By Diane Madigan
Independent Court Reporter
Disbarred attorney Thomas A. White, who stopped making land contract payments on his family’s home in Van Buren Township last June and was facing eviction, promised a judge on Jan. 16 that he will “pay to stay” in the house.
White has a 90-day redemption period — until April 14 — to come up with $36,355.18. If White fails to pay, he will be evicted.
Robert Coppock, who built the $360,000 home for White, White’s wife Heather and Coppock’s wife Gloria all signed the Oct. 10, 2006 land contract agreement White drew up. Recently the Coppocks filed a Land Contract summons to recover missed payments, interest and back taxes on the home.
According to Wayne County records, the home is now in forfeiture because the Whites didn’t pay the taxes.
White, 46, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last July, a few days after being disbarred for inappropriately taking money from clients.
After Coppock filed a request with the Bankruptcy Court to get his house back, Bankruptcy Judge Thomas J. Tucker removed the house from White’s automatic bankruptcy stay on creditors allowing Coppock to go after White for back payments and unpaid taxes. The house is at 41305 Savage Road, Van Buren Township.
Judge Tucker’s order said the approximate market value of the property now is $260,000 and the current debt owing is about $306,688, which includes unpaid property taxes, the Coppocks’ attorney fee and costs for filing the motion.
On Jan. 16, Coppock’s attorney Steven P. Robinson met with White in a private conference room at 34th District Court in Romulus. According to Robinson, White who came to court alone, agreed to the figures in a “pay-to-stay” agreement.
The agreement was then entered into the record before Judge Brian A. Oakley. A consent default was filed with the court since White’s estranged wife Heather failed to appear after being summoned to the court session.
And, Judge Oakley ordered the motion to set aside the 10-day statuary provision to file an appeal.
White is also facing 20 felony charges including one count of conducting a Criminal Enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.
Thirty-five instances were cited on this charge in the warrant for a total of more than $940,000. On this charge alone, if convicted, White could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
White is scheduled to appear at 34th District Court on Feb. 26 for preliminary examinations in all the cases to see if there is probable cause that felony crimes occurred and the defendant committed them. If there is probable cause, the cases are bound over to circuit court for arraignment on the information and possible trial.
He is currently out on a personal recognizance bond of $100,000 set by Judge Oakley.
White also is scheduled to appear at a Divorce Settlement Conference/Trial set for 9 a.m. Feb. 6 before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Arthur J. Lombard. White’s wife Heather Lea White filed for divorce Nov. 1.
White was an attorney with offices at 35 Main Street, Belleville, for 20 years until he was disbarred July 15 for stealing from his clients. He declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy a few days later.
By Diane Madigan