It should have been a happy summer for Michael Clauer. The Texas Army National Guard captain was winding down his time in Iraq, preparing for a new unit to arrive and replace him and the 130 service members under his command.
But a phone call in June 2009 left him so shaken that a colleague suggested he seek psychiatric help: his wife, her voice choked with tears, told him that their homeowners association had foreclosed on and sold their Frisco, Texas house — which the Clauers say is valued at more than $300,000 — for $3,200, according to county land records.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Clauer, 37, said. “I didn’t understand how anybody could do that.”
The Heritage Lake Homeowners Association, as Clauer would come to learn, had exercised its rights under Texas law to sell the home after the Clauers fell behind on their association dues by about $800. Now, Clauer and his wife May are suing the homeowners association, the investors who bought the home at foreclosure and sold it, and the home’s current owner.
The Clauers, who reached an agreement with the current owner to continue to live in the home with their two young daughters until their lawsuit is resolved, either want to get their house back or be paid damages by the people they’re suing. They’d prefer, of course, the former.