Chelsea Schilling is a commentary editor and staff writer for WND and a proud U.S. Army veteran. She has also worked as a news producer at USA Radio Network and as a news reporter for the Sacramento Union.More ↓Less ↑
Kathleen Willey, the woman who courageously testified about being assaulted by President Clinton, is scheduled to lose her home in just three days in a bank auction – but, in a last-minute plea on behalf of millions of homeowners just like her, she has written to billionaire George Soros for help.
Willey’s original home loan was issued by IndyMac Bank before the FDIC took receivership of the bank following the 2008 collapse. At the time of the FDIC takeover of IndyMac, it was the third-largest bank failure in U.S. history. The bank, now known as OneWest Bank FSB, was sold for $13.9 billion to a new ownership group, with members such as hedge-fund managers John Paulson and George Soros and Dell Inc. Chief Executive Michael Dell.
“I felt the results of the economic crisis and fell behind on my mortgage payments,” Willey told WND, explaining that she had earned a living as a real-estate agent until 2009, when her income dried up following the housing crash. “Everything just started falling apart, like it did for a lot of people.”
“I was able to make my payments for some time, but because of underemployment, I fell behind again,” she said.
Willey claims she contacted the bank and informed the lender of her ongoing financial problems, and the bank “immediately” offered her an opportunity for another modification.
“I said, ‘Well, sure!” Willey said, explaining that the bank representatives said they would do what they could to help her out.
At first, everything seemed to be moving along at a reasonable pace, she said. However, the application process took a turn for the worse when she failed to receive notification about whether she qualified for the new modification within a 30-day period. In what Willey described as a “deliberate slowdown” of her application process by the bank, 90 days had passed and the application was considered outdated.
According to Willey, OneWest representatives failed to return her phone calls and sent letters saying the bank had not received her application documents. She said dealing with the bank became a “full-time job.”
“I would sit down in front of my computer next to the phone and wage the battle of lies, insults, mortification and false accusations” by bank customers service agents, loss mitigation reps and supervisors, she said.
Finally, in September 2010, Willey said she was told the bank needed yet another document to process her application.
“After months of being strung along and trifled with and lied to time and time again, I reached my own breaking point,” she said.
According to her story, a bank representative gave her his “private” fax number and promised to personally sit down with other officers and give her a decision within 24 hours on whether she would qualify for the modification.
“He thought I had hung up, but before he did, I heard him say to a fellow co-worker, ‘Wait ’til you hear this sob story,’” Willey said.
Nonetheless, she said she faxed her documents, thanked him and found comfort in her belief that the bank would finally help her.
“I slept better that night than I had in many months and thought I had finally found an angel at OneWest Bank,” she said. “The next day I found out that he was not in and had left for a five-day vacation. All along, he was deliberately lying to me and knew that no decision on my file would be made that day.”
Willey said she was outraged and found another supervisor, who responded the same way.
As her home was about to be auctioned, she appeared on the Oct. 21, 2010, edition of “Fox & Friends” to talk about her troubles. The bank suspended the sale that day. Now, more than a year later, her mortgage is still in default and the auction is scheduled for Feb. 2. Willey may be homeless by the end of the week.
“I’m holding on for dear life, because if I lose this house, I don’t know where I’m going to go,” she said.
In a last-minute plea for help, Willey wrote a letter appealing to Soros.
“I speak for millions of people who have been bullied by all of the banks and forced from their homes,” Willey wrote in her letter. “Families have lost everything, when all of you could have worked out any number of arrangements to help us keep our homes.”
She continued, “People are downtrodden today because they can’t find employment and support their families. They feel as if they no longer have any value. … Why can’t some of the homeless live in these empty homes?”
Rather than pay contractors to maintain empty homes, Willey suggests a program that would allow homeowners who have defaulted to occupy some of the homes “for a reasonable rent” while they keep the properties in good condition.
“If nothing else, maybe you can start redeeming yourself by helping your fellow man,” she urges in her letter. “Think about it. Mr. Soros, I’m not looking for a ‘hand-out.’ I’m looking for a ‘work-out.’ Millions of us are asking for your help.”