9:00 AM EST, January 13, 2012
This letter is in regard to your recent coverage of the foreclosure protest in Union Square ("Occupy Baltimore members gather to fight foreclosure," Jan. 11). As a reader and subscriber to the online and print editions of The Sun, I am disappointed because the article lacked facts and background information that could have made it great.
It's also a situation that ties into many issues The Sun has covered recently such as "Occupy" protest, the city's high property tax rate, foreclosures, short sales, disillusion at large banks receiving special treatment that little people do not, and human interest about the plight of our elderly.
A quick check of the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation shows that homeowner Lila Kara bought her house on May 9, 2006 for $262,500. She was approximately 60 years old then. The annual property tax bill is $4,479 based on the current assessed value of her house. And she would not receive much, if any, of a Homestead tax credit because she has lived there a short period of time, as your article points out.
That $4,479 a year is in addition to her mortgage payment. Did Ms. Kara not realize how much her taxes would be because her real estate broker failed to explain how property taxes are calculated? Deutsche Bank transferred the house from Ms. Kara on August 18, 2001 for $140,250. Why is there a difference in the price? Did Deutsche Bank take a loss similar to that of a short sale? Could someone look at the foreclosure file in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City?
Next, the reporter should have obtained more background information about Ms. Kara to help the reader understand her situation.
Is the greedy Deutsche Bank responsible for giving a loan without verifying Ms. Kara's income? What is Ms. Kara's income? Has Ms. Kara's health or income situation changed since she bought the house? Did Ms. Kara make a bad business decision assuming she would sell the house in a few years for more than she paid for it? How much was her down payment?
Why have the Occupy protesters chosen to help? Why her? Was it because she contacted them and did they check out her circumstances or just arrange a protest for the first person that walked through their door?
Please provide basic facts and provide background information before you print another article like this. May I suggest an in-depth article of this type on Ms. Kara or a similar person in the future? The lack of facts and background information makes me question why I pay for The Sun.
Charles Fitzpatrick, Baltimore
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