Commencing in 2005 and continuing through 2010, my son embezzled all of my retirement savings and refused to repay me for my loans to him. At one point, he changed the locks on my side of the duplex home and moved all of our belongings into the garage. Shortly thereafter, he threatened to dump all these belongings if we didn’t move them out of the garage. We had to fly from CA, rent a van, load it, and move all to storage in CA.
This eventually resulted in my losing my home in Woodland, WA. Eric refused to sign papers that would have allowed me to refinance the mortgage and save my home – it eventually became inhabited by drug dealers and users who further destroyed the property and disrupted the peace and well being of the neighborhood.
(Scroll to bottom to view slideshow of damage and repairs)
This left my wife and I in financial crisis, and at one point, we came within a hairs breadth of being homeless.
"Dad I would never let you down and cause you trouble - I will pay you back all that I owe you." The total amount that he owes me is $53500.00 (not including what he stole on a monthly basis from the mortgage payments). Despite his many promises, one that he would send me $100.00/month, he sent a check for that amount once, and never a dime therafter! He walks free as my wife and we struggle daily just to survive! To see a full report and related documents/emails, go to the Eric Gundlach Report.
When I retired and moved to Oregon in 2001, I began searching for my son Eric whom I had not heard from since 1996. Having heard that he was in the State of Washington, I searched there first. I eventually found him in Vancouver WA., where he and several others in drug abuse recovery shared a residence under supervision. I first met him at that house, and from then on supported him in every way possible. I visited him and called him frequently. We talked about his frequent "ups and downs" and his problems or indecisions regarding relationships with women. I proudly attended his award ceremony for his 5 year pin and had High hopes for his future.
We many times discussed. Mostly he talked of disliking his job and wanting to go into business with me. He incessantly came up with new ideas such as - "Let's buy a house, fix it up and turn it", or of bidding on foreclosed public storage units and then selling the contents. He had a friend that did that - sometimes making money, and sometimes losing.
There was one common factor in all of his schemes, even though he knew that I was living on retirement income at the time -all of the funding would be provide by me, he would do most of the legwork.
When I returned to work in CA, in March, 2004, the frequency of his proposals intensified.
Later that year my landlord made a sudden and unexpected decision to sell the home that I was renting in Brightwood, OR. I wanted return there after my work in CA was finished, so had continued to pay rent in absentia. I was involved in critical government work, and could not leave on short notice to move out. I asked Eric to help, and he agreed to move my belongings to local storage, in Brightwood. He agreed, but said that I would need to pay him $1400. Later I found that he had instead moved them to Vancouver WA.
Soon after, moving me out, he focused on our purchasing a home in WA. Although I really wanted to live at or near Brightwood OR, after many weeks of discussion, he convinced me to fly to WA and look at a property in Woodland. His proposal sounded very good, as it would result in us living near each other - he in one side of the duplex and my future wife and me in the other.
We discussed how he would repay me for half of the down payment for the Woodland Duplex, as well as the several outstanding loans he owed me. This resulted in the following agreement:
To move towards paying for half of the Duplex Investment, Eric proposed and agreed to move into 2165 Rhododendron right away as well as get a second job if necessary. He would gradually pay by working on improving the property value. This, and the approximately $170/per month I would save on storage by using the garage at the property would, over time account for half the investment. He also promised to make monthly payments on the loans that I had made to him.
As the Mortgage negotiations neared fruition, I was both embroiled with BAE System’s legal attack and planning for my fiancée's arrival and our November wedding. I went along with our Realtor's and the WAMU loan representative suggestion regarding the mortgage. In October I met my future wife in Seattle.
Shortly after returning home, I found that my son had totally broken his agreement - he had not moved into the duplex! His explanation was that it was inconvenient for him to commute to his work, and he did not want to spend more money than he was currently paying for his apartment in Vancouver. This agreement was of major importance, as it provided the only means for him to repay his half of the down payment. It was everything!
I became very concerned, and wrote the realtor asking that my name be put on the title immediately. She replied, with a strong suggestion that we wait until escrow closed, as doing so now would hold up the entire process.
Shortly after our marriage on November 25, we visited Eric and went to see the house. I mentioned the title; he assured me that my name would be added soon. From January through August, 2006 I paid rent for my side of the house, plus extra towards the mortgage to my son. At some point, I also sent $3000 for a "Cushion Account" to cover future expenses. Receipts for all of these Rent/Mortgage payments are attached. In addition to all of my retirement funds that I had spent on the duplex, I loaned my son money for dental work and shortly after his Mom passed on June 4, 2006, another loan to attend her funeral in Vermont. I hesitated to believe it, but it became ever apparent that my son was not going to repay me for anything. My financial situation was becoming increasingly critical.
At this point I had lost all faith in Eric and my financial situation was suffering. I attempted to get money due me in my divorce Decree in Florida; I was due $20000 upon transfer of the property that my ex-wife owned. There was one hitch, before passing my ex-wife signed a document that allowed her mother to live there until she passed away. I hired an attorney in Florida, to help me secure my funds. Subsequently, I received an email from my attorney documenting the status of the case - click to view the email.
When my son learned of the case, he asked me to instead fund him to clear the title on the Florida Property so that he could obtain a loan on it and pay me the entire amount owed.
At the time, I had taxes due and I made my son very aware that I could not afford to lay out this additional money unless he was very sure that he wanted to carry this through to fruition and could pay me back by September. He was adamant that he would do so. I initially sent the attorney $2000, promising the remainder in two weeks. Before sending the final $1000, I checked with him again. He assured me aqain that he understood my concern and would proceed as aqreed. He replied "Dad I would never let you down and cause you trouble!"
Believing him and would soon get some if not all owed me., we decided that my wife could live in Woodland, WA; I would commute every other weekend until my employment in CA was completed. We flew to Portland, and with his help moved my belongings from storage into our half of the duplex. For the next 3 days, we steam cleaned all of the tile, washed curtains, set up our bed, hung pictures, etc.
When we returned to CA, my son called and said that he had dropped the case, that he could therefore not pay me any of what he owed. I of course was shocked over his allowing us to move in understanding that we would soon have the money that he owed us. He didn't have the guts to come clean while we were there with him!I told him that this immediately ended any and all business relationships between us now or in the future.
This resulted in many calls/day to me, mostly at work. He yelled at me that I had no compassion for him and the only thing I was interested in was money. This went on until one day he said that our relationship was most important and agreed to send me the paperwork to allow me to assume the loan. He did get the papers mailed to him from the bank, and said that he was mailing them to me. (WAMU records should verify this)
I requested that he mail me the keys to my apartment; a few days later; he assured me they were in the mail. Based on that, I purchased non-refundable tickets for my wife and me to go there to continue working on our place.
We received the keys to our side of the Duplex - but in the evening, of the day before we were to fly, came an email from Eric, stating that he had put all of our belongings into the garage and changed the locks on our apartment - no explanation - just don't contact him anymore!
At that point, I became very ill, and was unable to work for several days. My performance at work suffered. I engaged an Attorney. Almost a year, of multiple daily phone calls and emails ensued. During this time, for the first time in my life, I lost my job. My contract as a software consultant, renewed every year for the past three years, was cancelled. The long battle did however result in the court deeding me the property as the sole and rightful owner.
Of course my son would no longer make the mortgage payments. I called WAMU, the holder of the mortgage, many times each day but was never able to get through to anyone that could or would help. I did however manage to get the loan number and began making the mortgage payments directly to the Washington Mutual Bank (WAMU), instead of to my son. This prevented foreclosure on my son and saved him from the bad credit rating that would have resulted. Even so, he was uncooperative and returned papers that I faxed to him, regarding the loan, unopened.
I kept making the payments, but worried constantly as I had already invested more than $40,000 of my retirement money in the property. I kept calling WAMU several times a day to get my name on the loan, in spite of my son's lack of cooperation. Eventually, I think in November 2008, I was successful - all of the payments, that I made and continue to make, are now being rightfully credited to me. My son's credit would remain unblemished by my taking over and avoiding foreclosure of the loan, but even so he remained uncooperative throughout all of this effort and returned bank papers unsigned. Eventually, the bank decided in my favor as I provided them all my receipts and all relevant facts.
The troubles did not end here, however. After my son moved me out of my home, he rented it quickly, without due diligence, to Ryan Westerveld, a person with very bad credit. Once I began calling Ryan, he moved out, leaving utility bills and four months rent unpaid. He literally destroyed the place.
I flew to Washington and with the help of a very compassionate neighbor, cleaned out the house and garage. It took us three days, and the trash filled a 26 foot moving van twice.
It took nearly $14000 to make the repairs necessary to make the place livable again.
I eventually lost my home in Woodland, WA. Eric refused to sign papers that would have allowed me to refinance the mortgage and save my home. At some point, CHASE BANK put up FORECLOSURE NOTICES on the property. This somehow, in the minds of my tenants, gave them the right to stop paying rent and to let friends occupy the side of the duplex that I had left. The house eventually became inhabited by drug dealers and users, who further destroyed the property, disrupted the peace, and cast a dark shadow over the neighborhood - good people suffered, and may still be suffering.
Below are photos of our home (trashed by a tenant that my son had rented to without due diligence) as we found it when we first moved in. Before Ally joined me, a friend and I moved two large moving van loads of the former tenant's trash to the dump. It took almost 2 months of heavy work to repair the yard and the house to make it inhabitable and nice to live in. All was however for naught as we eventually lost our home due to BAE Systems and my son.
Again, for full details, including related emails from Eric, Bill Black, and the Woodland Police, refer to the Eric Gundlach Report.