WASHINGTON (AP) - California Rep. Laura Richardson claimed Friday that her Sacramento home was sold into foreclosure without her knowledge and contrary to an agreement with her lender.
She said she is like any other American suffering in the mortgage crisis and wants to testify to Congress about her experience as lawmakers craft a foreclosure-prevention bill.
In a lengthy interview Friday night with The Associated Press, the Southern California Democrat struck back against several days of negative publicity over reports she defaulted on her mortgage, allowing the house to be sold at auction.
Richardson, who won her seat in a special election last August, acknowledged turmoil in her life in the months after incumbent Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald's death in April opened up her Los Angeles- area House seat.
Richardson used her money to finance her campaign and fell behind in mortgage payments. But now, Richardson said, she has renegotiated her loan and promised to fully pay it off, along with $9,000 in delinquent property taxes.
She insisted she's not getting special terms because she's a congresswoman.
"I'm Laura Richardson. I'm an American, I'm a single woman who had four employment changes in less than four months," Richardson said. "I had to figure out just like every other American how I could restructure the obligations that I had with the income I had."
Richardson bought the 1,600-square-foot home in Sacramento's desirable Curtis Park neighborhood for $535,500 in January 2007. It was sold at auction earlier this month to a Sacramento mortgage lender who paid $388,000, according to the Sacramento County Recorder's Office.
A default notice sent to Richardson in March put her unpaid balance at $578,384.
Richardson provided the AP with an April letter, which appears to be from Washington Mutual Home Loans, telling her there was a hold on foreclosure sales on her property until June 4. She also provided an e-mail dated Thursday, which she said was from Washington Mutual, that appeared to acknowledge an agreement "to facilitate the recission of foreclosure sale" but gave no financial details.
A Washington Mutual spokeswoman, Sara Gaugl, told the AP earlier Friday that the company had "not received consent from Ms. Richardson that would allow us to discuss her loan situation." Washington Mutual did not respond to a later request for comment on Richardson's claims.
Not long after getting to Congress, Richardson voted in favor of a mortgage debt forgiveness bill which subsequently became law. She was absent earlier this month for votes on a foreclosure prevention bill, which she said was because of her father's funeral. The House is expected to bring the package back up in June once agreement is reached in the Senate.
Congressional ethics rules don't prevent lawmakers from voting on legislation that might affect them economically. Rather than shy away from voting on mortgage-related bills, Richardson said her experiences could help her craft legislation to make sure others don't experience what she did. For example, she sees a need to add steps to inform property owners before their property can be sold.
"We have to ensure that lenders and lendees have the tools with proper timing to resolve this," she said.
Why is this sad? Shebuys a $500k+ home withno money down and stops making payments. This is not a sad case where someone loses a job. She should have made her payments. Another case of mortgage stupidity.
That's real. Unfortunate.
Times are hard!!!
Erbody gettin forclosed on... ***.
It's a buyers market baby.
But the ONLY difference about her is she is getting special treatment just because she's a member of congress. So I say do for all the other millions of forclosed victims like you did for her. You see as soon as the story broke about her losing her house, they did some alakzam and she is not longer in forclosure anymore. Politicians help out their own people, but when the regular americans get in a bind like she did, they turn the other cheek and say it's nothing they can do. Thats only because she has some dirt on her fellow employees we don't know about, and threatned to let something anonomusly go public if they didn't pull some strings and get her out of the jam! The politicians and lending companies full of ***! The lending company & congress helped her out, they can help everybody else out too!
AND HER SITUATION JUST KEPT IT REAL RIGHT THERE, AINT NOBODY ABOVE REPOSESSION...
If you do not pay the mortgage, foreclosure is inevitable, regardless of your employment.
So what nobodys perfect.
I really don't know this woman's situation so I can't really say she's at fault here. She's a new politician and in the beginning they have bills like everyone else. Obama and his wife still paying off student loans when he was elected Senator.
If this politician was helped in any way she should ensure she helps her constituents who are losing their homes as well.
I HOPE SHE NEVER BECOMES A TREASURY SECRETARY
Hello MTO....I am a faithful reader of the site and you all reported a story a *** while ago on a Congresswoman in California losing her home to foreclosure with Washington Mutual. Well let me say this I work for Wamu and want to address some issues with her claims.
1st thing I want to address is to everyone who is a homeowner, STOP BLAMING THE BANK BECAUSE YOU FAIL TO PAY YOUR MORTGAGE. Let's be real, if you have a car note do you think it will take the finance company 8, 9, or 10 months to repo your car? So we all know that if you don't pay on your mortgage then you lose your home! This chic had no *** excuse why she did not pay her mortgage. She called the bank and tried to work out a payment plan, but she wanted to live the high life and was over extended, therfore we advised her of her options to save her home. She felt as though she could call and complain and throw her title around and get pull to stop the sell of her home. We offered to work with her on several levels. This chic had to nerve to tell us she wanted us to forgive her past due amount and just write it off. Now don't get me wrong the mortgage industry is going through a crisis, but trust and believe the banks will work with any homeowner who makes the attempt to save their home. Not only was she behind on her house note, but she had not even paid her taxes. So what is her reason for that?
Everyone we are all adults here. At some point and time we all have to take some accountability for our actions or lack of actions. In this case I do not feel sorry for her. She wanted to blame the deliquency on the death of her father, let it be known this was not even her primary residence she nor her family never even lived in the home, it was for vaction purpose. If anyone is going through a financial struggle w/your mortgage company, don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call your lender. The bank does not want your home, we will work with your. But be honest with yourself, if you can't afford it sell it, don't blame the bank if it goes to foreclosure!!!