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A battle lost, but not the war for Zeeland mom fighting foreclosure

Posted at 10:14 PM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 22:16:07-04

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.—A decade long mortgage mess for a West Michigan mother once again entered the courtroom Wednesday. Gretchen Molotky blames Wells Fargo for mistakes that caused her home to be sold right from under her.

An emergency hearing was held Wednesday morning, and Molotky was hoping to buy some time to stay in her home until her case gets a day in appellate court.

The bottom line is the court said they had no jurisdiction to let her stay in her home, so technically eviction can happen at any time, but as far as Molotky is concerned, this fight will continue.

Wednesday turned out to be another dead end.

“The court doesn’t have authority to take action,” said Judge Jon Van Allsburg.

This was Molotky and her attorney’s fifth attempt at an appeal since 58th district court Judge Jonas ruled in favor of US National Bank in March 2014, ordering Gretchen to vacate her home. This time the 20th Circuit Judge Van Allsburg says it’s out of his hands since an appeal wasn’t filed in time after his July ruling.

That July ruling denied Molotky’s motion for relief after they found new paperwork they say proves US National Bank isn’t the owner of her home. The piece of paper they have is a 1099 from 2011 when her house was sold at a Sheriff’s Sale. The 1099 says Fannie Mae owns Molotky’s property.

Attorney Paul Ledford said the reason they filed the paperwork late is because he never got the Judge’s decision in the mail. There was an address mistake even though he received other court documents no problem.

“I did not receive notice of this court’s July 20th opinion and order until September 9th in an e-mail from the county clerk after I had asked for it,” said Ledford.

FOX 17 also had a paperwork issue on Wednesday. Despite faxing our paperwork three times to the court they couldn’t find it, and almost didn’t let us film.

“It makes me feel so disappointed that I’ve not had a fair hearing and that they are letting our home be taken illegally,” said Molotky.

FOX 17 talked to Chief Judge Bradley Knoll on the phone Wednesday, asking why the district court judges rarely rule in favor of the homeowner. He said in simple terms the district court can only rule whether a sheriff’s sale was carried out correctly or not. He declined to specifically comment on Molotky’s case.

Ledford maintains the sheriff’s sale was botched. He said it was a mortgage mess that never ended with US National Bank being the owner, and they have never been shown proof they even own the original note. Nevertheless, Molotky will go home and wait to see if they’ll take her house.

“Well they can certainly attempt to execute the writ of eviction. They could attempt to do that today whether that happens or not is out of our hands,” said Ledford.

Ledford and Molotky maintain this mortgage mess starts with Wells Fargo: a back and forth battle of homeowner’s insurance, lost paperwork, and promises to the fix the problem, which only left them to see the home sold in the sheriff’s sale.

After Wednesday’s ruling Well’s Fargo offered this statement:

“Ms. Molotky’s account of the situation has not been supported by any evidence before the six courts who have heard her case since she filed her complaint. The opinions rendered by each of these courts universally reject all of Ms. Molotky’s claims; many of which were restated in recent media coverage. The opinions are a matter of public record and can readily be obtained through the local courts.

In contrast to Ms. Molotky’s claims, we work very hard to help keep people in their homes when they encounter financial difficulties and, in fact, we have helped more than one million customers stay in their homes through a loan modification.”

Trott and Trot trial lawyer representing US National Bank, Kevin Hammons, made an offer to try to soften Wednesday’s blow.

“Kevin Hammons of Trott and Trott offered me $15,000 to vacate a home that is mine,” said Molotky.

Ledford said that offer is completely insufficient considering everything that has taken place, and that she has paid over $100,000 into escrow in the courts.

Trott and Trott has neglected to answer any of our calls and e-mails over the past few weeks. They promised to have someone call FOX 17 on Wednesday after the ruling, but no one heard from them as of news time.

Molotky and Ledford filed a lawsuit in federal court against US Bank, Wells Fargo, and Trott and Trott for fraud.

Even if they win that fight they will only be awarded for damages, Molotky would not necessarily would be able to keep her home. So, they filed an appeal on Monday to the circuit court’s decision, and filed a motion Wednesday for a stay of writ of eviction in district court.