The New Mexican published a story in 2003 written by Christopher Alba that was insulting and defamatory. When I went to look at records at the property manager’s I saw a check written by the Condo Association to Christopher Alba for $1665.00. The only thing I know of that he did, was write the article which said false things, ridiculed me and damaged my reputation.
After the article ran I avoided going out of the house. I felt horrible knowing that a lot of people most likely believed it.
Now I’m housebound, but it’s little different than the years I avoided going out and being seen, given how I had been portrayed in the article that follows.
“On the Consequences of Ignoring Expert Advice”
1. By writing “surreptitiously crept” Alba gives the impression that the hydrogen sulfide was a character, possibly in my mind, because of the way that his piece progresses. The fact is that I had respiratory problems from the hydrogen sulfide as well as balance problems and memory loss, all of which are recorded in my Time Line, kept during the time I lived in my condo. I had no idea what was causing my health to deteriorate, and the doctors I went to obviously didn’t guess there was a privy pit.
2. The fact is that I didn’t think the hydrogen sulfide was serious. I was going to put up with living there, but then Egypt, my kitty who had been throwing up, wasn’t able to walk and she was dragging herself. She didn’t pass out and I didn’t say she did. I worried that Egypt would be permanently hurt ~ that was when the sewer pipe was exposed and sewer gas from the main sewer was coming from the open pipe. I called all the “cheap” hotels on Cerrillos Road, but they all wanted a lot of money if I was going to bring my kitty. So I called the hotels that were close. Santa Fe Inn, I think that was the name, gave me a really cheap rate with my kitty. I forget now, what it was, but it was less than any of the Cerrillos Road motels wanted, so I went there immediately which was around 6 a.m.
3. I called people with ads in the classifieds. Most wanted to use a backhoe to excavate, which would have killed my wisteria. The men I hired were willing to do the work by hand. They didn’t speak much English, but my friend Mario did. I paid them what the other men had been asking. I believe that if a living wage were paid to everyone there would not be an immigration problem that could be described as a result of Americans not wanting to work.
4. This is the sentence that has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. To say “the real culprit” denies that the privy pit existed. I believe the reason this particular description was written and printed is that the Condo Association hired Christopher Alba. My belief is based on seeing a check the Condo Association wrote to Alba for $1665.00. I didn’t see him do work in the common elements, so I feel that the check was related to the article in which he made it seem as if there wasn’t a privy pit. The Condo Association benefited from this being written and published because if there was no privy pit, they had no obligation to pay a share of the remediation. If it had been only a broken sewer pipe, then it would have been a problem related to only my unit.
5. I was told the privy pit could be ten feet deep, and it was. Structural Engineer’s Report.
6. When the fellows were excavating, it soon became clear that the pit extended under my condo, and after they’d dug a a lot of the pit out and the condo corner was just hanging there in mid-air they were uneasy about going under it to dig. So I called Doug McLeod the structural engineer who had identified the pit. He had been hired by the insurance company, which was not liable when it was a privy pit. (I had thought there was a sink hole.) Doug thought that structurally the house was probably not going to break off and fall on the men, but he also said that shoring it up was a good precaution to avoid an accident. So I called Ed Crocker who had been suggested by one of the men who’d wanted touse a backhoe, and Ed Crocker put in a helical pier. (Which sounded rather poetical, but wasn’t that beautiful in real life.)
7. Getting the sewer pipe replaced was not very expensive in the whole of this. The fact that the City of Santa Fe failed to stop Wally Sargent, the developer, from building a condo over an old outhouse toilet pit is shocking to me. An pit contained raw excrement, and being below the canale it was wet a lot. That’s what caused it to keep subsiding and causing holes in my patio garden. If it had not subsided my sewer pipe would not have broken and there would have been less hydrogen sulfide.
8. “The environmentalist’ is Michael Curtis of C.E.R.L., who’d done the air quality tests which identified the hydrogen sulfide. He is the one who told me I had to have it excavated, that I couldn’t just keep living there with it. Prior to that Robert Hunt had tried to get me to allow him to put a couple bags of top soil in the latest hole, and that would take care of it. I can see how he thought spending $12 was in order. In fact it cost me over $12,000 to remedy the pit.
9. Christopher Alba told me he would have someone come, erect scaffolding inside the pit, then hand tamp earth to refill the pit. The Structural Engineer had said I should have it filled with a particular type of concrete and he’d written particular instructions on his report. That was a fraction of the cost of what Alba wanted to do, and I preferred to have a quick end to the pit by means of a concrete truck dumping in just a few minutes half of the pit full. (It had to be done in two loads so that there could be some settling of the first load before the second load was poured.)In terms of safety, he let his little son play around the top of the pit which at that time still had the open sewer pipe with sewer gas coming from it.
10. When I didn’t hire Alba he wrote this demeaning piece which makes fun of me and is untrue. It ruined my reputation as a good, conscientious person and after it ran I was so embarrassed that I hated to go out and avoided going out whenever I could because I didn’t want to be seen or have to talk to anyone after this false piece of self-serving copy had been published. (Not just self-serving, but serving the Condo Association as well.)
11. The fact is that it is a lie to say I ignored the advise. I specifically followed the advice of the structural engineer who had been involved from the beginning. You can read his hand written notes on his report. I am getting sick and tried of lies. And it’s infuriating that the state court wouldn’t let me show evidence in court at the hearing in my Defamation Case. So of course if no evidence was allowed, even though by Rule 56 I had a right to produce evidence, of course it would seem like the mighty newspaper was right and I was wrong. And then I got tetanus before I could effect an appeal.
The privy pit should not have been under a home. I bought the condo to live in, with an expectation that it was a healthy place to live.
When it was foreclosed John Hayes, the lawyer for Rick Green, the Sotheby’s Realty agent who bought my condo at the auction I knew nothing about made a song and dance about how Green is living there.
Well, he couldn’t be living there if I hadn’t excavated the pit, because it would still be full of raw excrement and subsiding and the new sewer pipe I put in would be broken again once there was nothing under it to hold it up again after further subsidence.As an aside, I’ve been told Green is the real estate agent of Robert Hunt, the Condo Association Director, who refused to pay for pit remediation and authorized the check to Christopher Alba.
I no longer buy any HUNT tomato product. I can’t be sure Robert is related, but after 9/11 he mentioned to me that he’d been flying and was rerouted several times, but luckily he had a home in each city…