Dying woman strikes deal, will move out of home

June 18, 2010 11:53:10 PM PDT
A Bay Area woman fighting cancer and eviction from her home has struck a deal with the trustee to move out of the Union City house she has rented for the past 25 years.

A trial was averted at the last minute Friday with a tentative agreement that involves moving out, but with living expenses paid.

The trustee for the landlord's estate flew in from Washington state for the trial that never happened. Cicero spent the entire day waiting anxiously with her doctor by her side, while her lawyer and the trustee's lawyer tried to reach a settlement.

The 77-year-old woman has Stage 4 breast cancer. She lives on a fixed income of $986 a month. Her landlord died four years ago and willed the house she has rented since 1986 to Stanford University. The trustee wanted her evicted because she has not paid rent since her husband died three years ago. Offers of help and relocating were refused, and now the house has to be sold.

Cicero and her lawyers say she cannot afford to leave, and the humane thing to do would be to let her die in her home. The settlement is the next best thing.

"I believe we've reached a tentative agreement with the trustee; I'm happy to report that. The details of the agreement cannot be released at this time. We're still hashing out the details, but it would involve Mrs. Cicero moving out, and it would also involve her living expenses being pretty much covered for the next five to 10 years," said Cicero's attorney Brenda Adams. "It's a very generous offer and she is very happy about it."

The trustee of the estate agreed to give Cicero a six-figure settlement, if she would move out by the end of August.

"You have to have faith in this world and everything works out fine and I want to thank the trustee Cathy Stirling for being so generous to me. I'm a good person and she's a good person," said Cicero.

Cicero says she holds no hard feelings, though the trustee had moved to evict her after Cicero refused an offer of $15,000 to move out. Gillian Ross is an attorney for the trustee.

"Miss Stirling, the trustee, is also grateful that Stanford supported this decision that she made because in making this payment to Miss Cicero, Stanford University's gift from the trust is diminished," said Ross.

Stanford has a $12.6 billion endowment. The house is worth an estimated $445,000. A spokeswoman for Stanford University wouldn't comment on camera, but said the university had no part in the settlement. A year ago Stanford gave its blessing to the eviction efforts, but since then university says it's stayed out of it.

When asked if Cicero held any animosity toward Stanford or the trustee, she said "No, I'm not a bad person, I'm a good person. I wouldn't hurt a fly and things just went the wrong way and it's all straightened out."

The house will be sold and Stanford will get the proceeds after Cicero is paid. Cicero told ABC7 that she did not want the amount of the settlement made public, but her attorney says it is enough to take care of the woman for five to 10 years.


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