RSF: Dukakis, mansion nightmare, B. Black

A capacity crowd was in attendance for remarks by Gov. Dukakis/McKenzie Images

Dukakis speaks at Fairbanks Ranch

Michael Dukakis, 83, former governor of Massachusetts and 1988 Democratic candidate for president, spoke recently to the Rancho Santa Fe Democratic Club where I am VP for programs. Congressman Scott Peters was there. Also Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and new husband Nathan Fletcher, a likely candidate for supervisor in 2018.

Inspired by the recent election of Donald Trump, a capacity crowd of more than 200 came to hear the Governor at a home in Fairbanks Ranch. There was palpable energy to take action. Here are some highlights.

(1) End the electoral college by a vote of the electors. California and New York already have done this, so only 30 more electors from other states would dissolve this antiquated institution without a constitutional amendment.

(2) Organize for the 2018 congressional races by having precinct captains for each of the 200,000 voting precincts in the US. Establish face-to-face contact. Have conversations.

(3) California will continue to be a model for the rest of the nation on immigration, climate change, LGBTQ equality, and more.

(4) Resist the divisive red state/blue state narrative. Uphold Democratic values and principles as best for all our citizens – a “we the people” narrative. Do not segment the electorate.

(5) In the 49th District, Republican Darrell Issa is one of the most vulnerable congressional incumbents in the country and major resources will be devoted to his TBD opponent (Col. Doug Applegate or Mike Levin) in the next campaign.

(6) The Governor opposed Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, saying he is to the right of Anton Scalia – and that the seat was stolen from the Barack Obama administration.

(7) While campaigning door-to-door in the 2012 Senate campaign of Elizabeth Warren, the Governor faced a skeptical middle-aged woman, who after a long pause said, “Well, I guess I will vote for her, but could you please ask her do something about her hair?”

— Gordon Clanton

$3 Million Mansion Purchase Turns Into a Nightmare

Brenda Bassman at her RSF home with rescue mini-horses in undated photo/Facebook

In a lawsuit that reads like a Stephen King novel, homeowners in America’s wealthiest community claim realtors failed to disclose the “colorful history” of the $3 million house they bought, including a delusional former owner who stabbed her husband there, and keeps returning, claiming the new owners stole it from her.

Ali and Francine Nilforushan sued Sotheby’s International Realty and two of its agents who double-ended the transaction, Catherine Gilchrist and Clinton Selfridge, in San Diego County Court.

According to the May 1 lawsuit, the “colorful history” of the 5,500-square-foot home in Rancho Santa Fe includes former owner Brenda Bassman stabbing her husband there, serving prison time for it, and returning to it, claiming the mansion was stolen from her.

The Niforushans’ seven-bedroom, five-bathroom home at 16235 Via De Santa Fe near Calzada del Bosque includes a swimming pool, a bowling alley and a stable for nine horses, according to real estate records. Bassman’s husband bought the house for $1.2 million in 1999. After she stabbed him “three to four times in his upper torso” on May 28, 2008, she pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon and served two years of a four-year prison sentence, according to the complaint.

Sotheby’s neglected to mention that, nor did it warn that “Ms. Bassman has become fixated on her belief she is the victim of a conspiracy and that the real property was stolen from her,” the Niforushans say. They add: “Since 2012 … Ms. Bassman has posted delusional rants on social media and identifies the real property by address and parcel number and has visited the real property several times claiming she is the rightful owner.”

Their attorney Ron Blumberg said in an interview that Bassman was “an institution” in Rancho Santa Fe, and was known for riding her horse naked.

He said the Nilforushans bought the property in 2015 and plan to move in later this year after completing renovations. Among them, Blumberg said, may be expensive security measures to ensure their safety, including a 24-hour security guard and/or installing high-tech surveillance software. Bassman has walked onto the property several times and has parked her car outside the home, the attorney said.

Blumberg said that by not disclosing Bassman’s harassment, Sotheby’s and its agents sold the Nilforushans the property at an inflated price.

“With the ‘crazy,’ our experts have shown there is a 15 to 25 percent diminished value in the property,” Blumberg said.

The attorney said he has text messages which show that Selfridge, the listing agent, knew Bassman was a problem before his clients bought the home, but still failed to mention it. He said Bassman’s years of harassment was a material fact which the realtors should have known about and disclosed. Now his clients are concerned that they overpaid for the home and will have to sink money into making sure they are protected, Blumberg said.

He said Bassman likely does not pose a physical threat, so much as harassment, and his clients have not filed a restraining order against her, as law enforcement officers have said it could “incite” her.

Finally, Blumberg said, the realtors and Sotheby’s were “de-incentivized” from disclosing Bassman’s harassing behavior “because they didn’t want to lose the sale.”

The Nilforushans seek compensatory damages for negligent failure to disclose and breach of fiduciary duty, and punitive damages for fraudulent failure to disclose.

Selfridge declined comment. Sotheby’s and Gilchrist did not return phone requests for comment.

Blumberg’s law office is in Solana Beach.

— Bianca Bruno

Bud Black returns to Petco Field

Rancho Santa Fe resident Bud Black has driven the route before, but this time the road map has changed big league. Once manager of the San Diego Padres, this time Black returned as the manager of the rival Colorado Rockies.

“This was a different sensation,’’ Black said to “But once I got here, I felt comfortable.’’

In returning to the scene of his Padres crimes — just joking folks, hod the hate mail — Black was back home this week even if he wore the visitor’s uniform.

“Hey, this is OK,’’ Black said when eyeing the visitor’s clubhouse. “The builders of Petco did a nice job.’’

Now the manager of the Colorado Rockies, Black returned to Petco Park on Tuesday for the first time since he was fired as manager of the Padres on June 15, 2015.

Black spent part of the day at his alma mater, San Diego State, before heading to Petco Park for the opener of a three-game series.

In his 8 ½ seasons managing the Padres, he never had a reason to go to the visitors’ clubhouse or dugout.

“And over the years, I wasn’t that curious,” said Black, in his first season with Colorado.

“I’ve never been here. It’s all right. It’s OK,” he told a large media throng in the visitors’ dugout. “Solid. The builders at Petco did a nice job on the visitors’ side.”

Black, a former big league pitcher, was 649-713 with the Padres.

“This is new for me, first time, obviously, back here,” he said. “But driving down today there was a different sensation coming to this park. Once I got here, I felt comfortable, saw a number of people that I’ve crossed paths with, in the corridor, around the ballpark, grounds crews guys. That was cool.”

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