Two lenders quietly became the owners of two properties on the same residential block in Morris Cove during separate, simultaneous foreclosure auctions.
The auctions took place on Morris Avenue at noon Saturday.
One lender, the federal U.S. Bank National Association, purchased a home that has been vacant and left largely untouched since the owner-occupant died nearly seven ago.
The other lender, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA), purchased a home that is still occupied by a married couple who have been living on Morris Avenue for just over a year, and who said they love their home and hope to stay.
The two foreclosure auctions took place within 200 feet of one another in Morris Cove just a few blocks from Lighthouse Park.
No bidders showed up to either public auction, so the banks that own the delinquent mortgages on the respective properties submitted uncontested, successful bids for the two homes.
Meriden lawyer Cornelius Ivers hosted the public foreclosure auction for the single-family home at 46 Morris Ave., a two-story, pale blue Colonial house with solar panels on the roof and a multi-colored “LOVE” sticker across its white mailbox.
The owner of the home, Tyrone Moore, stayed inside with the curtains drawn before and during the auction. Ivers knocked and rang the doorbell, but the only sound inside was that of Moore’s small dog barking near the window.
Ivers and his paralegal waited by the curb outside the home, pacing and checking their watches, getting in and out of their parked cars to escape the early-spring cold.
When no other bidders had arrived a few minutes after noon, Ivers announced that the auction was over. He took down the foreclosure sign from the home’s front lawn.
He said that IHFA, which held the mortgage on the property, had successfully purchased the home with a bid of $180,000. Before the auction, an independent appraiser had valued the home at $223,000.
After the auction had finished and the lawyers had left, Moore opened the front door to take a look outside.
“I Love My Home”
Moore, a 47-year-old assistant manager at the Yale Health Plan who grew up near Ella T. Grasso Boulevard, said that he and his husband had been living in the home on Morris Avenue for a little over a year. Moore declined to be photographed for this article.
“I love my home,” Moore said. “I want to stay in my home.”
He said that he had fallen behind on his mortgage when IHFA purchased the mortgage from Wells Fargo early in 2017. He said that he was unaware of the change in institutional ownership of the mortgage. Whenever he called Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), which facilitated IDHA’s purchase, he only received automated answering machines and never an actual human who could listen to his case. (For years MERS has been criticized for helping institutional purchases of mortgages remain hidden in public records and thwart borrowers’ efforts to dig out from crushing debt.)
According to IDHA’s lawsuit filed against Moore at the New Haven Superior Court on Elm Street on Sept. 12, 2017, Moore owed over $168,000 in principal, interest, late fees and escrow deficiency on his mortgage.
Ivers said that, if Moore does not vacate the property now that IDHA owns the home, then the lender will likely file for an eviction. Moore did not say what he plans to do now that the foreclosure auction is complete.
No One’s Home
A few hundred feet up the block, Branford lawyer David Baker presided over another foreclosure auction sale, this one under very different circumstances.
Meta M. Delillo, the owner of a single-story ranch home at 69 Morris Ave., died on Nov. 23, 2011. She had lived in the home since 1992.
After her death, her $337,500 mortgage from Financial Freedom Senior Funding was assigned to MERS, then to the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and then to the U.S. Bank National Association in May 2017.
Before the auction, an independent appraiser valued the home at $135,000. According to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Bank National Association against the heirs, beneficiaries, and/or devisees of the estate of Meta Delillo in New Haven Superior Court on Elm Street on Aug. 22, 2017, Delillo owed over $316,000 plus interest on her mortgage.
Inside the home, Baker showed a living room and dining room largely untouched since Delillo’s death. Yellowed newspapers on the kitchen table dated back to 2010. Stuffed animals and a receipt from a pet cremation service littered the living room’s shaggy yellow carpet.
As no bidders had arrived, Baker announced just after noon that the auction was closed. He said that the bank’s bid of $130,000 had won out. He predicted that the bank would likely work with brokers in the weeks ahead to find a buyer willing to fix up the property.