 to vacate. On the 3rd, I went out with sheriff's deputies and we checked each one of the trailers, and they were all vacant," he said.
There were originally 10 mobile homes located on the property. One burned down several years ago. The other mobile homes were either rented or owned by the following occupants: Silvia Valdiviezo, Freddy Morales, Clemencia Zermeno, Rolando Rios, Victor Gamez, Nora Hernandez, Evaristo Elizalde, Harold Orosco and Humberto Zamudio.
Morales' and Zermeno's mobile homes were removed from their respective lots at an unknown date prior to May 8, when the college sent notice to the tenants. The four who confessed judgment were Gamez, Valdiviezo, Hernandez and Elizalde. Grisell said that Rios did not show up for the June 4 proceeding, defaulting judgment to the college, and Zamudio removed his trailer voluntarily on July 3, so the lawsuit against him was dismissed on July 8. The other tenant, Orosco, whose mobile home is located on lot two of the property, has not yet been located to be served.
Orosco was a candidate in the GCCC Board of Trustees election in April, but failed to win a seat on the board.
If he doesn't appear at an Aug. 13 hearing, Grisell said, the judgment will be ruled in favor of the college.
"Aug. 13 is the first appearance date on Mr. Orosco, and then if we get judgment on that date, 10 days after that, we'll seek the writ of restitution, which allows the sheriff to go out and remove any occupants, and if there's nobody living there, the college will have the ability to remove the trailer," he said. "I don't know what the intent of Dr. Swender and the college is, but they certainly have the right, at this point, to remove the trailers that are on the property, with the exception of the one on lot two."
GCCC President Herbert Swender said the college intends to remove all the trailers at the same time, after the legal process runs its course.
"We'd rather just do it all at once, so we don't have to mobilize twice," he said.
Swender said the whole situation has been unfortunate.
"But when you put sunshine on the facts, it helps people understand," he said.
Neither the tenants nor their spokesman, Sam Hermocillo, could be reached for comment.