Man regains condo, still must pay dues
By CARY DAVIS
© St. Petersburg Times,
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Wayne Hughes, whose home was sold at a foreclosure auction in April after he failed to pay his monthly condominium association dues, was a nervous wreck when he showed up for a court hearing Wednesday.
"If I rolled up my sleeves, my friend, you wouldn't believe the rashes on my arms," said Hughes, 45, who suffers from anxiety disorder and panic attacks.
His frazzled nerves won a reprieve later Wednesday morning when County Judge Marc Salton set aside the foreclosure sale and gave Hughes more time to pay off a $5,000 lien to the Gardens of Beacon Woods Condominium Association.
Hughes challenged the sale on the grounds that he shouldn't have been exposed to a foreclosure case because he was bankrupt. He also argued that he didn't fight or even respond to the foreclosure lawsuit when it was filed because of his psychological condition.
Salton set aside the sale for another reason: The man who bought Hughes' condo on the courthouse steps for $15,000 said he just wanted his money back. Abdullatif Gari, a doctoral candidate at the University of South Florida who bought the condo as an investment, said the unexpected legal mess was more trouble than it was worth.
"I'm going to find some other business," Gari, 30, said after the hearing.
Hughes has lived in the condo since his parents bought the place in 1973. When his mother died in 1993, she left the condo to Hughes so he would never have to worry about a place to live.
Hughes stopped paying his monthly condo association dues of $173.66 in January 2000 after losing a series of jobs. The association put a lien on the condo, and when Hughes, who was in bankruptcy proceedings at the time, still didn't pay, the directors filed the foreclosure suit.
The judge did not dismiss the foreclosure suit, so Hughes could still lose his $41,000 condo if he can't raise enough money to pay off the lien.
"At least for now I have a roof over my head," said Hughes, who hopes to pay off the lien with loans from relatives.
- Cary Davis covers courts in west Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6236 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6236.
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