Bank of America — already dressed down in this space for bad decisions, mismanagement and conduct unbecoming a major financial institution — has now perfected the "snore-closure". That's when a bank forecloses on a house that they don't even have a stake in. Just ask Charlie and Maria Cardosa of Spring Hill, Florida, about it.
Accoding to news reports, Charlie says that he shot his life's savings — about $140 grand — in 2005 to pay cash for the three-bedroom house with a pool. He and his wife live in New Bedford, Mass., and were renting the house out to a single mother and her two teenaged sons. The renters freaked last fall when three guys showed up to clean out the house.
A BofA real estate agent assured the Cardozas that everything would be set straight. That assurance was followed by a landscaper breaking through a gate to mow the lawn in the backyard to get the house ready for resale. The tenants fled and Charlie had to leave his disabled wife and drive to Florida to make sure his house didn't disappear.
The locks on the house had been changed and the front door hads a lockbox on it when he arrived, the power and gas had been turned off and the pipes were frozen. Charlie had to break into his own house and use boltcutters on the lockbox, then prove to police that he was the rightful owner.
It turns out the paperwork that BofA reps were waving around had the wrong address on it. They were aiming for a place across the street and a few doors down. But the bank was in a place big institutions get to way too frequently — that place where they are right and the little guy is wrong. And they couldn't be bothered to sort out the details. By the time they did sift through the fine points, it was too late to retrieve possessions, including photos, that the Cardosas had stored at the house which had been cleared out by the bank.
There's a lawsuit underway now, claiming hardship and financial loss. More than anything, Charlie and Maria would just like someone to apologize. Judging by the way the bank has handled their affairs to date, that's unlikely to happen. Fortunately, for the Cardosas, they'll likely benefit from the only way big institutions do business — fix a problem by throwing money at it.
— Marc Hershon