How would you like to live in your home for free? Well, almost…
Patsy Campbell has not made a mortgage payment on her home for 26 years. Yes, I said 26 years.
Almost every Real Estate Attorney agrees it is the longest foreclosure case in America… and probably the WORLD for that matter.
Miss Campbell has pulled just about every legal maneuver possible to delay foreclosure of her home for over two and a half decades.
The home was last appraised at over $200,000.
The short version of the story goes something like this.
In 1978 her husband Paul purchased the home with a mortgage for $68,000 from First Federal Savings.
He married patsy in 1980, later passing on and leaving the property to her.
Patsy became ill in 1985 and the loss of income caused her to stop making mortgage payments.
At this point, the Mortgage Holder First Federal had now merged with First Fidelity Savings and Loan which took over the servicing of her mortgage.
Later in 1987 the mortgage was sold by First Fidelity to American Pioneer Savings. American Pioneer Savings went broke in the early 1990’s.
The loan continued to change banks 6 times and each time it changed the foreclosure case was either delayed and or dropped as the financial institutions went out of business as well as fell victim to her later stall tactics.
Finally, her mortgage wound up with the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) which was the federally owned entity which was in charge liquidating assets from the Savings and Loan Crisis in the 90’s. Eventually the FDIC was in charge of her mortgage.
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Then, in 1998 the FDIC sold the mortgage to Commercial Services of Perry Iowa.
Commercial Services is a buyer and investor of distressed debt which filed for foreclosure on the Campbell home in the year 2000.
Obviously, after delaying foreclosure for 26 years, Miss Campbell has used a number of strategies to stay in her home.
In the beginning she had the help of a retired Lawyer, but today she’s learned so much about the law she’s actually handling the case herself.
The has appealed her case 7 times since 2000.
Among some of her tactics were claims that:
The note for her property was incorrectly assigned.
Lawyers waited too long to prosecute her case
The original sellers never received funds due from the bank.
Her husband’s signature was forged.
Her note was incorrectly separated from her mortgage agreement.
The loan was not properly transferred between the multiple financial institutions in went through.
In many cases she demanded documents the lenders were unable to generate (or generate quickly enough).
Once due to illness she put the home in her daughter’s name then later had the house deeded back to her.
Probably the most entertaining argument is when she denied there was any legitimate debt.
In 2007 a judge threw out many of her arguments as an unnecessary use of judicial resources.
Attorney Robert Summers for Commercial Services says “It’s almost like clockwork. You know you’re going to get a three-inch stack of documents every month or so, and you have to take the time to read through them.
It’s a burden on the courts, a burden on lawyers to decipher it, and it has enough meat in it that it’s not all void.”
After a very long fight Commercial Services finally got a date to take the foreclosure to trial.
In response, Miss Campbell filed Bankruptcy and In the state of Florida, bankruptcy stops foreclosure until a stay is lifted by the bankruptcy judge.
Miss Campbell currently maintains that no one owns her mortgage and because of all the mistakes the both private and federal institutions have made handling it, the debt is null and void.
It should be noted that any homeowner delaying foreclosure can raise defenses in court which may be baseless but still present legal obstacles for the banks to overcome. These obstacles cost both time and money and lots of it.
Moodys predicts foreclosures will increase from about 1.8 million in 2010 to 2.1 million in 2011.
With that said, I am sure we can all expect to see more foreclosure cases being delayed by other Americans following Miss Campbell’s lead.