GREENVILLE CO., S.C. (WSPA) – For some homeowners desperate to sell their homes, a christian-based real estate investment company in Greenville seemed like the answer to their prayers.
The company, called Kingdom Connected Investments, offered a solution to keep mortgages paid and, ultimately, sell the homes.
But 7News took a look into the company and found that, for many, the promise of help has only turned out to hurt homeowners.
Kingdom Connected Investments made believers out of struggling homeowners like Roger Norwood in Anderson.
“We thought he was an angel in disguise,” Norwood said.
Norwood had been looking for a miracle after family health problems left him with two mortgages.
“When you’re a person of faith and having people who use that against you, it’s hurtful in a major way,” said Norwood.
In the beginning, there was a contract that formed a trust, where the company would make all the payments on the home, help a struggling rent-to-buy tenant move in, and benefit from any sale.
When Norwood signed it in 2015, he said he had never missed a payment in 8 years.
Now, Norwood’s mortgage is $3,000 behind and his home is now going into foreclosure.
He says in the last year, Kingdom has missed payments and hasn’t made any in at least four months.
“They are saying that they offer everything up to the kingdom of god and that they do everything in a Christian way, but unfortunately, they are leaving consumers in a much worse situation and really pushing consumers to the brink of financial distress,” Courtney Beaty, with the Better Business Bureau, said.
The BBB says it’s received 25 complaints, and 6 negative reviews. And the agency suspects that there may be more victims because Kingdom targets a Hispanic population that may not report the issues.
The owner, Bubba Roush, told us the company is having financial problems.
“As a Christian, I am trying to do everything right. I’m trying to rectify every bad situation,” Roush said.
We asked Roush if he took responsibility for putting so many people in a rough financial spot.
“Oh, at the end of the day, I have to take responsibility for every screw-up this company has done,” he said.
Another homeowner, Misti McGee told 7News how the company’s failings hurt not just the mortgage holders but also the tenants who think they are paying on a future home.
“Our credit was ruined which is bad enough, the tenant in our house gave him $15,000 down they’ll probably never see again,” said McGee.
She says even her lawyer didn’t catch wording in the contract that eventually left her owing if Kingdom didn’t pay.
Some contracts also included odd clauses about medical status (see below). The BBB says agencies are looking into whether this reached beyond what is permissible by law.
The FBI and South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs won’t confirm whether there are open investigations, but we do know both agencies have received complaints against the company.
The tenants in Norwood’s home are still making payments to Kingdom, hoping the company will come through.
“Come hell or high water, before I die, I will make good,” Bubba Roush said.
But Norwood says he will always regret the day Kingdom came.
“We thought he was somebody there to help us. He turned out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Norwood said.
This is one of the clauses in the real estate contract that stretches far beyond real estate.
- “The Trustor authorizes any physician, healthcare professional, dentist, health plan, hospital, clinic, laboratory, pharmacy or other covered health provider, any insurance company and medical information bureau or other health care clearinghouse Certification of Trust that has provided treatment or services or that has paid for or is seeking payment from the Trustor for such services to give, disclose, and release, either orally or in writing, to the Trustee or Trustees, without restriction, all of Trustor’s individually identifiable health information and medical records regarding any past, present or future medical or mental health condition.”
The BBB says when they asked Roush about this, he explained they needed to know the state of their tenants. The BBB says there was no good explanation for why it was also included in the contracts for homeowners who would no longer be in the home.
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