Bob Dorn’s story of Foreclosure

Februrary 2012

I lost my condo to foreclosure in December 2009.I am still trying to put together a lot of the details, and figuring out where and why everything went wrong.

One thing is clear, I still don’t understand the mortgage paperwork, let alone, the foreclosure papers. I am just realizing that, I was supposed to respond to the Court (Middletown, NY, Orange county) at a certain date, and because I wasn’t even clear on this, it may have led prematurely to my foreclosure. At the time, several events and things came together to form a PERFECT STORM. In retrospect, It would have been helpful to know what I know now, and to have had someone to help me through this period.
I bought a reasonable sized 1 br condo in Middletown NY in October 2006, after separating from my ex-partner, the year before.

We still owned and were trying to sell a small house (about 700 sq. ft.), in Pine Bush NY. I was still working full time as a Librarian at Albert Wisner Public Library, in Warwick NY at the time. I rented an apt. in Warwick, finding it difficult to stay in the same house with my ex. Leading up to this, I was suffering from depression, over the situation with my ex- partner, in counseling, and just diagnosed with PTSD from my 9/11 experience (another story), when I still worked in NYC as an academic librarian.
It’s clear now that I didn’t understand the mortgage situation offered me, I didn’t think logically through the process, the costs involved, what might happen should the mortgage change, mortgage holding banks switching on me, without notice. I know now that I shouldn’t have been offered the mortgage, (financing 100 %, getting into two mortgages, a ‘bridge loan’ included), instead of waiting on the sale of the Pine bush house, and see what I was actually getting out of it.
I was unaware that in two years I would be forced to stop work, and be diagnosed with a debilitating disease called Meniere’s Disease.

I also was obviously the target of some loan ‘predator’ action. I had had a Bankruptcy in 2005, and was actually surprised, to have a mortgage offered to me, while I had bad credit, and was still part ‘owner’ of a house, that was still costing me.
Keeping in mind, I thought the Pine Bush house would be sold soon, and that I’d have a decent amount to put down.

I got the mortgage, didn’t understand any of it, just sat there in a room full of bankers and lawyers (mine and theirs) and rejoiced in telling myself, I deserved this after all I went through (With my ex, with life, who knows). So, October 2006, I moved into a condo in one of the cheaper condo estates in Middletown NY. The inspection proved ok, if not pristine.

My second big mistake. I didn’t realize that I didn’t really wasn’t making enough for the mortgage, the ‘common’ costs (maintenance, upkeep, etc.) , and the ‘problems’ with the Pine Bush house, that still wasn’t sold, that were costing thousands of dollars I kept finding that more and more I couldn’t afford the Common costs and the mortgage on just what I was making. Meanwhile, the Pine Bush home was costing more and more for repairs, busted water pipes, the new boiler and more. Money I had to put out, taking loans for some of it, and trying to keep the condo going as well.

While I became extremely depressed, the work situation was getting worse and obviously my work was suffering. At the same time, I was beginning to have symptoms of what would eventually be diagnosed as ‘Meniere’s Disease’.
While I became extremely depressed, the work situation was getting worse and obviously my work was suffering.
I was trying to reduce my mortgage costs, I tried through Chase (who eventually ‘owned’ my mortgage) to reduce or ‘refinance’ my mortgage. Finally, after Chase Mortgage said that a ‘workout’ was not possible due to my Medical leave at work, I gave up on trying to keep the property.
This all led up to me leaving the condo in December of 2009, which was the date of the Foreclosure, as far as I could determine. That is how I lost the only property I owned totally by myself.

I recently signed papers in a Class lawsuit in NY State against Predator mortgage agencies and banks. We’ll see what happens. just this week while talking to a friend, it occurred to me, that I was victim to a ‘Perfect Storm’ of sorts.
Now I am working with MoveOn Sullivan, other progressive groups, and Occupy Hudson Valley groups to help others who are in Foreclosure to keep their homes.

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