Foreclosure Looms In McMahon’s Future
The Wall Street Journal reported today that Ed McMahon, the longtime sidekick to television star Johnny Carson, faces the possible loss of his Beverly Hills home. Believe it or not, he faces what millions of other Americans face—a possible foreclosure action.
The action was initiated by a unit of Countrywide Financial Corp., but from Howard Bragman, spokesman for McMahon, it looks like something might be worked out. Many Americans at Mr. McMahon’s advanced age, 85, try to save the equity in the home by selling it, but it is also possible to take out a reverse mortgage. If that happens the McMahons will be allowed to live there until both he and Mrs Pamela McMahon die.
That isn’t the most satisfactory way to handle it, one most Americans dread because they have nothing left to give to their children when they die. The mortgage company takes everything, even if the value in the house far exceeds what they owe the mortgage company. Thus, a windfall in some instances to the mortgage companies.
We who remember the Johnny Carson TV show remember Ed McMahon as his jovial foil, a fixture of American television for decades. He is one of the most prominent people caught up in a wave of mortgage defaults that has devastated low-income areas, suburbia and even a few posh gated communities, such as the one where the McMahons live. U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson, a California Democrat, recently lost a home in Sacramento to a foreclosure. Rep.
The WS Journal said ReconTrust, a unit of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, on Feb. 28 filed a notice of default on a $4.8 million Countrywide loan backed by Mr. McMahon’s home. The notice was filed with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office but hasn’t previously come to light. According to the filing, Mr. McMahon was then about $644,000 in arrears on the loan. It isn’t clear whether Countrywide still owns the loan or is acting on behalf of investors who acquired it. Public records also show that Mr. McMahon had a separate home-equity line of credit from Countrywide of up to $300,000 secured by the same house.
Mr. McMahon’s home has been on the market for about two years—what a shame. He should have read Don White’s new hit book, SELLING FAST, We Sold Our House In One Day And You Can Too. His real estate agent Alex Davis said the price had been reduced, but he couldn’t immediately provide details. The Christie’s Great Estates Web site, which includes homes listed by Mr. Davis, lists the asking price at $5.75 million and says it has a canyon view and a master-bedroom suite with his and her bathrooms.
Mr. McMahon broke his neck in a fall about 18 months ago and hasn’t been able to work, Mr. Bragman said. That health problem, along with the weak housing market and economy, has forced Mr. McMahon into foreclosure proceedings, Mr. Bragman said.
The McMahons “understand that they are in the same situation as hundreds of thousands of other hard-working Americans, and their hearts go out to them,” Mr. Bragman said.
It isn’t inevitable that the McMahons will lose their home to foreclosure. Lenders often ease terms on loans or provide more time for borrowers to catch up. Lenders also sometimes agree to accept less than the full amount due on the loan if the borrower can find a buyer for the home.
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