Future remains uncertain for Ashland family, tigers
By MARK CAUDILL
September 15, 2009
ASHLAND — The stress of not knowing if she, her husband Jose and their five tigers will keep their home is getting to Denise Flores.
“This has been a nightmare,” she said.
Last month, they thought they were losing their house and tiger rescue operation at 820 Ohio 511 to foreclosure, but the last-minute cancelation of a sheriff’s sale gave them a reprieve.
Now, problems with their mortgage company have their futures in doubt again.
“Midland (Mortgage Co.) just refuses to give them anything in writing,” said Tracy Bond, a foreclosure prevention advocate for Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People. “They’re demanding payment up front without telling them what they’re going to have to pay (monthly).”
Midland Mortgage required the couple to make a $5,179 payment. Jose and Denise had received a $5,000 donation from someone who had seen previous media reports about their situation.
“That was for the tigers,” Denise said. “The bank took advantage of our press. They knew we had $5,000.”
A Midland Mortgage spokesman did not return a call from the News Journal.
Denise said an employee told her if she and Jose couldn’t make the payments, the $5,179 would be refunded.
“But they wouldn’t put that in writing,” she said.
ESOP, a nonprofit organization that opened a local branch on Park Street, is trying to help. One of the group’s representatives pinned down Midland Mortgage’s four-month plan for Denise and Jose, who was laid off in February. Denise has a part-time cleaning job.
“They’re giving Jose until January,” Denise said. “If he doesn’t have a job (by then), we’re going to be right back where we were. We’ll have to pay the remaining balance ($9,000), or they will proceed on foreclosure.”
If Jose gets a job, Midland Mortgage reportedly will submit a loan modification plan and put the balance of what the couple owes at the end of the loan. Again, however, Denise and Jose don’t have anything in writing.
Jose has a job interview next month.
“Hopefully, he can get this job and we can get back on track,” Denise said.