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Entries in Foreclosure (4)

Sunday
Aug052012

Lochte's Parents Face Foreclosure on Port Orange, Fla., Home

Hemera/Thinkstock(PORT ORANGE, Fla.) -- The parents of U.S. Olympic gold-medal swimmer Ryan Lochte cheered their son on in London this week, but they were also embroiled in a foreclosure lawsuit back home in the States.

CitiMortgage filed a suit against Lochte's parents, Steven and Ileana, in May, seeking to foreclose on the couple's February 2007 mortgage on their property in Port Orange, Fla. The bank is seeking to recover $250,000, according to court documents.

Volusia County court records show that Ileana Lochte filed a motion to dismiss the suit in July.

Ileana Lochte told USA TODAY that none of her children knew about the foreclosure proceedings, the paper reported today.

Lochte's parents divorced in February 2011, after nearly 36 years of marriage.

On Saturday, Lochte tweeted from London that he was spending the day with his family, but did not acknowledge his parents' foreclosure to his followers.

"Being with my family is the best part of my life," he said. "Today I got to kick back and have fun with the people I love most."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb062012

Texas Squatter With $16 McMansion Kicked Out After 8 Months

Kenneth Robinson lived in a "McMansion" in Texas for several months through a legal loophole, paying only $16. (ABC News)(FLOWER MOUND, Texas) -- Kenneth Robinson has finally been kicked out of the $340,000 home that he had lived in since June for just $16.

Robinson, 51, lived on Waterford Drive in Flower Mound, Texas, but he did not own or rent the home he claimed he had a right to live in. After the owner abandoned the property, which had been in foreclosure for over a year, and the mortgage company reportedly went out of business, he submitted a $16 filing fee at the local courthouse, claiming the law of "adverse possession" gave him the right to occupy the home.

However, a judge in Denton County ruled Monday that the current lien holder, Bank of America, can force Robinson out.

Robinson had become a local celebrity of sorts, writing an eBook and creating a website, 16dollarhouse.com, about the home in which he lived for about eight months. On his site, he states, "I am successful because I can see it no other way."

But now that Robinson has moved out, prosecutors are cracking down on others hoping to emulate him.

Adverse possession is a common law concept developed in the 1800s. According to Lucas A. Ferrara, a partner in Newman Ferrara, a New York City real estate law firm, adverse possession was enacted to ensure that property wasn't abandoned and was "maintained and monitored." It requires the posting of a clear, public notice that someone is at the property -- hence the court filing -- and that someone would remain there for a specific period of time, usually 10 years.

After the time requirement is satisfied, the Robinsons of the world have the opportunity to claim clear title to the property. In the meantime, the original property owner could fight the action, but it would be costly. And since the house has already been abandoned, it's not likely the original owner would wage an expensive legal battle to get it back. The mortgage holder would have to fight a court action too.

The growing number of abandoned homes brought on by the foreclosure crisis has produced a small buzz around the idea of adverse possession.

A spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, however, said adverse possession was not common nor on the association's radar screen.

But a quick Google search, however, turned up plenty of websites willing to show anyone how to do what Ken Robinson did.

At AdversePossession.com, for example, for a mere $39.95, "average people" can learn how to "acquire valuable real estate for free." The site takes steps to assure potential Robinsons that adverse possession is not squatting. "Squatter," says the site, "is an unfortunate and negative term used to describe someone who unlawfully occupies a vacant property or other real estate." Nor is occupying abandoned homes for financial gain immoral, according to the site. It's "doing the neighborhood a favor."

Robinson's former neighbors saw the situation differently. After he first moved in, they told local reporters, "If he [Robinson] wants the house, buy the house like everyone else had to. ..."

And Ferrara said, "it's quite an un-American notion that someone can take another's property without paying for it.... After all, even the government has to pay for your property if it decides to take it from you."

David DeCosse, the director of campus ethics programs at the Markkulla Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, said that even though Robinson may have a right to do what he's doing, it's not necessarily the right thing to do.

Some of the great moral thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas, said DeCosse, would argue that in the case of an extreme emergency, it would be OK to do something like take food from a grocery store because food is meant to support and address human needs. So stealing would be OK in certain circumstances. But if there is no emergency, "it offends our moral sensibilities," said DeCosse. "What may be legally permissible is not necessarily ethically right."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Nov132010

Family Loses Home to Foreclosure, Neighbors Bring Them In

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PHOENIX) -- After Michael Toczko lost his job in June as a stock broker near Phoenix, he and his family watched their home fall into foreclosure. Toczko and his wife, Kristin Hailstone, swallowed their pride and knocked on their neighbors' doors to tell them the news.

"We went to everyone and apologized for hurting their home values. We wanted them to know that we'd done the best that we could, truly, and everyone was just so gracious and all they cared about was keeping our family safe," Hailstone said.

One family did more than keep the Toczkos safe. Liz and Joe Larger, a few doors down, took them in.

"Losing a house is a big thing, but it's just stuff. It's not important...We're together, we're a family and we're enjoying each other and that's what's really important," Joe Larger said.

Today, the Toczkos pitch in with what rent they can afford and together, the two families are a kind of experiment in generosity. The Toczkos' and the Largers' decision to consolidate their family homes is becoming less and less unusual. In the cul-de-sac where they live, three of the five homes have two families per address.

Phoenix is a hotspot for foreclosures. According to RealtyTrac, in the third quarter of this year, one out of every 69 homes in the area went up for auction.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct122010

Florida's 'Foreclosure King' Investigated: Questionable Practices?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PLANTATION, Fla.) -- A former paralegal with Florida's largest foreclosure law practice has told state investigators the firm routinely signed court paperwork without reading it, misdated records, forged signatures and passed around notary stamps in the rush to foreclose on homes.

The charges are the latest leveled against the firm of multimillionaire attorney David J. Stern, who has amassed a fortune foreclosing on the homes of struggling families on behalf of lenders. The 50-year-old Stern even considered naming his $20 million yacht "Su Casa Es Mi Casa,” or "Your House is My House," an acquaintance told the New York Times. After his wife and others cautioned against it, Stern settled on Misunderstood. He denied to the newspaper that he considered "Su Casa Es Mi Casa."

In Florida, Stern is foreclosure king, operating the large law firm plus a foreclosure processing company and other support businesses that he recently sold off. His Plantation, Florida firm, which filed 70,382 foreclosure cases last year, is the largest of three under investigation by the state's attorney general, Bill McCollum, for allegedly filing improper documents with courts to hasten the overloaded foreclosure process.

To detractors, the 50-year-old Stern has become emblematic of the foreclosure crisis, the architect of what they call a giant assembly line that has undermined struggling homeowners at a time of record foreclosures. Nationwide, there were 2.8 million foreclosures in 2009. Florida leads the nation in foreclosures with more than 400,000 filings this year alone.

The paralegal, who worked for Stern a little more than a year, described an office where signatures on notarized documents were regularly forged, legal papers were outsourced to Guam and the Philippines, and shouting matches erupted when cases stalled. The accusations, in a sworn statement taken late last month by the Florida attorney general, coincide with mounting nationwide criticism of the practices used to take homes from families.

In the past month, GMAC, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have halted or slowed foreclosure procedures, after bank employees and affiliates admitted to signing thousands of documents without knowing the details of the cases.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio