Mike Moors’ stuff — including his wife’s wedding dress and love letters from their courtship — was evidently thrown in a dump after it was mistakenly seized last December by workers hired to clear out a foreclosed property.
“They said they put it in a landfill nearby. We don’t know where,” said attorney McNab Miller of Houston, who is representing Moors in a claim against Safeguard Properties, the company that hired the crew. Miller said he’s in negotiations with Safeguard but that no settlement has been offered.
“I’m also confident my property has been disposed of,” said Moors, who also does not expect to recover a deceased aunt’s antique ceramic figurines or a 100-year-old trunk that were among the items in construction trailers that were hauled off his property.
The foreclosed home that was supposed to be cleaned out is on County Road 460 in Coupland, behind Moors’ property. A fence separates the two properties, but the workers still went to Moors’ barn, about 100 yards away from his neighbors’ house. Along with the trailers, they took a backhoe, a boat and a small printing press.
Safeguard, an Ohio-based firm that works with CitiMortgage on foreclosure cases, has made similar mistakes before, according to complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.
Safeguard emailed Statesman Watch a statement: “Respecting privacy and confidentiality, Safeguard does not publicly discuss or debate the details of claims. Mr. Moors has referred us to his lawyer to resolve this matter. We look forward to a fair and rapid resolution,” said spokeswoman Diane Roman Fusco.
Moors had been getting antsy. Last week, he protested in front of a CitiBank location on West Fifth Street. His sign read, “Where’s my wife’s wedding dress?”
“They called police on me,” said Moors. “The police officer came and said I could stay there all day as long as I remained on the sidewalk and did not go into the bank,” he said.
Miller said he’s asked Safeguard for photos the contractor took the day it removed Moors’ belongings from his barn.
“We want to see what those photos show so that we can compare them to our list of missing items,” Miller said. “This is typical litigation. It’s moving back and forth. They may be doing the best they can, but for Mike, it’s the only thing on his mind.”
According to records from the national Better Business Bureau, Safeguard Properties, which has a “C” rating and 33 complaints against it, made the same mistake in 2011. The records don’t indicate where the complaint originated, but Safeguard failed to respond to the bureau’s attempt to resolve it.
Also, according to the Texas attorney general’s office, two complaints were filed against Safeguard in 2009 and 2010. In the second complaint, homeowners going through foreclosure that had not been finalized alleged that they came home to find the locks changed and a truck towed from the driveway. The homeowners said they retrieved the vehicle but it was damaged. They were unable to get Safeguard to repair the truck and return several items that had been seized, according to the complaint.
The two complaints were not investigated because the office can’t check into every complaint made, officials said.
What’s the story: Coupland couple’s belongings mistakenly seized during foreclosure of property next door.
Who’s responsible: Safeguard Properties and CitiMortgage.
What they’re saying: Couple’s attorney says he was told that everything was tossed in a landfill.