Foreclosure standoff PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by By JAN LARSON Sentinel County Editor   
Monday, 03 May 2010 09:23
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Protester sits in a tree outside of home in Stony Ridge. (Photo: Andrew Weber/Sentinel-Tribune)
STONY RIDGE - Facing eviction from his Stony Ridge home of 20 years, Keith Sadler has vowed to not go quietly.
On Sunday, he and five members of the Toledo Foreclosure Defense League locked themselves in his home at 5947 Fremont Pike, with plans to stay there until a moratorium is declared on foreclosures.
Sadler received his first notice of foreclosure from State Bank and Trust in January 2009, just weeks after having surgery on his arthritic hands and getting four months behind on his mortgage. He had recently been laid off from Dana Corp., where the economic downturn had led to less work.
"I always kept in contact with the bank. The next thing I know, I got the foreclosure notice," he said. "That was right after they told me they were going to work with me on the loan."
After getting the notice, Sadler said he applied for loan modification and was denied. He tried to get help from a legal aid group, but was turned down because the organization was so overwhelmed with foreclosures, he said.
"I did everything I could to try to save my home," he said. "The system is failed."
So now, with time up and his eviction pending, Sadler said he is just not ready to just give up the two-story home with fine woodwork and two decades of family memories.
"It is home to me. The house has a lot of memories to it."
From inside his home Sunday evening, Sadler said he is standing up not only for himself, but also for others facing foreclosure who are unable to do so on their own.
"People are scared. The threat of eviction is enough to scare them out of their homes," he said. "We are using my house as a place to make a stand."
This is not the first time for Sadler to take bold action against foreclosures, being arrested previously for disrupting a sheriff's sale of foreclosed property in Lucas County. His actions there were not successful in getting Lucas County to declare a moratorium on foreclosures, but he is hoping to have more success in Wood County.
"We're not leaving the home till we get a moratorium on foreclosures, or until we're dragged out," Sadler said.
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Protesters outside home in Stony Ridge.
However, Sadler may be disappointed with the results of his protest in Wood County, as well.
Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said Sunday evening that he has no choice but to follow court orders and evict Sadler.
"I don't necessarily like it, but I do what I have to do," Wasylyshyn said. "I have to follow the orders of the court."
The sheriff said he tried to work with Sadler, and actually gave the Stony Ridge man more than three extra weeks to get matters settled at home prior to the eviction. That deadline passed this morning.
"I told him I'm extending an olive branch," Wasylyshyn said, expressing disappointment that Sadler used the extra time to plot the holdout instead of meeting his promise to prepare for moving out. "Shame on him."
Though the sheriff's office has had to evict several homeowners in the past few years, none have resisted like this, Wasylyshyn said.
"I told him I'm not going to tolerate him barricading and booby-trapping the home," the sheriff said. "I will not tolerate any of my deputies getting hurt. He's not going to win this situation."
Though Sadler said some sheriffs in the nation have declared moratoriums on foreclosures, Wasylyshyn said he knows of no such action in Ohio.
"I do not have the authority to do a moratorium," he said.
And though Sadler and the housing activists camped out in his yard may be hoping for a public showdown today, the sheriff has different plans.
"We'll go on our terms. We are going to come when he least expects it."
Sadler said he has stocked his home with food and water, so he can stay put until some action is taken.
"We're prepared to stay as long as necessary," he said. "We're not coming out until something happens."
Sadler believes the "media spectacle" he is creating can only help bring awareness to the problem of growing foreclosures. Outside his home, members of the Toledo Foreclosure Defense League plan to camp out in support. This is the first time for such a bold act on the part of the group, according to member Lance Crandall.
"We have not done a home occupation before," he said.
The organization members believe it is wrong for the government to bail out banks, but forget the little people losing their homes to tough financial times.
"The ability for people to stay afloat is greatly reduced," Crandall said. "Until they can find jobs, there's no sense putting them out on the street."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 11:14