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Jeanette Johnson’s nightmare of almost losing the Delray Beach, Fla., home she has lived in since 1965 appears to have a happy ending. An anonymous reader has stepped forward to save Johnson from the pending foreclosure of her home after reading about her plight in the May 23 edition of the Miami Daily Business Review. Johnson’s attorney Adam Palmer, a partner at Elk Bankier Palmer & Christu in Boca Raton, Fla., said he expects to receive a check from the Miami-based benefactor sometime this week for the $12,000-plus needed to pay debt she owes. Palmer said he has to tally the exact amount needed to pay Palmco Properties Inc., the North Miami-based real estate investment firm which purchased the tax deed to the house at 514 SW 15th Ave., as well as back taxes owed to the county. “She had someone come forward who is interested in just trying to be a good person,” Palmer said Tuesday. “He said, ‘Here’s a person who played by the rules her whole life and still got screwed.’ He felt moved by the story and felt he was in a position to help her. He’s not doing it for any ulterior motive. He’s doing it because he’s a compassionate gentleman. I told him I cannot begin to thank him enough. I told him I was just blown away by his generosity and compassion.” Palmer said the only thing the Miami businessman asked was that Palmer call Johnson to let her know he was providing the needed funds so she can “sleep easier at night.” Contacted Tuesday at the home where she lives with seven relatives, Johnson said, “Thank you very much. I’m happy for myself. We continue to pray until we know more. Keep praying for me.” Johnson is the victim of an apparent scheme in which a company known as Piranha Investments Inc. filed a fraudulent deed transferring the property to it in 1985. Piranha, now defunct, then obtained mortgages on the property, transferring ownership to two other entities. Unaware of the transfer, Johnson continued to pay her mortgage with taxes escrowed along with that payment and paid off the mortgage in 1995. After that, because she was no longer the owner of record, Johnson did not receive tax notices, and the taxes went unpaid. In 1997, Palmco purchased the property for $21,030, at a tax deed auction. A title search turned up Johnson as a previous owner, and that’s when she found out the house was no longer hers. Palmer, appointed to the case pro bono by the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, obtained a court order returning the $16,000 surplus from the sale to Johnson, who lives on disability and Social Security income of $527 per month. He also secured a $5,000 affordable housing grant. But Johnson was still short the $28,000 Palmco agreed to settle for, and more property taxes continued to mount. David Levitt, president of Circle Mortgage in Hollywood, Fla., was trying to obtain a reverse mortgage for Johnson, where she would receive money now and the lender would receive title later, but discovered the house needed $25,000 or more in repairs to qualify. In March, Palmco filed a foreclosure against the house because the terms of the agreement were not fulfilled. Palmer felt he had exhausted all possibilities to save the house from foreclosure and last month said, “I’m out of answers. Maybe someone out there will say the world’s been good to me. Maybe I can spread some karma.” Now that’s exactly what has happened, and Palmer said, “We hear about these people on TV. Here’s someone who is actually putting his money where his mouth is. I will personally drive to Miami to shake his hand and take him to lunch.” Meanwhile the Urban League of Palm Beach County is working with the city of Delray Beach to secure a federal grant to repair the house.

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