Welcome to Kidnap County, WA

Posted June 15th, 2007 by Joe Kaiser

Thankfully, the judge agreed. John got his home back and the county got its wrists slapped.

Dear Rob,

John lost his home in a bogus foreclosure to the Kidnap, er Kitsap County Treasurer, Barbara Stephenson.

You won’t believe how that one went down.

His family had owned the house since 1945, and if I recall correctly, he was eight years old at the time they bought it.

My numbers may be off by a little, but in any case, it had been home to the family for a lot of years.

His mother died just a few years ago and as the sole heir, the house was John’s. But having fallen on tough times and having no money to probate the will, the property was still legally owned by his mother’s estate.

And then he got behind in taxes and a couple years later the home is in tax foreclosure.

Intent of the legislator

You probably know there’s a law in this state that purports to forbid anyone not having an interest in a property from paying taxes on it. I can tell you, from experience, it’s a law subject to abuse.

And abused John got.

Because prior to the sale, with a cashier’s check in hand for the exact amount needed to pay his back taxes and stop foreclosure, the Kitsap County Treasurer refused to accept his payment and sent this little old man shuffling out into the cold.

And the next day she foreclosed on his home.

Was the intent of that law really to allow county treasurers to refuse payments from people like John and foreclose on their properties?

I doubt it.

pure heartlessness

The county treasurer should have been looking for any excuse to accept his money. Instead, she looked for any reason to deny him the right to pay and in an act of pure heartlessness, she sold his home.

We thought we’d worked things out when our attorney set John up with documentation to open probate and have him appointed as the personal representative of his mother’s estate.

With only minutes to spare, I snagged a court commissioner who signed the paperwork and we got it filed. But the county treasurer, together with the county prosecutor, refused to even look at it.

suing the county

And so, we partnered up with John and sued to get his property back.

To do so meant depositing nearly 40 thousand dollars into the court (and putting it at risk since there are never any guarantees in this sort of thing), and demanding the sale get “unwound.”

Thankfully, the judge agreed the county’s foreclosure was a bad idea.

John got his home back and the county got its wrists slapped.

the rest of the story

And John?

We sold that house and split the profits and John got paid every nickel he had coming.

We even did the State of Washington a HUGE favor because in yanking this property back from the unwarranted foreclosure and then reselling it, we preserved the State’s $50,000.00 Department of Social and Health Services lien owed by his mother’s estate.

What happened to it?

Paid in full.

What happens if we don’t show up and rescue John’s home?

The state doesn’t see dime one of that $50k.

Fifty thousand recovered

Rob, please remember to credit my account the $50k I recovered for the state. Oh, and don’t forget, your office calls this entire foreclosure rescue matter a scam.

It’s not. What it is, in fact, is a world-class foreclosure rescue. One for the books, even.

Yet your office, seeing we profited by tens of thousands of dollars, (and believing we’ve done so at John’s expense) view it as nothing more than a fraudster in action.

Mindnumbing, but in light of my experience with your investigators, not at all unexpected.

Profit is not evidence of a foreclosure rescue scam, as they’d have you believe. It’s proof of an extraordinary service having been rendered.

All you have to do is ask John.

who ya gonna call?

When you have county treasurers foreclosing on folks who, a day earlier, stood at the counter with cashiers checks in hand trying to pay their taxes and yet were turned away, you have a problem.

Battling the county is never fun, but when someone’s home is at risk, it’s a job that has to be done.

Who ya gonna call? The Real Estate Equalizer, of course

Got a Problem? Odds Against You? Call the Equalizer.

John did.


Joe Kaiser

One Response to: “Welcome to Kidnap County, WA”

  1. Brad Crouch responds:
    Posted: June 15th, 2007 at 2:12 pm


    My opinion is that you are a world class act!

    I wonder why the AG’s office is not investigating the good things that have come about as a result of your efforts and participation, instead of “perceived” wrongdoings that are not actually “wrongdoings”, at all!

    With respect,

    Brad Crouch

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