Lawyer says case forced her to sell house

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By David Migoya

One of Colorado’s top fore­clo­sure lawyers on Tues­day tear­fully de­scribed be­ing forced to sell her mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar home in Cen­ten­nial — “The house I thought I would die in” — in or­der to pay lawyers de­fend­ing her and her firm against a state law­suit al­leg­ing they sad­dled strug­gling home­own­ers with mil­lions in con­cocted costs.

In a twist of irony, Caren Cas­tle — whose Cas­tle Law Group helped fore­close on thou­sands of Coloradans dur­ing the height of the mort­gage cri­sis — tes­ti­fied that the costs of de­fend­ing her­self and her lawyer hus­band, Larry Cas­tle, against the state’s four-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion and en­su­ing law­suit pushed her to sell their pala­tial 11,439-square-foot home “for much less than I thought I’d sell the house I thought I would die in.”

The three-story, sev­en­car-garage home in the town of Fox­field in east­ern Ara­pa­hoe County is re­plete with a fully equipped gym and an out­door pool with ten­nis courts on 2 acres and sold in Novem­ber for more than $2.4 mil­lion, records show.

The Cas­tles used the money to quickly pay off an $847,000 loan they had taken from a com­pany state pros­e­cu­tors said loaned them the money, but for which they never made any pay­ments. Cas­tle’s ad­mis­sion to sell­ing the home and pay­ing off the loan sur­prised Colorado As­sis­tant At­tor­ney Gen­eral Erik Neusch, who stopped short of ask­ing whether the lender in which they held an in­ter­est had filed fore­clo­sure pa­pers for not hav­ing made any pay­ments.

Caren Cas­tle tes­ti­fied in the sec­ond day of a three­week trial in the state’s law­suit, which says the Cas­tles con­spired with other Den­ver lawyers and re­lated busi­nesses to con­coct or in­flate fees and costs as­so­ci­ated with fore­clo­sures, then pass­ing those ex­penses on to home­own­ers try­ing to save their houses, or to banks, fed­eral mort­gage in­sur­ers and, even­tu­ally, tax­pay­ers.

The Cas­tles have de­nied the al­le­ga­tions. Part of Tues­day’s tes­ti­mony fo­cused on how the firm charged an un­ap­proved $50 fee that state pros­e­cu­tors say sped up thou­sands of Cas­tle’s fore­clo­sure cases. The firm charged the fee for a state­ment ver­i­fy­ing that its bank clients had the right to take some­one’s home. It did so with­out hav­ing to pro­duce the orig­i­nal mort­gage pa­per­work, in­stead re­ly­ing on af­fi­davits from lawyers claim­ing the bank held the notes and got them legally. Leg­is­la­tion al­low­ing firms to do this was passed in 2006, and at­tor­ney Larry Cas­tle helped draft the bill.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.