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calendar   Wednesday - July 30, 2008

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

“Extreme Makeover” home goes to Foreclosure

Major greed, lack of gratitude, or just plain old stupidity? You decide. I’m leaning towards greed myself. These people went and shot the proverbial Gift Horse right between the eyes.

Things couldn’t look better three years ago for Milton and Patricia Harper of Lake City, who giddily accepted the keys to a small castle, plus enough money to pay taxes on it for 25 years. It was a product of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Now, the Clayton County house is a two-story, turreted example of how things can go wrong. It’s in foreclosure.

The Harpers used the house at 5489 Ahyoka Drive as collateral for a $450,000 loan, Clayton County mortgage records show. imageRecords at the law firm handling foreclosures for the lender, JPMorgan Chase Bank, say it is in foreclosure. The four-bedroom house with decorative rock walls and a three-car garage is scheduled for auction on the Clayton County Courthouse steps Aug. 5. The Harpers, who declined interview requests when reporters knocked on their door Friday, told WSB-TV they got the loan for a construction business that failed.

Failure seemed an impossibility in February 2005, when ABC TV viewers got a look at the stunning home constructed in a subdivision three miles east of I-75. Painted dark olive and covered with specialty shingles, the home’s domed door opened into a structure that featured four fireplaces, a solarium, music room and a porte-cochere that connected to Milton Harper’s new office. The yard was a study in landscape art, with young magnolias, fieldstone and a Leyland cypress hugging one corner. A black metal fence ringed it.

It had taken shape in six intense days in January 2005, when Atlanta-based Beazer Homes USA and “Extreme Makeover” demolished the Harpers’ old home, plagued by a faulty septic system. Professionals and volunteers came together to erect the largest home that the “Extreme” team had ever built.

Materials and labor were donated, but the home would have cost about $450,000 to construct. When they were done, the home dwarfed all the ranch and split-level structures in neighboring lots.

That was not all. Beazer Homes’ employees and company partners raised a quarter-million dollars in contributions for the family. The sum included scholarships for the three Harper children and a home maintenance fund.

The Harpers, whom ABC chose from among 15,000 “Extreme Makeover” applicants, spent the week in Disneyland while 1,800 people swarmed about the site. The family returned to a new home, plus contributions worth about $200,000.

Horry Clap. These people went from skid row to Boardwalk and it didn’t cost them a cent. A brand new 5500 sq ft house with every possible luxury option. Plus they got the taxes paid for 25 years. Plus they got education funds for their kids. Plus they got a fifth of a million dollars in the bank. For free. Talk about hitting life’s lottery! And they just pissed it away.

The news left Lake City Mayor Willie Oswalt wondering what went wrong. He recalled a chilly January day when he and a handful of others wrestled an aged beam into place in the home’s living room. The Harpers’ future seemed just as solid, he said.

“It’s aggravating,” said Oswalt. “It just makes you mad. You do that much work, and they just squander it.”


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/30/2008 at 12:03 PM   
Filed Under: • Stoopid-People •  
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