Katie Barnett was on vacation from her McArthur, Ohio home for two weeks. When she arrived back home, instead of unpacking and uploading pictures like one usually does after a trip, she had to crawl through a window only to be greeted with an empty house. Barnett thought that she had been robbed but since her key did not work in the new lock, forcing her ungainly entry, she knew something else was up.
What was up was that the First National Bank of Wellston, while foreclosing on a house, went to Barnett’s house by mistake. It’s not even her bank. The house they should have gone to was across the street but, gosh, close enough, right?
“They repossessed my house on accident, thinking it was the house across the street. They told me that the GPS led them to my house. My grass hadn’t been mowed and they just assumed.” (Source)
Barnett called the police once she got inside her home but, after two weeks of hemming and hawing, they basically told her that she was out of luck. Seriously? That was a breaking and entering: burglary. It makes no difference who committed the crime. But in a small town, I suppose, a bank has everybody’s cojones in their vault. Law? That doesn’t apply to them.
When Barnett presented the bank’s President and CEO Eric Emmert with an itemized list of the belongings that his bank had stolen, she was told that she would not be paid full price for them. The amount she is asking, the worth of all of her belongings? $18,000. She can’t recover any of them as they were either sold or discarded. But her request was refused. You want retail for the things we pilfered? Don’t be silly.
“He got very firm with me and said, ‘We’re not paying you retail here, that’s just the way it is.’ I did not tell them to come in my house and make me an offer. They took my stuff and I want it back.” (Source)
That’s enough to piss off the Pope. And it has Barnett, who’s seeing red.
“Now, I’m just angry, It wouldn’t be a big deal if they would step up and say ‘I’m sorry, we will replace your stuff.’ Instead, I’m getting attitude from them. They’re sarcastic when they talk to me. They make it sound like I’m trying to rip the bank off. All I want is my stuff back.”
When the local CBS affiliate called Mr. Emmert for a statement, they were told that he was trying to “come to terms” with Katie Barnett but would not comment on camera. Maybe he’s afraid that if people know what he looks like he’ll get pelted with rotten eggs and tomatoes.
As if we needed any more proof that banks in this country have become too powerful, here we have even a small bank putting itself above the law. Mr. Emmert committed a crime by proxy. He sent people to foreclose on a property and is responsible for their actions. Even if it is not viewed as a crime by the police – which is also ridiculous – he should have the ethics to stand up and make it right. Katie Barnett was robbed, pure and simple. By refusing to pay for his mistake, Emmert is adding insult to injury.
A petition has been created to force the bank to pay up. You can sign the petition to Mr. Emmert here.
For the report from TV 10 in Ohio, here’s the video: