The Bales owed $15,644.19 on the house plus $1,333.46 in trustee’s fees, according to the auction notice. The auction subsequently was canceled without explanation. A Bank of America filing in King County, in August 2011 said the couple was $16,978 in arrears on the rental property.

The house sits vacant and banned for occupancy by the city.


Mortgage Burden for Bales Familiar Story for U.S. Troops

The housing finance setbacks that confronted Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, the soldier accused of killing at least 16 civilians in Afghanistan, are one part of his story that many U.S. troops would recognize.

Bales and his wife owned a home in Washington state she was trying to sell for less than its mortgage and another that sits empty with a “Do Not Occupy” sign from the city on the door. At one point, the couple owed more than $500,000 on the homes.

For soldiers who have been deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, such financial pain may compound battlefield trauma, said Matthew Weidner, a Florida lawyer whose clients include service members facing foreclosure on their homes.

“There’s also a failure of the military leadership and command structure to realize the damage financial stress can cause and add to the combat stress,” Weidner, a partner in Weidner, Bowden & Weidner P.A. in St. Petersburg, Florida, said yesterday in an interview.

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