Monday, November 7, 2011

Evictions at Christmas - A Favorite Holiday Pastime

A story I'll never forget (oh, how my memory bank is full to the brim of these) was a particularly chilling tale I heard Sandie tell once at a cocktail party.

After a few glasses of wine, and who knows what else, the conversation would get flowing and someone who didn't know Sandie very well would often ask how she "got her start."

Sandie relished this moment, as it came often, and I've heard as many versions from her "spieling" lips as I have hairs on my head... but only one version of the story chilled me to the core like this version did.

She likes to credit herself with inventing the "save the paupers from foreclosure" scam before the foreclosure crisis even came about.

She would get a list from her banker of homes that were in pre-foreclosure. She would meet with the families, and tell them that they could sign over the home to her, and she would bring all the payments current, and then all they needed to do was pay her "rent" to stay in their home. The best part was, once they got back on their feet, they could refinance and buy it back from her.

To a family about to lose their home, there was no downside! How could there be? This nice lady is offering to help, and bringing everything current! We can even buy the home back when we are ready!

Papers were already drawn up, and 99% of the time she left that initial meeting with a signed agreement. For some reason no one ever seemed to question or read the "paperwork" too carefully...if they had, they would realize that they had just signed over their home to the most unforgiving, heartless landlord they could ever imagine. One day late on your rent? You're gone.

This was all completely legal, of course, in fact Sandie thought the story was quite funny. After all, these people were the "idiots" who naively signed the papers without reading the details of the contract.

She would then proceed to tell the group of people at the party about how her favorite moment in real estate was when she evicted a single mother with five kids from her home on Christmas Eve.

Yes, Christmas Eve.

She laughs again, recounting the story about how the Sheriff asked the woman to leave, and the woman threw an "absolute fit" about having to leave without enough time to pack any of their belongings. Of course, she had a tree with presents under it and five kids to pack up - but, this was of little consequence to Sandie, because in an eviction, the Sheriff only has to give you FIFTEEN minutes to pack it all up!

So to make a point, the woman comes tromping out into the snow without any shoes on, then orders all of the kids to take their shoes off too as they walk to the car. "See kids, this woman doesn't even want us to leave with SHOES on our feet!"

Sandie would then laugh devilishly, as if this were the funniest thing she'd ever seen. I wondered if her poofy bleach blond hair was covering a set of horns.

I never found this story funny. In fact, there is NOTHING FUNNY AT ALL about evicting anyone, and especially, evicting a SINGLE MOTHER and her FIVE KIDS on Christmas Eve!

What kind of a person could actually do such a thing? Do you think Sandie went back up to her 10,000 square foot house on the hill and even gave this poor family a second thought? Or, maybe she was spending Christmas up at her $15 million dollar estate up in Deer Valley.

Either way, was I the ONLY person who was sickened by this story? I guess evictions on Christmas Eve are a Tillotson family pastime. So much for Secret Santa and Caroling!