To the Editor:
Hats off to The Franklin Weekly for the story about the clerk of superior court for Franklin County examining her foreclosure proceedings. This story is about educating the residents of Franklin and surrounding counties about the fraud still very much driving our foreclosures.
And it is true that our clerks of court have been rubber stamping these fraudulent documents based on a long standing history of following guidelines put in place most likely by the Administration of the Court (AOC). The idea that we do it “this way, because that is the way we have always done it” just won’t work when you are not following the law.
The Franklin County Foreclosure Fraud Task Force was formed in fall 2012 to educate others about the legal defenses homeowners have in defending their homes. To date, the Task Force has been able to push back these foreclosures by demanding that these banks and “foreclosure mills” actually present evidence to prove they have standing to foreclose on someone’s home. In all of our cases, they do not have standing. They have absolutely no financial interest in the promissory notes and cannot prove that they do.
We have also found that our clerks have denied homeowners due process by not allowing them to see the evidence against them until after the notice to sale has been signed. This has to stop and it has to stop now. A criminal is not sentenced to jail until all the evidence is made public and we have to demand the same right of due process in these foreclosure hearings.
Our prior clerk of court would not even give the Task Force the time of day to even discuss these issues. Fortunately, we do have a new clerk of court who does seem to care and we will stand behind her in every way we can. The Task Force recently held an educational conference June 27, for our elected officials involved in the foreclosure process, and we are feeling that same element of concern from them that others have expressed. We will have follow-up meetings to delve further into actions by our elected officials to make sure we all stay on track.
We invite anyone involved in a foreclosure to contact the Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know someone who is facing foreclosure, please make them aware also. It is imperative to understand that everyone in Franklin County is affected by foreclosures and the fraud we are seeing has to see the light of day. Contact the clerk of court, Patricia Chastain and let her know that you want to see justice done. Foreclosure hearings are open to the public and we invite anyone to attend and support the homeowner and the Task Force.
Together, we can make sure our homes are not stolen from us by a bank that has no financial interest to do so.
Thank you, Carrie Causey, and The Franklin Weekly for your community-minded efforts to shed light on the fraud. And a special thanks to Brandi Davis, ROD, Sherriff Jerry Jones and Sgt. Harry Upchurch for your participation in our conference last week.
Mary Ella Hutchinson
Foreclosure Fraud Task Force