Originally published: May 6, 2010 8:47 PM
By SID CASSESE firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile | The house at 517 Pinebrook Ct. in West Hempstead, which a judge awarded to Corliss Gittens, free of any liens and mortgages because nobody opposed the action. (May 6, 2010)
A Lakeview woman got an early birthday present when a Nassau County State Supreme Court Justice awarded her the house she lives in, free and clear of any liens and mortgages because nobody opposed the action.
Tuesday, Corliss Gittens, who turned 48 Friday, received the award of her six-room ranch-style house at 517 Pinebrook Ct. from Justice John Galasso.
Gittens bought the house from her parents in late 2000. But when she mailed monthly checks to the mortgage company, Homeside Lending, the checks were never cashed, said Hempstead lawyer Fred Brewington, who represents Gittens. In 2001, Gittens was told by Homeside Lending officials that it could not locate evidence of the mortgage in its records.
“She had a mortgage and a deed. She went to a closing and purchased the house,” said Brewington. “She never stopped trying to find out to whom she should pay the mortgage because the uncertainty was making her distraught.”
Eventually, Gittens learned Homeside ceased to exist, and its parent company, SR Investments, was sold to Washington Mutual in 2002. Washington Mutual was in turn acquired by JPMorgan Chase in 2008. All of the companies, as well as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, were named as respondents.
None opposed Gittens’ suit.
Brewington said he reached out to Chase on the issue, only to be told the bank knew nothing about it.
Michael Fusco, a spokesman for Chase in Manhattan, said the bank “has no comment at this time.”
Gittens did not want to be interviewed for the story, but Brewington quoted her as saying: “After so many years of existing in limbo, I am happy that I will have the resources of my property available to me.”
He said Gittens once sought a second mortgage, but failed to get it because no one could get any information on the existing one. He added that her case was filed to wipe out that mortgage.
County records show the 2009 property tax on the house as $7,667.44.
In his decision Galasso said: “The Court directs the Clerk of the County of Nassau in whose office the mortgage and note were presumably recorded on or about March 6, 2001, to mark the record of the debt secured by the mortgage canceled and discharged.”
County Clerk Maureen O’Connell said Thursday she got the order Thursday and will execute it immediately.