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Mar 25, 2009 1:15 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Banks are foreclosing on 11 homes owned by Westhampton Beach businessman

Mar 25, 2009 1:15 PM

In early February, Mr. MacPherson reported on his blog, Hamptons Politics, that his Manhattan offices were raided by the New York City Police Department on orders from Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office. Mr. MacPherson did not comment at the time on the intent of the search, nor would Mr. Clifford. At the time, Mr. Clifford would only state that his office is in the midst of an mortgage fraud investigation that is targeting the East End.

In February, investigators with the Suffolk County DA’s office raided Mr. Guldi’s Westhampton Beach law offices, seizing computers and files relating to the ongoing investigation. He was scheduled to be charged Wednesday afternoon with three counts of first-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud, both felonies, according to authorities.

In late February, Mr. Guldi was sued by Wachovia Federal Savings Bank, which is alleging that he pocketed about $1.8 million as part of a mortgage scheme involving a Water Mill home owned by his late father.

Mr. Guldi’s name appears on several of the title transfers on the properties owned by Mr. MacPherson that are now being foreclosed upon. Mr. Guldi has declined to comment on his relationship with Mr. MacPherson.

Several dozen people now renting the nine other homes on the East End that are currently owned by Mr. MacPherson could find themselves evicted over the next few months. Transaction records show that Mr. MacPherson owns two additional homes on Shinnecock Hills Road, a home on Longview Road, a home on Shrubland Road, and two homes on Bathing Beach Road, all of which are in Shinnecock Hills. He also owns a home on Majors Path in North Sea and two homes and a vacant lot on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach.

According to court documents, the mortgages on those homes are all in foreclosure. Mr. MacPherson also owes Westhampton Beach Village more than $7,000 in unpaid taxes for his Dune Road homes, according to a public notice.

When recently visited by a reporter, occupants of the other homes owned by Mr. MacPherson, many of whom did not speak English, declined to be interviewed. Other homes appeared to be vacant.

None of the law firms representing the banks in their foreclosure proceedings—including Steven Baum in Amherst, New York, and Rosicki, Rosicki and Associates in Plainview—returned calls seeking comment about their respective foreclosure proceedings.

But Barbara Rasmussen, a real estate attorney with offices in Westhampton Beach, explained that foreclosure proceedings can take as long as two or three years. She explained that once a property owner stops paying a mortgage, he or she has as much as nine to 12 months before the bank will serve them with a foreclosure summons. Once the summons is served, it can take another year or two before a bank actually repossesses a home.

However, Ms. Rasmussen also explained that property owners can create stumbling blocks for banks by placing the ownership of their properties under corporation names—which Mr. MacPherson has done. Most of his properties are now listed as being owned by various corporations. For example, his home at 1768 Majors Path in North Sea is owned by 1768 Majors Path Co. Inc., and his home at 17 Shrubland Road in Shinnecock Hills is owned by 17 Shrubland Co. Inc.

“Putting a property in a corporation name makes it that much more difficult to foreclose,” Ms. Rasmussen said, explaining that the transfer of ownership from a person to a corporation violates the terms of the mortgage agreement if the bank is not notified about the transfer.

Even though close to a dozen banks are now working to repossess his homes, Mr. MacPherson can continue to collect rent from his tenants and pocket all of the money. It is not clear how much he is collecting for each home, though the renters at both rental homes on Shinnecock Hills Road and Hills Station Road who spoke with a reporter said they are paying $3,000 a month or more. Mr. McCarthy also warned that most renters, if their landlord loses a home to foreclosure, will not see a dime from their security deposits.

Both Mr. Moracho and the 21-year-old woman said they had no idea what they would do if and when the banks repossess their homes. Mr. Moracho said he loves his Shinnecock Hills home for its privacy, adding that he has invested time and money into restoring the interior of the home.

“I worked inside the house, I repainted,” Mr. Moracho said.

He added that he wanted to do work on the home’s exterior—add to its sparse landscaping and perhaps smooth out the pothole-ridden gravel driveway—but was deterred from doing so by Mr. Mazzone.

The 21-year-old woman who lives in the Hills Station Road home said she and her family would be very upset if they are kicked out of their home, noting that it took them several weeks to find their current residence. “It’s clean, and there are no problems,” she said. “It’s expensive, but it’s worth it.”

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There are others that have done this same scheme - hopefully the DA is enforcing the law to everyone and not just "name" targets.
Take a close look around Hampton West Estates Mr. DA.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Mar 25, 09 1:53 PM