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Other views: 'Lemonade Project' owner explains position on house

I thought I would respond to the article in The Forum dated Aug. 21, and explain my position, and all of the facts, to the members of the Horace Mann Neighborhood Association.

I thought I would respond to the article in The Forum dated Aug. 21, and explain my position, and all of the facts, to the members of the Horace Mann Neighborhood Association.

I held a relatively small second mortgage ($4,000) on the property in question when the owner defaulted on both the first and second mortgages. When the first mortgage holder foreclosed on the property, I attended the auction at which the city of Fargo purchased the property for the amount of the first mortgage. In response to Mr. (Garylle) Stewart's question as to why I did not bid, I felt that there was no advantage to bidding the price up, since I had a right to redeem the property within 60 days.

Immediately after the auction, I met with City Attorney Stewart, members of the City Planning Office, and members of the Neighborhood Association in front of the courthouse. I explained my position, that I did not expect to profit from the foreclosure, but only expected my second mortgage to be satisfied. I told them that if this debt was not paid, I would be forced to exercise my right to redeem the property.

During the six weeks that followed, I had several phone conversations with all parties involved. I even suggested that if the city of Fargo refused to come up with the funds, that the Neighborhood Association might want to help. I added that with over 50 members, if each could contribute only $75, the debt would be paid, and they would probably get their money back after they sold the property.

I could tell that they were not certain of my resolve to redeem the property, but the Aug. 21 article makes it clear that they were perfectly content to "wait it out" in hopes that my option to redeem would expire worthless. This type of attitude, beating someone out of what is due, seriously detracts from an otherwise honorable project.

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I felt that it was unfair for the city of Fargo to expect to "steal" the property for the price of the first mortgage and ignore a legitimate second mortgage claim on the property. I also feel that the neighborhood group has a noble and admirable mission to revitalize the neighborhood for young families, but do they really want to do this at the expense of others, who are victims of a payer's default?

Within two weeks of the expiration of the redemption period, both the City Planning Office and the head of the Neighborhood Association asked if I would take a lesser amount, and I offered a $500 reduction. By that time the City had raised the redemption price by $3,500 due to back taxes they paid on the property.

It is interesting to me that the city could come up with the funds to pay off this lien, but could not come up with a like amount to pay off a second mortgage lien.

In conclusion, I want to say to the Horace Mann residents that I am sorry that this project did not work out for you. I hope that all the association members understand that I have remained reasonable throughout this process, and am also disappointed that it did not work out. Lastly, I hope all of you agree that it is just plain wrong to expect to acquire property without paying all that is due.

(Steven D. Anderson is the owner and lives in Stafford, Va.)

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