Randy Salter can clearly remember afternoons years ago when he would let his infant son play on a blanket in the yard while he worked on landscaping. This landscaping, though, was not the average pruning and planting. Instead, the yard became a sanctuary where Randy, a trained botanist, creates and cultivates plants designed to thrive in our North Carolina climate. When he first bought the house twenty years ago, only a few trees surrounded it. Over the years, Randy has introduced 15,000 plants to his land, creating an oasis of greenery in north Raleigh.

   On this land Randy has planted live oaks, palm trees, and many other sub-tropical plants from around the world; He has cut trails and raised his son. He knows the red-tailed hawk that’s been nesting in the same tree for years, and how to cook with much of his vegetation, including the leaves of his banana plants. He knows his land. He’s made a home. Bank of America is foreclosing on Mr. Salter’s home.

   With twenty years of on-time payments behind him, Randy was frustrated when he lost his job and was forced to skip two mortgage payments. The next month, though, Randy caught up completely, paying back the missing amount and coming current. Still without a job or unemployment benefits approved, Randy again fell behind. Two months later, when Randy had again amassed the money, Bank of America refused to take it. Randy was “stunned that they wouldn’t take payment.” Instead, the bank began the foreclosure process, which culminated with the formal serving of papers on Christmas Eve.

   Randy is determined to keep fighting for his home. “It’s not just a house,” he said. “It’s stuff I’ve collected, research material, stuff that has value.” In his yard is a lifetime of work and memories. Plants flower every day of the year, from his unique mix of evergreen and tropical varieties. While he’s always had the goal of making his garden multi-use, his recent developments are even more centered on utilizing edible and medicinal plants. In this way, the changes in the garden reflect the changes in his life over the past twenty years. What started as basically a blank slate yard and house is now a tropical garden and a home.

   So Randy is busy compiling all of the papers, from pay stubs to bank statements, even having to take time away from his job to organize the copious amounts of paperwork Bank of America and Fanny Mae require. Since the foreclosure began, Randy has been swamped with this paperwork and worry. In this time, though, he managed to find employment and has been recently promoted. But even with the money to begin paying his mortgage again, the payments will not be accepted.

   He’s the first to admit that he is partly to blame for taking a new loan out on his house, but believes the professionals also “should have been there to say no.” What Randy wants is a chance for his case to be heard and seen as a unique case, not just another file. His years of being a solid homeowner and the worth of his garden need to be calculated in, but as of now, there is no room for that in the foreclosure process.

   Randy believes that the government should do what it set out to do, which is to “put plans in place to modify loans and make homes affordable.” Until that happens, he will do everything within his power to make his case heard and understood. He wants the opportunity to continue on with his mortgage and to keep this house another twenty years at least. He is, and has been, ready to make his payments again, and ready to return to his garden, cultivating his ginger and jasmine plants, and working alongside his son.

Please join MortgageFraud in North Carolina and Occupy Our Homes-Raleigh in support of Mr. Randy Salter in his fight against the predatory servicer Bank of America and Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.