By David Robb
Famed stuntwoman and author now being put out into street
Heidi Von Beltz facing one of her biggest tragedies since her paralysis
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 8/1/11 — An ugly showdown is shaping up over attempts to evict paralyzed former Hollywood stuntwoman Heidi von Beltz from the home she has lived in for the past 10 years.
“Her ass will be on the street,” said Mel Wiener, the father of the man who runs the company that recently bought the house at a foreclosure sale. “The sheriff is coming to throw her ass on the street. You can have all the cameras there that you want. Unfortunately, the code doesn’t say that because you’re in a wheelchair you can’t get evicted.”
The eviction could come as early as this week.
Von Beltz was left a quadriplegic more than 30 years ago when an ill-conceived car stunt that went horribly wrong in the Nevada desert during filming of “Cannonball Run.” Heidi, who’d been a passenger in the stunt car – doubling for Farrah Fawcett – was thrown into the windshield when two cars collided head-on. She was pulled from the burning wreckage, barely alive, and has been paralyzed from the neck down ever since.
Ten years ago, her sister, Christy Weston – who is Von Beltz’ primary caregiver – bought a home on Bascule Avenue, a tree-lined street in Woodland Hills. In 2007, she refinanced the house with IndyMac Bank, a subprime lender, and was told she could be refinance after a year’s time. Before the year was up, however,
the bank collapsed.
“Only then did the truth surface that the mortgage on our house was thrown into a default pool for liquidation,” said Heidi, who pays her sister $1,000 a month to live there. “These were ‘vulture loans,’ with no way out. And the mortgage on our home was sold on the stock market to foreign investors without our even knowing.”
“These were predatory loans,” Weston said. “They left us dangling with seven loan modifications at a time when I was doing 10 hospitalizations with Heidi.”
In 2009, IndyMac’s assets were taken over by OneWest Bank, which then moved to foreclose on the sisters’ home.
Christy filed suit and the case has been tied up in court ever since, and is set to go to trial in January.
In July, however, with the case still pending, the home was sold at auction. The buyer was Jay Wiener and his company, Bentley Homes, LLC.
On July 20, a Superior Court Judge in Van Nuys ruled that the eviction against Christy Weston could proceed. The judge, however, deferred until a hearing on Aug. 3 to determine whether or not the evection of Heidi von Beltz could proceed.
As the parties were leaving the courtroom, Jay Wiener alleged made remarks about Von Beltz that “made light of and mocked her condition while expressing delight in the prospects of removing her from (her) residence.”
According to a complaint Von Beltz filed two days later against Jay Wiener and Bentley Homes, Wiener, “after being advised of the nature and extent of Von Beltz’ disability, stated to plaintiff’s caregiver, Christy Weston, that he and his company are looking forward to evicting plaintiff and having a barbeque to celebrate the eviction in the backyard of plaintiff’s residence.”
Wiener’s comments and actions, the complaint alleges, violate Von Beltz’ the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Unruh Act, which among other things, outlaws discrimination against persons with disabilities.
“I was offended,” said Jerome Zamos, Von Beltz’ attorney who said he overheard Wiener’s remarks. “I saw this as part of a larger problem involving a class of people who some people might characterize as vultures. “This is just typical of a certain type of people who are out to grab whatever they can from people without any concern for the consequences.”
Mel Wiener – Jay’s father – described Von Beltz’ complaint as “a nuisance suit.”
“We just bought the note at a foreclosure sale,” he said. “We paid close to $600,000 for it. She can sue who ever she wants to.”
Zamos, who claims the house sold at foreclosure for only $450,000, said that some of Von Beltz’ friends offered Bentley Homes $525,000 to buy the note back, but that the Wieners refused to sell.
Mel Wiener, meanwhile, said that he is trying to scrape up $20,000-30,000 to give to Von Beltz “so she can go on her way. We’re trying to give her some money to go away peacefully.”
Zamos, however, vowed that Heidi won’t be evicted without a fight.
“We’re not going to go away quietly,” he said. “We are going to fight to keep Heidi in the house, using every legal tool we have at our disposal.”
Neither Jay Wiener nor his attorney Richard Graham could be reached for comment.