Par­rish still fac­ing mort­gage woes, court says

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

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.

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