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Nashville Symphony Reaches Deal with Lenders to Avoid Foreclosure

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I-Team: Couple accused of renting rooms in foreclosure house to criminals

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla – They were arrested last month after investigators say they neglected an elderly man living in their garage, but the I-Team has discovered that’s not the only instance in which a Pinellas County couple has been causing trouble in residential neighborhoods.

The I-Team has learned that the same people have been operating flop houses in foreclosure homes located in an upscale subdivision.  

 “This has just created a disaster around here,” said Edward Lafaye, describing the house next door.

 The home, according to court documents, first went into the foreclosure process back in 2007.

 “The inside is an absolute disgrace. There’s mold and all sorts of problems.They went for weeks and weeks without water. They occasionally have their electricity turned off,” Lafaye said.

 But Lafaye says the home is not only occupied, there are often big crowds there.

 “He’s obviously renting out property that really isn’t even his,” Lafaye said.

 The house technically now belongs to the bank of New York Mellon, which serves as a trustee of the series of mortgage backed securities to which the homes belong.

 A Pinellas County circuit court judge issued an order for Thomas and Melissa Diez to vacate more than three years ago.

 They were arrested last month for an incident in another Safety Harbor neighborhood, charged with abusing a disabled man they were supposedly caring for.

 Detectives say the victim spent the hot summer living in a make-shift room in the Diez’s garage with no running water and he lost 15 pounds in four months.

 Somehow, the Diez’s bought their current home after the other two houses they owned in Safety Harbor a couple of miles away had been foreclosed.

 Neighbors say rooms are currently being rented in those homes.

 “It seems like an endless stream of them in and out,” said a neighbor who didn’t want to be identified.

 Thomas Diez took our picture when we tried to talk to him.

 “Get the hell out of here,” he said, when we asked him about his rental practices.

 Neighbors say there many reasons for concern.

 According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, there have been 29 calls for police service to the house on Westborough Lane since November 2010.

 On one call, police charged Sandra Brown with assaulting another woman.

 She has since been convicted.

 Anthony Capetti was charged with possessing oxycodone.

 He pleaded no contest to the charge, which was referred to a drug court program.

 Five times, police were searching for suspects.

 “We’ve had several knocks on our door showing us pictures of people, asking us if we’ve seen these people in the neighborhood,” Lafaye said.

 There’s a new tenant in the other house on Haverhill Lane.

 Orest Soltiwsky is a registered sex offender, convicted in 1993 of lewd and lascivious behavior with a 15 year old girl.

 Last year, he was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender.

 “They don’t have to worry about me. They can look my name up and talk to whoever they want to talk to. I don’t get in trouble,” Soltiswsky said.

 “This is seemingly typical of the profile of people who have come in and out of here,” said the unidentified neighbor, who is fed up.

 “It’s simply not acceptable. It’s against the HOA rules, which is one thing, but it’s formally against the code of the city and it shouldn’t be allowed to continue,” he said.

 We contacted the mayor and city manager after identifying multiple violations of the city code, including broken windows, junk in the back yard and deadbolt locks on bedroom doors.

 Officials inspected both homes issued citations for several code violations, but don’t think that will completely solve the issues.

 “It’s just unfortunate we’ve got one bad apple in there. We’re just trying to do everything we can,” said Safety Harbor Mayor Joe Ayoub.

 As neighbors wait for the bank to take the homes for good, tensions keep rising.

 “We don’t need that in this neighborhood. No neighborhood needs that,” said Lafaye.

 In the meantime, Thomas Diez continues to collect rent.

“He couldn’t care less,” said the unidentified neighbor.

Investigation is still ongoing in Thomas and Melissa Diez’ abuse case and no court date has been set.

Thomas Diez has already begun the process of cleaning up his foreclosure homes to avoid fines from the city.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Pacetta property, focus of $50M suit against Ponce Inlet, in foreclosure – Daytona Beach News

But now a new owner may be set to take over the land in question, according to court documents.

“The foreclosure is another tragic but foreseeable part of the damage caused to me and my family and our business by the outrageous conduct by the Town of Ponce Inlet,” Pacetta LLC owners Lyder and Simone Johnson wrote in a joint email statement this week.

According to a judgment of foreclosure filed Aug. 20, Pacetta and Lyder Johnson owe North Carolina-based Branch Banking and Trust Co. more than $12 million. The parcels in question include 8 acres of land, some of which are at the center of the lengthy battle with Ponce Inlet over a proposed waterfront development that would have included boat storage, residential housing and commercial space.

The foreclosure does not include the Johnsons’ Down the Hatch Seafood Co. restaurant or Sea Love Boat Works Inc., both of which will continue to operate, the Johnsons said.

According to the judgment, if the Johnsons cannot pay the amount owed by Sept. 25, the land will be put up for sale.

It’s unclear how the foreclosure will affect Pacetta’s case moving forward.

Pacetta’s attorney, Peter Heebner, said in an emailed statement that he and his client are reviewing “options to ensure that the balance of the litigation against the Town of Ponce Inlet for unconstitutional and regulatory taking will still go forward including appropriate appeals to the Florida Supreme Court.”

Circuit Judge William Parsons ruled last year that Ponce Inlet unconstitutionally took away the use of some of Pacetta’s land and violated the Bert J. Harris Act on all of the land. The Harris Act calls for compensation if a landowner is inordinately burdened by the government. The Johnsons said they would seek up to $50 million in damages.

The 5th District Court of Appeal overturned Parsons’ ruling on the Bert J. Harris Act — which the Johnsons have said they plan to appeal to the Florida Supreme Court — but the other parts of the case could be heard during a future jury trial.

The Johnsons claim they had been working with the bank to reach a settlement until the appellate court ruling.

“That caused the bank to lose faith and you see the result,” they said.

Town Attorney Cliff Shepard said officials are preparing for a number of scenarios based on the foreclosure proceedings.

“It gives us different things to consider,” he said.

He added it is unfortunate that the Johnsons are in their current situation.

“Nobody relishes their pain at all,” he said.

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On the edge: A family fights to keep their home


21 hours ago

Video: Lester Holt follows the story of a family as they attempt to avoid foreclosure. How far would you go to save your home?

Before the recession hit, the Sadowskis, a family of four in upscale Orange County, Calif., believed they had it made.

They lived in a four-bedroom home in a cul-de-sac. They had an outdoor kitchen, a gas fire pit and a custom pool lined with boulders they had craned in, because they didn’t want artificial rocks. For the Sadowski sons’ birthdays, they celebrated big, with neighbors, family and bounce houses.

They also put away money for emergencies: Tim Sadowski, the father, earned about $160,000 a year and managed to squirrel away $80,000 in savings. They had health insurance, and they had put down 20 percent when they bought their home.

But in 2007, Tim Sadowski’s interior construction business started losing customers. That’s when reality hit: The family might lose their home.

“We don’t want to lose our home,” Krichelle Sadowski, the mother, said. “We love it. We love this neighborhood. My kids have gone to the same school their whole life.”

The Sadowskis weren’t an anomaly. In fact, friends agreed that they were “part of the crowd” of people on the brink of losing their homes. Between 2007 and the beginning of 2010, 6.6 million foreclosures were initiated. And even though the recession has ended, more than a million families in the U.S. are still fighting to save their homes.

Dateline met the Sadowskis in April of 2009 as their financial struggles were underway. We connected with them over the next four years as they negotiated with banks to keep their home and negotiated with each other to maintain their marriage.

The American dream

The Sadowskis were proud of their accomplishments. They had grown up without much money, hadn’t graduated from college but still achieved financial success.

They refinanced their mortgage several times, taking out more than a hundred thousand dollars to upgrade their house. They viewed it as an investment, and in a sense, it was: Their home almost tripled in value.

“I bought motorcycles for the boys, quads for the boys,” Tim Sadowski said. “We would go out to the desert a lot with me and the family. That was my enjoyment.”

Krichelle Sadowski said they worked hard for their success. “I don’t think it was excessive,” she said.

“A financial analyst probably would have said, ‘You’re irresponsible,’” Tim Sadowski said. “But the friends we were hanging out with are saying, ‘You guys are just part of the crowd.’”

As Tim Sadowski’s business dried up, he applied for more than 100 jobs. In that time, the family blew through their savings, forcing Krichelle Sadowski to work part time job as a lunch aide supervisor at her sons’ school.

The Mercedes and the RV were repossessed, and when the business finally closed, the family lost their health insurance.

‘Hoping against hope’

Yale Professor Jacob Hacker explained how people think in these dire situations: “If your house goes into foreclosure, your credit rating is ruined – you don’t think you’ll be able to get another house,” he said. “It’s not so much you’re denying it. But you’re just hoping against hope that you can somehow work it out.”

But hope started to fade as Tim and Krichelle Sadowski started bickering over finances. Krichelle Sadowski stopped wearing her wedding ring and threatened divorce.

One day, after more talk of divorce, Tim Sadowski took off on a motorcycle to clear his head. But rather than provide clarity, the drive added yet more stress as he slammed into an oncoming vehicle.

“The next thing I know, I’m laying down on a street, face up, looking up at the sky,” he said.

As he lay in intensive care with a severed foot and broken pelvis, Krichelle called hospital after hospital, begging them to take a man without health insurance. Finally, Riverside County agreed.

For a while, the Sadowskis found love again as Krichelle nursed her husband back to health.

They applied for food stamps and were awarded $668 a month for their family of four. They also received cash aid of $762.

“It’s embarrassing,” Krichelle said, “but I had to do what I had to do. We did not have enough money to buy food.”

Professor Hacker said the Sadowskis were in a particularly bad spot, having lost work so early in the recession.

“When the economy is depressed, when there’s not much demand for workers, the people who lose their jobs at the beginning of the recession often are the ones who have the hardest time getting back in.”

‘Things don’t buy happiness’

In the end, the Sadowskis lost both battles – for their home and their marriage. They no longer live that American dream, but their outlook has changed.

“You know what? Things don’t buy happiness,” Krichelle Sadowski said. “We all say that, but it really is true. I’ve learned that you can be happy without money.”  

NBC’s Isolde Raftery contributed to this report 

Watch Dateline’s full report, “America Now: On the Edge,” on Friday, Aug. 30, starting at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.

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Nearly $200 Million Available to Help SC Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure – WSAV


South Carolina has almost $200 million to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, but many homeowners who could use the help either don’t know about the program or haven’t applied.

The program is called SC HELP, and it’s for homeowners who are unemployed, underemployed, or who have had some kind of hardship that has left them behind in paying their mortgage. If a homeowner qualifies, the program will pay his mortgage, up to $36,000 or 24 months.

To qualify, a homeowner cannot be in bankruptcy, and the home cannot be valued at more than $729,750.

Nichole Knitz of Irmo lost her engineering job when the company she worked for down-sized. When she tried to get other jobs to pay her bills, she was overqualified. Then she foreclosure papers.

“Very panicked; no sleep; a lot of depression,” she says. “A lot of different things of: where to go? What am I going to do? Cause there isn’t anything. It’s like, okay, you start thinking about homelessness, okay? Can I live in my car? Can I live with family members?”

She found out about SC HELP, applied, qualified, and now she doesn’t have to worry about losing her home while she continues looking for a full-time job.

“Totally a sense of relief and be able to focus on trying to get my feet back on the ground and get back on track,” she says.

South Carolina got $295 million from the federal government for the program back in 2010, but has spent about $98 million of it, so there’s plenty left for homeowners who qualify.

To apply, you can call 1-855-435-7472 or go to


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Study: Hudson City ranks No. 8 in US for loans in foreclosure

* The bank has $977 million of home loans in foreclosure, eighth-highest in the country

Paramus-based Hudson City Savings Bank, once hailed for a conservative lending style that helped it avoid the subprime mortgage meltdown, has $977 million of home loans in foreclosure, the eighth-highest amount in the country, according to a new study by SNL Financial, as the region’s economy still struggles to gain its footing.

Among banks with less than $50 billion in assets, Hudson City ranks behind only OneWest Bank of Pasadena, Calif., which in 2009 acquired loans and other assets of IndyMac Federal Bank, a failed lender that specialized in alternative and subprime mortgages.

JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. bank, had the highest amount of loans in foreclosure as of June 30 at $19.83 billion, followed by Wells Fargo ($17.56 billion) and Bank of America ($15.4 billion). Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank, which has a regional administrative office in Woodland Park, ranked sixth with $2.13 billion in one- to four-family mortgage loans in some stage of foreclosure.

The portfolio of soured loans at Hudson City, the largest New Jersey-based bank, reflects the state’s 8.6 percent unemployment rate, the lender’s heavy reliance on the still-shaky health of the region’s housing market, as well as New York and New Jersey’s slow foreclosure process, according to industry observers.

“Mortgage lending is the focus of their business, and when you are that concentrated, and the economy goes through what it went through, you end up being exposed,” said Parsippany-based bank consultant Robert E. Kafafian.

The state’s slow foreclosure process, while giving New Jersey families more time to adapt to financial setbacks, also lengthened the time it takes for banks to clear bad loans from their books.

“The foreclosure process and the time to complete a foreclosure, while improving, continue to be prolonged, especially in New York and New Jersey, where 69 percent of our non-performing loans are located,” Hudson City said in its second-quarter earnings statement in July. The lender said in a recent regulatory filing that it was taking 30 to 36 months to get repaid or to foreclose on defaulted loans.

The average foreclosure time in the United States last year was 382 days, said Kafafian. In New York and New Jersey, where foreclosures are processed through the courts, it took 1,072 and 931 days, respectively, he said. That’s nearly three years in New York and more than 2 1/2 years in New Jersey.

“These delays have impacted our level of non-performing loans as these loans take longer to migrate to real estate owned and ultimate disposition,” the bank said in a regulatory filing.

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Duluth, LSS Partner to Prevent Home Foreclosure

August 29, 2013

Updated Aug 29, 2013 at 10:42 PM CDT

Duluth, MN ( — Minnesota’s housing market is slowly recovering from the foreclosure crisis.

Yet from January to July this year, more than 300 people have entered foreclosure in Duluth.

A partnership between Duluth and Lutheran Social Service is working to prevent home foreclosures.

It’s an encouraging sign statewide.

In the second quarter of 2013, nearly 6,600 homeowners received pre-foreclosure notices.

That’s a 34 percent drop from the almost 10,000 notices sent out at the same time last year.

“It’s really important that people remember that even with foreclosure rates going down, the impact on individual families who are facing foreclosure is really the same as it’s always been,” Dan Williams, a Financial Counselor with LSS said.

In Duluth, any homeowner who receives a pre-foreclosure notice will also receive a letter, signed personally by Duluth Mayor Don Ness and Williams encouraging them to contact a foreclosure prevention counselor.

“It captures people’s attention,” Mayor Ness said. “It lets folks know that there is help available and that we as a community care about what happens, and hope that the person can stay in their home.”

Waiting limits your options.

Many Duluthians have been able to keep their homes by working with their lenders and LSS early in the process.

“Most people are very relieved just to get help with that basic information and attempting to figure out what kind of options they have with the Making Home Affordable Program or working with their lenders,” Malcolm Johannessen, a Certified Housing Counselor with LSS said.

Foreclosure is a public process, so it’s easy for scammers to access your records and target you through e-mail or phone.

Experts at LSS say borrowers should never pay up front to get assistance from a consultant.

“If you’ve paid for foreclosure rescue, get help now,” Williams said. “Don’t just sort of freeze because you are embarrassed about it. We want people to seek help.”

Seek safe help and contact a financial counselor at Lutheran Social Service.

You can also call 800-777-7419.

Article source:

Foreclosure rate above average in NM but down in ABQ

New Mexicos foreclosure rate continues to remain above the national average and is one of the highest in the region.

New Mexico’s foreclosure rate continues to remain above the national average and is one of the highest in the region.

Damon Scott
Reporter- Albuquerque Business First


New Mexico’s foreclosure rate continues to remain above the national average and is one of the highest in the region.

July data was released by CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX) today. It shows a slight decline in the states inventory, down 0.7 points to 2.7 percent, with 2,825 completed foreclosures from July 2012 to July 2013. Five percent of those were marked as seriously delinquent. The national average was 2.4 percent for July.

New Mexico is one of 24 states with a judicial foreclosure process, requiring that lenders file a civil lawsuit against homeowners that are in default on mortgages. The state, along with Oklahoma, has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the region.

Meanwhile, the Albuquerque area’s foreclosures have decreased. CoreLogic released June data this week on the metro area and the rate of foreclosures was 3.30 percent, a decrease of 0.77 percent as compared to June 2012. Still, foreclosure activity in Albuquerque is also higher than the national foreclosure rate, which was 2.49 percent in June. The mortgage delinquency rate for the metro area also decreased, down from 6.78 percent in June 2012 to 5.86 percent in June 2013.

CoreLogic said there were 49,000 completed foreclosures in the U.S. in July 2013, down from 65,000 in July 2012, a year-over-year decrease of 25 percent. On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures decreased 8.6 percent from the 53,000 reported in June.

Among states with a judicial foreclosure process, Florida has the worst rate at 8.1 percent, or 110,001 foreclosures. California is at the top among non-judicial states with a 1 percent rate, or 64,964 foreclosures.

505.348.8315 |

Commercial/residential real estate, retail, restaurants

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SC HELP has millions to head off foreclosures

— Richland County resident Foreace Johnson came dangerously close to losing his Lake Carolina home to foreclosure this year.

A devastating diagnosis of colorectal cancer in June 2012 body-slammed the 53-year-old truck driver, just a year after he’d purchased the 2,125-square-foot house – his first one.

The state’s federally funded $295 million foreclosure prevention program, SC HELP, kept a roof over Johnson’s head.

South Carolina residents have used only about a third of the money that was allocated to the state in March 2010 by the U.S. Treasury Department because it was one of the hardest hit housing markets in the country as a result of the Great Recession.

The nonprofit S.C. Housing Corporation set up the SC HELP program to administer the assistance. Through July, the program has dispensed about $98 million in foreclosure assistance, including $73 million in prevention assistance and $25 million in committed funds, the housing authority said.

The assistance is targeted toward responsible borrowers, according to its guidelines and more than 98 percent of the 5,876 families assisted by the program are still in their homes.

While foreclosures are falling – down in July by 3.95 percent to 2,697 units from June, according to RealtyTrac – many families are still struggling.

Johnson, who may be the prototypical candidate for the under-utilized foreclosure assistance in South Carolina, said he was “shocked” to get the life-changing mortgage help, and even more surprised the program rescued him from arrears.

“I absolutely am blessed,” said Johnson, who didn’t know about the foreclosure assistance until trouble hit his doorstep.

The bleeding tumor doctors found in his “plumbing,” as Johnson put it, led to two rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, and a temporary colostomy bag, en route to what he now hopes will be a full recovery.

What was supposed to be six weeks out of work on short-term disability turned into three-and-a-half months of missed work instead, on doctor’s orders. That slashed his take home pay to $444 a week from $1,100, he said, making it impossible for him to meet his $989-a-month mortgage after he exhausted his three months’ worth of savings.

Johnson’s former employer, Coca-Cola, stood by him for a time, he said, reassigning him from the road to a lesser-paying administrative job, for instance. But in May, when Johnson couldn’t return to performing his night time duties delivering raw materials, he lost his $55,000-a-year job altogether, he said.

Johnson eventually found himself $7,600 in arrears with his lender and, desperate for help, fell victim to a phantom Philadelphia-based company that contacted him saying they could help him. Johnson lost $400 to that company before finding the state program that helped him get caught up and approved him for up to two years of mortgage assistance – if he needs it.

“I probably won’t need it because I had an interview today,” said an optimistic Johnson, who had his first interview Tuesday since losing his job.

In addition to getting mortgages current and helping homeowners pay monthly mortgages while they look for work, the program also helps move families into rentals when their homes cannot be saved.

The program is for responsible homeowners who have fallen on hard times. There are no income limits to use the program, but participants cannot be in bankruptcy, and original loans cannot exceed $729,750.

“Our core message is that loss of a job shouldn’t have to mean the loss of your home,” said Clayton Ingram, S.C. Housing Authority spokesman.

“Some people just won’t ask for help. But job loss and foreclosure has hit people from all walks of life and all sections of South Carolina.

“Some people just ignore or deny the situation until it is too late. I hear from people every week who come to SC HELP at the point the house is about to be sold – and could have been saved if we had some more time,” Ingram said. “Don’t wait to apply.”

Getting help in SC

S.C. homeowners who are facing a hardship can get help, regardless of whether they have yet fallen behind on payments. The SC HELP program does not charge a fee.


Call: 1-855-435-7472

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Foreclosure rates still among highest – Sarasota Herald

The rate of foreclosures among outstanding mortgages in the Sarasota-Manatee region dropped to 7.62 percent in June, from 10.98 percent one year earlier, according to data provider CoreLogic.

The foreclosure rate in Charlotte County fell to 7.92 percent, from 10.41 percent in June 2012.

Charlotte posted the 13th-highest foreclosure rate out of more than 400 metropolitan areas across the country, CoreLogic said.

The North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota region ranked 15th.

Florida again reported the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. at 8.47 percent, but that was down from 11.54 percent a year ago.

The national rate slipped to 2.49 percent, a decline from 3.36 percent over the year.

Foreclosure rates throughout the region have been trending down for months amid a recovering economy and return of investors seeking yields. The June figures, in fact, represented the lowest numbers in nearly three years.

The mortgage delinquency rate also is moving lower. That measures mortgage loans that are 90 days or more past due and could be headed to foreclosure.

In Sarasota-Manatee, 11.33 percent of mortgage loans were at least 90 days late, down from 15.41 percent for the year.

In Charlotte, the delinquency rate fell to 12.24 percent, from 15.36 percent.

Statewide, 13.06 percent of mortgages were at least 90 days delinquent, down from 16.63 percent at the same time last year.

The U.S. rate, meanwhile, is just 5.55 percent, which declined from 6.86 percent over the year.

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