Pinellas woman protests foreclosure in front of bank - FOX 13 News

Pinellas woman protests foreclosure in front of bank

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SOUTH PASADENA (FOX 13) -

A Pinellas County woman finds herself sleeping on the streets this holiday weekend, and she blames Bank of America.

She's been protesting all week long outside the bank in South Pasadena, in Pinellas County.

The bank says it tried to help, but they're blaming another bank for forcing her out of her home.

Like so many of foreclosures, sorting it out is not an easy thing to do – and in the meantime, Ruth Bartlett says she has nowhere to go.

Wednesday was the third day Bartlett spent pacing the sidewalk in front of a South Pasadena bank branch, protesting her eviction from the Treasure Island home she inherited, and mindful of the holiday.

"It's Thanksgiving, it's the holidays. I've been out of my house since January 9th and I can't get anybody to listen to me and do something about this," she said, through tears.

Her signs allege she is a victim of three years of misdealings by the banks that held her first and second mortgages. Her protest is in front of a Bank of America branch.

In a prepared statement, Bank of America said it "...made several attempts over the years to offer home modification assistance to Ms. Bartlett. Unfortunately, she did not respond to our offers for assistance. During this time, another bank filed to foreclose on a second mortgage held by Ms. Bartlett."

Bartlett said she has spoken to four attorneys about representing her, all of whom would want money up front.

"There's no real pay day for any attorney or anybody else at the end of the day, so she's paying to play so to speak," Attorney Charles Gallagher III confirmed.

Gallagher estimated a case such as hers could consume 200 to 300 hours.

"Just getting her house back would be the win and no attorney would get anything out of that -- getting the house back," Gallagher said.

He added that given the massive meltdown of the financial industry and the flood of foreclosures that followed, he sees cases such as Bartlett's every day.

Bartlett thanked donations from her church for putting her up in a motel for a while. More recently, she and her 12-year-old cat "Missy" have stayed with a friend, but that time has run out.

"As of tonight, I don't have a place to stay because she's got family coming in and she needs the room I've been staying in, so I'll be out on the street with me and my cat," she said.

Bartlett also said that Monday, when her protest began, a Bank of America representative offered to take her to a shelter. But shelters do not allow pets, and Missy is her only family.

"I gotta do what I gotta do -- I'm on the street tonight," Bartlett said.

Here is the text of Bank of America's statement:

Our goal is to keep our customers in their homes. If all options have been exhausted, we seek to avoid foreclosure by considering transition alternatives, such as short sales, for qualified customers. Foreclosure is always a last resort – and almost always, the costliest and worst for everyone concerned.Bank of America made several attempts over the years to offer home modification assistance to Ms. Bartlett. Unfortunately, she did not respond to our offers for assistance. During this period of time, another bank filed to foreclose on a second mortgage loan held by Ms. Bartlett. In accordance to Florida's property laws, it appears the foreclosure was granted and the house was sold.

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