Frisco HOA that foreclosed on soldier getting death threats

Print
Email
|

by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on June 21, 2010 at 10:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 22 at 9:42 PM

FRISCO — An Army officer on active duty lost his house when his homeowners' association foreclosed for back dues.

It's a story first reported by News 8, and it outraged people around the world.

Now the HOA is breaking its silence, saying the board is getting death threats — even though it did nothing wrong.

The Heritage Lakes Homeowners' Association declined to comment for our original report in May. News 8 wanted to know why it foreclosed on Capt. Michael Clauer's home while he was on active duty and headed for Iraq.

The HOA has now hired public relations specialist David Margulies as its spokesman. He says the HOA is getting negative attention it does not deserve.

"The death threats have been reported to the Addison police, and they're being investigated," Margulies said.

And now, other residents of Heritage Lakes, like Tim Rogers, are coming forward, too. They say they are embarrassed to live in a community that could foreclose on an officer's home while he is defending his country.

"They need to reconsider whether they want to do this in the future," Rogers said. "I don't want to be a member of an association that can do this."

The Clauers owned their $300,000 home free and clear; it was a gift from family members.

Capt. Clauer says when he got called up, his wife May became depressed. She missed two HOA payments totaling about $800. He said she did not open letters from the HOA alerting her to foreclosure proceedings.

"If she would've understood what was happening, of course, it wouldn't have happened," Clauer said.

But now, the HOA has come forward with documentation showing the Clauers were behind on their dues months before Capt. Clauer was called to active duty. "The fact of the matter is, they were warned about the potential for foreclosure months before he went on active duty," Margulies said.

The Clauers are suing the HOA, and are allowed to stay in their home until the issue is decided.

In their suit, the Clauers claim they are protected by a federal law that prohibits a service member from foreclosure while on active duty.

The HOA has now produced a document showing it did check on his status, and were told by the Department of the Army, that Clauer was not on active duty at the time.

"While it's very unfortunate, it's not the homeowners' association's fault," Margulies said.

The HOA holds its regular meeting Tuesday night. Clauer said he's going to attend.

Tim Rogers said he'll be there, too, to share his frustration.

"Something is wrong here. The HOA is not behaving properly," Rogers said.

But if anything positive has come out of this high-profile foreclosure it is this: Select Management Company — which runs the Heritage Lakes HOA and many more in North Texas — says it is adding procedures that will keep this from happening to another family in the future.

The company says it will attempt to call families facing foreclosure to check on their situation, instead of relying only on certified mail, which, in the Clauers' case, was never opened.

"It appears that it might be better to take a couple of more steps just to avoid this kind of problem," Margulies said.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

Print
Email
|