In 2001 I purchased a home with a roommate. I had recently sold a previous residence in another town and wanted to reinvest in real estate. The market in Austin was red hot. Almost all homes that were of interest already had contracts pending (approx. 20+ in all).
A regional manager with KB Home took us to look at 6 new homes they had available. All of them but one had contracts signed or in the process of signing before we could even see them! This one home was available at a cost of approx. $58.00/sq ft. The home we had been renting was > 2000/sq ft and could be bought at $64.00/sq ft (the second lowest cost of all the homes we evaluated).
We made arrangements to purchase the house and create a partnership. I had been out of work for a brief period several years prior to this time and my credit had suffered. So at my partners urging he closed on the home alone using $14,000 of my funds and supposedly $12,000 + $1,200 earnest money of his.
We have never once been able to reconcile the costs and expenses on the home. To secure my interest, we executed a warranty deed from my partner to himself and I. I recorded this at the local courthouse. A year and a half into this "partnership" I felt forced to retain an attorney for reconciliation and partition of the property. After the 14-day response period in my attorney's letter, my partner faxed him a letter informing him he was retaining an attorney and the attorney would soon be in contact with him.
Several days later, I was dialed into a client working on their application server from my bedroom. A knock came on the door and I found 4 armed court marshals when I answered it. They told me I was under a temporary restraining order and had 10 minutes to get out of the house. I obliged them the best I could and pleaded for more time. In all, they gave me about 20 minutes to grab my things. I didn't set foot in the house again for almost two years!
At this very same time (while I was packing) I got a phone call notifying me a very close friend had just unexpectedly passed away. It was about a week and a half before the hearing on the TRO and in this time I luckily learned about the likely consequences of a permanent order being put into place. For one, all my partner ever had to do was call the police and tell them I had phoned or driven by and yelled at or threatened him. This would automatically result in a warrant for my arrest and defending myself against a contempt of court charge. Something no judge takes very lightly.
Immediately after my removal, my partner broke into my bedroom and stole some of my things and sabotaged my desktop computer by pulling electronic components off of the circuit boards with pliers. He was aware of the fact that I kept all of my emails from everyone (30,000 +) except for junk mail items. Unknown to him, I had already forwarded the emails he had sent me to my office email address and stored them on my laptop.
An interesting event occurred at the protective order hearing I would like to mention. When I saw the assistant county attorney I thought I recognized her. After several minutes of looking at her and thinking (she was also looking me over in a questioning manner) I realized why she looked familiar. About one year prior to the TRO hearing, my roommate had introduced me to her at a local bar and asked me if I wanted to date her.
I said she didn't seem like my type and I wasn't interested. My roommate responded: "You should at least get to know her because she's someone good to know". He also informed me that she was an attorney and worked for our local county. I didn't think anything of his comments until I later recalled them after being treated like a criminal during the TRO hearings by my proposed date. Thank God I took the restraining order very seriously and mounted a strong and effective defense with documentation and witnesses!
Several altercations had erupted during the 1 and 1/2 years we were partners. Each time he initiated the incident and the police were summoned, usually by me, and no one was ever put under arrest because no visible injuries occurred or were present. The two of us had been roommates for two years before purchasing the lease house we lived in. We never had any problems until after purchasing the home.
Upon the hearing for the TRO, I had emails, the warranty deed and witnesses to the alleged assault attacks he outlined in his affidavit/application for the TRO. For the first time my partner stated/testified that we were not partners and I had only loaned him the money for the down payment. He also stated that the warranty deed he signed alone in front of a notary was executed because of duress. The judge denied the permanent injunction, but I agreed to find new residence since even I had to admit it was not safe to reside with my partner.
Once an attorney (my fourth actually) filed the partition and request for accounting suit in district court, we learned that my partner was filing bankruptcy to stop foreclosure on the house. This also stopped the proceedings in the state district court initiated by me. One agreed order was signed by the judge for this case. It called for production of all financial records pertaining to the house in question. I obliged and produced copies of all the checks I had written for purchasing and maintaining the house, some $35,000+ in all.
The only documents my roommate produced were from the closing on the house. Half of these I had not seen before. They clearly show that my roommate paid only $1,200 for the down payment and an additional $3,433.33 at closing. He stated in emails before and after the closing that he had $12,000.00 of his own money for closing on the house.
It was November of 2002 when I was ejected from the house just after I had made the entire house payment myself. In December, my roommate used my checking account information to make that months payment via the mortgage company's website. It wasn't until after Christmas that I learned what caused my account to be overdrawn and me to suffer some $400.00 in NSF fees. I had to borrow money from friends for my shopping for the holidays. I notified the bank of the theft and filed a police report. The case never was sent to the prosecutor and I had to eat the NSF fees but the bank did return the funds taken from my account. The November 2002 payment was the last full payment made on this house. It is now June 2004.
During the year and a half my partner drug his chapter 13 out, he only paid $1,268.84 out of $298,178.20 in debt/claims. Finally the trustee motioned for dismissal of the case and it was granted. Before the dismissal, my partner filed a mold infestation claim with the homeowners insurance company.
To date the claim has paid nearly $80,000.00 to my partner and his acquaintances. The house was stripped of all flooring, half of the floor cabinets, sinks and toilets, several hundred square feet of sheet rock and the duct work for the HVAC system. Although a check seems to exist for repair and replacement of the damage to the house, the funds have not been offered by my partner or the mortgage company to perform the work. He never disclosed this claim or the funds to the bankruptcy court, although he apparently used some of the funds to purchase property near a local lake and build his current residence upon while the case was active.
Also during the bankruptcy timeframe, he convinced the DA's office to file two assault with injury cases on me. These cost me $5,000.00 to defend against and will require another $2,500.00 to have expunged. The cases were to be heard before the same district judge that heard the hearing for the protective order. I had supplied my defense attorney with transcripts of the TRO hearings and he brought all of this to the attention of the DA.
After review, the DA dropped the charges. My roommate was receiving medical care and even surgery with the assistance of "Victim Services pending a criminal conviction. A conviction that would have allowed the agency to attach the costs for his care to my 401k retirement fund as my partner had alerted them of its existence.
I took a bold step in November 2003 by moving back into our house that my partner had abandoned. I paid for replacing all the HVAC ducts and made the house habitable. I am still in the house but the other repair work has never been offered to be performed. Once my partner's chapter 13 case was dismissed, the mortgage company resumed foreclosure proceedings. Although I attempted to reconcile and/or make arrangements with them, they concluded by saying they felt they would violate my roommates federal rights by dealing with me in any manner. This was due to the fact that I was not included on the mortgage note.
My only recourse to stop the foreclosure was to file a chapter 13-bankruptcy case of my own. Now I am faced with making the monthly house payments as well as paying $50,000 in arrearages for missed payments, legal fees, etc. etc..
To this day, I have yet to be able to present these facts and much more to a judge. One of my attorneys is preparing an adversary filing for the bankruptcy court to create a forum to hear the issues. As a side note, my partner filed an adversary against me during his bankruptcy and I was looking forward to filing a counter claim and having the hearings. When I went to court after my partners bankruptcy case was dismissed to file my counter claim, the judge dismissed the adversary (without prejudice, yea hah).
I originally approached the legal system seeking the truth of an independent accounting and to dissolve a bad partnership. What I have observed is a system that selectively litigates civil and criminal issues. I have found very little support in pursing a fraudulent person that openly commits perjury at will as well as flagrantly violate state and federal laws. Think about it, he has paid very little in legal fees while raking me over the coals with legal expenses in the pursuit of justice. And I haven't caught a glimpse of it yet.