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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Your View: Rest of the story

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A few months back many of you will remember I wrote a letter to the editor describing the experience I had with the USDA Rural Development (FmHA) with my deceased Aunt's home in Morehouse. If you will remember the estate had it sold for $38,000. A few days before closing I learned that my Aunt had two loans on the property instead of one which was a surprise to me since I was only making one payment and so had my Aunt for 13 years. Sure enough though I learned the government had made a second loan that actually required no monthly payments be made and all the time was accruing interest. I am sure my Aunt had no idea she signed such documents. The original $8,000 loan was now over $13,000. Adding the two loans together meant the payoff was now more than the value of the home and certainly more than the contracted sales price.

I asked my attorney in Sikeston to research a potential fraud by the USDA Rural Development office. My Aunt owned both the lots her home was built on free and clear, a value of over $5,000 at that time. She was never given any credit on the closing statement for the ownership of the lots that would have

at least reduced her down payment requirement or eliminated it all together thus doing away with the need for the $8,000 second loan that is now more than $13,000. My attorney told me too much time had passed to pursue it.

I called the USDA Rural Development office and have talked to them on several occasions explaining the situation. I ran into the proverbial brick wall. It is as if no one is home. I pleaded with them to allow me to sell the property for the contracted price which would have required them to take a very small "loss" compared to what would happen if they foreclosed on the property. They ignored my plea. Seeing no reason to keep making payments on a property I would never be able to sell the property is now being offered to the public at an auction on the courthouse steps. Being curious like I am, I called and asked what the minimum price would be on this property at the auction. I was told $29,014.

Keep in mind I had a contract to sell the property for $38,000 and they ignored my plea to take that and be happy. I was willing to walk away with nothing left over but not willing to take money to closing. They chose not to allow the sale to go forward. Now they are willing to sell it for $16,727. I could actually go buy the property at auction, then sell it to the people I originally had a contract with and make money. I expect there is a law against that.

To make matters worse the USDA Rural Development office has sent letters to every family member telling them the house is going to be sold at auction. I wonder if this is an attempt to embarrass me? If it is, it didn't work. My family already knew the how and why concerning this matter as did the whole community. The people in position of making decisions for the good of the American people are the ones who should be embarrassed here. First they made a negative amortization loan to an 85-year-old woman on a property in Morehouse. They did it by defrauding her out of her already owned free and clear lots. Then after her death they decided to not accept a "short sale" by a few hundred dollars and instead take a much larger loss. It may be too late to prosecute fraud but perhaps it is not too late for someone somewhere to eliminate those in charge for making stupid decisions.

Perhaps the US government is just in the business to lose money.

Ron Peek