Woman’s foreclosure fight is all about constitutional rights

AURORA, Colo. — An Aurora woman is fighting to keep her home, without the help of any lawyers. Lisa Brumfiel says her fight is one of biblical proportions. “I completely see the analogy between this story and David and Goliath.”

Brumfiel bought her home in 2006, but fell behind in her payments, and says U.S Bank issued a foreclosure notice in 2011. Here’s where it gets tricky. Her original loan was with First Franklin Mortgage.

In court, Brumfiel asked to see proof that U.S Bank had the rights to her home, but they had no paperwork. She eventually argued the foreclosure process violated her 14th amendment rights to due process, and a U.S District judge agreed.

The issue Brumfiel is taking up is pretty unique to Colorado. Keith Gotenheim is a foreclosure defense attorney who says, “We have a one-of-a-kind system here.”

Gotenheim used to work for a large firm often hired by banks to go after homeowners, and says the system is flawed. “If I was going to sue you for a million dollars, you’d want something to say, ‘well prove why I owe you a million dollars.’ It’s the same way, ‘Hey bank, prove why you’re taking my home from me, and how you have that right.’”

Gotenheim says, in Colorado, all a lawyer has to tell a judge is that the bank is the owner, without showing any proof.

Julie Maeda is a homeowner advocate with the Haven Group, and thinks the mortgage note for Brumfiel’s home got lost in the paperwork shuffle.

Maeda says banks often sell mortgages to one another, and sometimes it’s not recorded.

While Brumfiel admits she hasn’t paid her mortgage since 2011, she says she’s willing and able to pay now, but wants proof of who she’s paying.

On Tuesday, the U.S District judge ruling on Brumfiel’s case granted an injunction, saving her from foreclosure for the time being, but that still leaves the possibility of a judicial foreclosure.

Typically most banks forgo that route because it’s more time consuming and costly. The bank would also have to show the necessary paperwork in a judicial foreclosure.

While the road ahead is uncertain for Brumfiel, she says she’s ready to take on whatever comes her way. “My fight is bigger than me. I’m fighting for the constitution.”