California Bidding War Becomes Homebuyer’s Worst Nightmare

California Bidding War Becomes Homebuyer’s Worst Nightmare

A bidding war can be a stressful time for all parties involved, but when you lose the house of your dreams, the stress can easily turn to despair. As recently reported, it’s clear that some people just cannot cope with loss as well as others. For prospective homebuyer, Kathy Rowe, she turned her loss into a nightmare for a couple of new homeowners.

bidding-wars-spark-real-estate-housing-boom-realtor-south-florida-potential-homebuyer-buyer-sellerSoon after Jerry Rice and Janice Ruhter bought their dream home in San Diego’s upscale Carmel Valley in the fall of 2011, bizarre things started happening. Their home was mysteriously listed for sale on the Internet, their mail suddenly stopped over Christmas, and they were inundated with over $1,000 worth of magazines and books they had not ordered.

On Valentine’s Day, an angry neighbor confronted Rice, asking him why he was sending a Valentine’s Day card to his wife. At least eight of his neighbors’ wives received similar cards.

Then, Rice typed his wife’s name into an Internet search engine and discovered the annoying pranks had morphed into something far more sinister. Advertisements for sex with his wife popped up, and someone had posted an ad inviting strangers to their home address for a “Carmel Valley Freak Show.”

They knew they were a target but didn’t know by whom.

Following the series of incidents, Rice reported these incidents to the police, and a few months later, Kathy Rowe, a former San Diego “Mother of the Year,” was arrested. Rowe was eventually charged with two felony counts of solicitation of rape and sodomy and misdemeanor counts, including harassment.

According to San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Brendan McHugh, Rowe had become angry after the young couple outbid her on the $700,000-plus house she wanted, and orchestrated a sinister plot to exact revenge.

While the behavior was originally considered harassment, it quickly became apparent that Rowe’s behavior went beyond just that. In email correspondences with men, Rowe, posing as Ruhter, wrote that she had fantasies of being raped while her husband was at work.

“I love to be surprised and have a man just show up at my door and force his way in the door and on me, totally taking me while I say no,” she wrote to one man who responded to her posting.

Last November, she pleaded guilty to a stalking charge. Earlier this year, Rowe, 53, was sentenced to a year of home electronic surveillance, five years of probation, and ordered to stay away from the couple for 10 years.

Have you or anyone you know experienced harassment from disgruntled clients after losing a bid? What are your thoughts?

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