Take This Home and Shove it

Fed-up man trashes his house after getting booted by the bank

By Garvin Thomas and Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Oct 16, 2008  |  Updated 1:50 PM PDT
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Bay Area Man Trashes Foreclosed Home

Rob Hughes

James Williams looks at the front lawn of the home he once owned. The bank repossed it and he trashed it before he left.

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The bank told James Williams last week that he had to leave his Milpitas home, one that had been in his family for more than 40 years. He left the house –– but he left it a mess.

And just in case anyone needed an explanation for his actions, Williams also allegedly left the bank a big note –– using spray paint. The words painted on a wall near the front door are hard to make out but it appears to declare: "Brought to you by Deutsche Bank... Eat it."

Williams claims the damage was just a by-product of moving out. However, he's not coy about his disgust for big banks and the nation's financial crisis.

"I watched legislation be passed, constantly, too late to save me. I watched big banks get billions. I got nothing. I got no help," he said. "I've been fighting this, trying to stop the foreclosure.  I got nowhere."

Williams said his financial troubles began when he got behind on his mortgage payments then signed a deal that promised to help him stay in his home. The deal failed.

Just last week, Williams said he found out that his home had been sold without his knowledge to a bank and he had to get out.

The front yard of Williams' home is strewn with boxes, furniture and trash cans. There's even some of the home's air conditioning duct work lying on the lawn. That's not the only part of the property left in shambles. The inside of the house is just as messy.

The trashed house doesn't make neighbor Yvette Keller very happy.

"I'm just saddened to see a home [like that] and the people who owned it at one time thought that this is the only resource that they could do to fight back ... by trashing a home. That's not fair. It isn't fair to people who live around them.  It's not fair to the banks and certainly not fair to them," Keller said.

An appraiser who was taking photos of the house on Thursday said it's not uncommon to see foreclosed homes trashed.  But usually, he said, the homeowner limits the damage to the inside.

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