Paralyzed veteran fighting foreclosure after ex-wife took out $80k in loans
PROSPECT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A paralyzed war veteran is fighting to keep his home in Prospect. A bank is trying to take it, but he says he’s not to blame.
Cleveland Graham, 74, enjoys sitting in the sun and listening to jazz music. But the past four years he's been fighting a legal battle with Citigroup – a global bank trying to foreclose on his Prospect home.
"I was disappointed," said Graham.
The Vietnam veteran, paralyzed from the waist down, says he gave his now ex-wife Delores power of attorney. She had control of his $10,000 a month check from Veterans Affairs.
"What can you say?” said Graham. “She was supposed to be my wife -- caregiver."
But in 2011, between stays in the nursing home and hospital, Graham was shocked when bills started showing up in his mailbox.
"Well the lights getting cut off, bill collectors calling me. I didn't have no bills," said Graham.
According to court documents, Delores took out nearly $80,000 in loans -- money Graham says he never authorized. After defaulting on her payments, Citigroup came after the home she used as collateral -- a house that Graham built in the 70s and later paid off in 1983.
"I didn't know at first," said Kay Rayburn, Graham’s caretaker for the past six years.
During a credit check, Rayburn discovered 32 accounts had been opened in Cleveland Graham’s name and she still can't believe it.
"Anybody that knows him would tell you right off the bat -- that you could not ask for a better person to know,” said Rayburn. “He would give you the shirt off his back."
Graham's attorney is asking a Jefferson County Family Court to assign the debt to Delores, saying it's hers. The judge agreed but Citigroup filed paperwork claiming the family court lacks jurisdiction and that Mr. Graham is a necessary party to the foreclosure.
In a statement to WDRB News, Citigroup says:
"This matter is in litigation, so we will decline to provide details. We have been and continue to be actively engaged with the borrower's legal counsel in an effort to resolve this matter through means other than litigation."
Graham just wants the nightmare to end and his wife to pay up.
"What can I say? You got me. You're a cruel person," Graham said of Delores.
We reached out to Delores Graham but she did not want to comment.
There's now an online petition at change.org, asking Citibank to stop victimizing the war veteran.
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