Woman who protested foreclosure admits to mistakes

November 4, 2011 7:58:14 PM PDT
A Bayview woman who broke back into her foreclosed home is now admitting mistakes were made, but Carolyn Gage still blames the company that refinanced her home.

Earlier in the week, Gage grabbed headline by breaking back into her former home and vowing the fight the company that now owns the property, but on Tuesday she wouldn't talk about the particulars of her case. Today, she did.

Gage stood in front of the home her father built and told reporters that she pulled cash out of the home, refinancing it several times.

"I did take out several loans to keep on top of my bills and keep my home upgraded," Gage said.

Documents show the last refinance was in November 2006, with the first payment due in January 2007, but court records show she never made a single payment.

"That's not entirely true," Gage said. "When I went to rescind the loan, I could not get in contact with anyone."

Gage said she called to cancel the loan, but there's no documentation of that.

"There couldn't be any documentation of my calling them," Gage said. "I have faxes that I did send and try to contact them with no avail."

Those faxes were not included in the documents she filed in her lawsuit that was thrown out of court. Gage said later she's not sure that she can find them.

In her defense, the loan she agreed to was extraordinarily expensive: $525,000 at 11.99 percent variable interest, which includes $23,000 in fees along with a monthly payment of $5,245.63.

When asked if she thought she could make the payment, Gage said: "At that particular time, yes."

In hindsight, Gage admits the loan was a mistake, but it's not just hers. There are currently 177 foreclosed homes for sale in her zip code and housing counselors say 1,500 homes in the same area have been foreclosed since 2008.

"Communities like the Bayview...and the southeast were heavily targeted with this type of loans," said Grace Martinez with the Alliance for Community Empowerment.

Martinez says unscrupulous lenders preyed on Bayview residents.

"I can show you countless people who have come to our office," said Ed Donaldson with the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation. "Seniors who have been sold these predatory products with a clear understanding by whoever the people was who were selling them that they could not afford the payments."

Attorneys for the current owners of the property claim Gage never made a payment and they declared that to the court in December, but late Friday afternoon, the California Alliance for Community Empowerment provided ABC7 credit union statements showing Gage transferred $25,000 from her credit union to someone in July 2007.

The CACE assured ABC7 the $25,000 went to the mortgage company. The credit union has yet to confirm that.

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