ASU law student fights foreclosure for Valley woman

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- June Geffre will tell you she doesn't have much. It's just her and Mr. Benz, the dog she named after her old car, living in their North Phoenix home. But now she's fighting to keep it all together.

"Am I going to have my house? Am I not going to have my house? Where do I go? What do I do" she said.

Her story starts two years ago, when her husband, Tom, passed away. Before he did, he got the paperwork to modify their mortgage. When he died, she signed the papers, mailed them in, and made the new payments for the next 19 months. Then this July, she got a call from her bank. They told her she was making the wrong payments, they needed her husband's signature, and she owed $20,000.

"It took me five death certificates before they'd realized he'd passed away. Five!" Geffre said.

After weeks at her wits end, she found help from second year Arizona State University law student Alyson Vivattanapa.

"We want Mrs. Geffre to stay in her home, and she is willing to continue making payments on her home. That's not the issue. The issue is that Bank of America doesn't want to accept her payments and is forcing her out of her home," Vivattanapa explained.

She's working for Geffre through ASU's Civil Justice Clinic, giving students like her real world cases to work. She and her supervisors filed a restraining order to stop the bank from selling the home. Less than 24 hours from auction, a judge approved it.

"It felt like a victory, but it's a small one in the long run," Vivattanapa said.

Still, it's the best news Geffre and Mr. Benz have heard in a while, and they're grateful.

"It's sickening that they can do this to people, where they lead you on and lead you on, take your money. And if I didn't have Community Legal and Take Charge America and ASU behind me, I don't know what I would have done," she said.

The next will be for Vivattanapa to try and get that restraining extended to keep the bank from selling Geffre's home through the trial process.