Home Run

Eddie and Jo Ellen Allen have their very own housing crisis

The situation was grim. But the Allens fought a guerrilla war worthy of the Viet Cong who Eddie claimed tormented him. In that war, they had powerful allies, including Newport Beach attorney Donald Segretti. A convicted co-conspirator in the Watergate trials, Segretti helped the Allens file a request for a temporary injunction against M&G. Though a judge refused the motion, the September filings make for remarkable reading. Eddie continues to lean on his age (he's 70) and still plays the bogus Vietnam-combat card. Jo Ellen's complaints are more interesting. Declaring herself "shocked," she asserted without irony that she and her husband had fallen into the hands of "another unscrupulous lawyer." Looking forward to a long legal battle with M&G and her husband's attorney, Jo Ellen claimed "the emotional and financial harm that we will suffer if we are forced out of our home will be inconceivable."

On Oct. 5, almost a year after making their last mortgage, tax and homeowners-association payments, Eddie and Jo Ellen were still in the home. On the front door, M&G had posted a "Three Day Notice to Quit," giving the Allens 72 hours to pack their things and leave. Process servers turned up at 21 Carmel Bay again and again—between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on several different days. They reported that the Allens were inside the home but refused to come to the door. They eventually served Segretti.

Three weeks later, M&G doggedly filed suit against the Allens; a day later, Segretti filed a cross complaint against M&G and Rowzee, alleging they defrauded the Allens.

Then the ax fell. It was one thing to fight a paper battle with a mom-and-pop lender; but on Nov. 9, huge Washington Mutual Bank—which owns the first deed of trust—moved in to claim its right to the home. By then, the Allens had moved out, leaving an empty house with a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean, some rusting lawn furniture, and a forlorn American flag hanging like a rag in the courtyard out front.

Surrender is never total with the Allens, though. They always bounce back higher. Like George and Louise Jefferson of the 1970s sitcom, they've moved on up—literally. Their new home, a 2,800-square-foot condo, is several streets up in the same Spy Glass Hill area of Corona del Mar, in a gated and guarded community called Harbor Ridge, overlooking their old neighborhood. They don't own it, but it's home. For now.

in the Oct. 12 - 18 issue, in the Oct. 5 - 11 issue,
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