Woman Fights Foreclosure For 25 Years

This lady has been successfully fighting off foreclosure for twenty-five years, pulling out every trick in the book along the way. But her winning streak may be drawing to a close.

She’s claimed her (now-deceased) husband’s signature was forged on the mortgage, and twice got the case against her tossed out after a lender waited too long to start foreclosing after it filed. She now asserts that no one owns the note because of fraud and paperwork snafus that emerged as the mortgage was transferred between four different owners.

The present owner vows that it will successfully foreclosure against her this time, just as soon as her bankruptcy proceedings, which put an effective stop on all foreclosure action, get done with.

As more homeowners hire foreclosure defense attorneys to try to save their homes, they will be trying at least some of the methods this woman used. And with the lax and forged paperwork rife within the industry, they have a fighting chance at winning, or at least delaying until they can secure a settlement.

The 25-Year ‘Foreclosure From Hell’ [WSJ]

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  1. Weighted Companion Cube says:

    I was wondering how long this article would take before it was referenced.

  2. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Well if the current collector can’t prove that they legally have the note, then they can’t do bugger-all, can they? Or did that part get resolved already?

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      She acknowledged the debt in her bankruptcy proceedings. Part of her whole argument this entire time was the debt didn’t exist and has been relying on small missteps along the way to appeal.

      • ttw1 says:

        “relying on small missteps along the way” aka the law.

        • Sudonum says:

          From the article:

          “For example, according to Mr. Summers and to court filings, in 2007, when a judge remanded the case to the trial court, a court clerk failed to issue a mandate establishing the lower court’s jurisdiction. Ms. Campbell appealed the case on those grounds.”

          The clerk made a mistake, aka a misstep.

  3. APriusAndAGrill says:

    How is she having to go through bankruptcy, if she hasn’t had a house payment in 25 years. Bad finances wow.

    • lymer says:

      I’m always amazed at people who can’t save money when they dont have rent/mortgage.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        it’s clearly going into her mattress, which will be thrown out when they evict her

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      If you RTFA, she is using the forclosure as a stalling tactic. Given the way the woman has stayed forclosure for 25 years, I imagine she is a hawk with her money.

      You’ve been RTFA’d!

  4. DanRydell says:

    When you have to file for bankruptcy after living without a mortgage for 25 years, you’ve pretty much failed at life.

    • Bativac says:

      Actually, the article makes it sound as if she filed for bankruptcy for the sole purpose of stalling the foreclosure.

      It seems she got sick in the mid 1980s and missed some payments… and just kept missing ‘em:
      “She offers no apologies for not paying her mortgage for 25 years, saying that when a foreclosure is in dispute, borrowers are entitled to stop making payments until the courts resolve the matter.”

      This is why we have courts. If she is legally able to fight the foreclosure, then go for it. Seems like she’d have better things to do with her life than fight a foreclosure for 25 years, though. It can’t have been good for her health to have this hanging over her all the time. I’d personally go nuts.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I thought you couldn’t file for bankruptcy unless you were, ya know, actually bankrupt.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        “borrowers are entitled to stop making payments until the courts resolve the matter.”

        So she has been saving the mortgage payments that she would have to have made in an escrow account in case she lost the case, right?

        • allknowingtomato says:

          +1.
          While you may not have to give mortgage payments to an entity whose ownership of the note you are disputing, you are not absolved of the payments when they are due. You must put the payments in escrow so that you can give them to whoever the court decides own the note. I think her bankruptcy claim suggests she does not have this money stored away for when we figure out who owns her house (hint: it still isn’t her).

          Also, the article suggests that she has more than 63k outstanding on the principal of the loan from 1976, which was for 68k. House is now worth more than 200k.

          At some point, shouldn’t concepts of equity kick in an point out that, despite all the technical errors both the supposed note holders and the courts have made, she has been living for more than 30 years rent-free, and is costing the court system time and resources so she can try to establish that it is her right to do so.

          I am usually pro-little guy, but this feels off. this mortgage predates a lot of the more predatory lending tools that helped cause the recent mortgage crisis. she is hardly a victim.

      • jkinatl2 says:

        I dunno. Some folks with serious illnesses find that investing in a cause can give them a reason to live, to undergo painful treatment, and to take the metaphorical “fight” into the outside world. Of course, getting an apartment and opening an animal shelter helps too.

    • ttw1 says:

      So your measure of a person’s life is thier net worth?

  5. Doubts42 says:

    She’s a thief and a deadbeat.

    • Marlin says:

      Same can be said of the banks as well.

      Having a hard time seeing who is worse in this case. ;-)

    • savvy9999 says:

      that’s what I’m thinking. this is not some unknown, unbidden package that arrived at your door stop and you can keep it. It’s a house, real estate, that she is squatting in.

      I can’t tell from the article, but has she been paying property taxes on it all the while… ? Otherwise the city/locality could have put it up for sheriff’s sale long ago…

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        “I can’t tell from the article, but has she been paying property taxes on it all the while… ? Otherwise the city/locality could have put it up for sheriff’s sale long ago… “

        I’m amazed that we don’t hear more about this. I’ve always assumed that if somebody isn’t paying their mortgage that they probably aren’t paying property taxes either.

      • human_shield says:

        If she’s old and retired she may have the taxes deferred, so no one has to pay taxes on it until the house is actually sold.

    • healthdog says:

      Bingo. You can’t use the fact that some people have done wrong to justify your own wrong-doing.

  6. SG-Cleve says:

    Or you could just pay your mortgage.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      At the rate she’s going, she’s probably gonna croak before the collectors ever see a dime from her.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        To be honest I doubt it. She will probably croak immediately after the case is finally resolved. Why? Because the #1 killer of the elderly is retirement. Having something to do makes you live longer. And brother, has she got something to do!

  7. Blueskylaw says:

    “She’s claimed her (now-deceased) husband’s signature was forged on the mortgage”
    If that’s true, then why is she in the house? If “someone” forged the mortgage, did they also force her to move into a house she didn’t own?

    “twice got the case against her tossed out after a lender waited too long to start foreclosing after it filed”
    It seems that she got lucky due to a lenders laziness.

    “The present owner vows that it will successfully foreclosure against her this time”
    It seems that after 25 years, I would believe a politician that says he/she will change the way things are done in Washington before I believe this guy.

    • obits3 says:

      If “someone” forged the mortgage, did they also force her to move into a house she didn’t own?

      That’s the funny thing. The mortgage and title to the house can be two different things in many states. It seems that she has legal title and thus it would take a judgment to get the house out of her hands. Think of it like a car. Who pays the taxes to the state every year: you or your bank? You pay the taxes because you own the car.

      • DanRydell says:

        Er… you’re kind of missing the point here I think. I doubt she thought someone gifted the house to them, so if she didn’t think they purchased it with a mortgage then what was her reason for believing they owned the title?

        She’s a liar, clearly.

      • Marlin says:

        That and it was the first husband that bought the house, not her. She married him years later, after the fact.

    • The Lone Gunman says:

      I think she has a fall-back position of paying the original note off using the spider pictures she has stockpiled in her garage—or was it for free at Chase?

      I forget which now.

    • betoranaldi says:

      Now, I am not agreeing with the woman. I think she is a liar but it could happen this way…

      They purchased the house outright, have a valid title. Then the bank could have forged the signature of the mortgage they didn’t need. Therefore, they would legally own the house but there is a non-legal mortgage/lien on the house. Hence why she is living in the house (and obviously paying taxes.)

  8. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Damn those citizens learning about the law and utilizing that knowledge. Who do they think they are, corporations?

    • obits3 says:

      +1

      My thought:

      If corporations can be people, then people can be corporations.

    • obits3 says:

      +1

      My thought:

      If corporations can be people, then people can be corporations.

      • Buckus says:

        You just made my head assplode!

        Seriously, people need to get off their high horse and realize that leveling the playing field keeps businesses in check.

        If we didn’t have people like this woman using all legal avenues, businesses would just steamroll consumers and government into giant bailouts. Wait, what?

    • haggis for the soul says:

      No kidding. Lenders get upset when borrowers stoop to their tactics.

  9. jeanrabelais says:

    This lady really made me depressed. A rotten apple for sure.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Really? I feel happy knowing citizens can use the system against corporations once in a while. The other 99% of the time it’s the reverse.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        While I don’t feel one iota of sorrow for the banks here or anywhere that are “hurt” because of this self-inflicted mortgage mess, she is clearly a deadbeat trying to spin this in a way that tries to make her look like a victim.

        • obits3 says:

          I agree, she is not a victim, but I think that we need people like this to teach the banking system a lesson. The law is the law, and the banks agreed to go by the law when the contract was formed. They have no mercy on a borrower who defalts because it is their legal right to foreclose. In the same way, this woman is showing no mercy on banks that don’t get their ducks in a row.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I definitely don’t think she’s a victim. But she sure isn’t a push-over either. Sounds like she could easily becomes a trial foreclosure attorney in her state at this point.

          Would she seem less like a deadbeat or a jerk if she was the lawyer for someone in forclosure? You’d probably dismiss her as a typical blood-sucking lawyer, nothing more. But because she’s doing this as a citizen, somehow it’s more evil.

      • Doubts42 says:

        Do you honestly believe that stealing $200,000 from the bank is justified under the sandbox rule of he touched me first?
        Do you honestly believe that the $200,00 she stole will be absorbed by the bank as lower executive salaries or bonuses?
        She owes money she isn’t paying. She is a fraud. the banks will just pass the loss onto us in higher fees and penalties.

        • obits3 says:

          It’s not 200K, it is around 65K. The rest is interest.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          And she so correctly stated, payments are suspended during forclosure proceedings. She is breaking no law. There is nothing here to indicate that if found to owe the mortgage, she wouldn’t write a check on the spot.

          • allknowingtomato says:

            Making the payments to the alleged note holder may be suspended, but she is supposed to be putting her payment into an escrow account. Unless her myriad defenses include 1) there was never any mortgage on this house, we paid cash; or 2) I have been making payments this entire time, she would be required to have all withheld payments available in said escrow account.

            Assuming this was a safe 30 year mortgage, that means the ENTIRE balance of the note, including interest, would have to be floating around in a bank acct somewhere.

            Somehow, her filing for bankruptcy suggests she doesn’t have that escrow account. She has been living 30+ years rent free. Her conduct costs corporations money, which they balance by dicking you over.

            She doesn’t even make the honestly ballsy adverse possession claim from what I can see: she never said “i didn’t own it at first but i have been here 25 years and have made beneficial use of the land as my own.” Her argument as to why she owns the house is just that the banks don’t. And her reason for that changes every 15 minutes, costing the other side and the court system time and resources. You pay for the court system directly. See above re the bank dicking other ppl over to balance the books.

            Yeah, go that woman. way to fight the man.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        I would rather everyone just honor the obligations they knew they made and stop trying to play the system. Just because some corporations are greedy and screw some people, doesn’t make it morally okay to do it yourself. Using other people’s bad behavior as an excuse to display bad behavior is silly.

        I think she is being plain douchey. She has used tax payer dollars for her court cases so she can get a free ride. She isn’t honoring her word/obligation to pay for something she owes money on. She is living in a house she never paid for (aka stealing.) There is nothing right, or cool about that.

  10. ClaudeKabobbing says:

    Its people like this that make me not want to feel sympathy for people with real problems.

  11. Cameraman says:

    She’s a damn deadbeat and a squatter. On the other hand, ROFL @ someone screwing the banks.

    So, class warfare FTW, I suppose.

  12. RayanneGraff says:

    So basically, she’s fighting for the ‘right’ to keep a house she refuses to pay for? Is that about right.

    America has become one big welfare state, I swear. Everyone thinks they’re entitled to have everything handed to them. Whatever happened to working & paying your damn bills??? Throw this bitch in jail along with all the other thieves.

  13. The Moar You Know says:

    She’s behaving just like…a bank!

    Good for her. Hope she makes it another 25 years.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      Me too. If the business world wasn’t so lawfully unethical I might would feel different. This world we live in has gone from a 10 to a 1 and there’s not getting better. “Like Roman Empire, we are killing ourselves. I’m just trying to make it through unscathed by all the idiots that surround me”. -unknown.

  14. DragonThermo says:

    She is awesome! To be able to live in a house FOR FREE for 25 years! Sweet!

  15. ttw1 says:

    The banks probably should have read the fine print.

  16. Sardis says:

    I know one trick she hasn’t tried yet.

    • drizzt380 says:

      I know exactly what you’re talking about. And I think she knows it too.

      When they finally come to take her house, they’re going to be in for a surprise when they find themselves knee deep in koala bears!!!!

  17. mcs328 says:

    She’s using the law to stall but she isn’t doing anything illegal. I’m sure banks look for any technicality to ding you for fees and interest regardless if it’s true or not. So why can’t she have her due process? I don’t like it but it’s her legal right to do so.

    • Trick says:

      I have to agree… she is not doing anything illegal. Oh the poor bank has to fight instead of just steamrolling someone out of the house. The poor bank.

      I may not agree with what she is doing but I certainly agree that what she is doing is not illegal and the bank has to prove its case. Period.

  18. Blackfoot says:

    Okay, so a confluence of problems prevent you from paying your mortgage. Happens all the time. Foreclosure proceedings begin & you’re not obligated to pay while this process is underway. You use the letter of law to stave off the creditors for as long as you can. So far, so good.

    Maybe there is question on who (precisely) owns the note. You point this out, because you want to ensure that you (eventually) pay the rightful owner for the property. Regardless, you haven’t paid the loan off yet, so the house IS NOT YOURS.

    In the meantime, you continue living there. For years. Decades, even. With no plans to pay anybody. Ever. Unless you’re escrowing cash, saving for the day when questions of who the proper creditor is are answered – you are trying to steal the property from its rightful owner.

    Foreclosure? That’s not strong enough. This is theft. Let’s talk jail time.

    • JonBoy470 says:

      Actually, when you buy a house (or any object) using credit, it belongs to you and the lender simply has a lien on it. The lien simply contractually states certain stipulations you’ve agreed to, such as their right to foreclose if you default on the loan. The fact that they loaned you the money doesn’t give them any ownership interest, per se.

  19. Buckus says:

    I would have hoped banks would hold this up as an example to their employees on how not to handle mortgages, but apparently with the robo-signing scandal in full swing, it apparently didn’t even register.

    Dot your i’s and cross your t’s, because there are people who will use your messed up paperwork to screw you over.

  20. rambo76098 says:

    I think at some point it would have been cheaper for these loan servicing companies and whatnot to just write off the debt instead of keeping on fighting her. That property looks basically worthless and I guarantee more has been spent fighting her than what they will get if they are able to successfully foreclose.

    You know she’s never going to pay them anything even if they win. She’s made it very clear she does not intend to pay anything despite being wrong.

  21. u1itn0w2day says:

    I saw where they estimate the interest to be around 148K about 21/2 times the principal. Makes you realize how much you can pay interest over the years.

    Apparently her husband died shortly after the house was bought so she could very well be unfamiliar with some of her husbands dealings with the house financing. Likely … eh.

  22. erratapage says:

    Not enough people are fighting the mortgage companies. If more people did fight foreclosures, there would be less fraud. I know she’s not the most deserving of defendants, but consider that for every one of her, there are a dozen that don’t fight foreclosure. And another 100 who never discover lender fraud because they are able to stay current on their mortgage. Until we figure out a better solution, I’m giving her props.

  23. Froggmann says:

    What I really want to know is how much money she has wasted on fighting the foreclosure.

    Let me guess, It’s more than the house was worth.

  24. Brenda's Iron Sledge says:

    Matt Taibbi wrote a pretty good piece in Rolling Stone about special courts set up to speed these forclosures at the behest of the banks. He writes that if you actually go to one of these hearings there is a very good chance you can buy yourself some time by challenging the bank’s lawyers to come up with the paper trail. Often they have no, or very shoddy, records of your loan changing hands multiple times. If you don’t show up the bank’s laywer just fudges the numbers until the judge is comfortable enough to rule in their favor.

  25. colorisnteverything says:

    The forgery issue is an interesting one. A family member is going through a divorce and has found that her soon-to-be-ex spouse forged her signature on a number of things.

  26. coren says:

    Or the amount paid off in the first 7 years, assuming this was a 30 year mortgage, I can’t see how she’d have paid it off even if she had been paying the whole time. (less than 5 grand of the principal0

  27. kennedar says:

    If she had just made the payments, the house would be paid off by now. She would be living rent/mortage free without the threat of being evicted. Even if you account for the tough times that she had and that forced her to miss payments, if she had just moved out of the house, this whole foreclosure would have been off of her credit report 18 years ago. She could be almost mortgage free on a different house in those 18 years!