BPE Law Group Wins Big for the Historic Town of Locke

In the early 1900s, a small piece of swampland along the Sacramento River was reclaimed to form a community in which Chinese immigrants could for the first time legally own land. Thus began the history of Locke, California.

Locke is unique and historic for being the only town in the United States created for Chinese immigrant workers who came to America to build infrastructure, like the transcontinental railroad and Sacramento Delta Levee system.

Over the years the fortunes of the community rose and fell with the economy, but the Chinese culture held on. In 1971, the Town was added to the National Register of Historic Places and the Locke Management Association (“LMA”) was formed to govern the community and its preservation. One of the key provisions of the LMA charter was that any real property coming up for sale must be offered first to LMA and through them to descendants of the original Chinese residents.

In 2011, a non-Chinese resident purchased a Locke property. This Buyer entirely ignored the purchase rights of LMA and the Chinese descendants. When LMA objected to the sale, the Buyer commenced what became a 5 year legal battle in the Courts, a battle in which BPE Law Group was retained to represent LMA. In this case, LMA, in conformance with its’ historic preservation objectives, wanted to exercise its right of first refusal as to this particular property because it was one of the first three buildings constructed in Locke and because of its historic location at the corner of Levee Road and Main Street.   Because the property was literally sold in stark defiance of the Bylaws, we filed a lawsuit against the Buyer to compel the sale of the Property to LMA.
Over the course of the next five years, the LMA had to endure a meritless charge of housing discrimination, which we defeated, and an unwarranted cross-complaint for civil rights violations, which we also defeated. All the while we built a case of sufficient evidence to confirm that LMA had made an appropriate and legitimate exercise of its right to purchase the Subject Property. As a direct result of our tireless and concerted efforts, the Sacramento County Superior Court recently ruled in LMA’s favor and against the Buyer. LMA will get the Property.  Not only that but, because the controlling  Bylaws and CC&Rs provided that the prevailing party be awarded reasonable attorney fees, the Court also awarded LMA a Judgment against the Buyer to recover all of their legal costs and attorney fees… totaling $150,000.

All of us at BPE Law are proud of the hard earned successes of our attorneys in representing LMA and through them preserving the historic nature of the Town of Locke. We particularly recognize the significant legal efforts of our litigation attorneys Robert Enos and Gregory Wayland whose diligence and passion drove this case to a successful result both for our client, LMA, but also for the County of Sacramento and the Citizens of California who care about preserving and honoring our State’s cultural diversity and heritage.

For over 20 years, the attorneys of BPE Law Group have been serving the legal needs of our clients wherever they may be and as complex and unique as the situation may demand. From individual property owners, to large scale businesses and developers, and even to municipal communities, the depth of our experience and effectiveness of our attorneys has kept BPE Law as the “go to” law firm for litigation and transactional needs throughout California.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at sjbeede@bpelaw.com. If you need help now, please call our office at (916) 966-2260 to set up a consultation.

This article is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be taken as legal advice.  Every case requires review of specific facts and history, and a formal agreement for service.  Please feel free to contact us if you need legal advice and are interested in seeing if we can help you.