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City collection lawyer sued over foreclosure Published 1:09 pm, Wednesday, February 7, 2018 BRIDGEPORT - A local debt collection lawyer, embroiled in a controversy over the city’s foreclosure on homeowners owing back sewer bills, is being sued by a local homeowner who claims he was the victim of an illegal foreclosure. Stephen Scholz, who has run a business out of his home repairing and reselling industrial equipment, claims attorney Juda Epstein foreclosed on property adjoining his house where he operated his business after he was late paying $1,000 in property taxes to the city and then forced him to buy his property back for $28,000, according to the lawsuit filed in Superior Court. “The lawsuit speaks for itself,” said Scholz’s lawyer, Jonathan Klein. Epstein did not return 3 calls for comment on the lawsuit made to his office on Tuesday and Wednesday. Epstein is under scrutiny from the City Council for his role in helping recover late sewer fees for Bridgeport’s Water Pollution Control Authority. A number of homeowners have complained that in addition to the back sewer use charges they are often subjected to pay high fees to Epstein to settle their cases. Scholz’s lawsuit states that in 2014 he became delinquent in the amount of $1,018.74 for property taxes due in July 2013 and January 2014 on his property at the corner of Helen and Stillman streets. The city subsequently sold the lien to Benchmark Municipal Tax Services, a regular purchaser of large bundles of tax liens from the city and one of Epstein’s clients who has an office in the same two-story Main Street building as Epstein’s law office. On May 24, 2016, Epstein, representing Benchmark, filed a foreclosure action against Scholz but Scholz didn’t receive the summons because it was sent to an address in Monroe that Scholz had no connection to, according to the suit. When Scholz later learned of the foreclosure proceeding, the suit states that he sent Epstein a check for the full payoff figure but Epstein rejected the payment. A judge later granted Epstein’s motion for a strict foreclosure to Benchmark on the basis that Scholz did not appear and could not be located. Benchmark later sold Scholz’s property to a buyer for $22,000, the suit states.
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