Williamsburg, Va. – James Graves is a disabled veteran and a Newport News Public Schools teacher with a family of six, now in danger of losing his home to foreclosure.
“That’s the worst fear, one day you get a knock on the door from the sheriff, saying you got to leave.”
“Here I am, a middle class person trying to make ends meet, being hounded by a big bank that makes millions or billions,” said Graves.
Graves and his family moved into a beautiful home in Williamsburg back in 2011, and for nearly two years, never missed a mortgage payment, that is until Wells Fargo came calling, with an offer they just couldn’t refuse.
“They said, ‘Can we help you? There are things in place we can help you with due to Hurricane Sandy,’” said Graves.
Their home actually suffered water damage from the storm, that resulted in mold.
Even with insurance, Graves still paid $6,000 out of pocket which is about the cost of their mortgage for three months.
“Mr. Damon Blackmon, he said, ‘We are going to give you a moratorium, with no reporting to credit agencies and no late fees. Just take care of what you need to take care of,’” said Graves.
When Graves called back in April to ask about the end of his moratorium, it seems he and Wells Fargo weren’t on the same page.
“They said, ‘Sir, you owe us $6,000, up front.’ I don’t have six thousand up front,” said Graves. “’We have to begin foreclosure on you,’ and I was like, wait a minute, you called me for assistance, tell me not to pay for 90 days, then you want the money up front, or you start foreclosure? How can you do that?”
The bank did, officially filing to take his house in June, and sending him letters saying “We urge you to avoid foreclosure if possible. You still may have time, if you act immediately,” all signed by the same Wells Fargo employee that originally gave him the moratorium.
“If I call right now, I get his voicemail,” said Graves, dialing Blackmon’s number in front of us, and of course, getting this familiar greeting.
“Thanks for calling Wells Fargo, you’ve reached the voice mail of Damon Blackmon.”
“If they did it to me, who else did they do it to?” said Graves. “I’m fighting. They are not going to take this home for something they offered.”
Mr. Graves asked NewsChannel 3 to take action, so we went to Wells Fargo demanding answers.
By the end of the day, they called Mr. Graves and gave him a new mortgage specialist to work with, since his wouldn’t return calls.
They also told us no foreclosure sale date has been set while they work with him on keeping his home.