Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Channel 6 TV Big Bear Interviewed Andy Acosta - Watch Rebroadcast

John Wells and Dan Bathurst, newscasters for Channel 6 TV in Big Bear Lake, California interviewed Andy Acosta this morning for the 7 a.m. news show.
Andy talks about his experience with San Bernardino County government land grab seizing millions of dollars of his heavy equipment and taking control of his 6 acre construction yard on 1000 North Shore Drive in Big Bear Lake, California.

The A. J. Acosta Company was essentially shut down for over 85 days without work because of the County of San Bernardino's seizure of the A. J. Acosta Company heavy equipment. The San Bernardino County government is not promoting a fair and equitable business climate for all of the County's citizens with this action.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Auction Cancelled! A. J. Acosta Company Awaits Next Court Decision

Government Land Grab of AJ Acosta Company property in Big Bear Lake, CA. Andy and Crew have emptied his heavy equipment from the site and await further court actions.

The auction of A. J. Acosta Company's equipment is cancelled! With only 20 days ordered by the Court, Andy and his amazing crew were able to remove over 5,000 items off of his 6 acre construction zoned property (1000 North Shore Dr., Big Bear City).

Andy was able to find places mostly down the hill for most of the equipment on the site. Unfortunately, there are no other properly zoned property's available in Big Bear Lake other than his actual property to put his heavy equipment, attachments, etc.

The Big Bear Valley is a unique geographic area in Southern California. The elevation of about 6,800 feet and the steep mountain passes combine to give the town of Big Bear Lake an insular quality, like an island. The isolation is both social and physical. There is no large television station and crew, the newspaper is weekly and small town politics can flourish in isolation. Terrific mountain storms or forest fires often isolate the Big Bear Lake valley even more.

Historically, Andy Acosta and his crew have contributed greatly to fire suppression, snow removal and removal of fallen trees blocking the Valley's roads. Since 1989, Andy has personally led his crew 19 times to clear the highway access into and out of Big Bear after huge snows blocked the roads and Cal Trans could not get into the area.

Of course, by having to move much of his equipment off of the hill (Big Bear), it is very difficult for the A. J. Acosta Company to continue serving the community of Big Bear Lake, but they are still working and Andy's Big Bear Boulevard office and wood yard location is open. You can purchase cord wood at A. J. Acosta Co at 42112 Big Bear Blvd. Call Andy and his crew for tree removal.

Monday, April 28, 2014

San Bernardino County Trying to Overturn Bankruptcy and Seize Millions of Dollars of Andy Acosta's Equipment - Court Date Tuesday, April 29th

San Bernardino County attorneys Mark Strain, Mathew Marnell (his boss) and the attorney for Eric Beatty, the county appointed Receiver, are attacking Joaquín Andres (Andy) Acosta again in court this Tuesday, April 28th. Mark Strain and colleagues will be asking the Federal Bankruptcy court to overturn Andy's bankruptcy so that the County of San Bernardino can continue with the seizure and auction of over 10 million dollars worth of Andy's business equipment and then seize his 6 acre industrial zoned property at 1000 North Shore Drive in Big Bear Lake, CA.

What terrible infraction did Andy Acosta commit to warrant this punitive government land grabbing action? The County of San Bernardino said that his 1000 North Shore Drive construction yard was an eyesore and then under the  oversight of Judge David Cohn, created "clean-up" judgements that were impossible to comply with and remain in business. They insisted he remove all equipment AND his inventory of mulch, topsoil and asphalt and return the land to it's "native" condition. A judgement that is impossible to fulfill and remain in business.

When he couldn't do that, they locked up his yard, seizing his inventory AND his equipment. The A. J. Acosta company's work ground to a standstill. The yard's been locked for over 80 days. The County of San Bernardino's government land grab is a mix of expensive litigation paired with starving Andy out by not letting him work and destroying Andy Acosta's business.

Andy says that his North Shore property is not the worst industrial property in the Big Bear Valley. In fact, his soil was tested by the County in November of 2013 and passed the test, with NO evidence of fluorocarbons.  

In Andy's opinion the issue of aesthetics as applied to an industrial property in an industrial zone is merely an excuse to seize his business and property and destroy everything he's built for over 30 years.

You can see by looking at the Government Land Grab page, that this latest issue is part of an almost 20 year struggle with the County over Andy's property rights and ability to freely conduct his business. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Update on the San Bernardino County Land Grab

The actions of the County of San Bernardino have pushed A. J. Acosta Company and Andy Acosta into Bankruptcy. By locking Andy out of his construction yard at 1000 North Shore Drive, Andy has not been able to work for over 80 days. Imagine closing any business down for over 80 days. It's been financially devastating.

As terrible on the business as this has been, the March 1st auction of millions of dollars of A. J. Acosta company's heavy equipment was averted (for now) as the bankruptcy court issues are proceeding.

Yet, the County of San Bernardino hold's Andy's 1000 North Shore Drive construction yard under lock and key. As of this week, Andy can access his equipment from his land only with a court order. Prior to this January lockout, Andy's heavy equipment was kept in good working order.  Most all items the Auctioneer pulled from the protection of Andy's metal containers and spread on the ground in preparation for the forced auction where left exposed to the harsh winter elements for almost 3 months. Boxes of teak furniture are water damaged. Many other items are missing and never even made the auction list. $500 batteries, tool boxes, heavy metal chains and truck accessories and more have vanished while under the "protection" of the San Bernardino Court appointed Receiver and the Auctioneer. 

The government seized Andy's land and business tools and have created loss and damage in the process.

Andy's employees and their families have suffered with him. Andy has done everything he can to keep much of his crew working.  In this economy and in the town of Big Bear Lake, not many of the other heavy equipment, construction and tree service business are hiring. Good jobs can be hard to get. 

The County of San Bernardino's punitive and land grabbing policies towards A. J. Acosta Company have caused a ripple effect of hardship on hard-working American families. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This Could Happen to You and Your Business

A good man is losing everything because the San Bernardino Court is auctioning off his business tools and property to the highest bidder Saturday, March 1st. Seizure laws put into place to seize the ill gotten gains of drug lords and mobsters have been used to crush the A.J. Acosta company, a small logging, snow removal and tree felling business in the mountain town of Big Bear Lake owned by Joaquin Andres (Andy) Acosta.

What was the “crime” Andy committed? He didn’t “clean-up” his IC1 commercially zoned property to the County Court’s continuous and cost-prohibitive changing standards. So they are making an example of him, putting into effect a police action that is shockingly punitive. They haven’t gone after any of the other 30 or so wood lots in Big Bear Lake except for A. J. Acosta Company. Just Acosta’s, and his property is the only property in Big Bear appropriately zoned for the type of business he runs. 

Yet don’t think it can’t happen to you. If San Bernardino Court Judge David Cohn’s judgments stand, anyone who doesn’t comply with the County’s highly subjective opinion of what constitutes a public nuisance on private land could be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and their business will be destroyed. 

The last 5 years have been a terrible time in the heavy equipment construction industry. A.J. Acosta Company tightened it’s belt, and kept the company going. Acosta kept plowing avalanches, fighting fires, cutting down dangerous trees, processing firewood, mulching tree waste and providing support for search and rescue teams in Big Bear Lake and surrounding Southern California communities. Until now. 

There are many complications to any lawsuit. But here is one simple truth. Government is ruining one man’s life, destroying a dozen jobs and denying the residents and visitors of Big Bear Lake the services that keep their town safe. Acosta has asked for just a little more time to comply with the courts judgement, but they are denying his many requests and forcing the auction of a 30 year old business, ramrodding it through in a few short weeks. 

The Receiver, Eric P. Beatty makes money, the Auctioneer makes money, the County makes money and everyone else loses: Not only the people of the Big Bear Valley, but any resident of California who may come up against Judge David Cohn’s precedent setting legal rulings when they find themselves faced with heavy-handed and selective code enforcement in the hands of power-hungry bureaucrats.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Working Man's Business Being Destroyed by California Government

The business climate in California just got worse. Millions of dollars of one man's private property are up for auction March 1st, 2014, because San Bernardino County Court Judge David Cohn ruled that the County of San Bernardino could sell every piece of construction equipment on A.J. Acosta's 5.5 acre IC1 industrial zoned construction yard to comply with his Cohn's Court Judgement to "clean-up" the yard.

Judge Cohn's judgement ordered Acosta to return his Big Bear Lake, California IC1 zoned Business Property to it's "natural grade" vacant lot condition; an order requiring removal of approximately 30,000 (thirty thousand) dump truck loads of organic material that would have to be dumped down-the-hill (off the mountain) to a fully permitted facility. As well as removing most of the business inventory and equipment.

This judgement was impossible to comply with and remain in business. Obviously, if Acosta's land was returned to natural grade state it would be below Big Bear Lake in elevation and then flood with the next storms. It's impossible to continue running your business if you can't put equipment on your property or maintain your inventory. Acosta's property is the only construction yard properly zoned in all of the Big Bear Lake Valley. None of the other similar businesses are being ordered to do this.

According to the San Bernardino Sun;  "On May 2, 2012, Cohn permanently suspended Acosta from conducting any business, storage and recycling activity at the North Shore Drive property without prior land-use approval by the county. The judge also ordered Acosta to restore the property to a vacant lot by removing all equipment, vehicles, storage containers and parts from the property, as well as all stockpiles of mulch, dirt and rock. He also fined Acosta $721,000. . . . . READ MORE

A.J. Acosta Company owner,  Joaquin Andres (Andy) Acosta, maintains that this is just one action of many that the County of San Bernardino has been taking for over 20 years (Acosta bought this property in 1989). See Chronology. Acosta's property, 1000 North Shore Drive in Big Bear Lake, California

Bids received that would be necessary to comply with Judge David Cohn's order were in the neighborhood of 22 Million dollars. After the Court appointed Receiver, Eric P. Beatty took control of Acosta's property, locking the gate this month so that Acosta could not continue his business, the judgement was then modified for the Receiver, Eric Beatty's sake so that he would not have to comply with the same requirements Acosta was ordered to fulfill.

Thus the order was changed to accommodate the Receiver, Eric Beatty, requiring that he only had to remove only 1/3 of the material Acosta was ordered to remove. And he will sell all of Acosta's equipment to pay for the work.

Imagine that the County came to you and complained that the property your home was on needed to be cleaned up. And to comply with their "clean-up" requirements you had to dig up your garden, remove your wood pile, decking, asphalt driveway and any fill dirt or gravel that was put on your property so that your property was returned completely back to it's natural grade and state. And then imagine that if you didn't do that, they'd sell your house and car to do the job themselves.

This is un-American and destroys jobs. It also negates the State of California's efforts to create a positive business climate. The County of San Bernardino code enforcement is being used to crush a 30 year old business and put 10 employees on the street.

Judge David Cohn turned down Acosta's attorney's request to cancel the upcoming auction and allow him to move his equipment now that landowners in Big Bear Valley have come to Acosta's side. They have realized how serious Acosta's plight is and have made formal court declarations that they would grant him space to put his equipment. (Before this month, no one in Big Bear Lake would grant Acosta a place to park his equipment)

The San Bernardino Sun: Posted:  | SAN BERNARDIN0 >> A San Bernardino Superior Court judge on Friday rejected Big Bear Lake contractor Andy “A.J.” Acosta’s plea to halt the sale of his property, allowing an auction to proceed as scheduled on March 1.Despite an assurance by Acosta’s attorney, Robert Ziprick, that Acosta has finally buttoned down a location where he can move his heavy equipment, Judge David Cohn denied Ziprick’s motion requesting that Cohn reconsider his Jan. 24 order for a receiver to sell at auction everything on Acosta’s property at 1000 North Shore Drive.. . .READ MORE

The San Bernardino County Court mandated auction is scheduled for March 1, 2014 at Acosta's property, 1000 North Shore Drive, Big Bear Lake, California.

Side Note -- Here is the problem in the simplest terms:
  • Judge David Cohn orders A.J. Acosta Company to remove all of his business equipment and inventory from the 1000 North Shore Dr., Big Bear Lake, California, property so that land would be vacant and ready for remediation to it's natural state.
  • There are no properties in Big Bear Lake county area that are zoned for that equipment. Acosta searches for two years for a place in Big Bear Lake to put his equipment.
  • Because Acosta was unsuccessful finding a lot, Judge David Cohn orders the Receiver, Eric Beatty to remediate the property back to it's natural state.
  • The Receiver, Eric P. Beatty of SB Asset Partners LLP, obtains bids in the neighborhood of 20+Million dollars to remediate the property as ordered.
  • Due to the high bids, the Receiver, Eric P. Beatty asks the Court to make an exception for him and to alter the order so that he will only have to remediated the property back to the "Bonadimen Grade", an engineering term meaning that the property can be at an acceptable grade that won't encourage flooding.
  • The Receiver, Eric P. Beatty, is granted an exception to use the Bonadiman grade. (Term coined by Bonadiman Engineering firm.) The Receiver, Eric P. Beatty now gets lesser multi-million dollars plus
  • The Receiver, Eric P. Beatty, convinces the court that he needs to sell Acosta's equipment to raise the money for the remediation.
  • The equipment currently on the property is not enough to remediate the property to the Judges' specifications so now the Receiver, Eric P. Beatty, asks the Court to confiscate. All of Acosta's equipment including equipment Acosta has one other properties. This includes all equipment used for Acosta's firewood business located at Acosta's incorporated City of Big Bear Lake office site on Big Bear Blvd.
  • For example -- If Acosta or and employee ever drove one of his trucks onto the North Shore property, now that truck must be given to the Receiver for sale.
  • Why is the  Receiver, Eric P. Beatty, not acting objectively? He even took the remote controlled toy trucks and boats that Acosta's Boys play with, their snowmobiles and 4-wheelers and motorcycles. He even confiscated Acosta's heirloom Lionel Train set, a gift from Acosta's late father. Acosta's personal items stored in a container on the property were rifled through.
  • If the March 1st Auction does not yield enough money to meet the minimum multi- million-plus dollar bids that the Receiver, Eric P. Beatty obtained, then the County of San Bernardino will seize Acosta's land and sell that to "pay" for the remediation order.
So here's the summary of where we are at. The Judge is saying that if any equipment A.J. Company owned for 30 years EVER touched the ground at 1000 North Shore Dr., the Court has the jurisdiction to seize that property and sell it at auction. The County of San Bernardino is CRUSHING this small business. This is so wrong.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Life of Hard Work and Community Service Being Auctioned Off to Highest Bidder

San Bernardino County Judge David Cohn will decide this Friday, February 21st, if his judgement for the March 1st scheduled sale of all of the trucks, trailers, and equipment on Joaquin Andres (Andy) Acosta's, A.J. Acosta Company 1000 North Shore Dr., Big Bear Lake property will be halted and reversed.

At this time, "The most recent order allows for the court-appointed receiver, Eric P. Beatty of S-B Asset Partners LP, to take possession of the property and each item of personal property on the North Shore site. The items include, but aren’t limited to, vehicles, heavy equipment, roll-offs, trailers, construction equipment and more." The Big Bear Life and Grizzly.

At the last court date Judge David Cohn ruled that the receiver, Eric P. Beatty of S-B Asset Partners LP, did NOT have to increase his bond from $25,000. to 3 million dollars to cover the millions of dollars of Andy Acosta's A.J. Acosta Company property that Eric Beatty has the courts' permission to auction March 1st. Judge David Cohn turned down Andy's attorney, Robert Ziprick's, request for a bond of 3 million dollars to cover the loss if Judge David Cohn's decision might be overturned in the future.

This means that  Andy Acosta will LOSE his 30 year old business in Big Bear Lake, if this auction happens, regardless of the legality. Equally heinous is that using the laws, the County of San Bernardino, through Judge David Cohn's rulings and Eric P. Beatty of S-B Asset Partners' implementation, will effectively destroy a good man and his productive small business. 

This is the antithesis of the American ideals of justice and fairness. A life of hard work and community service is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. 

Please come to the court and show your support for Andy and A.J. Acosta Company this Friday.
You are Welcome to Attend this Friday's San Bernardino County Court:

The court address and time is: 
 When: This Friday, February 21st, 2014. 9:30 a.m. Please arrive 15 minutes early.

 Where: San Bernardino County Superior Court
             303 W. Third Street, San Bernardino, CA,
             Department S35