hat tip to the Leucadia Blog for sending over Suzy’s story, plus they mentioned the Encinitas Extreme Home Makeover house in foreclosure too:
We’ve been waiting patiently for the lender to list Suzy Brown’s old house for sale – remember the 16,330 square footer in Olivenhain?
She had purchased it from Barry Axelrod for $850,000 in 2003, and took out a loan for $4.55 million in 2006. You know the story, the bank foreclosed and found that ‘somebody’ had stripped the house.
She was in court yesterday, here’s the story from the nctimes.com:
The former owner of an Olivenhain mansion who is accused of stealing $1 million worth of fixtures from the bank-foreclosed home repeatedly refused to identify herself at her arraignment Tuesday, prompting a Vista judge to handcuff her in the middle of the proceedings and finally order her to jail.
Suzy Brown, 45, eventually pleaded not guilty to one count of grand theft and one count of felony vandalism, but not until the hearing had been postponed several times because of the unusual actions of the short-haired woman in a pantsuit who, to the amusement of many in the courtroom, wouldn’t admit she was the defendant.
It is not clear why Brown would not acknowledge her identity —- which Judge Marshall Hockett eventually confirmed through a copy of her Department of Motor Vehicles photo that the court requested —- but Brown apparently contested the legality of the complaint against her issued by the district attorney’s office, according to her attorney.
“Ms. Brown claims she has not seen what she calls a ‘genuine charging document,'” said public defender William Matthews, who stepped in to represent Brown after Hockett declined Brown’s request to represent herself.
From the start of the afternoon hearing, Brown would not say who she was.
She said she had no identification with her.
“Are you or are you not Suzanne Meredith Brown?” Hockett asked, getting fed up. “… You’re playing games with the court.”
“I’m genuinely not playing games,” Brown said with a deferential, somewhat pleading tone.
The judge rebuffed her requests to approach him. Brown had no attorney, so Hockett asked her if she wanted to represent herself.
Apparently loath to agree she was Brown, she hesitated to accept a form required for self-representation. A few snickers rose from the public gallery.
Brown eventually took the form and sat cross-legged on the floor at the back of the courtroom, filling it out while the court addressed other cases.
Later, Hockett again called Brown, and a court employee took her form.
This time, the judge asked her to approach, but she refused. She requested repeatedly to see the charging documents against her.
“You’re not running this court,” Hockett told her.
“If it pleases the court, I’d prefer to stand here if I’m not allowed to inspect the charging instrument against me,” Brown said.
At that point, sheriff’s deputies handcuffed Brown and led her to the glass-enclosed area for defendants in custody. Hockett appointed a public defender, denying Brown’s request for self-representation after noting her form was incomplete.
After a long conference with her public defender, Brown pleaded not guilty to the charges, reserving the right to contest the legal document’s validity.
Matthews declined to detail specific faults Brown found in the district attorney’s office’s complaint, but he said she had inspected it.
Brown was charged in November after a seven-month investigation into a $1 million theft from the 16,000-square-foot home at 3225 Fortuna Ranch Road. The theft occurred days after Brown moved out of the house and a bank took possession of it in March.
While she at first said she had no idea who took imported doors, opulent fixtures and electronics, Brown recently admitted removing most of the property, saying she wanted to protect it from vandals until the bank could hire a security guard.
Encinitas sheriff’s detectives said Brown has since handed over many of the stolen items.
Using her own money and money from investors, the retired electrical engineer built the mansion with plans to run it as a luxury recovery center. Neighbors in the posh, semirural community who dubbed the project the “Monster House” complained, and the city ruled the plans were illegal.
Unable to pay her mortgage, Brown lost the home in February.
Brown had not been arrested or ordered to jail until Tuesday. Deputy District Attorney Robert Eacret said he had informed her of the charges in a letter and had intended to request she be allowed to remain free. But instead, he told Hockett that because of “some of her unwillingness to comply with court orders, the people do have some doubts as to whether she should be.”
Hockett agreed, calling Brown a “danger to the community,” and ordered her booked into jail on $30,000 bail.