Holiday Homeowners Heartache “It’s unlawful, and we’re taking a stand for justice.”
This has not been a happy holiday season for Feiji and Erika McKay. Quite the opposite. They are stressed, distraught, fearful and financially drained victims of mortgage fraud. That’s why they spend fitful nights nervous they will unfairly and unjustly be evicted from their Gwinnett County home – again.
It’s been a seven-month long nightmare that continues to haunt them. They find themselves ensnared in a byzantine legal quagmire. The McKay’s purchased their $336,000 home 21 years ago and decided to refinance it in 2006. Since then, they’ve learned that the loan has been shopped sold, and transferred at least five times.
“When we found out about all of this, we decided to ask questions and challenge what was really going on,” says 47-year-old Feiji McKay. The McKay’s home loan was with New Century Mortgage at the time, so when the company went out of business they were in limbo.
To those who wonder whether the McKay’s were negligent or delinquent in paying their mortgage, Feiji replies, “Yes, we were paying, but once we saw our mortgage company in the news, the appropriate thing to do is call and ask what’s going on with my mortgage.”
On May 11th – Mother’s Day weekend - the McKay’s were evicted without notice. Erika was caught off guard, because her attorney had assured her “the matter was being taken care of.” It has been a painful and traumatic time for the McKay’s ever since.
“I was blindsided. I was not expecting this to happen. It was terrible,” recalls Erika of their horrid eviction. “No, we did not know this was going to happen. It was a total surprise.
“I have never experienced anything like this in my life. I was talking to a sheriff who did not want to hear a word I had to say. They kept beating on the door, it was ridiculous. I saw more cops coming. I didn’t know why all these cops were coming to my house. It started with one and ended up with eight cops on my street.”
The McKay’s lament that the four-bedroom house they’ve called home since 1998, was trashed; their valuables dumped, damaged and degradingly disregarded. It was punitive, punishing and political, they say.
“They took our plates and put them in the trash can -- who does that,” questions Erika. “They took every piece of food we had in the refrigerator and freezer – kept the refrigerator inside the house – and dumped it on top of our personal items as well as the front yard to sit out in the sun and spoil. The children which accompanied them were also eating some of the food. We had medication I couldn’t get to. We worked hard for everything we own. Twenty years’ worth of stuff dumped in the front yard.”
On Mother’s Day, the couple was still living out of their car protecting their valuables from possible poachers. It also stormed that weekend.
Their dicey dilemma will likely continue in 2019, they remorse. And, reportedly they are not alone in this draconian fraud scheme. “We paid our bills, and we did for years, until we discovered the fraud that was taking place in the system,” says Erika. “Then we realized we’re not the only ones going through this. There are other law-abiding couples out there, just like we are, who pay their bills then only to discover it’s all a big sham. It’s not fair. This is a matter of justice.”
Darren Smith, a seasoned, savvy, and scholarly Atlanta legal facilitator, argues the McKay’s, and others like them, are victims of a dastardly trick and diabolical gambit. “It ain’t right, and these are deals that were cut on the golf courses,” Smith opines. “They’re just pawns. Regina Chang, doing business under the name ‘New Continental Properties, LLC.’ has dispossessory’ s pending against six others [homeowners] in Gwinnett County whose home titles they covertly undermined, and are attempting to dispossess under color of law. The McKay’s are not bad homeowners by far. They are casualties,” says Smith.
Ms. Chang, under the guise of New Continental Properties LLC mysteriously appeared at the purported courthouse-steps sale / foreclosure of the McKay’s home. The lender and foreclosing counsel purports that she (New Continental) was the highest bidder, yet there is no record of any payment or transfer of funds to the foreclosing lender. Thereafter, and within days, they filed a dispossessory action against the McKay’s, contending in Magistrate / Dispossessory Court that the McKay’s were “Tenants At Suffrage” in property they’ve called home for years. Court filings reveal the only allegation in the dispossessory affidavit was “Take house back To New Owner”, which was blatantly legally insufficient according the McKay’s counsel Grady Roberts, Esq. Unbelievably, the Gwinnett Magistrate granted a Dispossessory Warrant despite their lack of standing, and the undeniable lack of the appropriate notice required by Georgia dispossessory statutes
Feiji McKay contends that their legal problems to save their home amounts to an indictment against Gwinnett County, and is indictable testimony of how minority homeowners are mistreated in what is often touted as Georgia’s most progressive county. He believes they have been deliberately targeted. He is a former AT&T fiber splicer, who has lost his job because of this controversy.
“When you have mountains of paper work on file regarding your property, where the chain of evidence and events are clearly laid out, and for some reason this process of foreclosure and eviction keeps recurring over and over again it’s as if they do not want to look at the files,” he says. “They have their own agenda and they’ve chosen who they want to go after. And, although, it does happen to other people, I’ve never seen it to this degree. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not logical how these people are acting.”
Gwinnett County is arguably the most racially diverse, multi-cultural county in metro Atlanta, but whites still control politics and the courts. The McKay’s allege that Gwinnett Magistrate Court Senior Judge James Argo “has clearly shown bias.”
They believe their sordid saga of racial injustice or legal lynching resonates with other homeowners. That’s why they vow to continue their fight for justice.
“It’s is unbelievable that something like this could happen to people like us who do what we’ve always been taught to do,” says Erika. “This is cruel.” She says that their alleged mortgage purchaser, Regina Chang, “has multiple properties where she’s doing this. She’s intercepted our mail, had our utilities turned off, even attempted to hit me with her vehicle. We’ve reported her behavior to Gwinnett County authorities who’ve done absolutely nothing about it. This is the way she makes a living by taking advantage of African Americans.” Astonishingly, Chang is of Asian descent.
The McKay’s are products of the civil rights movement. Her parents were married by Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. They both have a life-long commitment to fighting injustice.
“We are determined to win and get our property back. We are here to fight for justice,” vows Erika.
“We are fighters. That’s who we are,” adds her husband.