WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The owners of the Dudley Mansion are leaving the Wilmington landmark.
Ron Pickett told WECT in a telephone interview Tuesday night that after years of feuding with neighbors and battling with banks, it's time to move on. He says he and his wife Cindy should be out of the house in about two weeks.
The home located at 400 South Front Street became the center of controversy a few years ago after the owners started renting out the property for private weddings. Residents complained of loud noise and trash. The City of Wilmington took the Picketts to court, and a permanent injunction was ordered against the family.
At that time, the injunction meant that the family was able to continue with weddings already booked, but they simply could not add any new ones to the list.
The Picketts have stopped renting out the home but are suing one of their neighbors. According to court documents, the Picketts are suing Phoebe Bragg for a number of reasons, including slander and libel. A trial date for the lawsuit is set for July.
About the same time the Picketts were fighting with their neighbors over weddings, a foreclosure notice was issued for the historic landmark.
"The foreclosure notice was a deliberate default that the bank was aware of and then gave us a modification agreement reducing the house payments by thousands of dollars," Pickett said Tuesday night.
Pickett says Washington Mutual, the bank that granted them the modification agreement went bankrupt. He says he was under the impression that JP Morgan Chase took over the note, but learned recently that was not the case.
"I dealt with JP Morgan Chase for two years and did not know they did not own the note until a court hearing earlier this year disclosed that U.S. Bank owned the note, a bank I've never even heard of."
Pickett says the courts approved a settlement agreement essentially turning the deed to the house over to U.S. Bank.
"We do not know what the bank is going to do with the house but we're moving on with our lives. We will be maintaining a residence at Wrightsville Beach," Pickett said.
In all, the Picketts had three foreclosures facing them, with the Dudley Mansion still pending. Court documents show the Picketts asked for a continuation on the mansion's foreclosure and it was granted.
A notice for 318 Causeway Drive was dismissed after an agreement was reach. The Ferst at Saint Marys located on Lumina Avenue listed Ron Pickett as the president, but that case has closed as well.
The Picketts have contracted with a local company to auction off the contents of the house on Memorial Day. Pickett says Big South Auctions will sell off the property May 28 at its Market Street location.
A lawfirm in Charlotte is handling the public auction of the house and a representative said no date has been set yet because of the foreclosure continuance.
According to CFCC spokesperson David Hardin, the Picketts are donating golf training equipment to the college to be used by the athletic department.
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