By Charla Young
(LOUISVILLE, May 13th, 2004, 3 p.m.) -- A woman blind since birth had her dream of owning her own home turned into a nightmare. Lois June Jackson always wanted to own her own home. She finally bought one, but says the man she bought it from took advantage of her disability, selling her an overpriced home that was falling apart. She called WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Charla Young for help.
Lois Jackson says she's always wanted one thing in life more than any other: "I wanted a house with an upstairs, a front and back porch, and all that stuff."
In September 2002, Lois thought her dream came true. But it didn't. Her dream home turned into a nightmare. After she moved bought the house, she found out its vinyl siding is different colors. There are holes in the walls, no insulation, and exposed pipes. Some floor boards look ready to collapse.
That's not all. The sump pump is on dirt cellar floor, the chimney is falling into the living room, and the back of the house is becoming separated from the front. And the worst for Lois was the bath tub, which sits in a pile of dirt. "I felt like I was washing in filth. "I felt totally degraded at that point.
All this after $10,000 worth of renovations. So, how did Lois end up buying such a house? She said a couple of people told her they wanted to help her. "They seemed very interested in me, they had said they wanted to sell to a visually impaired person."
Those people were Michael Mackin, a real estate owner, and his sister, Mary Richie.
Lois says whenever she requested a time slot for sighted friends and family to see the house, "they were not available to show it to him on days he was off."
Now Lois feels betrayed and ripped off. "They used my need to trust and the fact that I really wanted a home and scammed me. "To be perfectly honest, I felt so stupid."
When Lois expressed her concerns with Mackin she says he told her that with "any old home, you're gonna have to expect to do some repairs."
In search of answers, we visited Mackin's sprawling Mockingbird Valley estate in person. The man who answered the door told us he was housesitting for Mackin who was in Atlanta. He said he knew nothing about Mackin's real estate ventures or how to contact him.
Mackin had an interviewed scheduled with WAVE 3 on May 7, but canceled. He hasn't returned our calls since. But in a brief conversation last week, he had this to say: "I own millions of dollars in real estate. There's no possible way I could know every nook and cranny about each one."
But Lois June says Mackin showed her the house and was there for the closing. "I have absolutely no doubt that I was used."
The Troubleshooter asked the Kentucky Board of Real Estate Appraisers to put a range value on the home. Dave Glauber from Roppel Appraisal helped us. He found major structural damage. "Bear in mind this is a floor joist," he said. "This is what holds up the house. You shouldn't be able to move those, but yet the whole thing has been eaten by termites and has fallen in."
Not surprising for Lois June who says Mackin should pay for ruining her life. "I think that he should be made to know he can never do that to another visually impaired person again."
No criminal charges have been filed against Mackin. Lois's one-year period to sue Mackin in civil court after purchasing a home is now up. And, even if it wasn't, she says she can't afford an attorney.
Adult Protective Services is now investigating the case and trying to offer assistance, but this is a big problem that will not go away easily. As for Mackin, we're still trying to contact him.
Online Reporter: Charla Young