Attorneys say it appears the loan, which is still tied to the homeowners' properties, was not discovered during title searches when the homes were bought. About 16 homeowners and additional land in Fox Den are affected by the foreclosure, according to attorneys.
In a setback for the homeowners, an assistant clerk of court in
The foreclosure stems from money lent in 2003 to
Goforth's three children are now seeking repayment of the loan and pursuing the foreclosure. Last year, the homeowners received letters saying
Homeowners stuck in the middle of the complicated dispute say it has brought stress and uncertainty.
"Me and my neighbors, we're at a loss here because we did everything right," homeowner
Zanotti said he and his wife, Lynn, have lost sleep worrying about the future of their home, which they had built in 2008 for
Lots didn't sell
The development company's members put up money to develop the subdivision, acquiring an equity stake.
"We started out with 10 investors who invested
The plan was for
The Goforth estate loan was supposed to be repaid from the proceeds of lot sales, said
"Everything relates back to 2008 and the economic disaster," he said. "To my knowledge, there's not been a lot sold since."
The clubhouse and driving range are part of the same foreclosure action, he said.
In a separate action, a limited liability company called Fox Den Acquisitions acquired the golf course and other property this year after
Loan wasn't discovered
The homeowners say it's hard to understand how the
"I just think in this day and time, with all the computers, the technology ... (how) something like this was able to get this far and wasn't caught?"
"It's usually the responsibility of the attorney preparing the title opinion to ensure that lot is released from the loan," he said.
No closing attorney has been named in documents in the foreclosure action involving the Fox Den homeowners. Also, apparently no legal action has been taken against any closing attorneys as a result of the foreclosure action.
Attorneys say the homeowners have filed claims with their title insurance companies.
Legal experts say malpractice actions against lawyers are governed by N.C. law and generally must be filed within three years but no more than four years from the last negligent act.
McCall noted that he's never seen as many homes facing legal action at once because of lots not being released.
"Title issues happen fairly often, just not on this scale," he said.
'Basically a nightmare'
Price said the three Goforth children, who live in
Price said the money the children are trying to recoup represents only part of their father's investment in Fox Den. Goforth died in 2004. His wife, Ethel, died in 2009. The Goforths were
Price said the investment became their inheritance, "which they believe should be honored." He said title insurance, which is designed for situations just like this, should come into play to protect the homeowners.
Some homeowners say they don't fully understand the situation they're in.
"We're confused about how it's all actually happening ... why we're responsible or even involved in it, period," said
"It's just basically a nightmare," she said.
Terll, a 68-year-old retiree, said she sold stock in
"I put everything I had in this house," she said.
Although she and other homeowners are preparing for the worst, they are vowing not to leave quietly.
"I'll chain myself to my front porch with my grandchildren on my lap,"
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