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VA's foreclosure of disabled veteran's Bradenton home inches forward after objection to auction sale

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BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – A new bank that appeared to step into the foreclosure fray involving a disabled veteran has denied it is involved with the case.

Disabled veteran John Mckenzie, 62, only uses one floor of his Bradenton two-story due to a variety of health issues. But when he tried to sell the property, he found out he was in foreclosure.

Mckenzie said several entities tied to his mortgage went out of business over the years and he claims he had no idea who owned the note on the house.

“I haven’t been mailed anything,” Mckenzie said.

After 8 On Your Side first reported Mckenzie’s claims, another veteran hired an attorney to help him. Mckenzie’s new counsel has since filed an objection to the April 29 foreclosure sale.

In a response to Mckenzie’s objection, the Bank of New York Mellon was said to be the plaintiff in a recent court filing. That was the first time Mckenzie had heard that bank was involved with the home where he’s lived for 20 years.

“No,” Mckenzie said when asked if he had ever heard from the Bank of New York Mellon.

According to Bank of New York Mellon spokesperson Steve LaMarca, the bank’s name “was added erroneously” to the case and he said the bank is not involved in the Mckenzie foreclosure.

Florida Middle District U.S. Attorney Mark Handberg wrote he was the “counsel who will represent the VA” in the case in a letter to Mckenzie’s title researcher Donna Steenkamp.

The VA has also filed an opposition to Mckenzie’s objection to the foreclosure sale.

But Steenkamp claims a half dozen VA employees have told her the VA is not involved in this case. According to a transcript Steenkamp provided, one VA loan agent stated, Mckenzie’s loan “was terminated January 13, 2006.”

“I don’t have anything else after that,” the agent said.

Casting a shadow on all of this: no one can find the original note.

Steenkamp said she expects the missing paperwork will close this case in favor of Mckenzie who just wants it all to go away so he can move.

“I’m burned out,” Mckenzie said. “I’m tired, to be honest with you.”

Without the note, the plaintiff would have to file a lost note affidavit. Without the note, Florida law requires institutions to provide evidence of a connection to a property, but the judge in the case ultimately decides the validity of the documentation.

Mckenzie’s house was under contract recently and the buyer was New York-based Cerberus Capital. The Cerberus website indicates the company has $55 billion in assets. Cerberus has since backed out of that purchase.

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