Seffner sinkhole family hoping for write-off

by Michael Mosher on June 3, 2013

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TAMPA (FOX 13) –

The family involved in the Seffner sinkhole tragedy says there’s still no word from their mortgage company.      

The Wicker family says the only communications they’ve had with the Ocwen Financial Corporation is when they called asking for another payment.

The family lost their home due to a sinkhole on Feb. 28. Their family member, Jeff Bush, was killed when his bedroom was sucked into the hole.

The county won’t even let them back on their property. It is still fenced off and warning signs posted.

Last week, we reported the Wicker family received $130,189.00 from their insurance company. Buddy Wicker says he immediately sent that to the Ocwen, asking them to take that as a payoff on the house.

But Ocwen sent back a letter stating in order to close the account they need an additional $4,455.48. The letter also said the family must put the property back to the condition it was in prior to the sinkhole.

“They said, well, you have to pay the remainder before we’ll close the deal on you as being paid off, ” explained Buddy Wicker.

Wicker has owned the home since 1974. He wants Ocwen to take the $130,000 as his payoff.

“Write it off. They’re not losing any money. Who are they trying to kid?” he said “They’re not losing any money. I know they are trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip, I know that. But this turnip doesn’t have any more blood in him.”

Wicker said it’s been a difficult time since the sinkhole. Their insurance company has put them up in a home, but the question is where do they go next and how do they buy all new furniture, household items and clothing.

“We’re struggling. Even though the insurance company has put me up for 3 months, I have got to resettle,” he said. “And how am I going to resettle?”

Charles Gallagher, a St. Petersburg attorney specializing in real estate and foreclosures, said it would not be too much to ask the company to forgive the rest of the balance owed.

“It’s not, banks are writing five times that, writing that off on a daily basis. On modifying mortgages and trying to accommodate homeowners and foreclosures. It’s not like you’re going to break the banking industry off of 1 loan,” he said.

FOX 13 has reached out to Ocwen Financial Corporation. We’ll let you know when we hear back.

Full article…here

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