By Desiree Parker
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
James City County Board of Supervisors Chair Mary Jones was slated to lose her home in a foreclosure auction this week; her husband filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection Friday, which may stop the sale for the time being.
The home is owned by Jones’ husband, Archbold (Arch) Jones III, and it was set to be sold in late September 2010 at a similar auction. That sale was stopped at the last minute when Arch Jones’ attorney, foreclosure expert Henry McLaughlin, filed court documents to halt the sale. This most recent bankruptcy filing is the fifth time since 2009 that Arch Jones has filed for Chapter 13 protection in Virginia. Chapter 13 allows people to work out a payment plan for debts. He filed for Chapter 7 once in 2002; Chapter 7 “erases” most debts.
The home was purchased in 2007, five years after the Chapter 7 was finalized. The nearly 3,300-square-foot, five-bedroom home in Jamestown Hundred was purchased for $428,000, according to county records. The original amount of the mortgage, according to the notice of trustee’s sale, is $342,400. The most recent tax assessment in 2010 puts the home’s value at $358,800.
According to local attorney Susan Tarley of Tarley Robinson, a Chapter 13 filing will stop a foreclosure sale, at least temporarily. “An automatic stay goes into effect upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition, which prohibits all creditors from taking action against the debtor to obtain or enforce a judgment or lien against the debtor or the debtor’s property,” Tarley said.
Should the bankruptcy case be dismissed for any reason, or if the debtor fails to make payments, or if the bank can show there is no equity in the property and the court agrees, then foreclosure might proceed, she noted.
Arch Jones filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June 2002, at which time his debts were discharged, according to court records.
He filed for Chapter 13 for the first time in Virginia in September 2009. The judge dismissed the case because Jones failed to file required documents on time. He filed again in October 2009, and the judge dismissed the case for the same reason, and also because Jones failed to meet with his creditors.
He filed a third time in March 2010; the case was dismissed because documents weren’t filed on time and because he failed to submit his repayment plan in a timely manner.
When the judge dismissed the fourth case, filed in June 2010, he noted that “the Court finds that the debtor is not proceeding in good faith, and that his case should be dismissed with prejudice.” Jones was barred from refilling another petition for 180 days.
Jones filed the most recent petition Friday.
The homeowners association in the Joneses’ Jamestown Hundred community has taken him to court six times since May 2010 seeking payment of debt, according to court documents; the most recent was filed last month.
Aside from the issues relating to the nonpayment of the home mortgage, Mary Jones has also had two warrants in debt (civil claims for money) issued against her within the last year or so – one dating back to January 2011 for $4,102.86, owed to Discover Bank, and one issued in April last year for $1,562.98 owed originally to Chase Bank.
While Jones did not respond to an email from WYDaily Monday afternoon asking whether her husband’s bankruptcy filing has halted the planned foreclosure sale, she told WYDaily in fall 2010, “We’re not immune to the impact of the economy.”
She also said at the time, “I know I have to deal with this in public. It’s an unfortunate position to be in, but we’re human. We’re not the only family that faces these kinds of challenges today… but I was hired to do a job for the citizens of the county, and I’m determined to serve them.”
The company representing the bank in the sale did not respond to a phone call about the upcoming sale, either.
According to Maryland court records, Maryland property management company Hendersen-Webb filed claims against Arch Jones and Mary Jones in October 1998 seeking $2,875.63. The court found in favor of Hendersen-Webb in the claim regarding Mary Jones in August 2003; the status of the complaint is listed as “bankruptcy” regarding the same claim against Arch Jones. The case status is still listed as active.
Read a previous story about the pending foreclosure sale here.