Man accused of squatting in foreclosed home - WSMV Channel 4

Man accused of squatting in foreclosed home

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A nationwide problem of people occupying foreclosed homes is happening in one Nashville neighborhood, a Channel 4 I-Team investigation found.

The Channel 4 I-Team found a man accused of being a squatter in the north Nashville neighborhood has done it before.

From Dallas, TX, to Rochester, NY, neighbors have clashed with squatters who moved into foreclosed homes and never paid rent, mortgage or homeowners association fees.

Last January, neighbors were stunned to learn Nathaniel Roscoe, who lived at 1909 20th Avenue N, was found dead inside his home.

An autopsy showed his body had been there for some time, and he died of natural causes.

So neighbors were then alarmed when they saw a stranger move into the property, knowing it had gone into foreclosure.

Keon Wimsatt, the homeowners association president, recalled when the neighbors first approached the stranger, who identified himself as Ashley King.

"We asked him, why are you here? And he (King) said, 'Well, I'm here, because I want to be here. And I will continue to be here,'" Wimsatt said.

Besides the fact that some windows are broken in the home, neighbors are also upset that King doesn't pay HOA fees.

"I pay property taxes. I pay HOA fees. When they (maintenance) come out to do those services, he (King) gets to be a benefactor of that," said Parrish Godchild, who lives in the neighborhood.

An Aug. 16, 2011, police report showed neighbors called police to report someone had broken into the house, turned on the ceiling fans upstairs, and that person had entered through a side window.

A Channel 4 I-Team investigation found that same month King put the energy bill in his name.

The metro water department shows the water bill is still in Roscoe's name, but the bill is paid each month in cash.

According to the Aug. 16 police report, police knocked on the door, and King answered.

According to the report, King told police he had a right to be at the residence and that he had made a promise to the deceased homeowner that he once worked with.

The report showed police went in and found feces remnants from the previous homeowner on the hardwood floor, and King could not provide any documentation that he was a resident.

Police told King to leave and not return.

King continues to live in the home.

"I can't explain to you the level of frustration at this point," Wimsatt said.

The neighborhood association called police, but the house has been foreclosed and the trustee of the bank, US. Bank, hadn't pressed trespassing charges.

The association also called metro codes, and all they could do was get a civil warrant to get the windows fixed.

"My hands are tied because all I can do is ask the guy to leave, but I can't make him leave, because I don't own the property," said Metro Codes Assistant Director Bill Penn.

The neighbors asked for help from the Channel 4 I-Team, so we set up hidden cameras to document that King did indeed live in the home.

Wearing a hidden camera, the Channel 4 I-Team went to the house where King lives, and he answered the door.

When we asked King if he owned or rented the home, he closed the door without answering.

Channel 4 chief investigative reporter Jeremy Finley later went to the home, this time with a camera in full view, and King again answered the door.

"Several of your neighbors say you're actually a squatter and actually don't have any reason to be here," Finley asked

"That's not true," King said, and then shut the door.

Finley asked King for documentation that would prove he could live in the home, but King did not respond.

The Channel 4 I-Team also determined this isn't the first time King has been accused of  squatting.

In January 2008, Woodard Frost obtained a civil warrant after having to evict King.

Frost owned a vacant home in south Nashville, and said King approached his family saying he was in real estate, and offered to show the home in exchange for renting it for one month.

At the time, the state showed King did have a broker's license that has since expired.

Frost said King never paid rent, and six months later had him evicted.

"I think he's a sharp cookie to live off of someone for as long as he does," Frost said.

Frost successfully sued King for more than $3,000 in unpaid rent, but King has never paid.

King is expected in court at the end of this month on the civil warrant due to the broken windows.

The homeowners association is also suing King for not paying court fees.

A spokesperson for U.S. Bank referenced our questions to Bank of America, who they said is responsible for the property.

A spokeswoman for Bank of America would only say that the home is in foreclosure, although court records show it has already been foreclosed.

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