|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Charlie and Maria Cardoso are among the millions of Americans who have experienced the misery and embarrassment that come with home foreclosure.
Just one problem: The Massachusetts couple paid for their future retirement home in Spring Hill with cash in 2005, five years before agents for Bank of America seized the house, removed belongings and changed the locks on the doors, according to a lawsuit the couple have filed in federal court.
Early last month, Charlie Cardoso had to drive to Florida to get his home back, the complaint filed in Massachusetts on Jan. 20 states.
The bank had an incorrect address on foreclosure documents — the house it meant to seize is across the street and about 10 doors down — but the Cardosos and a Realtor employed by Bank of America were unable to convince the company that it had the wrong house, the suit states.
According to the complaint, here is what happened:
Last July, the couple's tenant called the Cardosos in a panic. The single mother of two teenagers accused the couple of lying when they told her she could rent the house as long she wanted. Three men were there to clean out the house and change the locks, she told them.
Charlie Cardoso talked to a real estate agent for Bank of America, who said he would inform the company that it had the wrong house. The couple thought that was the end of the ordeal.
It wasn't. A landscaper Bank of America hired in August to mow the grass on the property broke a fence to bring in his equipment. The tenant got spooked and moved out just before Christmas.
On Jan. 5, a friend of the Cardosos who was helping the tenant pick up belongings found men putting a lock box on the front door. The workers said the house belonged to Bank of America. The friend called the Cardosos.
When Charlie Cardoso called the bank, a representative told him there was a mistake, the problem would be fixed, and he would get a return call. The call never came. The lock box remained.
Four days later, Cardoso and his son drove to Florida, missing the homecoming of another son who was returning from Iraq for a two-week leave.
Cardoso had to prove to police that he owned the house. The next day he broke in through a back door and used bolt cutters to remove the lock box. The water and electricity had been turned off, and pipes had frozen.
The couple filed suit 10 days later.