Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jan 2008
Source: Tucson Citizen (AZ)
Copyright: 2008 Tucson Citizen
Author: A. J. Flick
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)


The Arizona Court of Appeals issued a warning last week  to an East
Coast family that owned two Tucson  townhomes.

Rehiring a property manager after he used one townhome  as a marijuana
stash house means the owner risks losing  the other townhome if it,
too, becomes a stash house.

In a decision issued Jan. 18, a panel unanimously  upheld Pima County
Superior Court Judge John F. Kelly's  ruling that the family should
have known criminal  activity might occur and the townhomes can be

Norman Goldstein bought Belle Vista townhomes at 8428  E. Agape Drive
and 8444 E. Agape Drive, near Speedway  Boulevard and Camino Seco,
according to the decision.  Goldstein put the title in his children's
names but  remained the property agent.

The Goldsteins live in New York and New Jersey, the  decision

Goldstein hired Greg Shepis of Tucson to manage the  properties.
Goldstein fired Shepis after learning from a newspaper story in 2001
that Shepis pleaded guilty to  possession of marijuana for sale.

The state moved to seize the property at 8428 E. Agape Drive, saying
Shepis used that and other properties to  stash marijuana, the
decision says. However, Goldstein  rehired Shepis six months later.

In 2003, the state moved to seize the property at 8444  E. Agape
Drive, saying Shepis used it to stash  marijuana. The Goldsteins
appealed the forfeiture, saying the property was exempt because the
family  didn't know it was being used for a crime. The court  ruled
the family "could reasonably have known of the  illegal activity or
that it was likely to reoccur,"  which made the property eligible for

The decision doesn't say what action was taken against Shepis in
either of the cases.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin