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Los Angeles, CA, United States


Friday, August 26, 2011

Angry Men do Stupid Things

Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.
Albert Einstein 

If you recall an earlier post, I made reference to my neighbor who was evicted from his home due to foreclosure.  The saga continues as sometimes I'm too inquisitive for my own good.  This afternoon I was about to leave when I noticed the neighbor's front door open.  I walked over and called out his name but a realtor popped his head out from around the corner.  We introduced ourselves and he explained he was going to meet the new owners of the home. I'm not that clear on foreclosure proceedings but I did ask him if it was the lender or was it a person who bought the home from an auction.  He said he thought it was the lender so I'm expecting an Armenian mafia man and maybe a Spetsnaz bodyguard.

Before they arrived, I stepped into the house and immediately I could tell there was something wrong.  The beautiful cherry wood plank  flooring was thrashed with grooves and scratches all over.  The realtor explained that he was told the house should be in almost move-in condition.  He was shocked and had never seen this much blatant vandalism from a disgruntled former homeowner.

I walked the floorplan and I was also shocked.  All the light fixtures, switches, outlets were removed along with every doorknob.  The bathroom sinks and toilets were removed.  In one room was my neighbor's manifesto in bright red spray paint on the walls decrying the fact that he's a man of God and the lenders will go to hell, and they can't continue to take advantage of Hispanics.  It was surreal in a way and kind of like Helter Skelter with the graffiti.  This destruction was premeditated.

I went outside  to the back and the electrical panel was removed.  How he did that is beyond me.  My neighbor must have some MacGuyver in him.  In the pool was a car seat and a sofa partially submerged.  What else was in there is still a mystery since it's green with algae and too murky to see the bottom.  The realtor told me that the pool pump was gone along with the house's water heater.  I walked back into the kitchen to discover that the cabinets were there but missing the doors.  The granite counter tops were broken to allow them to take the sink and the faucet.  Everything was gutted.

The new owner finally arrived. It wasn't Tony Sopranian.  It was 2 gentlemen, one a senior citizen and I'm assuming his son around 55 yrs. old.  No mafia and no cold blooded killer.   Apparently the younger of the two came last Thursday with the police to forcibly evict my neighbor.  My neighbor had his son in his arms and begged for a couple of days to move out.  The new owner felt some sympathy and gave him until Saturday to move out.  Last Saturday, the owner got a call from my neighbor asking for 2 more days which he granted.  Then he walks into this debacle.

I don't know the whole story of what went down regarding the loan and efforts to have it modified, but I do know that gutting the house is uncool and frankly, vengeful and vindictive and spiteful.

I'm trying to understand why anyone would thrash their former home as they vacate to this extent. I can see some drywall damage and a few things broken, but the extent of the damage here was to make it difficult to flip the home without spending some serious bucks on repairs.  My neighbor was given ample notification ahead of time about the ramifications of defaulting and the milestone dates including when to vacate the premises.  In an act of defiance, he ignored everything and stuck his head in the sand praying it would all go away.  When the sheriff served the  eviction notice, the  alleged mafioso was there as well and out of sympathy gave additional time to move out.  A single act of kindness just screwed him for tens of thousands of dollars.

Why does anger make people so crazy they can't see straight?  Why do some people react differently when difficulties arise?  I know that emotions got the best of my neighbor.  He used the anger to keep him up all night taking things apart.  No wonder he needed the additional days.  He was too busy dismantling the basic necessities of the house.  Where is the pride and dignity that I'm sure his parents tried to teach him?
Bottom line, he chose to succumb to his anger.  In his mind, the vandalism was his coup de grace only this time, it's more of a flea bite on an elephant's ass. He's the one forced to live elsewhere.  In his mind, he's not at fault for this situation.  The lender screwed him.  Now the lender deserves getting screwed.

Again, I must put out the disclaimer that I don't know the whole story about the loan but regardless, vandalizing the home is pretty ballsy.  The lender was pissed but tried hard not to show it.  I think he was calculating what the cost was in his mind.  He did make the statement that he'd call the police to take a report.  The police did arrive 20 minutes later.

This is another example of lack of personal accountability and blaming others for negative consequences.  One can make a case that the attitude of entitlement played a role here.  The lender "should" have modified my loan.  The fact that he didn't bother to pay has no bearing on the eventual outcome in my neighbor's mind.

The signature on the loan document is insignificant all the way through the process until the police car rolls up your driveway.  At that point, Johnny Law gives the proverbial wake up call and reality sets in.  I'm trying to really understand what went through my neighbor's head.  Certainly a case can be made that I purchased these floors, fixtures and counter tops and I can do what I want to do with them.  It's my personal property so trashing it so no one can use them is my right. 

Am I too conservative to believe this kind of thinking is wrong? If this was a car that was about to get repo'd, would I sugar in the gas tank or slice open the upholstery?  It's my car since it's in my possession.  So what if I'm late, I'm entitled to forgiveness, right?  Somehow, I can't justify destruction or vandalism.

So I'll finish the way I started and wholeheartedly agree with Einstein:

Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.

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