The Noble Law vs. Mattie Aikens



The Noble Law vs.Mattie Aikens

A Ready-Made Play


Jon Presco

Dedicated to Mattie Aikens and her family she fought so hard for. May they live and prosper.

“They stole my house,” Aikens said. “And I paid them to steal it.”

Taken from the transcript filed in Superior Court.

Note the sculpture on the window sill behind Lawrence Chazen, an executive of Noble Oil whose legal expertise moved Noble to Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. Is Chazen a collector of……..Art? This image in the San Francisco Examiner, a newspaper founded by Hearst (the Art Collector)  sets the stage for an Art Happening. There is a ‘Rosebud’ theme here, a contrast between great wealth and abject poverty. This is a Grapes of Wrath story. Walter Aikens left Columbia Mississippi with his young wife, Mattie, and headed to California. Walter was a janitor, and saved his money for a house. They had a dream!

“In 1880, mining engineer and entrepreneur George Hearst bought the Examiner. Seven years later, after being elected to the U.S. Senate, he gave it to his son, William Randolph Hearst, who was then 23 years old. The elder Hearst “was said to have received the failing paper as partial payment of a poker debt.”[

Marcel Duchamp was a co-founder of Ready-Mades.  John Cage employed the I-Ching to compose random musical scores. I don’t have a clue what is being said, and, for what reason. There appears to be some legal residue in the matter of Mattie’s failed attempt to save her home. Something is being concealed. There is a REFEREE. Lawrence Chazen, is a powerful attorney, but, can not represent himself. Mattie and Lawrence are locked in a Kafka play, a ‘Waiting for Godot’ drama. Where is she while this is going on? Is she living in a cardboard box? Will Blind Justice ever arrive – for anyone?

Click to access 2608.pdf

I am going to ask my artist friend, Stefan Eins, to do the set design employing images from his Real Estate Show. He is the founder of Fashion Moda. I am going to ask Michael McClure to narrate, do Rod Serling. Cage’s music will be employed,

Since the death of my sister, Christine Rosamond, not one person has been able to grasp anything about the legal drama I described to them. Two are Harvard graduates and writers. My solution is to present this play. Only then will they come shake my hand and say; “Why didn’t you tell us?”

Lawrence Chazen was my father’s private lender. One day Vic Presco, mentioned his daughter was a famous artist. Larry was a good friend of Garth Benton. These Real Estate Dealers arranged for these two creative people to meet. They got married, and born my niece, Drew Benton.

When Ann and Gordon Getty painted over their friend’s mural, Garth sued them, and was awarded $350,000. Garth is kin to the artist, Thomas Hart Benton, the mentor of Jackson Pollock, whose mural is be restored by the Getty Museum.

No one cut Mattie Aikens a break, until now! She and her family are in my Creative Family Tree. May her play be turned into a Musical on Broadway – and run twenty years!

Jon Presco


I am a member in good standing of the State Bar of California and an attorney
on record for 50% interest in Shannon Rosamond. In my 16 years as a member of
the State Bar California, I have never experienced a more deliberate fraud on
any court or more reckless and calculated attempt to fraudulently take control
of a probate estate at the exclusion of the lawful heirs and total manipulation
of a tester’s intent that the present efforts of Attorney’s Robin Beare,
Lawrence J. Chazen and Garth Benton, the descendants former spouse.”

“Over the specific argument of Ms. Beare, Judge Silver refused to appoint Mr.
Chazen. Neither Ms. Beare nor Mr. Chazen disclosed to the court the very
critical fact that Mr. Chazen has the largest single creditor’s claim against
the estate and is a former business partner and business associate of Garth
Benton who the court had removed as Special Administer just moments before.”



Late last week, Ann and Gordon Getty quietly settled a lawsuit — as if for them there could be any other way — that had been hanging over their estate for several months. Under the agreement, the Gettys have agreed to pay Garth Benton, an internationally acclaimed muralist, a sizable but undisclosed amount in exchange for the artist’s agreeing to drop his suit against one of the country’s richest families.

Benton’s lawsuit centered on an obscure California law that protects the work of artists, giving them the equivalent of copyright ownership of their work even after the work is sold. The 20-year-old law makes it a crime to alter, destroy or deface a work of fine art and holds that doing so can be “detrimental to the artist’s reputation.” In Benton’s case, however, the art wasn’t so much defaced as actually erased.

1964 artist-authorized replica ofFountain (1917) made by the artist’s dealer, Arturo Schwarz, based on a photograph by Alfred Stieglitz. Porcelain, 360 x 480 x 610 mm. Tate Modern, London.

Ann Messner with bolt cutters used to enter 125 Delancey Street. Photo by Peter Moennig

Ann Messner with bolt cutters used to enter 125 Delancey Street. Photo by Peter Moennig

A still from Ann Messner's film Stealing shown in conjunction with the Real Estate Show.

A still from Ann Messner’s film Stealing shown in conjunction with the Real Estate Show.

ESTRAGON:In my opinion we were here.VLADIMIR:(looking round). You recognize the place?ESTRAGON:I didn’t say that.VLADIMIR:Well?ESTRAGON:That makes no difference.VLADIMIR:All the same . . . that tree . . . (turning towards auditorium) that bog . . .ESTRAGON:You’re sure it was this evening?VLADIMIR:What?ESTRAGON:That we were to wait.VLADIMIR:He said Saturday. (Pause.) I think.ESTRAGON:You think.VLADIMIR:I must have made a note of it. (He fumbles in his pockets, bursting with miscellaneous rubbish.)ESTRAGON:(very insidious). But what Saturday? And is it Saturday? Is it not rather Sunday? (Pause.) Or Monday? (Pause.) Or Friday?VLADIMIR:(looking wildly about him, as though the date was inscribed in the landscape). It’s not possible!ESTRAGON:Or Thursday?VLADIMIR:What’ll we do?ESTRAGON:If he came yesterday and we weren’t here you may be sure he won’t come again today.VLADIMIR:But you say we were here yesterday.ESTRAGON:I may be mistaken. (Pause.) Let’s stop talking for a minute, do you mind?VLADIMIR:(feebly). All right. (Estragon sits down on the mound. Vladimir paces agitatedly to and fro, halting from time to time to gaze into distance off. Estragon falls asleep. Vladimir halts finally before Estragon.) Gogo! . . . Gogo! . . . GOGO!Estragon wakes with a start.ESTRAGON:(restored to the horror of his situation). I was asleep! (Despairingly.) Why will you never let me sleep?VLADIMIR:I felt lonely.ESTRAGON:I had a dream.VLADIMIR:Don’t tell me!ESTRAGON:I dreamt that—VLADIMIR:DON’T TELL ME!ESTRAGON:(gesture toward the universe). This one is enough for you? (Silence.) It’s not nice of you, Didi. Who am I to tell my private nightmares to if I can’t tell them to you?VLADIMIR:Let them remain private. You know I can’t bear that.ESTRAGON:(coldly.) There are times when I wonder if it wouldn’t be better for us to part.

1997-04-13 04:00:00 PDT OAKLAND — When the roof started leaking and the foundation started slipping on Mattie Aikens’ home of 37 years, she knew it was finally time to scrape together some money to make the necessary improvements. 

So she did what she thought was best: She took out a loan and looked forward to living in her home for many more years.

It may have been the worst decision of her life.

Now, with her roof still dripping and her two-story house in the Oakland hills in far worse condition than before, the 78-year-old widow is about to evicted.

After Aikens was unable to come up with a stunningly large single payment on the loan – more than $160,000 – within a one-year deadline, the lender foreclosed. At least two other similar cases involved loans arranged by the same company.

“They stole my house,” Aikens said. “And I paid them to steal it.”

She was told she wouldn’t have to worry, Aikens recalls, when she put her shaky signature on a formal-looking financial agreement filled with sophisticated phrases. But she is filled with worry as her April 24 eviction looms.

“This disturbs me awful bad, baby. I be in tears. I be in tears all the time,” she said recently as she stood outside the home where she raised her 10 children, and where many of her 57 grandchildren and great-grandchildren regularly visit her. “I’ve never harmed one person in my life. And now look what’s happened to me.”

What happened to her – and to dozens of other seniors in the area, according to an Oakland housing counselor – is that they signed intricate loan documents to fix their homes, often after being wooed by brokers who told them they could repay them with low monthly payments.

Many of the loans have “balloon payments,” when the entire balance of the loan is due after years – or just months – of low payments. But that important detail was not adequately explained to them, Aikens and others say – and if it had been, they would not have agreed to the deal.

Court documents show that the same company – First Capital Finance in Hayward, a partnership run by Robert Cox, Charles H. Oliver Jr. and Cynthia Cecil Oliver – has made at least two other loans following the same formula. The firm has since folded, and its owner, Cox, pleaded guilty to six counts of grand theft. He is serving time at Folsom State Prison for defrauding investors.

The cases both involve single, elderly women with no experience in such transactions and living on modest fixed incomes. Both said in court documents that they were not told of the balloon payments and were devastated when faced with foreclosure.

Seniors are often targeted because their homes are valuable and they are not educated about the terminology of loan transactions, say lawyers and consumer advocates. In many cases, the mortgages are almost paid off. Aikens owed just $5,000 on her home and was living off the $1,000 a month she received from Social Security and her late husband’s pension.

Aikens said the contractor never even finished the job, leaving her home in such disrepair that some rooms have no electricity – and the roof still leaks.

“This is the archetypal story of an elderly, minority widow being taken advantage of to extreme levels,” said Paul Daly, assistant manager of a San Ramon bank, who tried unsuccessfully to help bail Aikens out of her financial woes.

“It is evident that the contractor and lender were, and are, intent on foreclosing and subsequently taking over the property due to the level of equity of the property,” he wrote in an internal memo sent to another bank official while investigating the situation.

Son cosigned loan<

Aikens’ loan was handled by Charles H. Oliver Jr. of First Capital Finance – who has since started another company,Homeowners Resources Corp., also in Hayward.

Oliver refused to discuss details of Aikens’ situation – or any connection with First Capital Finance – because of confidentiality restrictions, other than to say the transaction was legitimate.

“There was full knowledge and disclosure, but it is an unfortunate situation,” he said.

He also said Aikens’ eldest son, Wilbert, cosigned on the $160,000 loan, and should have been fully aware of the agreement.

Reviewing Aikens’ truth-in-lending disclosure statement, Daly said there were telltale signs that the loan was troublesome.

The document, one of about 30 prepared in the loan process, reveals an unusually high annual percentage rate of 25.5 percent – “pretty much highway robbery,” Daly said, explaining that a normal rate is typically around 10 percent.

Another problem: The $162,172.21 balloon payment due in the 12th month was more than the original loan. In fact, much of the first 11 monthly payments of $1,841.25 went toward a $17,652.44 loan processing fee.

Oakland attorney Christine Noma – who represents the two other women who signed similar loan agreements with First Capital Finance – said some brokers prey on the elderly, knowing that most are unfamiliar with real estate deals.

When she questioned Cox, the First Capital Finance president, in a deposition last year, he conceded that one elderly borrower could not repay the loan without refinancing – or “she could win the lottery.”

“But was it your collective opinion that (the widow) did not have the income to save the money herself to pay off the balloon (payment)?” Noma asked.

“That is a given,” Cox replied.

Noma is concerned about the psychological impact for victims of such deals.

“The real damage is that elderly women are becoming homeless when they were once financially independent and living in their own house,” she said. “Suddenly, they are robbed of their independence … and are left struggling when they should be enjoying the last years of their lives.”

Oakland attorney Christine Noma – who represents the two other women who signed similar loan agreements with First Capital Finance – said some brokers prey on the elderly, knowing that most are unfamiliar with real estate deals.


iWalter and Mattie Aikens were True Americans who invested in the American Dream. Lawrence Chazen used his cunning to move Noble Oil out of reach of Uncle Sam. I am sure the Aikens paid all their taxes.

Noble Corporation Board of Directors

Director since 1994
Mr. Chazen has served since 1977 as Chief Executive Officer of Lawrence J. Chazen, Inc., a California registered investment adviser engaged in providing financial advisory services.


Director since 1994
Mr. Leland has served since 1984 as President of Marc E. Leland & Associates, Inc., a company engaged in the business of providing financial advisory services.

The President today announced his intention to nominate Marc E. Leland to be a Deputy Under Secretary of the Treasury (International Affairs). Upon confirmation, the President will designate Mr. Leland to act as an Assistant Secretary of International Affairs.

Since 1978 Mr. Leland has served as a London resident partner with the firm of Proskauer Rose Goetz & Mendelsohn. He was senior adviser to the U.S. delegation to the mutual balanced force reduction talks in Vienna, Austria, in 1976-78. In 1972-73 Mr. Leland was a partner with the firm of Cerf, Robinson & Leland of San Francisco, Calif. He was an associate and partner of that firm in 1964-68.

Mr. Leland served as General Counsel to the ACTION agency in 1971-72. He was General Counsel to the Peace Corps in 1970-71. In 1968-70 he was a faculty fellow in foreign and comparative law at Harvard Law School. Mr. Leland was a Ford Foundation fellow at the Institute of Comparative Law, University of Paris, France, in 1963—64.


Noble Corporation Board Approves Proposed Change in Place of Incorporation

SUGAR LAND, Texas, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Noble Corporation(NYSE: NE) announced today its Board of Directors has approved changing the place of incorporation of the publicly traded parent of the Noble group of companies from the Cayman Islands to Switzerland. The Company’s shareholders will be asked to vote to approve the proposed change at a shareholders’ meeting, which Noble expects will be called in the near future.

If approved by shareholders, Noble expects the change of the place of incorporation to be effective as soon as practicable following review and approval by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, which could occur in early 2009. The reincorporation would be achieved by merging Noble Corporation, the current Cayman Islands parent company, with a newly formed Cayman Islands subsidiary of the new Swiss parent company.

Noble Corporation’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, David W. Williamssaid, “After careful consideration, our Board of Directors has concluded that a change of place of incorporation to Switzerland is in the best interests of Noble’s shareholders and customers. Switzerland’s stable commercial and financial environment and its well-established tax regime will help us to maintain our competitive position in the global marketplace.”

Upon completion of the transaction, the Noble parent company will continue to be subject to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reporting requirements, and its shares will be listed exclusively on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “NE”, the Company’s current trading symbol.

“At this point, we are continuing to evaluate whether relocating our corporate headquarters to Switzerland would be in Noble’s best interest and the best interests of our shareholders,” added Williams. “If we conclude that relocation is appropriate, we could begin to move personnel at any time, either before or after we conclude the transaction.”

Full details of the transactions, and the associated benefits and risks, will be provided in the Company’s proxy statement with respect to the shareholders’ meeting.

About Noble

Noble is a leading offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry. Noble performs, through its subsidiaries, contract drilling services with a fleet of 63 offshore drilling units (including five rigs currently under construction) located worldwide, including in the Middle East, India, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the North Sea, Brazil, and West Africa. Noble’s ordinary shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “NE”.

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About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to The Noble Law vs. Mattie Aikens

  1. Reblogged this on rosamondpress and commented:

    Did the Twinkle Toes Trio read this? Why wouldn’t they feel proud to know me, feel honored that I mentioned them in this blog?

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