Bank Forecloses on Home After it's Paid Off - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Bank Forecloses on Home After it's Paid Off


So just how weird has the past 7 months been for Courtney Miles?

"I haven't seen this picture in a long time," Miles mutters to himself.

Most people rediscover old pictures and family heirlooms searching closets or an attic. Not Courtney.

"Oh man wow this is a picture of my sister when she was young," Courtney said.

He gets reacquainted with his family's past digging through a car parked in front of what's left of his mother's house. Some of the old pictures and records were placed in the car by neighbors who found them after the Miles home exploded.

That's right. It literally exploded.

Last October a natural gas leak explosion rocked the house in the 56 hundred block of Nightingale.

"There was a natural gas leak at the house next door to miss Miles home" the family's attorney Daniel Horowitz said.

And it would forever change Courtney's life.

"I didn't want to come back I just couldn't do it," Courtney said during his first trip back to the home since last fall's explosion.

His pain is visible when remembering how his mother Dell Miles was still alive when neighbors came running to help.

"She had third and fourth degree burns over 60 percent of her body," Courtney said.

According to the arson report, when neighbors tried to pull Dell Miles outside her skin was coming off and she kept screaming, "my baby, my baby."

Those screams were for Courtney's sister Angela Landry who has multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair.

"They had to actually pull her out of the window," Courtney said.

"We got in contact with Bank of America within a month of the explosion," Horowitz said

A Houston law firm sent Bank of America a letter in November of last year. It details the explosion and asks the bank to suspend Mile's mortgage payments pending her insurance claim.

"We got no response," Horowitz said.

So Courtney's attorneys sent another letter in December. This one marked second request urgent.

Again the attorneys said Bank of America ignored it.

"We've been able to get nowhere," Horowitz said.

In January Dell Miles died after spending many weeks in a coma. Her daughter Angela was still in serious condition and couldn't even attend her own mother’s funeral.

"She feels this emptiness like she never got a chance to say goodbye," Courtney said.

While the family grieved Bank of America threatened them with foreclosure.

"I couldn't believe it, I could not believe it," Courtney said.

In January Courtney's attorneys sent another letter to Bank of America. It explains Dell Mile's death, assures the bank the loan will soon be paid off and it requests the bank to stop threatening the family with foreclosure.

"It's like a kick in the gut," Courtney said.

Horowitz said he soon realized Bank Of America didn't spend any of the millions it got in taxpayer bail out money to train employees in customer service.

"No one can help you, no one knows what their doing, no one has the authority to do anything, then they transfer you back to the main switchboard," Horowitz said. "I've spent no less than 45 minutes on hold with Bank of America."

Meanwhile arson investigators ruled the fire that killed Dell Miles was caused by a nearby natural gas leak. Her insurance company wrote a check to Bank of America for over 72 thousand dollars.

"Which was enough to pay off the entire balance of the mortgage," Horowitz said.

So then what did Bank of America do?

"Turned their back on her after they were paid off," Horowitz said.

Bank of America not only proceeded with the foreclosure, Dell's home was posted for sale on the county's auction block.

"Our family had notices of the sale, not the foreclosure proceedings but the sale," Miles family attorney Benny Agosto Jr. said.

The Miles family filed a lawsuit accusing Bank of America of wrongful foreclosure, negligence, and fraud. In court filings Bank of America denies all the allegations in the suit.

Courtney's attorneys also had to file a temporary restraining order to stop the bank from selling the property. A court hearing was held last month, but Bank of America was a no-show.

"We expected them here however I'm not surprised they didn't show up," Agosto said.

Bank of America sent Fox 26 Investigates this prepared statement,

"We have stopped the foreclosure. We requested the authorization from the representative of the estate for application of the funds to avoid any conflict or dispute by other potential claimant or heirs. Plaintiffs have not provided that authorization. We are working with plaintiffs to identify an alternate solution for application of the funds."

Even with a law firm writing and calling, Courtney says he got nothing but ignored by the huge financial institution. It makes some wonder if other homeowners have also been victims of wrongful foreclosures.

"There's no telling how many other people out there come home from work one day and get a foreclosure notice," Horowitz said.

The Miles family recently got a notice. This one's from the gas company. Even though a nearby gas leak caused the house to explode, the gas company is demanding a past due balance $19.90.

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