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Fourth DCA: Foreclosure Initiation Not Enough to Show Irreparable Harm

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Article source: http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/law-news/id=1202793504768/Fourth-DCA-Foreclosure-Initiation-Not-Enough-to-Show-Irreparable-Harm?mcode=1202617860989&curindex=1

Installment loans > Easy approval payday loans no credit check > signature loans

Programming for Kababayan Today, February 6-…

Article source: http://www.asianjournal.com/?rthqx=1762120910

Mortgage Foreclosure Sale

MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE SALE

Default having been made in the payment of the indebtedness secured by that certain mortgage executed by Amber A. Moates, an unmarried woman, originally in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. as nominee for Envoy Mortgage, LTD, on the 23rd day of December, 2009, said mortgage recorded in the Office of the Judge of Probate of Coffee County, Alabama, in OFFREC Book 511 Page 201; the undersigned Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as Mortgagee/Transferee, under and by virtue of the power of sale contained in said mortgage, will sell at public outcry to the highest bidder for cash, in front of the main entrance of the Courthouse at Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama, on September 26, 2017, during the legal hours of sale, all of its right, title, and interest in and to the following described real estate, situated in Coffee County, Alabama, to-wit:

Lot 2, Block “C” of Corrected Plat of Briarwood West Subdivision-Phase I in the City of Enterprise, Alabama as found recorded in Plat Book 3, Page 192, in the Office of the Judge of Probate, Coffee County, Alabama.

Property street address for informational purposes:  103 Pineridge Drive, Enterprise, AL  36330

THIS PROPERTY WILL BE SOLD ON AN “AS IS, WHERE IS” BASIS, SUBJECT TO ANY EASEMENTS, ENCUMBRANCES, AND EXCEPTIONS REFLECTED IN THE MORTGAGE AND THOSE CONTAINED IN THE RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE OF PROBATE OF THE COUNTY WHERE THE ABOVE-DESCRIBED PROPERTY IS SITUATED.  THIS PROPERTY WILL BE SOLD WITHOUT WARRANTY OR RECOURSE, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED AS TO TITLE, USE AND/OR ENJOYMENT AND WILL BE SOLD SUBJECT TO THE RIGHT OF REDEMPTION OF ALL PARTIES ENTITLED THERETO.

Alabama law gives some persons who have an interest in property the right to redeem the property under certain circumstances.  Programs may also exist that help persons avoid or delay the foreclosure process. An attorney should be consulted to help you understand these rights and programs as a part of the foreclosure process.

This sale is made for the purpose of paying the indebtedness secured by said mortgage, as well as the expenses of foreclosure.

The successful bidder must tender a non-refundable deposit of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) in certified funds made payable to Sirote Permutt, P.C. at the time and place of the sale. The balance of the purchase price must be paid in certified funds by noon the next business day at the Law Office of Sirote Permutt, P.C. at the address indicated below. Sirote Permutt, P.C. reserves the right to award the bid to the next highest bidder should the highest bidder fail to timely tender the total amount due.

The Mortgagee/Transferee reserves the right to bid for and purchase the real estate and to credit its purchase price against the expenses of sale and the indebtedness secured by the real estate.

This sale is subject to postponement or cancellation.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Mortgagee/Transferee

Rebecca Redmond

SIROTE PERMUTT, P.C.

P. O. Box 55727

Birmingham, AL  35255-5727

Attorney for Mortgagee/Transferee

www.sirote.com/foreclosures

417295

7/19, 7/26, 8/2/17

Article source: http://www.southeastsun.com/public_notices/article_b6c355a2-6cba-11e7-a463-4f6b0d086adb.html

Detroit is razing houses with money intended to save them

click to enlarge

  • Steve Neavling
  • A row of dilapidated houses at Crane and Charlevoix on Detroit’s east side. Eleven houses on this block have been foreclosed since 2002.

Detroit’s decade-long wave of tax and mortgage foreclosures has wiped out large swaths of the city’s neighborhoods as Wayne County continues to seize thousands of occupied homes a year.

And while the city’s neediest homeowners were supposed to receive federal assistance to save their homes as part of the Treasury Department’s seven-year-old Hardest Hit Fund, Michigan squandered its originally allotted $498 million by creating unnecessarily stringent requirements — according to a scathing audit issued in January by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP).

As a result, more than 80 percent of Detroiters making $30,000 or less a year were denied assistance to save their homes from tax or mortgage foreclosure. By contrast, the other 17 states with Hardest Hit Funds rejected 53 percent of homeowners making less than $30,000.

“Michigan and Ohio are among the states that have the most TARP dollars set aside, but also have some of the highest percentage of people turned down for the Hardest Hit Fund,” the audit reads.

SIGTARP said Michigan’s high rejection rate “raises questions about whether these programs are as effective and efficient as they can be to reach those people who are the hardest hit.”

With a surplus of unused money, Michigan became the first state in 2013 to demolish homes using money intended to save them. The idea was that demolitions would revitalize neighborhoods by increasing the property values of surrounding houses, attracting new homeowners, and reducing crime rates.

A report commissioned by the Skillman Foundation and Rock Ventures found that each demolition in Detroit increased the value of adjacent homes by 4.2 percent. Since 2013, Detroit has razed more than 10,000 blighted and abandoned houses using the federal funds.

But the Treasury Department’s decision to allow Michigan and several other states to use the money for demolitions has come under fire because the federal government created no rules or controls to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse, according to a 2016 SIGTARP investigation.

The investigation found that demolition programs are “vulnerable to the risk of unfair competitive practices such as bid rigging, contract steering, and other closed door contracting processes” because the “Treasury conducts no oversight” and therefore cannot determine whether the cost of demolition is “necessary and reasonable.”

The SIGTARP report added that “the vulnerability of the Hardest Hit Fund to fraud, waste, and abuse significantly increased with blight elimination, which Treasury could have mitigated, but did not.”

In a report to Congress in April, a federal inspector slammed the state of Michigan for “skyrocketing demolition costs,” indicating that the average price to raze a house had increased 90 percent, from $9,266 to $17,643 by the second quarter of 2016.

The Detroit Land Bank’s handling of the demolitions has become the subject of an ongoing federal grand jury investigation. The Land Bank declined to comment for this story.

Foreclosure experts question why Michigan, one of the states hardest hit by the Great Recession, would prioritize demolition over foreclosure prevention.

Over the past decade, more than one in three homes in Detroit — a total of about 140,000 — have been foreclosed because of unpaid taxes or mortgage defaults.

“Many of the houses now being demolished could have been saved if there wasn’t a lack of preventing foreclosures,” says Jerry Paffendorf, co-founder and CEO of Loveland Technologies, a Detroit-based property and mapping company. “If you don’t prevent foreclosures, you’re going to have more houses to demolish.”

In 2010, Michigan originally received nearly $500 million to provide loans to eligible homeowners who were facing tax or mortgage foreclosure. But the program, called Step Forward Michigan, rejected funding for about 5,000 Detroiters, while assisting more than 2,000 homeowners who earned at least $70,000 a year.

SIGTARP found that Michigan’s eligibility requirements were more stringent than most states. Michigan, for example, declines assistance to homeowners whose income was not cut by at least 20 percent, while other states don’t require a specific pay reduction to be eligible. Michigan also denies funding to homeowners whose unemployment benefits ran out more than a year ago.

Of the $761 million that Michigan received in Hardest Hit Funds since 2010, half was committed to demolitions.

“The Michigan requirement does not reward a responsible worker whose paycheck was cut more than one year ago and has exhausted unemployment benefits, savings, family help, or low-paying part-time work to pay their mortgage,” SIGTARP wrote in January 2017.

Michigan’s focus on demolitions left the state without money to help new applicants for foreclosure assistance for the first four months of 2016.

Sen. Coleman Young II, who is running for mayor of Detroit, rolled out his plan to save the city’s neighborhoods last week and said he would lobby state and federal officials to use the demolition funds for their intended purpose — helping homeowners avoid foreclosure. The key, he said, is getting the state to make more people eligible for the funds.

“I want to use the Hardest Hit Funds to help people stay in their houses,” Young said. “Imagine how many people would still be in their homes if the state didn’t reject more than 80 percent of the people making $30,000 or less.”

About 4,000 occupied houses are facing property tax foreclosure this year.

Steve Neavling is the editor and publisher of Motor City Muckraker.

Article source: https://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/detroit-is-razing-houses-with-money-intended-to-save-them/Content?oid=4619015

Attorney gets 30 months for conspiring to steal distressed borrowers’ homes

An attorney will spend the next 30 months in federal prison after being convicted for his role in a scheme that effectively stole the homes of distressed homeowners under the guise of helping the borrowers avoid foreclosure, before turning around and renting the homes out through Craigslist.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, Bradford Barneys, an attorney licensed to practice in Connecticut, participated in a “long-running fraud scheme” that targeted distressed homeowners throughout Connecticut.

Court documents showed that between 2011 and 2014, Barneys took part in dozens of meetings at his office with Timothy Burke and a number of distressed borrowers.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Burke pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion and was sentenced to 108 months in prison for his role in the scheme.

Between 2010 and 2015, Burke perpetrated a scheme to defraud individuals, lenders, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development by falsely telling homeowners who were in, or facing, foreclosure that he would purchase their homes and pay off their mortgages.

According to court documents, Burke would convince the struggling borrowers to sign various documents that stated that they would be able to walk away from their homes without any repercussions.

Burke also told the homeowners to ignore any foreclosure notices because the process of negotiating with the lenders can take time.

Then, after he gained control of the houses, Burke placed ads on Craigslist and rented the properties after falsely representing to the tenants that he owned the property.

Once Burke had the tenants in place, he or one his associates collected rent from the tenants and used the money for his own benefit, rather than paying off the distressed borrower’s mortgage.

Burk also did not negotiate with the homeowner’s mortgage lender or pay expenses associated with the home, including the homeowner’s mortgages and property taxes.

According to court documents, the mortgage lender in question ultimately foreclosed many of the properties Burke supposedly purchased.

Barneys took part in the scheme by hosting meetings at his office, before eventually taking a larger role in the scheme.

Court documents showed that at some point, Barneys began representing Burke in the meetings with homeowners, despite Barneys’ knowledge that Burke had no intention of buying the properties and paying the outstanding mortgages on the properties.

During those meetings, Barneys falsely represented that these transactions were legitimate.

Additionally, when asked by homeowners about the status of their sales, Barneys would assure them that their dealings with Burke or one of his companies were operating just as Burke promised.

Eventually, Barneys also represented Burke and his companies in eviction proceedings against tenants.

Barneys pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

In addition to receiving a sentence of 30 months in prison, Barneys must serve three years of supervised release upon his exit from prison.

Additionally, Barneys’ law license has been suspended and the judge ordered him to not apply for reinstatement, and not to engage in any business related to real estate, while he is on supervised release

Article source: https://www.housingwire.com/articles/40706-attorney-gets-30-months-for-conspiring-to-steal-distressed-borrowers-homes

Correction: Governor Race-Maine story – San Francisco Chronicle

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}

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) —

In a July 11 story about the Maine governor’s race, The Associated Press erroneously reported candidate Richard Light’s hometown. He lives in Liberty, not Clinton.

A corrected version of the story is below:

LePage takes swing at AG as she announces run for governor

Maine’s Republican governor is taking his latest swing at Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills a day after she announced her run to succeed him

By MARINA VILLENEUVE

Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills on Tuesday deflected the latest in a series of disparaging remarks by Republican Gov. Paul LePage, one day after announcing her 2018 gubernatorial run.

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}

Mills is one of four Democrats who have filed paperwork to succeed the term-limited LePage. The member of a well-known Maine political family, a former state lawmaker and district attorney as well as the state’s first female attorney general , Mills said her battles against pharmaceutical companies, Wall Street and now the Trump administration will help her fight for the people of Maine and push for high-paying jobs across the rural state.

“We can’t be dividing ourselves between home-grown Mainers and people from away,” she told The Associated Press, adding that she wants to be the state’s “biggest cheerleader.”

The 2018 race comes at a time when Republicans running on welfare reform and right-sizing government continue to gain prominence. Last year, Maine sent a historic electoral vote for President Donald Trump, and the GOP has maintained control of the governor’s office, the state Senate and two out of four Congressional seats.

Mills and the governor have a history of public flare-ups. Currently, LePage is suing Mills over claims that she has abused her power by refusing to represent him in court. During a radio appearance Tuesday, he repeated his opinion that Mills puts politics before her work as an attorney general, and questioned her office’s independence.

“This lady is a Democrat before she’s an attorney,” LePage said. “I’ve been saying that for as long as she’s been up there. If I put anything over there, she says no.”

He told Mills “good luck” with her run, but added: “I really do believe that Maine people are much smarter than that, really. Quite frankly, I think that Maine people see through her.”

Mills said the people of Maine are sick of infighting and want someone who can bring people together to revitalize the forest economy, strengthen tourism and invest in infrastructure like broadband. She touted her time on the Legislature’s appropriations and judiciary committees and her office’s work on issues from child support to a $5 million settlement with Volkswagen for Clean Air Act violations.

“And probably 99.9% of what we do as an office has nothing to do with the governor personally,” she said.

But she added, “The fact is, I’ve won every legal battle which he has engaged in with me.”

Those include fights over the LePage’s administration’s efforts to remove 19- and 20-year-olds from MaineCare, the 65 bills that the governor failed to successfully veto in 2015 ,and a $500 fine that Mills sought against LePage for violating public meeting rules.

She said while LePage spoke in a “callous” way against overdose-reversing medication, she used pharmaceutical settlement money to buy Narcan — some of which she said she personally drove to rural Maine police stations. Mills also pointed to her suit against financial ratings company Standard and Poor’s following the 2008 economic crisis, and noted she used settlement money to help people in Maine avoid foreclosure.

Mills said her record can appeal to both progressives and independents.

Mills’ family’s experience in public services goes back generations — her father was a U.S. attorney for Maine under Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, and her Republican brother, Peter, is the executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority and married to Maine Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills.

She faces a primary battle with progressive activist and lobbyist Betsy Sweet; lawyer and Iraq war veteran Adam Cote; and retired U.S. Coast Guard commander Patrick Eisenhart. Republican announced candidates in the race include LePage’s former health and human services commissioner Republican Mary Mayhew and Deril Stubenrod. Independent state treasurer Terry Hayes has also said she’ll run, along with Libertarian candidate Richard Light, of Liberty.

Article source: http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/LePage-takes-swing-at-AG-as-she-announces-run-for-11281500.php

Avoid those ‘good’ offers – Times Union


Scam artists have become increasingly sophisticated over the years, but remembering a few simple rules can be surprisingly effective at keeping your money safe.

One of the stalwarts is to avoid offers that seem too good to be true, especially if you’re being pressured to act fast or to keep a transaction secret, said Michael Benardo, manager of the cyber fraud and financial crimes section at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

In an effort to educate consumers about what to watch out for, the FDIC recently released a list of 10 common frauds targeting bank customers.

Government “imposter” frauds. These schemes start with a phone call, letter, email or text message supposedly from a government official demanding an upfront payment or personal financial information. Federal government agencies won’t ask people to send money for prizes or unpaid loans, and won’t ask for money to be wired, Bernardo said.

Another common imposter scam involves thieves pretending to be from Microsoft or a technology repair service and claiming the person’s computer was infected with a virus. They then trick people into installing malicious software used to steal personal data, and may demand payment to remove the software.

Debt collection scams. Fraudsters pose as debt collectors or law enforcement officials attempting to collect bogus debts. Red flags include a caller who won’t provide written proof of the debt, or threatens arrest or violence for not paying.

Fraudulent job offers. These ploys often involve work-at-home offers in which prospects are required to pay money in advance or provide personal financial information. One variation involves fake part-time jobs as a “mystery shopper” visiting stores and submitting reports about the experience. Or the job might be to receive a $500 check, go “undercover” to a bank, deposit the check into an account, and report back on the service after wiring the “employer” $500 to cover the check, which turns out to be counterfeit.

Phishing emails. These involve legitimate-looking emails purporting to be from a bank or other popular entity asking for personal information. They may direct people to fake websites that appear to be exact copies of real websites, except for a slightly different web address.

Mortgage foreclosure rescue scams. These entail promises to refinance a mortgage under much better terms. They may include significant upfront fees, or trick the homeowner into signing documents that transfer ownership of the property to the criminal. Common warning signs include a “guarantee” that foreclosure will be avoided and pressure to act fast.

Lottery and sweepstakes scams. Potential victims are told they’ve won a big prize, but must first send in money to cover taxes and other fees.

Elder frauds. Senior citizens are a major target of crooks trying to cheat them out of their life savings. Warning signs include unsolicited phone calls asking for a large amount of money before receiving goods or services, and special offers for seniors that seem incredible, such as an investment guaranteeing a high return.

Ransomware. This malicious software holds a computer or smartphone hostage by restricting access until the victim pays a ransom. Ransomware is commonly spread when someone clicks on an infected email attachment or link leading to a contaminated site. The malware can be passed around on a contaminated storage device, such as a thumb drive.

Article source: http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/Avoid-those-good-offers-11291382.php

VB property owners ask US Supreme Court for help

Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017 6:00 am

VB property owners ask U.S. Supreme Court for help

By ALEXANDRA NEWMAN – HP Staff Writer

The Herald-Palladium

|
0 comments

PAW PAW — Several small property owners in Van Buren County are turning to the U.S. Supreme Court for help after they say they were victimized by Michigan’s foreclosure law.

The petitioners in the case, Wayside Church v. Van Buren County, asked the justices Thursday to review and strike down the Michigan General Property Tax Act, which allows local government to sell people’s property for delinquent taxes, and keep any extra profits.

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      Friday, July 14, 2017 6:00 am.

      Article source: http://www.heraldpalladium.com/news/local/vb-property-owners-ask-u-s-supreme-court-for-help/article_d81e62f0-4509-5da2-b5a7-871c41636782.html

      Broker: Green Acres sale falls through, foreclosure looms

      The sale of the shuttered Green Acres Country Club in Northbrook for about $20 million to Chicago’s Fairpoint development fell through in recent days, according to the broker on the deal , and foreclosure is looming.

      “We tried, but we just couldn’t get comfortable,” Farpoint’s Scott Goodman acknowledged, declining to comment further.

      The broker, Michael Weaver of Chicago Real Estate Resources, said the deal for the 125.84 acre property failed for the same reason that another home-building deal, with Lake Forest’s Swanson Development, reportedly cratered early this year.

      “It’s Northbrook, and it’s really hard to get zoning there,” Weaver said Thursday. “You’d take a big risk.”

      TacoTime operator accuses broker and landlord of fraud

      <!– return noClass:

      The operator of TacoTime in Bend states in a recently filed lawsuit that real estate professionals bamboozled him out of his property, but one defendants attorney says the struggling fast-food restaurant is just trying to avoid eviction.

      The longstanding TacoTime at 61479 S. U.S. Highway 97 faced foreclosure early in 2015, when owner-operator C. Ronald Brooks began dealing with a Bend real estate agent who offered to connect him with a private lender. Brooks, 67, hoped to use his $2 million in equity to secure a loan before Wells Fargo, which was owed $690,000, foreclosed on March 20, 2015. Instead, he sold the Bend TacoTime and two other properties in Redmond and Madras and entered a lease with the option to repurchase the Bend restaurant.

      The lawsuit alleges the broker, Joshua Rodriguez, and T.J. Toney of Toney Properties, purposely strung Brooks along so he wouldnt work with other lenders or seek bankruptcy protection.

      The lawsuit alleges fraud, elder abuse, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty and seeks more than $1.2 million in economic and noneconomic damages.

      We dont believe theres any factual or legal basis for any of those claims, said Toneys attorney, Gordon Welborn of Hart Wagner LLP in Redmond.

      Prior to Brooks lawsuit against Rodriguez and Toney, Welborn said, Toney sued Brooks seeking to end the TacoTime lease because of nonpayment.

      Then (Brooks) filed this separate action to avoid the issues, Welborn said.

      Brooks Eugene attorney Bruce Moore declined to comment.

      Rodriguez, whose real estate license expired last year, didnt respond to messages from The Bulletin.

      He operated an independent business under Homesmart Central Realty, brokerage owner Christine Browning said, but he has since moved to California.

      Homesmart is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, filed June 30 in Deschutes County Circuit Court.

      Browning said she assumes her firm will be dismissed, since she didnt have anything to do with the transaction.

      The lawsuit alleges Rodriguez acted as a dual real estate agent, representing Brooks and Toney Properties, but didnt disclose the conflict. It alleges that Rodriguez was Brooks mortgage broker and loan originator. Brooks paid him $60,000 for his services, according to the suit.

      Brooks transferred the three properties on March 12, 2015, less than two weeks before the foreclosure. On that day, Rodriguez presented a sale agreement and promised to come back with a lease option well ahead of the March 20 foreclosure, so it could be reviewed by an attorney, the suit states.

      The lease agreement was presented to Brooks approximately 30 minutes before the scheduled foreclosure, according to the suit. Brooks asked for time for his attorney to review the lease. Rodriguez said there was no time, and that Brooks attorney would never approve the form. Brooks signed the lease option.

      Rodriguez represented Toney on past real estate deals and introduced him to the TacoTime property but didnt represent him in the negotiations with Brooks, Welborn said. He didnt have anything to do with the negotiations, he said.

      Welborn said Toney acquired the TacoTime property by purchasing an assigned interest from Lane County developer Melvin McDougal, who was involved in the transaction with Brooks.

      Welborn said Toney is seeking to terminate the lease with Brooks company, J.R.B. Foods Inc.

      The TacoTime fell behind on rent after the Oregon Department of Transportation started construction on Third Street on March 1, limiting access to the drive-up window, according to the lawsuit. In addition to the claims for damages against Rodriguez, Homesmart and Toney, the lawsuit seeks a judgment declaring that Brooks option to purchase the Bend property is in effect, and J.R.B. Foods doesnt have to meet the terms of the lease because of matters beyond its control.

      Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com

      –><!– valuehere:

      The operator of TacoTime in Bend states in a recently filed lawsuit that real estate professionals bamboozled him out of his property, but one defendants attorney says the struggling fast-food restaurant is just trying to avoid eviction. –><!– valuehere:

      The longstanding TacoTime at 61479 S. U.S. Highway 97 faced foreclosure early in 2015, when owner-operator C. Ronald Brooks began dealing with a Bend real estate agent who offered to connect him with a private lender. Brooks, 67, hoped to use his $2 million in equity to secure a loan before Wells Fargo, which was owed $690,000, foreclosed on March 20, 2015. Instead, he sold the Bend TacoTime and two other properties in Redmond and Madras and entered a lease with the option to repurchase the Bend restaurant. –><!– valuehere:

      The lawsuit alleges the broker, Joshua Rodriguez, and T.J. Toney of Toney Properties, purposely strung Brooks along so he wouldnt work with other lenders or seek bankruptcy protection. –>
      <!– Lead Test:

      The operator of TacoTime in Bend states in a recently filed lawsuit that real estate professionals bamboozled him out of his property, but one defendants attorney says the struggling fast-food restaurant is just trying to avoid eviction.

      The longstanding TacoTime at 61479 S. U.S. Highway 97 faced foreclosure early in 2015, when owner-operator C. Ronald Brooks began dealing with a Bend real estate agent who offered to connect him with a private lender. Brooks, 67, hoped to use his $2 million in equity to secure a loan before Wells Fargo, which was owed $690,000, foreclosed on March 20, 2015. Instead, he sold the Bend TacoTime and two other properties in Redmond and Madras and entered a lease with the option to repurchase the Bend restaurant.

      –>

      The operator of TacoTime in Bend states in a recently filed lawsuit that real estate professionals bamboozled him out of his property, but one defendant’s attorney says the struggling fast-food restaurant is just trying to avoid eviction.

      The longstanding TacoTime at 61479 S. U.S. Highway 97 faced foreclosure early in 2015, when owner-operator C. Ronald Brooks began dealing with a Bend real estate agent who offered to connect him with a private lender. Brooks, 67, hoped to use his $2 million in equity to secure a loan before Wells Fargo, which was owed $690,000, foreclosed on March 20, 2015. Instead, he sold the Bend TacoTime and two other properties in Redmond and Madras and entered a lease with the option to repurchase the Bend restaurant.

      The lawsuit alleges the broker, Joshua Rodriguez, and T.J. Toney of Toney Properties, purposely strung Brooks along so he wouldn’t work with other lenders or seek bankruptcy protection.

      The lawsuit alleges fraud, elder abuse, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty and seeks more than $1.2 million in economic and noneconomic damages.

      “We don’t believe there’s any factual or legal basis for any of those claims,” said Toney’s attorney, Gordon Welborn of Hart Wagner LLP in Redmond.

      Prior to Brooks’ lawsuit against Rodriguez and Toney, Welborn said, Toney sued Brooks seeking to end the TacoTime lease because of nonpayment.

      “Then (Brooks) filed this separate action to avoid the issues,” Welborn said.

      Brooks’ Eugene attorney Bruce Moore declined to comment.

      Rodriguez, whose real estate license expired last year, didn’t respond to messages from The Bulletin.

      He operated an independent business under Homesmart Central Realty, brokerage owner Christine Browning said, but he has since moved to California.

      Homesmart is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, filed June 30 in Deschutes County Circuit Court.

      Browning said she assumes her firm will be dismissed, since she didn’t have anything to do with the transaction.

      The lawsuit alleges Rodriguez acted as a dual real estate agent, representing Brooks and Toney Properties, but didn’t disclose the conflict. It alleges that Rodriguez was Brooks’ mortgage broker and loan originator. Brooks paid him $60,000 for his services, according to the suit.

      Brooks transferred the three properties on March 12, 2015, less than two weeks before the foreclosure. On that day, Rodriguez presented a sale agreement and promised to come back with a lease option well ahead of the March 20 foreclosure, so it could be reviewed by an attorney, the suit states.

      The lease agreement was presented to Brooks approximately 30 minutes before the scheduled foreclosure, according to the suit. Brooks asked for time for his attorney to review the lease. Rodriguez said there was no time, and that Brooks’ attorney would never approve the form. Brooks signed the lease option.

      Rodriguez represented Toney on past real estate deals and introduced him to the TacoTime property but didn’t represent him in the negotiations with Brooks, Welborn said. “He didn’t have anything to do with the negotiations,” he said.

      Welborn said Toney acquired the TacoTime property by purchasing an assigned interest from Lane County developer Melvin McDougal, who was involved in the transaction with Brooks.

      Welborn said Toney is seeking to terminate the lease with Brooks’ company, J.R.B. Foods Inc.

      The TacoTime fell behind on rent after the Oregon Department of Transportation started construction on Third Street on March 1, limiting access to the drive-up window, according to the lawsuit. In addition to the claims for damages against Rodriguez, Homesmart and Toney, the lawsuit seeks a judgment declaring that Brooks’ option to purchase the Bend property is in effect, and J.R.B. Foods doesn’t have to meet the terms of the lease because of matters beyond its control.

      —Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com

      Article source: http://www.bendbulletin.com/business/5444933-151/struggling-tacotime-operator-accuses-broker-and-landlord-of