Going Once, Going Twice…Sold Out From Under the Property Owner
(Story by Carol Thompson) Justin Hunt thought perhaps he could claim a small stake in the American dream, but for the Ballymote, Ireland, resident the dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
Hunt established Eire Realty, LLC in Texas Jan. 31, 2012, with the assistance of Frisco, Texas-based attorneys Brian Merkley and David Krueger. He then purchased a home located at 705 Jeran Drive, Dallas, on Feb. 29, 2012. To maintain his new property located across the ocean, Hunt hired a property management company called CCMG, Inc. The new manager rented the house out for $1,150 and all seemed fine. That was until Hunt saw no rent money.
“The property manager rented the home to someone on government assistance without vetting the tenant to make sure he could pay the rent,” Hunt said.
Soon after, Hunt learned that Eire Realty’s agreement with CCMC, Inc. had been transferred to American Asset Management Partners, LLC (AAMP). The house was rented for $990 per month and all went well for a few months. AAMP, Inc. kept 10 percent of the rent and the remaining balance was forwarded to Hunt.
Then, the payments stopped. AAMP, Inc. began keeping the rent proceeds for lawn mowing and other maintenance, Hunt said.
One year later, Hunt learned by chance that his house had been seized and sold at auction. On or about November 6, 2013, Daniel Walters of Hot Land Landscaping showed up at the Jeran Drive property and announced to Hunt’s make-ready contractors that he now owned the house. Walters told the contractors that he had purchased the property the previous day at a Sheriff’s sale.
Hunt began contacting his attorneys and others to find out why his property had been seized. No one returned his telephone calls or email messages. He checked to make sure the taxes were up to date. They were.
Hunt would come to learn that he lost his property for a bill that totaled $631.42. The creditor: Hot Land Landscaping. According to documents pertaining to the case, Hot Land Landscaping purchased the property at a Sheriff auction for $3,300.
Hunt had no idea Hot Land Landscaping had even done any work at his property. He had never heard of the company nor had he ever received a bill. He also assumed that since AAMP was keeping all, or most of, the rental payments that all bills pertaining to the property were being paid.
“Of course, the bill would have been paid had I known about it,” Hunt said. “I have no idea if they had really done any work there. Allegedly they did.”
Not only did Hunt know nothing about the landscaping bill, he had never received any notice of foreclosure.
Texas law states that the property owner or registered agent must be notified by certified mail. Dallas-based attorney, Timothy Pletta, handled the abstract of judgment, and all Hunt knows is that Pletta served the papers by mail to the property address. Krueger confirmed that he had received no foreclosure notice and Hunt received nothing at his home address.
To this day, Hunt has no idea who, if anyone, received the letter at his property. As of press time, Pletta could not be reached for comment.
Hunt had paid $88,500 for the property and had approximately $40,000 in equity invested. Property tax records show the current owner as Metro Locksmith, Inc. of 5331 Kiwanis Rd., Dallas, with a deed transfer date of Nov. 15, 2013- ten days following the auction. The sale price was not available.
To this date, Hunt has no more information than he did the day he learned he no longer owned the property. He has not seen who signed for the certified letter, if anyone, nor the bill for the landscaping work that was allegedly done. He has learned one thing- never to invest in American real estate again.
“It was corrupt,” he said of the manner the entire process was handled. “I won’t be doing that again, no.”