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You Gotta Know When To Fold ‘Em

I was representing sellers in a deal which was unremarkable until the title search arrived.  As I began to read it, I found my stomach clenching while I actually gasped aloud.

I read through pages and pages listing judgments against the homeowners; they’d been sued and lost to every casino I'd ever heard of (and a few that I never knew existed). When I called Mr. & Mrs. Risky, they confirmed that all the liens were indeed theirs.

I advised them that my tally of the judgments, before interest, exceeded the sales price of their house.  Seemingly unfazed, they asked whether I could help them out, and I promised to try.  I called a colleague I thought knew a bit about casinos. He was indeed knowledgeable; he advised me that, in his experience, every casino would work out a very reasonable settlement.

I got to work, calling counsel after counsel for casino after casino, each time making a spiel that they would get something rather than nothing if they'd compromise on the full amount due them.  Some accepted 33 cents on the dollar, others would settle at half, but without exception, each casino attorney was pragmatic and willing to work with me. 

When I had negotiated the debts down to where the sales price of the house surpassed the liens, I called the Buyers' attorney and scheduled closing. I'd done such a good job for Mr. & Mrs. Risky that they had a bit over $2,000.00 left after every judgment was satisfied and all closing costs were paid. 

They paid me my fee without hesitation, but I admit that I was hoping for a Gee, thanks, for staking us to a couple of bucks to start over or some other acknowledgment.  That was not forthcoming, as it seemed my clients had exceeding short-term memories.  As they walked away from the closing table, Mr. Risky clutched the balance check and said to his wife, "What do you say we skip lunch and drive straight through?  We can be in Atlantic City in a few hours!"

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