CHARLESTON -- A Charleston resident is suing his in-laws after they promised to pay off his home as a gift and then went back on their word.
Aaron Banonis filed a lawsuit May 14 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Martin Gargano and Linda Gargano, citing illegal sale without a valid deed of trust, inadequate sale price, unconscionable inducement, contract defense of promissory estoppel, contract defense of fraud and lack of consideration and wrongful and improper trustee's sale.
Banonis states his former wife's parents paid off their Housing Development Fund mortgage in its entirety so the home on Elizabeth Avenue in South Charleston would be owned free and clear in 2008. To set up the appearance of a financing transaction and avoid a sizable tax liability for the gift, the defendants asked Banonis to sign a non-binding document stating he would make a single payment of $6,411.113 a year toward the principal of $52,000.
The suit alleges Banonis and his wife were divorced and the defendants wanted Banonis to begin making monthly payments of $350 on the home, which would result in his full ownership of the property. According to the brief, Banonis began having trouble making the monthly payments and the defendants caused the home to be foreclosed on for the sum of $20,000.
Banonis is seeking judgment the deed of trust is invalid, award of Banonis's costs, attorney fee and further relief the court deems just.
He is being represented in the case by attorney Jennifer S. Wagner of Mountain State Justice Inc. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie L. Webster.
Kanawha Circuit Court Case No. 14-C-889