Parrish still facing mortgage woes, court says
WEST CHESTER >> A Chester County Common Pleas judge has signed an order allowing mortgage foreclosure proceedings against Democratic congressional candidate Michael D. Parrish and his ex-wife to go forward, even as the candidate says that such proceedings have been put on hold.
On Sept. 28, Judge Edward Griffith dismissed preliminary objections that Parrish had filed to the foreclosure action by Bank of America filed in June, ruling that the claims Parrish made about the impropriety of the bank’s suit were without merit, or were more properly argued at trial.
Parrish, who had filed preliminary objections to the action in August without the aid of an attorney, had argued that the foreclosure action was improper, in part, because he had been working with the former owner of the mortgage, Wells Fargo Bank, to come to an agreement. He also contended that Bank of America had failed to “conform to law or rule of court.”
In a lengthy statement issued on Monday, Parrish addressed the mortgage issue head on, alluding to his service as an U.S. Army aviator.
“In the military we learn that leaders eat last, which means we take care of our
people before we take care of ourselves,” he said in a statement put out by his campaign. “Like so many across the country, including many residents of the Sixth District, the housing collapse and economic meltdown caused me personal financial pain. At the time, I was a small business owner, and the company had several large projects that we completed but for which we were never paid. I made the personal decision to sacrifice my own compensation in order to ensure my employees and their families were protected throughout this tough period in our country.
“As a result of that decision, and other personal resulting issues, like my divorce, I have had some issues with my mortgage. As I have explained repeatedly,
I am in the process of a standard loan modification. This process, which is familiar to hundreds of thousands of American families, will close this issue and my house will never be foreclosed on.
“I know that I made the right decision, and I would make the same decision again,” the statement read.
The legal matter, nevertheless, will go forward.
Griffith, in a heavily footnoted order, dismissed Parrish’s objections in their entirety. The order gave Parrish and his former wife, Marcelle B. Parrish, 20 days to file a formal answer to the foreclosure — although Marcelle Parrish does not appear to be an active part of the action since she no longer lives in the Fox Ridge Drive home.
Through his campaign manager, Joseph Bachman, Parrish characterized Griffith’s ruling allowing the foreclosure to proceed as “simply a procedural matter.” Bachman said that Parrish is currently in the process of a mortgage modification, and the foreclosure action has been suspended by the lender.
He provided a copy of an email that appeared to have been sent to the campaign from Jordyn Kimelheim, a legal assistant with the Philadelphia law firm of Phelan Hallinan Diamond & Jones, which specializes in foreclosure actions. It states that “the foreclosure proceedings in the case of Bank of America N.A. vs. Michael D. Parrish, et al. are suspended for loss mitigation proceedings.”
Contacted Monday, Kimelheim said she was not authorized to respond to press inquires about the case and referred all questions to Judith Romano, the firm’s general counsel. Romano did not respond.
According to legal websites, the term “loss mitigation” in foreclosure proceedings is intended to describe the full range of solutions that may avert either the loss of a debtor’s property to foreclosure, increased costs to the lender, or both. It is a way for a homeowner to avoid foreclosure and negotiate a revised mortgage with a lender.
Loss mitigation commonly consists of the following general types of agreements, or a combination of them: loan modification, loan refinance, forbearance, short sale, or surrender of the property in full satisfaction, one site stated. The terms of a loss mitigation solution will vary in each case according to the particular needs and goals of the parties.
But the loss mitigation proceedings do not stay the action in court, one observer said. The case is still listed as “pending” on the Common Pleas civil docket, and no filing or communication has been entered by the bank stating that the case is on hold.
According to the court filing, the Parrish’s signed a mortgage with Wells Fargo in August 2002 for $696,000. It was reassigned to Bank of America in June 2012, and payments stopped in June 2015. The couple divorced in December 2014.
The bank contends that as of June, Parrish owed $601,304. The five-bedroom, four bath, 4,383- squarefoot home is currently listed for sale for $997,500.
Campaign officials for U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, of West Goshen, who Parrish is running against,
were quick to note that Parrish’s campaign had told reporters from the Daily Local News and other media outlets in the district that the mortgage claims would be taken care of quickly.
“On July 13, 2016, a Parrish spokesperson told the Daily Local News that Parrish ‘expects to settle the foreclosure action within the week,’” said Vincent Galko, a senior adviser to the Costello campaign. “On Aug. 14, 2016, Parrish campaign told Lebanon Daily News that ‘the foreclosure issue has been resolved.’ But six days earlier, on Aug. 8, 2016, Parrish filed preliminary objections to the foreclosure complaint with the court. Parrish asked the court to dismiss the bank’s lawsuit in its entirety with prejudice.”
Said Galko, “Parrish has said in the past that he has resolved the foreclosure or that he is working with the bank to resolve it. It is questionable if Parrish can refinance the mortgage or enter into a loan modification. Public records show that he has civil judgments filed against him totaling nearly $300,000.
“Mike Parrish continues to show a pattern of lying in an attempt to mislead voters,” Galko said in an email. “His contempt for the voters and the local press knows no limit and it should disqualify him for elected office.”
Meanwhile, in early September, Parrish finally filed a required candidate’s financial disclosure report with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
In it, he listed assets including rent from a vacation home in Hawaii, a Vanguard fund, a bank account, and consulting income from Daleco Resources, an energy company in West Chester he left in 2014.
The report was due in May.