James and Deborah Strassburg at their empty home in Boca Raton.
Gary Coronado/The Palm Beach Post

“Strassburger said he was never even notified of the final order. He didn’t learn that the sale and title transfer were officially canceled until a Palm Beach Post reporter located the order that was signed Aug. 31 and recorded on Oct. 14.”


Bank evicts, then offers Boca Raton couple a loan mod

By Kimberly Miller
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

In hours of congressional hearings last week, the nation’s banks were repeatedly condemned for dual-track loan modification systems that give hope to homeowners seeking lower monthly payments while at the same time foreclosing on their properties behind their backs.

“Unacceptable deficiencies,” is how the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency put it. Failed oversight, ineffective practices and insufficient staffing were criticisms added by other top regulators and legislators.

Boca Raton resident James Strass­burger could have told lawmakers all that. He just wishes they were listening this year when One West Bank sold his home at foreclosure auction during negotiations for a loan modification.

Strassburger, 56, and his wife, Deborah, 58, who lived in their home for 19 years, were ordered out in May, holding two yard sales so they could squeeze into a rented apartment.

But the real kick in the gut came in August, six months after the auction, when they got a letter congratulating them for earning a trial loan modification. It was followed by a note alerting them to a hearing­ that would essentially give them their home back. Their mortgage payment was due Sept. 1, the letter reminded.

“This all could have been avoided. We could have been living our lives,” said James Strass­burger, a former business owner whose flooring jobs dropped off when the economy fell. “It’s not a good feeling. I don’t like seeing my wife cry.”

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