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Buy or Rent the House?

     When Herbert Hoover said, “Two chickens in every car, a fig newton in every pocket, and two cars in every garage”; OK, maybe he didn’t say it  quite like that. Still, it was assumed that success meant owning your own home. Now, people are faced with the issue of buying or renting and it doesn’t seem quite that clear anymore.

     From,  Kelly Phillips Erb is pretty emphatic in her opinion on ownership. Her article  “11 Reasons Why I Never Want To Own A House Again” addresses the complexity of ownership. By the title, you can tell that she has an emphatic opinion.

     Her reasons include some obvious thoughts. Houses take a lot of your money!  As the article also points out if you click to it, A buyer who pays $200,000 for a home will pay more than $156,000 in interest; or a little more than 5K a year when averaged over the life of the loan. A person in a 25 percent tax bracket would save only about $1300 per year in taxes, as a deduction.

      Some people are now looking at homes as a place to live instead of an investment.  As one person commented, “owning a home would be awesome, if you actually owned it”. These kinds of thoughts are completely contrary to past thoughts on home ownership. In another 15 years, will the pendulum swing back?

     DID YOU KNOW that according to Ethiopian legend, drinking coffee started when a goat herder witnessed his goats’ energetic behavior after they had snacked on the berries of the coffee plant. It caused the herder to try the berries… and now we all enjoy the joy of coffee… unless you enjoy tea instead.

     Of course, to make it more confusing, there are other historical claims for coffee beginnings.

     For pic o’ day, here’s another possible thought on cat home ownership:

cat home

Some Trump and Rump

     This is a blog of two stories. I was just told that “you can’t title your blog with that!”.  Am I being rebellious as we get closer to a long weekend?  Well, I could blog on how good the new “Special K Popcorn Chips” taste, but that does not qualify as legal blogging. Instead, here is my defense for the blog title… the news.

     First to Donald Trump. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Trump stood in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal building last week and verbally attacked an 87-year-old Chicago woman. She has filed suit against Trump, claiming that he ripped her off when he sold her two $1 million dollar condo units in Trump Tower.

     Earlier in court, Trump and the lady’s lawyer had gotten into verbal sparring matches that included the Judge becoming so exasperated that she finally interrupted both of them and admonished them by saying, “You’ve got to stop it. Do you think the jury likes this?” Then, the Judge added, “If you think the jury likes it, I can assure you they don’t. You’re wasting your time.”

     The plaintiff, Jackie Goldberg, claims that Trump deliberately misled her when he promised her a cut of the profits from the Tump International Hotel’s two ballrooms and catering business,  if she bought both condos. She then claims that he snatched back control of the ballrooms after she had signed the deal and paid her deposit.

     In the lobby later, Trump had lowered his tone but went on to attack the plaintiff by telling reporters that his opponent is a “sophisticated investor” and that “She owes me $500,000 and is just using the ballroom as a ruse to get her money back. She’s trying to rip me off, she really is.”   

     Trump claims that “Nobody that I’ve ever seen has ever played the age card better than her. She knows everything that’s going on and it’s disgraceful”.

     Goldberg’s lawyer claims that “she comes from a different era when people like Donald Trump didn’t exist. She comes from an era when a deal was a deal”. Trump has testified. Ms. Goldberg’s testimony is to follow. It sounds like he has met his match!

     And to the final story. Of course, I could have stopped at the first one about Trump, but then I would not have had my blog title.

     From the NY Daily News, a workout that the plaintiff claims just was too hard. A New York lawyer claims that his sessions with a personal trainer have left him in disabling pain whenever he sits. 

     Plaintiff Neil Squillante says in his lawsuit that he told his personal trainer about his sore arms. His trainer just laughed at him and told him that the soreness was just “normal”.

     Squillante came back for more workouts and claims that after the third workout, he could not work at his computer. His lawsuit is seeking damages for improper instruction and supervision.

     The training company advertises that they also provide instruction and personal trainers to celebrities. As the lawyer added, he went to them and trusted the trainer because he was told that they are “Beyonce’s secret weapon”.

     The lawsuit could be serious, so I am not giving an opinion on it. Still, I had to go with some workout pictures for pic o’ day. Here’s “Workout Cat” and the “Push-up Family”.


“Breaking in and Renting”

     Some questions only have  answers that are even more confusing.

large moon

     The is a case that is that and more. This from a USA Today story about a former NBA and Old Dominion basketball player. 

 Chris Gatling

     Chris Gatling ran the following ad on Craigslist for a home in Arizona:

$800/4 br – EX NBA-Paradise Valley Home for rent with Pool & Utility included … Going back to Miami, Mexico City, Italy for a year or 2 need someone to watch my home here in PV and what a great place, close to everything and Very Very Quite! Really looking for a Woman, but guys can feel free to contact as well … (Just Like a Women’s touch).”

     That would seem like a good ad if you want to rent a house. The problem that Chris faced is that he did not own the house and had no right to that house.

     Records do show that Gatling had obtained an Arizona driver’s license using this residence as his home address. So, he certainly believed that it would be fine to claim the place as his own. In fact, he even rented the house to a tenant and cashed the first two cashier’s checks. Then, the renter found out from the real owner that Gatling did not own the property and had no right to rent it to her. That immediately caused her to realize why Gatling had never given her a key to the home. It also made her probably think… “now I know why I only paid $800 for this something that should cost $2,000.”  Or, maybe she just read the facts and were as confused as I am.

     The facts show that Gatling had originally tried to personally rent the home in 2010. He was turned down because of his bad credit. Then, Gatling broke into the lock box to gain access to the residence, which was fully furnished with running utilities. He got away with it from July 2010 to May 2011, apparently because of the housing market and that the owner never saw him there.

    Now, Gatling is charged with two counts of theft and forgery,  and one count of taking the identity of another and one count of fraud. His attorney says, “We believe this to be a misunderstanding, and we are working to resolve the matter.”

     Gatling played in the NBA for 10 years, averaging about 10 points and five rebounds per game. He even was an NBA all-star in the 1997 game. He last played in 2002.

     I hope you have a great weekend. I can imagine a fortune cookie with the following: “Beware of anyone selling a car or renting a house who cannot give you a key!

      And for pic o’ day, let’s stay with the theme of a crazy explanation after getting caught:

getting caught


Dare to Question Origin

     Whenever I write a blog, I usually indicate the source right in the blog. Or, I attach the link for you to read, if you want more information.

     “Boo” Booberg, my esteemed colleague, is a sometime blogger on this site. He also sends me ideas for blogging. Today, he emailed a story that involves real estate and the difficulties in demonstrating ownership title, following such calamities as Katrina. As such, I don’t have the source for the pasted story below. However, I didn’t want my lack of knowledge to stand in the way of posting this frustrated correspondence. As you can see, I have not “censored” the letter or contents, except for one small word.

Part of rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task of tracing home titles back potentially hundreds of years.  With a community rich with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been passed along through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish ownership.  

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply:

(Actual reply from FHA):
“Upon review of your letter adjoining your client’s loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin.”

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows:

(Actual response):
“Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain . The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella. The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing  of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus’s expedition. Now the Pope, as I’m sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God’s original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our d*** loan?”

The loan was immediately approved.

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