A Carruthers & Roth litigator and two of the firm’s clients were featured on a recent episode of the prime time, Emmy-nominated series HOARDERS on A&E Television, a show that seeks to help compulsive hoarders who are in a crisis situation due to their disorder.
The journey to national TV began when Carruthers & Roth attorney Elizabeth Zook helped her clients Michael and Eric Fuko-Rizzo buy the Julian Price House, a 31-room mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The property was being sold by the Bank of America’s troubled asset division after a long and contentious foreclosure proceeding with the prior owner, interior decorator Sandra Cowart.
After extensive negotiations by Zook on her clients’ behalf, the transaction was completed. Carruthers & Roth litigator Pat Haywood then stepped in to help the Fuko-Rizzos take possession of the property, which remained occupied by the former owner.
Though the couple loved their new home, they found all four floors were packed to the ceilings with furniture and other belongings Cowart had hoarded. They knew they faced a massive cleanup before restoration could begin.
With Cowart’s agreement, the Fuko-Rizzos contacted the producers of HOARDERS, who arranged for a team of about 100 experts to empty the home and auction off items of value. The couple compassionately decided any proceeds would benefit Cowart.
Midway through the cleanup process, though, Cowart threatened to sue the Fuko-Rizzos in a bid to regain ownership. Haywood was filmed as he reassured the couple of their legal right to the property and the protections the law provided against the threatened litigation.
“We were pleased to be part of a successful outcome for our clients and can’t wait to see their home returned to its former glory,” Zook says.
The two-hour episode can be viewed online at www.aetv.com/shows/hoarders/season-9/episode-6.