• How a $140 Sewer Bill Could Cost New Jersey Plumber More Than $50,000


    If it was not surprising enough for 60-year-old Dominick Vulpis and his wife to learn last December that they had lost their home to foreclosure, imagine the shock when they learned exactly why: a four-year-old $140 sewer bill.

    NBC News reported on July 24, 2012, that the foreclosure was the result of a tax lien (see explanation in video above) his hometown of Middletown, New Jersey, had sold to a third-party investor. While NBC noted that this is “an increasingly common practice as cash-strapped cities and towns try to raise badly needed revenues to close widening budget gaps,” it also mentioned that situations like the Vulpis’ are rare.

    “It was never brought to my attention until it was too late and we were served with papers saying we had to move out of our house,” Vulpis told NBC. “I may pay a bill late, but I pay them. I’m not trying to beat anyone for $140.”

    NBC also noted that the National Consumer Law Center estimated that local governments raised nearly $15 billion through tax lien sales in 2010. Vulpis did manage to get the foreclosure overturned by rolling the bill into his mortgage balance, but NBC said that the total bill could exceed $50,000 when combined with attorney fees and added interest.

    While a majority of tax lien sales were for unpaid assessments on failed or unfinished commercial developments, such sales still land more people in foreclosure proceedings. A struggling economy has left more homeowners seeking foreclosure help , and this week we will focus on some of the pains caused by foreclosure. If you are facing foreclosure, you may be able to delay the process by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy or possibly even save your home by filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy . Contact our firm at (866) 930-7482 to see how our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can help you.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • Closet? R. Kelly’s Whole Estate Trapped in Negative Equity

    When recording artist R. Kelly was hit with a $2.9 million foreclosure lawsuit on his mansion 30 miles outside of Chicago in July, WMAQ-TV reported it was a strategic foreclosure. The value of the estate had plunged from an estimated $5.2 million to $3.8 million in the span of one year, and Kelly had stopped making payments in an effort to get the loan modified. Now that the custom home is worth less than he owes, Forbes reported on December 14, 2011, that the Grammy-winner is listing the property as a $1.595 million short sale.

    The 22,000-square-foot mansion was built in 1997 and sits on a private, wooded lot surrounded by 12-foot high concrete and wrought iron wall, according to Forbes. The original loan Kelly was issued for the home in 1999 was for $3.5 million. In August, Kelly sold his former 8,000-square-foot Lakeview property for $2.74 million.

    As Forbes noted, the R&B singer is no stranger to legal trouble. In June 2008, he was acquitted of child pornography charges in a high-profile trial, and three years later Kelly’s former manager sued the singer for breach of oral contract and fraud. A month after that, he was hit with a tax lien for $837,000.

    While Kelly might not represent the average homeowner in need of foreclosure help , his story still demonstrates the effect the housing market is having on everyone-even the rich and famous. If you too have been unsuccessful in getting your own mortgage modified but know that neither a short sale or a strategic foreclosure really suits your needs, a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy could allow you to stay in your house while helping you manage your bills.

    Is your house now worth less than you owe? How are you addressing your own negative equity situation?

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer