Guardsman who lost Frisco home to HOA foreclosure is leaving Texas

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on December 30, 2010 at 6:28 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 31 at 1:42 PM

FRISCO — Capt. Michael Clauer, the Texas National Guardsman whose homeowners' association foreclosed on his house while he was on active duty, is moving out of Texas.

Clauer has accepted an active duty position with the United States Army in Virginia, and is putting his controversial property up for sale.

But even though Clauer is moving on, he still plans to leave a legacy by encouraging the state to curb the power of HOAs to foreclose on homes.

"If we could see any positive come out of this, it is to get this law changed and make sure this doesn't happen to other families,” Clauer said.

He was on active duty in 2008. His wife, Mae, said she grew depressed while her husband was deployed.

Bills piled up, unpaid. Mae said she missed two HOA payments totaling $800.

The Heritage Lakes Homeowners' Association then foreclosed on the couple's $300,000 home, which the Clauers owned debt-free.

"You don't execute someone for shoplifting,” Clauer said.

In a previous report, public relations specialist David Margulies spoke to News 8 on behalf of Heritage Lakes. "The fact of the matter is, they were warned about the potential for foreclosure months before he went on active duty," he said at the time.

The case gained national attention, and the Clauers fought back. They claimed federal law protects service members from foreclosure while on active duty.

The parties involved reached a confidential settlement. In August, the property was transferred back to the Clauers.

"Instead of trying to handle these on an individual basis, they don't have time for that, so they just run it through the mill,” Clauer said.

In a statement, Heritage Lakes expressed concern about the notariety of this case.

"The Heritage Lakes HOA worked diligently, and in good faith, with all parties to resolve this matter. We are pleased that this effort ultimately resulted in the return of the house to Mr. Clauer. We do not feel that any further comments on this specific case are appropriate in light of the court’s gag order. We hope Texas lawmakers will review all aspects of this case before changing state law based on one family's unique situation.”

Clauer is taking an active-duty position with the Army in Virginia, but says he hopes to tell his story to lawmakers during the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature.

The Clauers' story has helped inspire the filing of three separate bills to curb the foreclosure powers of HOAs.

It’s a power HOAs say is vital to collect fees that communities across Texas rely on.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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