By Karen Brainard
After striving to save his home from foreclosure and now forced to move, a Ramona man shares his series of missteps and warns of scams.
Peter “Coach Pete” Zindler, a self-avowed Christian, said he was too trusting and takes much of the blame for what happened.
“This is an incredibly smooth scam job. I’m a trusting individual,” he said. “We trusted this lady—that was the big mistake.”
Zindler, a writer, assistant pastor at A Touch From Above, and volunteer wrestling coach at Ramona High School, in addition to his job as a port engineer for the U.S. Department of the Navy, has lived in his house in San Diego Country Estates for over 20 years. He, his wife Adelaide, and their 7-year-old daughter Adrielle will be moving to the country of Bahrain in a month.
According to the 60-year-old Zindler, their financial plight began when they sank money into Adelaide’s self-published book, “Fearless Parenting,” to market it nationwide after it received local media coverage.
“I believed in the book. She got a publicist, photographer and editor, and it didn’t take off,” he said. “That’s what got us in a financial bind.”
Zindler said he had two loans on the house and had been trying to seek loan modifications from the banks, but they wouldn’t help him. When he could not make his mortgage payments, Zindler said someone advised him that if he became three months behind, the banks would listen. Instead, the banks tacked on penalties and threatened to foreclose, he said.
The advice of waiting was wrong, he noted.
“That was the first mistake.”
According to Zindler, Adelaide belonged to an organization in Los Angeles where she met a woman who identified herself as a consultant and a Christian and said she could help. He said they met with her, prayed with her, and paid her $9,000. They never signed a contract with her.
The consultant took the Zindlers to a lawyer in Orange County and they paid him $5,000. After about three months, Zindler said the consultant told them the lawyer was unsuccessful in obtaining loan modifications. When Zindler went back to the lawyer’s office, he found it empty.
“It seemed to me the woman was doing all she could to keep us in our house,” said Zindler. “This lady alleviated this great weight from my shoulders. In hindsight, I should have just filed bankruptcy.”
That’s what Zindler ended up doing after hiring a lawyer in San Diego. However, the bank with his first loan began foreclosure proceedings.
“The banks are completely unsympathetic,” he said.
As he was struggling through this, Zindler said his boss told him of an opening in Bahrain. Three months later, after learning of foreclosure, Zindler said he asked his boss about the position and was surprised to find it was still available.
“I really believe God held it for me,” he said.
With the new job offering a housing allowance and a car, the Zindlers see the opportunity as a blessing and a way to get back on their feet. But, Zindler added, he is sad about leaving the high school wrestling team.
“I love the wrestlers and I’ll miss them more than anything else,” said the coach.