Peach persists to collect on house she did not buy

Steve Korris Aug. 31, 2005, 5:18pm

Home rehabber Kevin Link

Undeterred by a voided judgment that would in effect close the case, plaintiff Armettia Peach intends to continue her quest in Madison County Circuit Court to collect the price of a house she did not buy.

After Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian voided a $104,259.17 default judgment against Granite City last month, Peach moved to reinstate Kevin Link, former owner of the house, as a defendant.

"You are the bearer of bad news," Link said in a telephone interview.

He said he did not know Peach and Maag had moved to reinstate him as a defendant.

"I thought after all this going on, they just wanted this thing to go," he said. "It amazes me that they keep doing this. You would think that they would want to avoid all the publicity."

He said he knew Matoesian had voided the judgment against Granite City because he read about it on the Record's website.

"It's a shame," Link said. "I've already wasted a thousand dollars on this and now it looks like I'll have to waste more."

Peach sued Link and Granite City last year. She claimed Link performed cosmetic repairs that hid defects in a house at 9 Briarcliff Dr., and claimed the city should not have issued an occupancy permit.

Water leaked through the roof and damaged the house, Peach alleged.

Link moved to dismiss.

His attorney, Lawrence Taliana of Edwardsville, wrote that Peach based her complaint on an alleged contract but did not attach a copy of it.

Taliana also wrote that Link did not sell the property to Peach.

When Granite City made no response to Peach’s complaint, Peach asked Matoesian for default judgment against the city. Matoesian granted it in July 2004.

He ruled that the purchase price was $70,000, and repairs cost $8,242.50, for a total of $78,242.50. He added $26,016.67 in fees for Peach’s attorney, Thomas Maag of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River.

Peach moved to dismiss Link conditionally. Matoesian granted “partial voluntary dismissal without prejudice,” provided that Link waive any defense under statute of limitations for one year from any order setting aside the default judgment.

Peach then sold the property for $40,000.

Granite City moved to vacate the judgment, arguing that no one answered for the city because the complaint did not pray for relief from the city.

While the motion was pending, the Record reported that Peach did not buy the property.

County records showed that Link sold it to Chad Carpenter, who signed it over to Peach seven months later on a quit claim deed with no money changing hands.

Link told the Record he fixed the house to lease it with an option to buy. He said Peach offered to buy it and gave him a down payment of $20,000 in $20 bills.

Amazed at the sight, Link spread the bills out and photographed them. He provided the Record with a photo of the cash.

He said Peach offered to pay the balance, $48,900, in cash. He said he told her to bring a check or money order to closing.

At closing, Link said, Peach told him Carpenter would buy the house.

Attorney Jane Unsell of Alton, representing Granite City, confirmed the Record’s title search and served notice that she would depose Peach and Carpenter.

Peach and Carpenter moved Matoesian to quash the depositions. Maag argued that discovery cannot proceed after a judge has entered default judgment.

Matoesian quashed the depositions last month, but a few days later he granted Granite City’s motion to vacate the judgment.

Maag, in his motion to reinstate Link, wrote, “Plaintiff wishes to proceed on the merits against both Granite City and Kevin Link.”

Matoesian has not set a hearing on the motion.

More News