Area agency facing lawsuits over foreclosures

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The numbers may look better, but the economic crisis is taking a toll on homeowners. Now, a Memphis company that offers homeowners protection from foreclosures is facing at least seven lawsuits.

The lawsuits claim that the Tennessee Housing Protection Agency collected thousands of dollars in fees, but in some cases failed to deliver on promises to stop foreclosures.

Tennessee's Attorney General and Memphis Area Legal Services Agency filed the lawsuits. However officials at the company under fire claim it is all a mistake, and they are getting a bad rap just trying to help people.

Officials at the Tennessee Housing Protection Agency or THPA will tell you they've been very successful helping homeowners avoid foreclosure by negotiating with mortgage companies.
"We've actually taken on as clients actually 300 and those 300 we've been able to lower their mortgage payment keep them in their homes," executive director of the THPA Mark Jones said.

Lawsuits filed by the State and Memphis Area Legal Services claim the THPA has given at least seven homeowners the run around.
"People were pretty consistently led to believe that they were working on it...don't worry about it in others words...we are in contact with the mortgage company...we'll take care of it ," Webb Brewer of the Memphis Area Legal Services said Thursday.

Andrea McKnight said she paid THPA $275 to help her avoid foreclosure. Several months later she said she received a notice from the court saying she had to vacate her home.

In the lawsuit McKnight claims that THPA put very little effort into working on her case and that is why she lost her home.

Company executive Mark Jones said when the lawsuits go to court he will prove that his company did set up a payment plan for McKnight but Jones claims that McKnight did not come up with the money to start the payment plan off.

Legal services officials claim that McKnight would probably still have her home had she dealt with their home preservation project, or one of the other six accredited agencies that offer foreclosure protection for free.

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