Whistleblower: With help on high, foreclosure avoided

  • Article by: RANDY FURST , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 30, 2011 - 1:14 PM

St. Louis Park woman has mortgage reinstated, but CitiMortgage still wants fees for its attorneys and foreclosure costs.

In a last-minute move, Citi- Mortgage called off the foreclosure sale of a St. Louis Park house whose owner battled to stay in her home with the support of the Minnesota attorney general.

Nancy Gosselin was scheduled to lose her house in a sheriff's auction scheduled for Tuesday, even though an investigation by the attorney general determined that at most, she had missed one payment of $584 more than two years ago.

After Gosselin was featured in a Whistleblower column on Nov. 13, CitiMortgage postponed the foreclosure for a month. Then, this week, Gosselin got the good news.

"It was canceled," Mark Rodgers, director of Citi public affairs, said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune on Thursday. "This matter has been resolved."

A receptionist at Sela Roofing, Gosselin refinanced her house with Bremer Bank for a $84,100, 20-year mortgage in 2005. Then the mortgage was sold to CitiMortgage.

Gosselin said she never missed any payments, and a loan officer at Bremer Bank agreed. Yet CitiMortgage began assessing monthly late fees on the Xenwood Avenue house, which she repeatedly contested, and last spring the company refused to accept Gosselin's monthly payments and took action to sell the house at foreclosure.

In rescinding the foreclosure, CitiMortgage agreed to drop more than $700 in late fees and charges, Gosselin said. In return, she made eight back payments.

Gosselin said she was relieved to know her house will not be sold.

"It feels really great," she said on Thursday. "This is the house I grew up in. ... I love my home."

In a letter to William Gosiger of the attorney general's office, Susie Birmes of CitiMortgage's Executive Response Unit said it was waiving the late fees, reinstating the loan and canceling the foreclosure. But she said it was not waiving "foreclosure costs and attorney fees in the amount of $2,140.11," which "can be paid at any time during the life of the loan and will be required to pay ... in full, upon payoff."

Gosselin remains furious about those charges and says she will not pay them. "CitiMortgage can pay their legal fees out of their bailout money," she said. Her Bremer Bank loan officer, Stephan O'Connor, said she should not have to pay them, because she was not at fault.

"If they are pursuing those [attorney fees], we will continue to go to bat for the homeowner to see whether the fees can be waived or reduced," said Ben Wogsland, a spokesman for Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. "It's good that Ms. Gosselin will be able to stay in her home, that the sheriff sale has been called off and the loan has been reinstated."

Nick Slade, a Minneapolis attorney who works on foreclosure cases, said it takes an enormous amount of time, energy and resources on the part of numerous people to get something done for a homeowner fighting foreclosure.

"It's only when you bring in the level of firepower that happened in this case that they pull it out of the nightmare bin in the regular process and give it to somebody and really truly handle it in a way that makes sense," Slade said.

Randy Furst • 612-673-4224

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