Why I’ve been MIA…..

If you have not heard from or seen me in recent weeks it has been because I’ve been consumed with legal briefs, stomach knots, headaches, worry, and terror that everything I own and all my future plans for retirement will be dashed and blown apart.

Why you ask? Read on……

Back in September of 2009 we decided to sell our rental property in Atlantic City for two reasons:

1. Our tenant was obnoxious, uncooperative, uncommunicative, obstinate, and felt he could get away with anything he wanted because he was in NJ and we lived in Ohio.

2. Atlantic City raised our property value from $45,000 to $183,900. The property is a 1,624 square foot, 80-year old row house in a neighborhood riddled with crime and drug traffic yet was worth $183,900 – unfathomable!

First, we offered it to Mr. Tenant at a reduced rate – he had poor credit and could not get a mortgage.  So, we put it on the market for $126,000 to see if we could get a bite. We notified Mr. Tenant we were doing so and he needed to be available for showings. Of course the tenant cancelled 50% of the showings and made the entire process a nightmare for both our realtor and everyone else involved.

Despite all of his efforts to thwart the sale of our house, marked an “as is” property, we got an offer and made arrangements to close. Mr. Tenant found another place to stay all was well until he moved out.

Then came the real horrors:

1. He left no forwarding address.

2. He stopped payment on the last rent check – $700

3. He did not pay the last sewer/water bill – $800

4. He left tons of garbage both in/outside the house which had to be removed $500

5. He let the roof leak without ever telling us there was a problem ruining a plaster wall as well as damaging ceiling tiles and drywall then severely damaged other walls by pulling items out versus unscrewing them. The bathroom was covered in mold from never being properly cleaned – it was so disgusting neither the realtor nor the painter could believe a person could stand to live like that. $750

6. In order to get a CO we had to have a terminate inspection which determined the house was infested with rodents and bed bugs!  They found rodent droppings in the OVEN – imagine how disgusting these people were to allow things to get so dirty rodents lived in the friggin oven! Not to mention a bed bug infestation – which leave bite marks that cause intense itching – how they could have lived under those circumstances is beyond my imagination!!! $500

7. We had to put a new roof on the house as there were leaks he didn’t tell us about that rotted the rafters $3000

8. Repaint the entire inside of the house $750

Please note these people were always clean and neat up until we decided to sell the house in September of 09.  That’s when everything started to go down hill and they began not to care about the house anymore!

TOTAL: $6800

But the real HORROR show that occurred a mere week before closing was when the title search uncovered a lien on the house for $80,000!!

This stemmed from a 10-year old personal injury law suit (June of 2000) wherein a Rottweiler dog bit a child at our rental property in Atlantic City.  A dog apparently owned by our tenant!   By the way, his lease specifically prohibited pets – NO PETS: clause 14 of his lease!!!!

We were never notified about this – knew nothing of it until the title search. Now we had to hire a lawyer to find about what the heck was going on – another $2,500 dollar retainer (plus court costs of $500) just to figure out what happened, design a defense, and submit an appeal.  Our lawyer expects the plaintiff’s lawyer to fight our objections to the suit!  He contends we hid from being served!

As it turns out back in October of 2000, our tenant called me and told me there was a note on the door to call “some guy.” He wasn’t sure what it was about but it looked like it was an important note and I should call him. Of course, he knew exactly what it was about but sure didn’t want to give me any more information about it. They were trying to “serve” us the law suit at the rental property address but our tenant would not answer the door when he saw it was the sheriff!

I called the gentleman who was very unclear about what he wanted/needed and kept referring to some plaintiff’s names which were completely foreign to me. (It turns out their names are some long Indian or Persian type names that I wouldn’t be able to remember and/or pronounce if my life depended on it.   I just know I had never heard of them in any context before or after that telephone call until a couple of weeks ago.

I explained several times we did not know these people or had ever heard of them and his information must be incorrect as we had no connection to these people whatsoever and couldn’t help find them. He continued to tell me the same thing over and over again over a very bad phone connection as I told him we live in Ohio not Atlantic City so his information had to be wrong. At this point I began to get very leery and didn’t know what to think other than he was trying to get our information for fraudulent purposes when the call dropped. I did give him my work # and was actually relieved that he didn’t call me back which made me further believe it was a suspicious and fraudulent call. So I never gave it another thought until I was given the sheriff’s notes which pretty much mirrored what I said above except he said I hung up on him!

This is what they based and won the default law suit on – that one conversation is how they considered us being served and a judge concluded we were trying to hide our whereabouts because I wouldn’t give them our Ohio information in that phone call!

Had I even had an inkling that I was truly speaking to a sheriff or that he was telling me we were being sued, words he NEVER used, would anyone in their right minds deny giving him any information or not called him back when the call dropped? Of course not! I would have tried to truly understand the issue and would have immediately had the defendant corrected to my tenant as it was his issue totally, not ours!

Any reasonable person would know that you can’t run from the law – except maybe my absolutely clueless and mean-spirited tenant.

So that’s what has been happening in my life. If we can’t get this suit rescinded we won’t be able to make any money on the sale of the house. In fact, I will have to lose the almost $10,000 from our savings that we’ve already spent to fix everything as well as pay the legal fees we’ve incurred to fight this mess.

In addition to all that, the NJ court can seek further relief from the Ohio courts to attach our assets here as well! As a result, we won’t be able to retire – ever!  I am so sick and fraught with worry over this I can’t tell you.  I can’t eat, sleep, or think of anything else.  Papers have been issued to the court asking for relief as we were never properly served.  But after 10 years its a pig in a poke how the court will respond.

If you pray, please pray for us.

Pray there is justice for those who have been wrongly accused and convicted without so much as knowing there was an issue! We were never given the chance to let the court or the people who were injured know that this was not our issue or our fault.


One Response to “Why I’ve been MIA…..”

  1. Diane Kinsella Says:


    What an amazing odyssey! Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, and this certainly fulfills that description.

    I can’t imagine the level of angst you’re experiencing, with just cause! Know that you are in my prayers and will remain there. I’m praying for level-headed reason to reign in all of your legal dealings, too.



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