Thursday, August 30, 2012

Man Who Pledged Home As Loan Collateral To Help Friend Now Faces The Boot As Latter Stops Making Repayments

In Ridgefield, Connecticut, The Ridgefield Press reports:

  • Bob Simonson is known perhaps equally for riding his bicycle all year round for transport rather than sport, and for the mass of miscellany that’s grown around his Branchville Road house over the years. Now he’s at risk of losing that house that he’s called home for more than half a century and teeters on the verge of homelessness.

    Over the years, debt has piled up on the property that two decades ago Mr. Simonson owned free and clear. In a letter to the editors last week, Mr. Simonson asked “Is there anyone here who can do anything to help me buy time enough to save my home?

    He inherited the property in 1989 with no mortgage, and in a fateful moment of what he calls “weakness,” Mr. Simonson said, he used his windfall to help a friend buy a house in Pennsylvania where he sought to start an antiques business.

    He was the grandson of a famous antiques dealer, so he knew his stuff,” Mr. Simonson said. “I figured he was a safe bet.”

    He borrowed $50,000 — $25,000 for a “200-year-old colonial that was falling apart” and $25,000 to fix it up, and he used his Branchville Road house as collateral.

    I knew him for a number of years and I trusted him,” Mr. Simonson said. They had been roommates in town when Mr. Simonson’s parents were alive, he said. “I used to be more trusting.”

    For a couple of years he made payments,” he said. In the mid-1990s, the payments stopped and Mr. Simonson, who has worked retail jobs around town for decades, picked up the slack. “I could have foreclosed on him at any time,” he said.

    Back taxes accrued and the debt swelled to around $70,000 ten years ago, Mr. Simonson said. A man Mr. Simonson describes as a venture capitalist offered him $30,000 for the house. He took it, but was left owing $40,000.

    Then his indebtedness exploded up to around $200,000 today. “It just sort of snowballed over the years,” he said.

No comments: