BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — A Bradenton veteran’s fight to keep his home ended with his furniture and personal items piled on his driveway, but he insists evidence indicates the Department of Veterans Affairs had no right to foreclose.
John McKenzie signed a VA-backed loan backed loan more than 20 years ago. Since then, the mortgage provider changed hands several times, according to several loan documents.
McKenzie, who is disabled due to medical issues, including a stroke, claims he had no idea who he had to pay.
The foreclosure process did not start until about four years ago, after he tried to sell his home because he could no longer make it upstairs.
“I never heard anything from a bank [before I tried to sell,]” McKenzie said.
Donna Steenkamp, who owns a title research company, claims multiple VA officials told her the agency was no longer involved with the property.
8 On Your Side reviewed recorded telephone conversations, including one from a VA loan agent.
“[McKenzie’s VA loan] was terminated Jan. 13 of 2006,” the agent said. “I don’t have anything else after that.”
“I’ve got four recorded conversations with VA officials at various locations around the country that state we have no record of this loan,” Steenkamp said
A court document with testimony from expert witness William McCaffery seemed to support the VA agent’s statement.
“Specifically, there is no recorded transfer of ownership…to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs,” McCaffery stated in the document.
None of the evidence stopped the process, leaving McKenzie locked out of the home where he raised his family.
“I’ll survive but I don’t want this to happen,” McKenzie said. “I’ve been here so long. 27 years. A lot of memories.”
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The VA has not yet responded to requests for comment about McKenzie’s case. Steenkamp said she has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.
McKenzie is planning to file a civil lawsuit but for now records indicate the Secretary of Veterans Affairs owns the home.