David Weissman, past-president of the South Miami-Kendall Bar Association and a real estate and probate attorney with over 40 years of experience, has handled many pro bono cases over the years, primarily assisting low-income individuals with probate and foreclosure issues. Recently, he was appointed by the court to investigate the interest of an individual in a foreclosure action. “Elizabeth” appeared at a foreclosure hearing claiming she was the owner of the property being foreclosed. Although her name did not appear on the deed, she alleged the property was “given to her” by a community development association acting under a county commissioner’s orders. Concerned about Elizabeth’s situation, the court appointed Mr. Weissman to investigate her allegations.
With a little legwork and the assistance of neighbors, Mr. Weissman discovered that Elizabeth’s former house, a rental where she resided with nine of her grandchildren, had burned down in 2005. As a 55-year old African American, a former teacher, 90% blind, and supporting a house full of grandchildren, Elizabeth definitely needed assistance. On September 10th, 2006, two community programs, “Project Turnaround” and “Right Choice Housing”, offered Elizabeth the gift of a home for her and her grandchildren. The program was supposed to retire the mortgage on the property through a fundraiser, and advised Elizabeth that her sole obligations were to pay taxes and insurance. Unfortunately, they tossed her the keys and failed to satisfy the mortgage or clear title to the property.
Mr. Weissman learned that an individual had purchased the property a few months before it was given to Elizabeth, had failed to pay the mortgage, faced foreclosure, and then attempted to evict Elizabeth and her grandchildren! After completing his research, Mr. Weissman turned the case over to the foreclosure attorneys at Dade Legal Aid. Although the outcome is uncertain, Elizabeth and her grandchildren managed to remain in their home for the immediate future. We at Dade Legal Aid appreciate Mr. Weissman’s compassion for the less-fortunate and his perseverance to achieve the best possible outcome for his clients.