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Man who blew up home after foreclosure was entitled to $44,700 in foreclosure profits

September 03, 2019 06:35 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)- News10NBC confirmed information that just compounds a recent tragedy.

The Rochester man who died after he blew up his home two weeks ago was entitled to get tens of thousands of dollars... but he didn't know it. 

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Randal Jackson's home was in foreclosure. The Rochester Fire Department says he cut the gas line in his house which caused the explosion exactly one week after the foreclosure auction. The sale price was so high, Jackson was entitled to the profit. 

And it was a lot of money. 

Jackson died when his house blew up on Illinois Street. What he did not know at the time is that he stood to make enough money to buy it back. 

"There would have been overage that could have changed the entire direction of this whole story," said Sal Salafia, whose real estate firm bought Jackson's home at the foreclosure auction. 

So here's the math:

  • The house was being foreclosed on with a lien of $36,000. 
  • The winning bid at auction was $80,700. 
  • So if the house was intact, and the deal went through, Jackson was entitled to $44,700.

Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "He probably did not know that this was a possibility."

Sal Salafia, Salafia Sold Team: "No. I mean, you're talking about a huge despair moment in a person's life, to know their financial well-being is at such risk. And when it comes down to it, because most people don't expect to go into this type of situation there isn't a lot of knowledge out there."

I wanted to confirm this. So I got in touch with the Hogan Willig law firm in Buffalo. Its blog two years ago on foreclosure profits says that in Erie County $12 million in surplus funds is "owed to former homeowners."

I reached attorney Diane Tiveron.

"Who is entitled to that surplus?" I asked. 

She said after the bank is paid, there could be other creditors. 

 "Ultimately if there are no such claims or those creditors don't make claims, then the owner of the property is entitled to pursue those surpluses," Tiveron said. 

Former homeowners have to apply for the money through the New York State Supreme Court. 

Court records show Jackson owed a few fines to the towns of Greece, Irondequoit and the City of Rochester. But Salafia believes Jackson was probably going to get the bulk of the money. 

Salafia: "The really crazy part is that through different kind of financing option with that kind of a down payment he probably could have bought back his home."

This doesn't happen alot, but Diane Tiveron said in a hot real estate market those auction prices go up and Rochester's real estate is hot right now. 

I'm still trying to find out how much surplus foreclosure money exists in Monroe County and with the state's Unclaimed Funds account. 

Credits

Berkeley Brean

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