This is a letter I felt compelled to write to the letter of the editor of our local newspaper.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
This is an apology to our neighbors, our neighborhood and our city. We apologize for how our home has deteriorated and how, it may seem that we have been neglectful of our home. We have lived in our home and in this beautiful city, for almost nineteen years; and for many years we were very involved in trying to better our community and in some ways are still involved today, although, as you will see, we have been busy in other avenues of bettering, hopefully, our country when this is all said and done.
In 2004, after a very destructive year in our lives (the death of our son-in-law and grandson, the loss of a job and a son serving his country in Iraq); we were forced to refinance our home and unfortunately for us, had dealt with a loan company that, within six months after our “closing”, would receive a Cease and Desist letter from the State of Michigan for illegal practices. We would learn this fact after the bank tried to illegally foreclose on our home in 2006. We discovered that the involved lender had blatantly forged my husband and my signatures to the mortgage document, notarized that document and recorded it as legal tender at the Lapeer County Register of Deeds.
We spent the next six years, fighting the bank, over a crime that, had we committed, would have sent us straight to jail, paying restitution and suffering the consequences that go along with that type of decision. We not only had to fight the bank; we had to fight the very court (bankruptcy) that we reported this crime to. The trustee hired an attorney that jumped on the bandwagon to win an avoidance of the forged mortgage, only for that same attorney to turn around, after we won (in July 2007), and attempt to sell the avoided mortgage back to the defendants for $30,000, without notifying us or our attorney; an action which would have allowed the guilty defendants to retain their interest in our property and continue with their illegal foreclosure. We were forced to pay the trustee’s attorney over $12,000 for his “services”.
This erroneous decision by the bankruptcy court, before determining whether the bank had a legal right to an equitable mortgage, caused us to appeal the resale of our voided mortgage to the US District Court. This courts determination was that the bankruptcy court had not determined whether the bank had a legal right to have an equitable mortgage, based on the forgery, and sent it back to the lower court for a determination. The bankruptcy court, upon the receipt of this remand, immediately determined that the defendants were eligible for the equitable mortgage and, again, we were forced to appeal to the US District Court. The final determination deemed that the bank did not have the legal right to have an equitable mortgage. This action caused the bank to file an appeal to the US 6th Circuit Court, where, finally, in January of 2012 the higher court denied the equitable mortgage.
Most would consider this a big win, however, if this was a big win, I wouldn’t be sitting here, almost seven years later, feeling compelled to write this letter of regret. The entire time that we were embroiled in this fight, we were continually told that we were not to make any repairs to the home (after all it might go back to the bank). The bank (six years after the avoidance of the mortgage and a year-and-a-half after the circuit court’s decision) still have their names on our deed and have placed forced insurance upon our home that has been billed to us on our ever growing “escrow” that we weren’t entitled to when we actually had a mortgage…and the coup de grâce, the bank is reporting that we are over 80-months delinquent on our non-existent “mortgage”.
We have had to hire another law firm to straighten out this mess and after speaking with our lawyer, this will be another long, drawn out affair. We have attempted to file a claim against the insurance, however, it is likely the bank will rescind the insurance based on a “mutual mistake of fact” (the original servicer, midway through the appeals process sold the non-existent mortgage to another servicer)…so, in other words, oops, sorry we didn’t tell you that the mortgage we sold you had no validity, no hard feelings.
We have contacted every agency that we can think of to try and get help with our situation, only to be told that because our credit is shot we, most likely, would not be able to get any help if there was any help available in the first place.
There is no quick fix for us. We decided to stand up against a crime that was committed against us and this is the consequences of an average American going toe to toe with the banks. They will chew you up and spit you out without any regard for the laws that govern us, the “average” Americans. So, therefore, I feel compelled to apologize to my neighbors and community and let you know that this is not what we want and every day we make strides to overcome what the last ten years has done to our lives. I will not apologize for fighting a crime or standing on principle, but I know that my decisions now have consequences for my neighbors and neighborhood. I hope that this will at least give our neighbors answers to the why “it is what it is”.