Make us your home page

Finally: Bank of America waives fees it charged elderly couple

NEW PORT RICHEY — Last week, Bank of America apologized for mistakenly foreclosing on an elderly couple because they had made a mortgage payment too early. But that apology didn't include reimbursing the couple for $1,800 in legal fees or waiving late fees caused by the bank's blunder.

After supporters of James and Sharon Bullington cried foul, the country's biggest lender decided Thursday to reimburse the legal fees and waive all late fees connected to its error.

Sharon Bullington was elated after hearing the news and thanked supporters for standing behind her and her husband.

"Oh, my goodness. I appreciate it so much," she said. "You have no idea what this means for us. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart."

Shawn Yesner, the Bullingtons' attorney, said the bank even provided a prepaid envelope to mail the paperwork. He is glad the bank finally decided to reimburse the fees.

"Regardless of how we got there, we got the best results for them," he said.

The New Port Richey couple accepted a mortgage modification this week after the case gained national attention following an Aug. 20 story in the St. Petersburg Times.

The story detailed how Sharon Bullington, 70, cares for her 78-year-old, terminally ill husband in their 1,591-square-foot home, which is now valued at $133,464, though they owe about $177,000.

When James Bullington became ill, the couple encountered financial difficulties because of medical bills. The couple asked Bank of America to modify the loan. There was a catch: The couple would have to officially default on their mortgage. The couple did that and entered into the modification plan.

The couple made their January mortgage payment one week early, in December. The following month, the bank rejected their February payment because it was made electronically without a signature. The bank then kicked them out of the loan modification plan and filed to foreclose on the home.

Two days after the story ran, the bank apologized, but it took several more days for the bank to remedy the situation. The bank agreed earlier this week to restructure the Bullingtons' loan over 40 years, which helped lower the monthly payment to $916, down from about $1,400.

But the bank did not say it would pay for the attorney fees the Bullingtons had run up fighting the foreclosure. The bank had also added late fees to the modified loan.

On Thursday, the bank agreed to waive those costs.

Christina Beyer Toth, a Tampa-based Bank of America spokeswoman, said the late fees will be waived once the bank receives the signed modification agreement from the Bullingtons.

"The bank will also be contacting the attorney to make arrangements to settle the $1,800 worth of legal fees," she said.

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at

Finally: Bank of America waives fees it charged elderly couple 09/01/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 1, 2011 9:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17


    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  2. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion


    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]
  3. City Council approves $5 million for Clearwater Marine Aquarium expansion


    CLEARWATER — The City Council on Thursday approved contributing $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for its massive expansion project.

    Clearwater has agreed to contributed $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium 
's $66 million expansion project.. [ Clearwater Marine Aquarium] 

  4. Trigaux: Florida, Tampa Bay lagging in growth of their startups

    Economic Development

    The annual assessment of how entrepreneurs are doing across the country is out from the Kauffman Foundation — among the best watchers of the nation's startup scene. How do Florida and Tampa Bay fare?

    Lured by financial incentives, startup GeniusCentral relocated from Manatee County in 2015 to St. Petersburg, promising to creatye 40 new jobs. It took downtown space in an appropriately creative workpace for entrepreneurs. It did not last there, later moving back to less expensive space in Manatee. A new Kauffman Index report on entrepreneurship found that Florida is a good place to launch startups but a tougher place to grow them.
  5. Pleasant dreams: sleep travel site gives high marks to Tampa airport


    TAMPA — Traveling might be considered closer to a nightmare than a dream for many. But that might be different for those who travel through Tampa International Airport. It was ranked the No. 3 overall best airport in North America by Sleeping in Airports, a travel site that tracks the best airports to catch some …

    Tampa International Airport was ranked as the No. 3 best overall airport by travel site Sleeping in Airports. | [Times file photo]