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Homeowners say government 'conspired' to foreclose on them

Homeowners from outside of Florida are alleging a conspiracy between their county government and business interests that, if true, would constitute government fraud and a troubling abuse of power. The plaintiffs have won their day in federal court after a U.S. District Court judge issued a temporary restraining order that will keep three families in their homes until at least mid-January.

The plaintiffs live in Wayne County, Michigan, and are at risk of foreclosure due to tax delinquencies. They are part of a lawsuit accusing county treasury officials of deceiving them about their rights. Specifically, they say the office lied when they told the plaintiffs that they had more time to make tax payments to avoid losing their homes, according to Michigan Radio.

According to the lawsuit, at the time the county made this claim the cities where the plaintiffs lived had already foreclosed and sold title to the homes to a number of private development companies. Officials then allegedly fabricated evidence to make it seem they had told the plaintiffs the truth.

An attorney for the plaintiffs calls the county and cities’ actions an “illegal and uncompensated taking of property” in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Over the defendants’ objections, the judge said the plaintiffs claims belong in federal court. She granted a restraining order for three of the plaintiffs, but not for the rest, saying their evictions were already in progress. The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 13.

Seizing someone’s home via foreclosure is a serious thing, and lenders and government officials alike must follow certain procedures to protect homeowners’ rights. Failure to follow this procedure is often grounds to have the foreclosure dismissed.

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