Another wrongful foreclosure is reversed
In the second South Florida foreclosure reversal this week, a Broward County court “vacated” the sale of a Fort Lauderdale man’s home that had been sold out from under him, even though he bought the house with cash and never had a mortgage.
The court order, made at the request of Bank of America, reversed the foreclosure sale of Jason Grodensky's house.
Grodensky was the subject of a Sun Sentinel article about wrongful foreclosures last month. He and his father bought the house for cash and didn’t owe money to Bank of America, but the lender had continued to pursue a foreclosure case that began with the previous owner. In July, Grodensky learned that his house had been sold in a foreclosure auction.
The news comes one day after Bank of America disclosed that the court had also vacated the foreclosure sale of a Miramar homeowner’s property — even though the homeowner had secured a mortgage modification.
That court ruling allowed Kamberali Shamji to stay in his house. Shamji’s case was also the focus of a Sun Sentinel article on Sunday about homeowners who thought they had saved their homes by modifying their mortgages only to lose them because the foreclosure process never stopped.
Attorneys general in all 50 states this week began to meet with major lenders to address issues of mistakes and sloppy paperwork in foreclosure cases, according to the Associated Press. In recent weeks, a growing number of reports of documentation improprieties have been reported in Florida and other states as a massive number of foreclosures make their way through courts.
The attorneys general have launched an investigation, following revelations that representatives of Wells Fargo, GMAC and JPMorgan Chase have “robo-signed” affidavits for use in court proceedings without reading or verifying the information contained in them.
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum met with Bank of America on Oct. 13 and JPMorgan Chase on Oct. 14.
At the same time, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial’s GMAC Mortgage and PNC Financial temporarily halted all or parts of their foreclosure process in the 23 states — including Florida — where foreclosure cases are processed through the courts. Bank of America halted foreclosures nationwide.
GMAC said earlier this week that it has resumed some foreclosures and Bank of America announced its plan to resume foreclosure activity over several weeks.
On Tuesday, Wells Fargo became the latest lender to say it had found errors in thousands of its foreclosure cases. However, it has not halted the foreclosure process.
The two South Florida, Bank of America foreclosures that have been reversed are unusual, said Jeff Walsh, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center in Boston. “Until the recent spate of media publicity about robo-signers, it was extremely rate that a mortgage servicer would go into court and say they made a mistake.”
Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens admitted the foreclosure sale involving Grodensky’s house was an error when it was first brought to the bank’s attention in September. Bank of America was servicing the loan for its owner, Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), the government-owned mortgage giant.
She said the lender would seek court approval to reverse the sale at its own expense. That happened Monday, according to court records.
Grodensky says he's not planning to go back to court to file a lawsuit against the lender to seek compensation for his four-month ordeal. “I hadn't planned on it,” he said. “I'm not out to get anybody. I just want to get it fixed.”
Grodensky bought the house for cash in December 2009 in a short sale. The seller was in foreclosure. Grodensky said he had no idea that the foreclosure process did not stop at that point.
Seven months later, Grodensky learned that the title to his house had been transferred to Fannie Mae. That's when he discovered that his house had been sold at a foreclosure auction.
He spent hours on the phone and searching on the Internet trying to figure out what happened but said his questions to Bank of America and to the law firm Florida Default Law Group that handled the foreclosure were never answered.
Bauwens said there was a miscommunication between Bank of America and its attorney.
Grodensky filed a claim with his title insurance company and was working with that firm to try to resolve the issue. He hasn't yet been notified by the title insurer or Bank of America that the sale was vacated on Monday.
“I'm happy it's over, but I am not holding my breath about it,” he said. “I'm waiting to see if I actually get contacted.”POSTED IN: Foreclosure Crisis (84)