You belong to me

Ah, San Diego, where the weather is usually wonderful and the happenings around town are often inexplicable:

With many wondering whether the Chargers are leaving Qualcomm Stadium for Los Angeles, San Diego’s other major sports venue — Petco Park — has become the subject of a bizarre ownership controversy sparked by a mentally ill man who filed a simple document.

Derris Devon McQuaig took legal title to the downtown ballpark away from the city and the Padres two years ago by walking into the San Diego County Recorder’s Officer and submitting a properly filled-out deed transfer.

Seriously.

The ownership is supposed to be: City of San Diego, 70 percent, Padres Limited Partnership 30 percent.

County and city officials have been quietly trying to remedy the situation ever since, but a felony fraud case against McQuaig was dismissed last week after a judge ruled he’s not mentally competent to be prosecuted.

Because no actual sale or transaction took place, government officials and real estate experts say there’s essentially no chance of McQuaig taking control of the property, which was recently appraised at $539 million and is slated to host its first All-Star game in July.

But McQuaig has created a legal and bureaucratic nightmare that could be perpetrated on any property owner if someone decides to target them by casting doubt on their title in this way.

Meanwhile, McQuaig resides in a Home for the Bewildered State Hospital in San Bernardino County, and the assessor’s office back in San Diego says that well, McQuaig did what the law requires:

“As long as he’s crossed his t’s and dotted his i’s and filled in the blanks sufficiently on the grant deed, we’re required to record it. He had no legal authority to transfer Petco Park to himself, but it becomes part of the public record.”

Some day this incident will be a comic opera.

(Via Vice Sports.)

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1 comment »

  1. McGehee »

    27 December 2015 · 8:11 am

    Okay, um.

    I’m no expert on real estate law, but I would think that a real estate title transfer would be a transaction between transferor and transferee — and that the signatures on both sides of said transaction ought to be notarized or otherwise attested.

    If someone signs as a transferor without legitimate authority, his incompetency to stand trial for fraud ought not to complicate this matter.

    If someone did notarize the signatures, they’re protected by the fact their sole role is to attest that the signer in question did sign and had satisfied the attestor to the truth of his identity. They aren’t expected to attest to the legitimacy of documents. Maybe there should be a higher bar for real estate transfers (in Georgia it takes a lawyer, but it still seems to work).

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