Ed Driscoll

Great Moments In Investigative Journalism

> Blog Archive >>The only thing I feel sorry for these people about is that they were born stupid.” href=”http://rachellucas.com/index.php/2008/08/13/the-only-thing-i-feel-sorry-for-these-people-about-is-that-they-were-born-stupid/”>Rachel Lucas quotes an incredible passage in a San Francisco Chronicle article on an Oakland family that is, shall we say, rather financially overextended:

Joann’s parents, Johnnie Gardner, 87, and Estelle, 88, bought the two-bedroom in the Sobrante Park neighborhood in 1954 for $11,500. His salary as an electrician at the Oakland naval shipyard allowed them to make the payments.

But in recent years, Joann and her brother refinanced it several times for increasingly larger amounts.

The final refinance at the end of 2006 left the family owing $454,000. The monthly payments of $3,362 exceeded the household income of $3,144.

What happened to the money from all the refinances?

Gardner can’t quite say. Some went to paying off credit cards; some was eaten up in huge loan fees. What is clear is that the family has not made a mortgage payment since December 2006.

The interviewee “can’t quite say”, and the reporter dare not press her, because if she does, the sob story she’s attempting to write would likely dissolve instantaneously. Just another dispatch from the age of outrageous credulity.