Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Carmel on the Case: Hometown Hero
Big time athletes are accustomed to performing under pressure. But a local football player recently had to play his game against a different kind of opponent. He went to court to help a single mother get her dream home. Here's Carmel Cafiero with the story in tonight's Carmel On The Case.
WSVN--Many of us are used to seeing Errict Rhett on the football field. But even though his career is over, Rhett is still scoring here at home. Thanks to Rhett, single mother Tarachelle Sanford has a home of her own.
Carmel Cafiero: "Do you like having your own room? I'll bet you do."
Errict Rhett: "They know they can come home, you know, have a place they call home."
But the Sanford family might not have been so fortunate if Rhett hadn't been so determined.
Errict Rhett: "I have a foundation which builds houses for single mothers."
It was more than three years ago, Rhett was wrestling with a major problem. With no notice to him, his foundation's first house had been sold for back taxes. The investor watched the house being built "before" letting Rhett know about the sale. He then turned down Rhett's offer to double or triple his thirteen hundred dollar investment.
Errict Rhett: "He says no, I'm a businessman. Give me thirty thousand dollars and you can have your house back. If you decide to go to a lawyer the price is going to go up to sixty thousand."
And that's when Rhett went on the offensive.
Errict Rhett: "And I was like, I was, I was in shock. And I didn't even know there was people alive like that."
He took the investor to the supreme court and won.
Errict Rhett: "And that's just a great feeling. It took four years."
The original family never got to move into the house but Rhett's Attorney Gregg Metzger says the victory is not only a win for rhett....but for anyone with a home that ends up with back taxes. Today, the clerks of courts must notify everyone involved in a property "shortly before" the sale - not "months before" as in the past.
Attorney Gregg Metzger: "If the clerk would have done that they would have seen that Errict was the owner of the property. He would have been able to pay off the back taxes which he would have been glad to do. There would have been no tax sale."
Rhett says he's learned so much about tax sales - he's going to right a book. But he knows families like the sanfords are the real winners.
Errict Rhett: "Now this family, she gets a chance to live in this house with her kids and that's what life is all about."
Carmel Cafiero: "The investor meanwhile is now out his thirteen hundred dollar investment. And he's spent who knows how much in legal fees."
If you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or in Broward at 954-921-CLUE