Expats have to lead the recovery battle themselves

As one of the only people, or maybe the only person, to have lost possession and title to a property here and then recovered it, I know first hand the emotional, physical and financial toll it takes upon you.

Yes, I recovered my property, but during the ordeal the shower drain collected a lot of hair, and I suffered a divorce impacting my daughter and a painful ulcer. Did I mention spending $40,000 in recovery fees, being gouged financially by one attorney, while the next attorney lied to me about his efforts in an attempt to sabotage my case?

I liken it to what it must feel like to be raped. Anyone who has ever gone through it would never joke about it.

It wasn’t until taking the matter into my own hands by organizing my case file, creating a detailed list of litigators (of which there are few here) and shopping a synopsis of my case to each did the tide change. Next, victory came by paying to facilitate an honest effort by a skilled litigator. Yes, I worked my own case by doing all the things that needed to get done. The learning curve was huge, immense. But I dedicated my life to it and determined this was the hill I was going to die upon if necessary. I was the cat, the keeper of the mice.

The A.M. Costa Rica article stated there is no help — and it’s true. You have to help yourself. Attorneys will push paper. They will not physically reclaim possession of your property. In my experience, they try and scare you into not being proactive regarding reestablishing your property possession as it is key to resolving your property fraud in an adverse possession case. From leading mine and other people’s property recovering campaigns, I have come to know attorneys here can care less if you recover your property or not.

Some may care if they win in court, but as the Hazletine ordeal proves, to recover your property relatively quickly, court victories are not enough. Property recovery requires more. Mr. Hazletine has used an attorney to fight for his property for over 16 years.

 After I assembled my property recoveryteam, I had title and possession restored in 16 months.

Attorneys file papers and many tell you what you want to hear. Or lecture legal theory. They don’t recover property. You have to do that. My attorney aided me in my property recovery campaign by handling the legal aspect of the effort. Everything else from establishing a caretaker, filing combative secondary law suits, physical confrontations, building on and then leasing out my disputed property to further demonstrate my possession, and fighting off the politician husbands of the wives claiming title of my property was done by me.

I personally led a public effort to let all know both locally and nationally what those trying to claim my property had done, including dropping documents at the president’s personal residence. Face-to-face confrontations with the opposition displayed my will to fight to the end. Some people said I was crazy to stand up to the well-connected. Other said I should leave the country or be fearful for my life.

I lost money, family and health. But I gained my property back and the respect and admiration of neighbors, professionals and friends by putting it all on the line and prevailing. Attorneys will not do that for you. As the article implies, no one will do that. You have to have the money and time to do it for yourself, or find someone who has recovered property and pay them to do it for you. An attorney is not enough. You can’t just pay an attorney and walk away. Many who have lost their property will confirm this. And the wrong attorney can sink your ship while being enriched by the other side. Whether it is you or someone else, a property recovery needs a campaign coordinator, a leader. Preferably one who knows what it’s like to sit on both sides of the desk.

Make no mistake about it, property recovery is a campaign. An attorney is only the legal arm of it. The trench work that gets the job done requires a team and a coordinator dedicated to more than a legal victory. Your property has financial value. Paper victories do not.

• Baker’s 2006 property victory is reported HERE! He now lives in San Diego, California.

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