Bank forecloses on county commissioner’s former home
The former home of Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan, Republican candidate for state treasurer, and her ex-husband is scheduled to be sold next month at sheriff’s sale because of a mortgage foreclosure.
“My name has not been on the deed since the divorce,” Irey Vaughan said Friday of the home in Carroll Township. “I have no ownership of the house. For the past five years, my name was to be removed from the mortgage loan or the home sold” according to six voluntary agreements signed by her ex-husband, Robert Irey of Pittsburgh.
Robert Irey, chairman of the council of trustees of California University of Pennsylvania, said Friday he was “evicted” by the court from his home in June 2011 at a hearing for which he received no notice.
Robert Irey’s attorney, William Brandstetter, said his client “was forced to move out because he could not afford to pay both the mortgage and rent for the house and an apartment. Had he not been evicted, the house would not have been in foreclosure.”
Robert Irey and Brandstetter claim Robert Irey did not receive notice of the June 1, 2011, hearing in Washington County Court before Judge John DiSalle and that’s why he did not appear.
Irey Vaughan’s attorney, Christopher Blackwell, claims that at the time of the hearing more than a year ago, Robert Irey was already behind on the mortgage payment which he was obligated to make under several marriage settlement agreements, and this was affecting Irey Vaughan’s credit.
“We agreed to nullify the June 1, 2011, agreement in federal court and in bankruptcy court,” Blackwell said.
But in the most recent hearing on the Irey divorce DiSalle held May 29, the judge found Robert Irey had reneged on his agreement to make mortgage payments.
Irey Vaughan said she made mortgage payments on the former marital residence totaling $10,698 and also paid delinquent utility bills of $3,571 from July 2011 through November 2011.
Robert Irey has appealed this ruling to Superior Court, but a hearing date is still on for later this month, Blackwell said.
Robert Irey and his attorney said the home at 126 Diane Drive, Monongahela, was originally marketed for between $285,000 and $300,000. They said DiSalle should not hear the case because the county commissioner, in 2005, before the 2008 divorce, campaigned for DiSalle in his bid for the Washington County bench.
Blackwell called that argument “a smokescreen. They (Robert and Diana Irey) signed contracts with each other. Diana has continually backed up on what Bob has agreed to do. The only thing the judge has ever done is enforce the agreements between the two of them.”
Irey attributed the home’s failure to attract a buyer to a combination of the economy and its location. As to the voluntary agreements, he said, “if you could call them voluntary. I was under duress. My financial situation has deteriorated greatly since the year following the divorce.”
Asked if his ex-wife’s quest for higher office had anything to do with the foreclosure, Robert Irey said, “Heavens no! I wish her well. The last thing I want to do is have my name put in the newspaper when I’m trying to find a job. ”
Irey Vaughan called the impending sheriff’s sale “ a very unfortunate event that is completely out of my control.”
Irey Vaughan, who, like her husband, has remarried, said when Robert Irey filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a second time, he filed a voluntary abandonment which, in essence, gave the home to Community Bank, which took possession of it Dec. 30, 2011.
Although the county commissioner filed what is known as a “quit claim” or formal request Aug. 15, 2008, to have her name removed from the deed to property, the mortgage is a separate document. A mortgage-holder’s name is typically not removed from a debt until the debt is satisfied or the property is sold.
Neither the county commissioner nor her ex-husband plan to attend the sheriff’s sale, scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7, in the public meeting room of the Courthouse Square office building.