Local family's foreclosure fuels public official's battle against banks

Local family's foreclosure fuels public official's battle against banks


by BILL MCGINTY / NBC Charlotte Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @billwcnc


Posted on May 8, 2013 at 11:35 PM

Updated Thursday, May 9 at 7:46 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The housing market collapse created millions of foreclosures and lawsuits.  

On behalf of homeowners, a North Carolina public official s is holding 29 banks responsible for the mess he says they have created in his office. 

Andrea Metcalf isn’t having a good day, in fact, she hasn’t had a good day in seven years.

“I don’t wish this on anybody, I don’t wish any other family to go through this," she said.
She begins the tough task of packing up her home to move out.

Andrea bought her house back in 2006 with very little down, and after financial troubles that relate back to a PMI issue and eventually a bankruptcy, she lost it in foreclosure. 
“I’m 48 years old and I am going to be homeless and start again," she said. "It took me until I was 43 to buy our first home and now I don’t think I’ll never own another home."

Part of Andrea’s seven year long fight to keep her house, is trying to figure out who really owns her house or her note.
Andrea lives in Iredell County and cases like hers is what prompted Jeff Thigpen, Guilford County’s Register of Deeds, to sue 29 banks.

"These are public documents that are used in a court of law, and they ought to be done right," Thigpen said.
Thigpen is taking on 29 banks and lenders for the mess he says banks have created by the slicing and dicing and the electronic selling and reselling of mortgages with sloppy documentation over the last 10 years.

"Public recording offices are foundational to our democracy," Thigpen said. "I don’t want to be in a position to be the document police, but at the same time, I don’t want to be a warehouse of stolen property.”

Thigpen’s lawsuit against giants like Bank of America and Wells Fargo, demands that they “clean up the mess they created in Guilford County’s public property records” and, it wants to hold them accountable for their “unfair and deceptive trade practices.”
“For me, the suit means drawing a line in the sand around the idea that public records office matter and that we value integrity, certainty and transparency and fair dealings," Thigpen said. "We have got to have that in our land records, if not, we’re no better than a third world country.”
Thigpen is talking about sales and deeds that have been officially recorded, his suit claims, with signatures of electronic robo-signers, often used to speed up the electronic transfer and recording process when a mortgage is bought and sold.  

For example, the suit claims (page 30 section 89) the name Christie Baldwin is a robo-signer, as her name appears on almost 900 documents filed but looking at the signatures, each one is completely different.  

In other foreclosure cases, some of the official stamps are undated and smeared, yet banks are going to court and using these documents to foreclose and take homes.  
Andrea sits in her house and says “it’s not OK, this is wrong!”
Thigpen’s lawsuit is fighting for homeowners just like Andrea, whose own mortgage documents also have questionable documents listed.

For example, one document is signed and dated November 30, 2007 in Iredell County, but the notary, who by law witnessed the signature, dated and stamped the document three days later on November 3 in Virginia.   

A notary is supposed to stamp the document at the time the person signs it, that’s the point of having it notarized. And, an audit of Andrea’s loan likewise shows electronic robo-signers being used in the official paperwork.
According to public records, Fannie Mae now owns Andrea’s house and is the one throwing Andrea and her two kids out of the house that was supposed to be their home in retirement.
“It was for James and Analyse, an asset to one day pass on to them," Andrea said as she wiped away tears.

Do you feel abandoned?

“I feel betrayed, it makes me question what America is, and I’m having a really hard time understanding why," she said.

Andrea’s having a hard time because the audit of her mortgage gives her information that contradicts public records and it has been is an endless tale of frustration and paperwork for her.

“I chose to fight on numbers, but I should have been fighting the banks and lenders on procedure,” she said.
NBC Charlotte also tried to check with Andrea’s original lender, SunTrust, about those notary dates that don’t match up in the paperwork, but they declined to comment citing possible litigation as the reason.
As for the lawsuit filed by the Register of Deeds in Guilford County, it’s still pending in North Carolina Business Court. 

The lenders named as defendants have filed a motion to dismiss but the Judge has not ruled on that motion yet. 

Bank of America declined to comment on the suit and Wells Fargo said they are waiting for the judge to rule on the motion to dismiss. 

You can read Thigpen’s lawsuit at http://www.restorepublicrecords.com/litigation-documents.