Wakulla Trailer Torn Down Without Owner's Consent

Imagine having an ongoing mortgage on your home and it gets destroyed without your consent.

It happened to a Wakulla County man who co-owns property with his
ex-wife.

Florida tax dollars are paying for the construction of a new home on the property.

There used to be a trailer here.

The property and the trailer were appraised at $85,000 in 2011.

Cleve Godwin and his ex-wife Noel own the property.

Noel applied for help to fix up the trailer from the State Housing Initiatives Partnership or SHIP program.

Reporter: "Why did you seek that route?

Noel Godwin: "I'm disabled."

Reporter: "Can you explain how?"

Noel Godwin: "No that's none of your business."

"I'm the co-owner, I'm on the mortgage," said Cleve Godwin. "She didn't let me know or Wells Fargo know anything about it. Next thing we know they're tearing down the property," he said.

Cleve says he found out his wife had applied for the program through his friend Rayvyn Fears who found the records.

Instead of fixing the trailer, SHIP administrators decided to tear it down and build a new home.

"This is $86,000 in taxpayer money that has been spent erroneously," Fears said.

"I gave them what they asked for and offered more, but I met the guidelines in every way," said Noel Godwin.

"According to where we stand today, everything was done in compliance with SHIP," said Wakulla County Administrator David Edwards.

But Edwards acknowledges the trailer was torn down without Cleve's consent.

And Wells Fargo, still owed about $85,000 for the trailer's mortgage, didn't find out it was destroyed until after it happened.

Now Wakulla County Commissioners are changing local rules to the SHIP program to require consent from all parties with a property interest.

"We need to make the changes to the rules," Edwards said.

"This puts me in a lot of liability here," Cleve Godwin said.

Both Edwards and Noel Godwin say once the new home is built, the property will be more valuable than it was with the trailer.

The new home, however also carries a new secondary mortgage.

It must be repaid if SHIP program guidelines aren't met.


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