Rental dispute slated for Kenai Superior court

Posted: Thursday, March 05, 2009

Less than a year after being evicted from her rental home in Anchor Point, a California woman is scheduled to appear in Kenai Superior Court on Friday, this time on the complainant side of a civil suit against another Kenai Peninsula landlady.

The suit filed by Dianne Nelson and Ed "Jake" Richardson alleges that Velma "Nicki" Baier and her son, Daryl Baier, breached the terms of a rental agreement last fall on a residence on Island Lake Road in Nikiski.

Nelson and Richardson rented a three-bedroom mobile home over a two-bedroom daylight cement block basement last May after Nelson was evicted from her home on Eason Drive in Anchor Point in April.

In that case, the court ruled in favor of Amanda Berthelot, the property owner, for $333.33, representing 25 days rent owed.

Nicki Baier agreed to allow Nelson and Richardson to live in the basement apartment in Nikiski and sublease the mobile home upstairs to help defray the cost of rent and utilities. Baier had the property listed for rent or for sale, so the rental agreement was on a month-to-month basis.

In the original rental agreement, Nelson and Richardson were allowed to have five occupants living in the building, but an addendum signed later that day gave Richardson permission to sublet to no more than two other adults.

Nelson and Richardson moved in and later rented out the mobile home to another couple and to the woman's 21-year-old daughter.

Nelson alleges that Nicki Baier came to the rental property, yelled at two of the sub-tenants and evicted the daughter, causing Nelson to run behind on the rent because of the lost rental income from the daughter.

In September, Nelson alleges that Baier had a "Release from Rental Agreement" form delivered to her advising her she had 30 days to move out.

Nicki Baier sees things differently.

She said she rented the place to Nelson and Richardson on a month-to-month basis because the property was and is for sale.

"They said they were interested in buying it and we agreed they had three months to see if they could get financing," Baier said.

She said if they could not arrange financing and someone else came to buy the residence, they would need to move out in 30 days.

In court documents, Nelson lists her income as $1,136 in Social Security disability payments; Richardson's income is listed as $400 per month unemployment compensation.

In September, Baier said she told Nelson and Richardson she was going to list the place with Freedom Realty and Nelson became upset, saying she was not letting anyone near the house, according to Baier.

Baier's comments have been verified by friend and neighbor Alfred "Doc" Sampert, who has said he regrets having recommended Richardson and Nelson as good renter prospects. He was a long-time friend of Richardson, both being Vietnam veterans.

In a signed statement, Sampert said, sometime in August, he heard Nelson and Richardson commenting on winning an Anchor Point property due to Nelson's use of the legal system.

"I asked both of them to not do that to Nicki," Sampert said.

In October, Nelson filed a suit against Nicki Baier and her son for $100,000 for breach of contract, misrepresentation, conspiracy to defraud, harassment, loss of income and other charges.

In November, Nelson and Richardson moved.

"Then (Nelson) offered me a one-time, out-of-court settlement for $2,600," Baier said. "Now I have to get an attorney and pay court costs to defend myself.

"She tried to do the same thing to the woman in Anchor Point," Baier said.

"Alaska needs to change the law so these people can't do this kind of thing. They can take anyone to court," she said.

Baier has retained Kenai attorney Ken Cole to defend her.

A pretrial conference is set for 3:30 p.m. Friday in Judge Charles Huguelet's court.

Phone messages left for Richardson and Nelson, who has a Foresthill, Calif. address listed in court documents, were not returned.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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