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Dziewit: 'I Wanted The American Dream'

Marine Corps veteran Ronald Dziewit speaks about the events leading up to his standoff with police on Oct. 4.

If someone had asked West Norriton resident Ronald Dziewit if he ever anticipated being in a three-hour armed standoff with police, he would have certainly said "no." Yet that's exactly after a six-year foreclosure battle came to a head on the morning of Oct. 4.

"I wanted the American Dream," said Dziewit, in a recent interview with Norristown Patch. The interview was organized by and Dan Amato, concerned local citizens and bloggers who support Dziewit's cause. Miller and Amato invited Norristown Patch to attend a meeting with Dziewit and several neighbors helping the former Marine to tell his story.

The 20-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps barricaded himself in his former home after Montgomery County Sheriff's deputies attempted to serve him with eviction papers, leading to a tense standoff with police before Dziewit surrendered peacefully three hours later.

"I didn't want things to escalate the way they did, but I was hoping that I'd be able to get my voice out there so people could be aware of what's happening to Americans and veterans," said Dziewit, who viewed the standoff as a last ditch effort to remain in his home on Clearview Avenue.

Indeed, his voice was heard, as neighbors and even total strangers began to rally behind Dziewit, hoping to help uncover how the simple purchase of a home could lead a man down such a desperate path.

"I tried to do the honorable thing," said Dziewit, holding a large stack of financial documents and correspondence. "I was proud and I didn't want to ask for handouts. All I wanted was a help up and when I finally got back on feet, I got knocked down. Every time I got up, I got knocked down again."

The troubles began in 2005 – two years after Dziewit purchased the 1400-square-foot home for $142,000 through a Department of Veterans Affairs-insured mortgage with Wells Fargo. According to Dziewit, he had lost his job and went through a three-month period where his sole source of income was his military pension. After falling behind a few months on his mortgage, he was able to secure gainful employment, but at half the salary he had previously made.

"I was sending payments of half or more, but Wells Fargo sent each check back," said Dziewit. "They said they wanted the entire payment."

Behind on a few payments, Dziewit said he repeatedly attempted to work something out with Wells Fargo and the Department of Veterans Affairs, but found no luck in rectifying the situation. Records show that Dziewit then hired a specialty firm in an attempt to work out a forbearance with Wells Fargo, and that the firm instructed Dziewit to refrain from making any payments until a settlement was reached.

The forbearance agreement that was struck between the firm and Wells Fargo ultimately fell through when Dziewit was unable to submit the required payment.

"They asked for $3,500 plus one month's rent, but I was only able to come up with $3,300 total," said Dziewit. "They [Wells Fargo] wouldn't accept my payment and the forbearance fell apart."

"I asked. I tried. I begged," added Dziewit.

From the point of the failed forbearance agreement, the mortgage then became submerged in a black hole of red-tape, conflicting documents and strange details.

The Department of Veterans Affairs purchased the home from Wells Fargo at sheriff's sale for $1,534 in the summer of 2007. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC – a contractor that managed foreclosed properties for the VA – filed eviction papers in January of 2008, but it is still unclear how Dziewit was able to stay in the home for an additional three-and-a-half years.

Dziewit says he was made aware of the 2008 eviction notice, but he also received two other notices to evict from two other companies.

"This house was foreclosed on three times and it was different people, different mortgage companies, different brokers, different lawyers," said Dziewit. "I'm getting all these lawyers saying that they own this, but I have that and... I was so confused. I had no idea where to go."

In total, Dziewit produced documents from four separate attorneys, three separate banks and three separate property management companies – all claiming to have the rights to the home.

Mired in confusion, Dziewit repeatedly attempted to contact several congressional representatives and senators, but he stated that he received the run-around and that his pleas had fallen on deaf ears.

"I contacted a lot of our elected officials and they just passed the buck," said Dziewit, as he pointed to numerous pages of correspondence featuring congressional seals. "I was not betrayed by my country. I was betrayed the leaders of my country – by the elected officials, by the bureaucrats, by the president on down."

Despite his efforts, Dziewit's former home now stands vacant – still flying his American flag. His brother, Rich, has taken him into his home while he plans his next move, and two of his former neighbors have volunteered to take care of his two dogs until he has found a new place to live.

When asked to look back on his actions during the morning of Oct. 4, Dziewit was remorseful for the worry he had caused.

"I want to apologize to my family and friends," said Dziewit. "I didn't want anyone to get hurt and I wasn't going to hurt anybody out there. I apologize for anything I did out there – scaring them or anything like that – but this shouldn't happen to a dog."

Still, the former Marine has no regrets.

"Do I regret taking that last stand? Honestly, no," said Dziewit. "Someone has to stand up for veterans and letters, faxes, and notes aren't doing anything."

"They say actions speak louder than words," added Dziewit. "I'm a Marine,and I had to take action."

Norristown Patch will continue to follow Ronald Dziewit's story. To hear the retired Marine's plight in his own words, see the emotional video interview posted in our video section.

If you'd like to hear more of Dziewit's story, you can see a longer version of the interview conducted by bloggers Ruth Miller and Dan Amato on Amato's YouTube page.

Joe The Nerd Ferraro October 17, 2011 at 07:04 PM
How do we forclose on WellsFargo?
Joan Anton October 17, 2011 at 07:51 PM
This man gave 20 years of his life for his country... OUR country! I can't believe we treat our veterans this way. It's disgraceful!!!
James Myers (Editor) October 17, 2011 at 09:41 PM
Blogger Dan Amato has posted this account of Ron Dziewit's battle with banks and mortgage companies on his blog Diggers Realm (http://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/archives/003534.html). The post includes an expanded video of Ruth Miller's conversation with Dziewit.
Mr Frank Emele October 18, 2011 at 10:32 AM
As a former gov't public servent I have seen so much wasted money on inept programs where tax payers dollars spin down a drain. What ever happed to the American Dream? I can tell you it is dispicable and deplorable what they do to the veterans that have served with dignity and reverence. I, myself have been victimized by the VA and denied compensation for cancer from Agent Orange. I feel the injustice from my fellow veteran. There should be government intervention to stop all this nonsense with the banks and corporate America. All the billions spent on wars and death. There had to be some program that exists to help this man. I read a blog where a common citizin offered to help him? Think about that? God Bless America..........but let's take care of our own!
Christopher King October 18, 2011 at 11:22 AM
I am a former Title Insurance Producer and spoke with folks helping Mr. Dziewit. I have some comments here that I am posting to Neil Garfield's Living Lies as well: http://mortgagemovies.blogspot.com/2011/10/as-kingcastmortgage-movies-heads-off-to.html TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2011 As KingCast/Mortgage Movies heads off to Nashua PD today remember this: There have been zero prosecutions of corporate officers for forgery or robo-signing mortgage documents. ..... So naturally I sent Mr. Dziewit this case showing how Phelan Hallinan and Citi got spanked by the Administrative Process in a foreclosure action, Citi v. Paules York Cty. 2011-SU-1542-06. I'm going to say it right up front: Some of these courts and judges might as well be getting direct payments from the banks for all of the "Justice" that they dispense. And that is precisely what the 99% ers are all about. We may be tired, but we are indefatigable.
Francine Graglia October 18, 2011 at 02:30 PM
Joe, I am with you on this! I recently refinanced and unfortunately is it was Wells Fargo. I decided to change my homeowners insurance, my broker sent them notice of my new policy. Two weeks later I get a letter in the mail that they wrote me a new policy thru Wells (how convenient!) AND took $700.00 from my escrow account to pay for it! How much time and money was spent doing this when all they had to do was make a courtesy call to me? I will help organize the foreclosure on them :) Can you say corrupt??
Joe October 18, 2011 at 05:50 PM
I just closed my accounts with WF!
Mr Frank Emele October 19, 2011 at 10:35 AM
And the American Flag is still flying at his home as of yesterday. What a kind gesture to leave it on the property or maybe it was left as a rememberence for his countribution to the Marine Corp. What a sad situation..
Francine Graglia October 19, 2011 at 11:35 AM
This should make national news...we need to let the public know how our tax dollars for bail outs are being spent. As a past Realtor I have seen how these banks handle short sales...it is all about the greed! The stories would surely enlighten....
Rene October 20, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Veterans who were discharged, retired or killed in action as of yesterday and everyday are treated the same way. They no longer matter, not one bit . This great country of ours does not care one bit about any of us. "What have you done for me today" is their only agenda. I have 3 honorable discharges on the wall and served with 3 of my children at the same time. Two of us are disabled, with myself unable to work any longer. It is an never-ending story of power and greed that will never change. My heart goes out to Ronald Dziewit and the rest of the veterans past and present. They forget who taught us to how fight and kill ...for them. Now we're not supposed to fight and be killed ....by them.
Joe October 20, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Rene, it is not just you, this is not about just vets or any single group. I have been there too. We are not fighting capitalism we are fighting greed and corruption at every level of government. And stupidity!
Joe October 20, 2011 at 08:16 PM
But I ask all of you bloggers, when was the last time you picked up the phone and complained to your elected representative?
Rene October 20, 2011 at 08:44 PM
Joe, Trust me, I have been there and done that. I can show you letters from 3 different ( 2 senators/1rep ) politicians I enlisted for my cause. I know this is not about "just me" or "just veterans" , however it begs the question...What are all the good citizens of the country waiting for ??? It takes someone that knows how to fight to sound the alarm. The rest of "you" just sit on your hands and wait for someone else to do it for them. Then the media claims " the vets are crying again". If not us ..who then ??? I dare anyone to take on the establishment the way we have to. All due respect.. if you have not been there ( in the service ) then how can you know our fight. I urge all citizens to stand up and join with the veterans and stop this now.
Joe October 20, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Rene, I don't need to wear the uniform to fight the fight, I have run for office, written more letters, attended more rallies and will continue to fight for the average American. What will it take? I really don't know that answer. I am 53 and never thought I would see this country go down this fast. Keep your head up and fight the fight, while we may not see the solution we know what it is!
Joe October 20, 2011 at 08:49 PM
What the politicians hope is that we Americans will continue to fight over abortion, gay marriage and a host of other insignificant issues while they continue to rob us blind. But Rene, whenever suggests ANY solutions, everyone says, "NOT ME"
Joe October 20, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Rene, what is it that you think is owed to you? Don't you get disability, health care? I am seriously asking this, what r u trying to get that they will not give you?
Ruby Evans October 21, 2011 at 12:44 AM
I am a former marine and can't stand this kind if dictatorship.When are we gonna get enough and take our country back people?
william morris October 21, 2011 at 05:50 PM
It's time for we the people to take our country back, The goverment and all of the people in washington don't give a rats ass about anybody but who is lineing there pockets. Every last one of them needs to be done away with, and start this country fresh again , And make it For he People & By the People, And stop all the Aid to these country that wish we were dead anyway. Bring all our troops home and protect our borders and shoot the first one that comes across the border. What do you think happens when you try and get into mexico eligle, go strait to jail, It's time to stop everything and clean House & Senate
Joe October 21, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Bravo!
Ruthiness October 22, 2011 at 01:27 AM
Want to really get sick to your stomach? I found out that the Office of Veterans Affairs launched an outreach to help homeless vets - just ONE WEEK after they forcibly evicted Ron from his home after a six year battle and NO HELP from the VA. In fact, the plaintiff evicting him is the Secretary of Veterans Affairs - Eric T Shinseki. http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2180 In that press release above from October 12th he said this: “Those who have served this nation as Veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. What total hypocrisy!
Ronald October 24, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Thank you soooooo much Mr Secretary. It only took me six long years and thousands of dollars my health,and my first and second amenment rights to bring this to your attention. Now I am homeless with a bad credit rating and away from my two dogs. Do you know how much pets mean to a vet with PTSD? I think not. For 20 years I was willing to lay down my life for this great country. And now I am laying down my life for my fellow vets. This adminastration is a disgrace to this country and its vets. I would also like to thank congressman Meheen and senator Casey for all thier help I did not get. But I would like to thank all the people and espicaly Ruth for your help and support. I ask you all to call your elected officals and ask them what are they going to do now, and demand an investigation into the VA. Thank you Ronald
concerned October 29, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Hey Ronald. I am so sorry for all that you went through and just want to thank you for serving our country. I know how you feel missing your children, meaning the dogs. I wish that I was able to get you a new house. I am playing the lottery in honor of you. I cant express how sad I feel that you are going through and also why these elected officials couldnt help you. I am proud of my country but our officials are disappointing and another election is coming up. You think that one of these officials would fight for YOU and the VETS. I sincerely hope that it will be soon that you will find a home and get your kids back and also heal from all this hurt. We love you Ronald and be strong.
Family member March 01, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Just saw Ron's house is on the market for $116,000.00 let all chip in and buy it back for him. We all say we wanted to help,lets put our best effort forth and get this done.

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