Entries in Real Estate (3)


California Real Estate Investor Arrested After Wife Vanishes

Obtained by ABC(NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.) -- A prominent California real estate investor is being held in connection with the disappearance of his wife, amid a widespread search for the mother of three who vanished from her home last week.

Peter Chadwick, 48, is awaiting an arraignment in a California courtroom later Monday, accused of killing his wife, 46-year-old Quee Chadwick, and possibly hiding her body.

"We are searching for Quee Chadwick.  We do obviously based on our investigation believe that she has been the victim of a homicide and we are searching for her body," Kathy Lowe with the Newport Beach police department said.

Last week, officers were called to the couple's multi-million dollar home in an upscale Newport Beach gated community.  On Wednesday, a neighbor had called police after seeing the couple's children at a bus stop, waiting longer than usual for a ride.  A second person reported hearing "screams" from the family's home earlier in the week, according to the Daily Pilot.

"We responded to the home and discovered signs of a struggle and possible foul play," Lowe said.

At that point, investigators launched a search for both Peter and Quee Chadwick.

The first break in the case came early Thursday morning, when San Diego police say Peter Chadwick called them.  Officers soon located him 100 miles south of his Newport Beach mansion on a freeway near the California-Mexico border, near Tijuana.

Police are not explaining why they think Quee Chadwick was killed, or why they believe Peter Chadwick is responsible, but he was arrested immediately.

ABC News was unable to reach Chadwick, who is being held at Orange County jail on $1.5 million bail, for comment.

Police say they are continuing to search for clues that could help them find Quee Chadwick.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Squatter With $16 McMansion Kicked Out After 8 Months

Kenneth Robinson lived in a "McMansion" in Texas for several months through a legal loophole, paying only $16. (ABC News)(FLOWER MOUND, Texas) -- Kenneth Robinson has finally been kicked out of the $340,000 home that he had lived in since June for just $16.

Robinson, 51, lived on Waterford Drive in Flower Mound, Texas, but he did not own or rent the home he claimed he had a right to live in. After the owner abandoned the property, which had been in foreclosure for over a year, and the mortgage company reportedly went out of business, he submitted a $16 filing fee at the local courthouse, claiming the law of "adverse possession" gave him the right to occupy the home.

However, a judge in Denton County ruled Monday that the current lien holder, Bank of America, can force Robinson out.

Robinson had become a local celebrity of sorts, writing an eBook and creating a website,, about the home in which he lived for about eight months. On his site, he states, "I am successful because I can see it no other way."

But now that Robinson has moved out, prosecutors are cracking down on others hoping to emulate him.

Adverse possession is a common law concept developed in the 1800s. According to Lucas A. Ferrara, a partner in Newman Ferrara, a New York City real estate law firm, adverse possession was enacted to ensure that property wasn't abandoned and was "maintained and monitored." It requires the posting of a clear, public notice that someone is at the property -- hence the court filing -- and that someone would remain there for a specific period of time, usually 10 years.

After the time requirement is satisfied, the Robinsons of the world have the opportunity to claim clear title to the property. In the meantime, the original property owner could fight the action, but it would be costly. And since the house has already been abandoned, it's not likely the original owner would wage an expensive legal battle to get it back. The mortgage holder would have to fight a court action too.

The growing number of abandoned homes brought on by the foreclosure crisis has produced a small buzz around the idea of adverse possession.

A spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, however, said adverse possession was not common nor on the association's radar screen.

But a quick Google search, however, turned up plenty of websites willing to show anyone how to do what Ken Robinson did.

At, for example, for a mere $39.95, "average people" can learn how to "acquire valuable real estate for free." The site takes steps to assure potential Robinsons that adverse possession is not squatting. "Squatter," says the site, "is an unfortunate and negative term used to describe someone who unlawfully occupies a vacant property or other real estate." Nor is occupying abandoned homes for financial gain immoral, according to the site. It's "doing the neighborhood a favor."

Robinson's former neighbors saw the situation differently. After he first moved in, they told local reporters, "If he [Robinson] wants the house, buy the house like everyone else had to. ..."

And Ferrara said, "it's quite an un-American notion that someone can take another's property without paying for it.... After all, even the government has to pay for your property if it decides to take it from you."

David DeCosse, the director of campus ethics programs at the Markkulla Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, said that even though Robinson may have a right to do what he's doing, it's not necessarily the right thing to do.

Some of the great moral thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas, said DeCosse, would argue that in the case of an extreme emergency, it would be OK to do something like take food from a grocery store because food is meant to support and address human needs. So stealing would be OK in certain circumstances. But if there is no emergency, "it offends our moral sensibilities," said DeCosse. "What may be legally permissible is not necessarily ethically right."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hurricane Irene Destroys Historic North Carolina Home

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NAGS HEAD, N.C.) -- As people all along the East Coast dig out and assess the damage from Hurricane Irene, one image stands out as a vivid reminder of the storm’s aftermath.

Captured by Scott Olson of Getty Images, it’s a photo of a devastated dad, comforting his daughter on a set of wooden steps surrounded by water. The staircase is all that remains of their 108-year-old family cottage, swept away by Hurricane Irene-surged water.

The Stinson family -- dad Billy, wife Sandra and daughter Erin -- lost the cottage on Albemarle Sound at Nags Head, N.C., Sunday to the storm.

“We pretended, just for a moment, the cottage was still behind us and we were sitting there watching the sunset,” Erin Stinson said of the photo.

The Stinson’s turn-of-the-century home was built in 1903, one of the first vacation homes built on Albemarle Sound.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The cottage found itself in the eye of Hurricane Irene, and the results were devastating. The hurricane first made landfall on North Carolina’s famed Outer Banks, destroying vulnerable beach houses along the shoreline before whipping up the East Coast, causing 40 deaths and still-untold billions of dollars worth of damage.

The Stinsons, the home’s owners since 1963, say their neighbors and the community are helping them get through this tough time.

A May 2010 story in Our State magazine tells the story of the Stinson’s historic family home.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio