26. July 2008 · 35 comments · Categories: General

By:  Lynn Green

 Picture of the Harpers from AJC newspaper


UPDATE #1:  7/29/08After you read this article, GO HERE to read my update. My investigation uncovered the source from which the Harpers borrowed their money. It appears that they borrowed it from a street corner-type establishment called CASH EXPRESS, rather than borrowing from a bank.

Have you ever heard the proverb, “Money in the hands of a fool is soon departed”? Well it is indeed true. That proverb comes from a scripture in the bible.

Most of you are familiar with the show, Extreme Makeover. Back in 2005 the Harper family won an extreme makeover home, beating out 15,000 applicants. In addition, they were given enough money to pay taxes on it for 25 years.

These people were on easy street. All they had to do was take their behinds to work and enjoy the home they were blessed with. Would you believe that these two backwards individuals are in foreclosure now?

They decided to start a construction business. They took out a $450,000 loan, using the house as collateral and the house is scheduled to go on the auction block. Why would they have gambled like that on a “construction” business when they clearly did not know what they were doing—PLUS the housing industry is in a slump right now anyway!

Do I feel sorry for them? Absolutely not. They were given every opportunity. Do you know that with $450,000 they could have purchased a franchise? Franchises are turn key businesses which have a greater probability of success because it’s already in existence. You just purchase it and are trained to work it. What made them think that they had the business minds to start a construction company from scratch? Were they out of their minds? 

The picture above, taken from AJC newspaper, is the beautiful home that the Harpers lost. The home was FREE and CLEAR…even the taxes were taken care of

Gone. Just like that they have lost everything. The bible is always right. Money in the hands of a fool is soon departed!

Reference:  AJC newspaper

Hat tip to Ginny for story lead


  1. You have got to be kidding me!

  2. I wish I were kidding!

  3. I remember when this aired and I felt really good for these morons. It is very dangerous to use your house as a piggybank for such great amounts. The construction market in the Atlanta area was in the early stages of decline in 2005 and it has certainly gone belly-up now. “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

  4. Well, what can we say to these things?… “Stupid is, as stupid does”, that’s also a proverb in the Bible. Proverb chapter 12: verse 1: “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but the person who hates reproof is brutish(stupid).

    I’m sure these people were warned by family and friends against such foolish actions, but they being full of pride wouldn’t listen to good counsel. Pride then the fall, that’s also in the Bible. I suppose now they would that the public send money to help them???…

    Hey, Lynn… what’s in your pocket?…don’t forget to put your check in the mail to help these poor down and out people :)… this is totally crazzee!!

  5. The worse thing that could happen for these people is that someone bail them out. They need to fully feel the impact of their ignorance.

    No way, Evangelist. I’ll keep my pennies in my pocket.

  6. They made the front page news ( AJC) here today in the ATL. I wish you could have heard him on the radio……… hideing behind God. Just sickning, and shameful.

    I just unpacked some boxes, I’m going to take them down to them (boxes) so they can have something to sleep on under a bridge because anybody that STUPID needs to be under a bridge (except their poor children).

    Hicktowner’s let have a card board box collection fund for them

  7. Wow!

  8. Ginny,

    How was he hiding behind God? I hope he was not saying it was God’s will for him to lose his house.

  9. Ginny, That’s funny! I have empty two boxes ready to send… hiding behind God? Lynn, you know the only thing these kind of people say when exposed or caught in their own mess… “God told me(us) to start a business. First of all, I really don’t believe they took $450,000, to start a construction business, I think they were borrowing money on that house from jump-street for foolishness.

    Where in the missst did they start their construction company… on Wall Street? Wait, this guy was trying to be the Black Donald Trump!… PLEEEASE! He would have gained more had he used that money and started a church… I bet they didn’t even tithe, whether under the old or new covenant, they still weren’t givers. I’m so disguested!… it HAD to be one of our people who received the blessing, only to throw it away!!!!!! Fuss when we don’t receive, and when we do, we lose it all by foolish decisions.

    When Lawd, will we, as a Black people learn money management skills, financial planning, how to properly investment in a product or companies that will bring long turn profit, and live within our means especially, when children are involved. And MOST IMPORTANTLY… how to maintain, sustain, upkeep, and protect that which You have blessed us with! When Lawd… when?!

  10. This is crazy. I read yesterday that they were $600,000 in debt, but still if your house was paid for and the taxes to boot, they should have been able to invest time, effort and a portion of their salaries into their ‘vision.’ This really makes no sense and they had to have seen somewhere early on that this vision was not going to work and should have given up at that point, not wait until they were this much in the hole.

  11. I hope they are not putting themselves in the place of people who had real problems like a car accident that left them seriously injured and now they can’t pay for their mortage. This was plain foolishness. My momma used to say at dinner time, ‘Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach’. Take only what you need not what you want. they bit off more than they could chew and unfortunately rolaids won’t help.

  12. They could have used that money to

    take themselves to school,

    invest in a hedge fund(they never lose money),

    buy a franchise(as Lynn said),

    buy a rental property(cause no ones buying anymore),

    Or they could have got a job at Wal-mart.

    They had a perfect set up to live happily ever after and they managed to mess it up.

    I pray that they learn from this.

  13. As my grandmother used to say, Stupid is, as stupid does!!! I wish people would stop hiding behind God or blaming Him for everything! Stand up and just say we screwed up!!

  14. Why is it the financially challenged and the alcoholic toothless wonders seem to always hit the jackpot? Why y’all?

  15. “Money in the hands of a fool is soon departed”? These two certainly qualify. WT?!! Did somebody run a con job on these two? Please tell me thay did not think of this on their own.

  16. This is BEYOND sad! These people should be embarrassed of themselves!! This is utter FOOLISHNESS!!! I just can’t beleive what i am READING!!

  17. I don’t know how true this is, but if so, then I hope they have learned from their mistakes.


  18. To everyone,

    I agree wholeheartedly with you comments. I am barely able to pay my rent. If I had gotten a house for literally free and the taxes were paid for 25 years, I NEVER would touch it.

    I heard about this in passing. So, I googled about them and read the brief synopsis online. Okay, this family had a terrible tragedy with the child choking. Fine, no one understood how, or was able to do the heimlich maneuver.

    Next, they buy proprerty in GA. Again, they were not aware they needed to investigate hiring a house inspector and review any records with insurance companies of previous claims. They don’t review anything regarding mortgage types and, look into any other alternative houses. “This is the one for them!”

    Next, they encounter the problems with the sewage. Did they seek out plumbers, contractors or anyone? No, THEY TRIED TO FIX it themselves but couldn’t, and were living in their minivan.

    Extreme Makeover rescues them. The house is theirs free and clear. There are no troubles, no problems with the house, the taxes, nor the land surrounding it.

    They take out a loan on the only thing that isn’t messed up, for a “business loan” for construction.

    This is where it gets fishy and doesn’t sound right and makes you go back to the beginning and review. They bought a house that was damaged, any buddy in construction/real estate could easily detect water damage. Unless, there was no damage previously.

    If there had been such an extensive amount of damage, what did the previous owners do? Did they live in the house when they sold it to them? Or, were they removed from the house? If they had been out, it was easier to see water and especially sewage damage, the smell alone can’t easily be cleaned.

    Why was this something that “all of a sudden” befalled on them? Them living in the minivan has me wondering about this. If by law, a housing inspector had ok’d the house, and, the real estate agent on the deal perhaps knowingly did not disclose the damage, they could have easily sued. But they didn’t. Again, something bothered me about this…..until.

    What was that business loan for? Construction? He was going to open up or run a construction company? Why? He wasn’t knowledgeable enough to detect sewage and water damage. Nor, was he able to repair and remedy it. This is a terrible thought, but maybe, they damaged the home purposely to get onto extreme makeover and used it as a way to get $450,000.

    In this day and age where subprime lenders have been shown to go after poor people especially minorities, they should have known better. business loan? No. They wanted to fit the image that the house was. Their egos got the worst of them, they wanted to not only have a million dollar home, but the money to go with it.

    God loves us all, but God was not the reason this happened, greed and vanity is what happened. God gave them that house and the devil took it away.

  19. Sorry folks but I can’t lay all the blame at these people’s feet…

    They bought a wreck of a house to begin with so they didn’t prove to be very bright BEFORE they got a new home worth a half-million dollars so what would make anyone believe they got any smarter AFTER they were handed a half-million dollars? I don’t believe this is as much a case of bad intentions as much as it is a case of lack of education so I can’t be mad at them for not having the perspective to know how screwed up they really are. I’m sure they were motivated to do “good things” but just lacked the right toolset to do so.

    People are suggesting that they should have invested in hedge funds and other foolishness – WRONG! I bet if you asked the majority of American’s they wouldn’t have a clue of what a hedge fund is! I may be stereotyping but they don’t seem like the type that would have trust-fund babies as friends (and for you politically-correct types please don’t go off on a tangent thinking that remark was meant to disparage Black people since I happen to be Black myself!).

    I agree that they were better off just sitting on the money in the house since they obviously didn’t receive sound financial advice but I can’t help but surmise that they might have received bad advice from either unscrupulous “friends” or others who were just as clueless as themselves. Furthering this hypothesis, they probably got the idea to get a loan on the house from someone who may have benefitted from the transaction – a partner perhaps who had a fledgling construction business? Were there assets purchased for this business? Did they salaries? Where did all that money go in such a short time? Either way I’m sure somebody else made out quite well by preying on the Harper’s guillability and probably their trust.

    Basically I think these people are victims as much as they are at fault for their lack of knowledge and understanding. If being “unintellectual” were a crime then many most of us would have already been locked up (including the US Government for their current $490B bogey but here I go off on a tangent again!).

  20. Okay, let me understand… This family applied for help from Extreme Makeover in 2005, beat out 15000 applicants and then proceeded in the span of 3 years, lost everything. My question is then why does Extreme Makeover not including a clause that says that they will not place the house up for collaterol? Also, is there some policy in place as to the financial capability of the individuals once they have received possession of these homes? I am not blaming Extreme Makeover or Beazer, but what research is done on how these individuals ended up in these circumstances in the first place. I can understand how death causes homes to be fragmented and income removed, but as I watched many of the shows, I think they weighed heavy in the emotional, but not the realistic. I often wondered what became of the individuals that received this type of help. My thoughts always turned to if someone gave me anything just because I asked without expecting any effort, then it could not possibly last.

  21. 501Venus, Wupee, and Trinityme3, welcome to Hicktown! All three of you make excellent points that give us food for thought.

  22. All are excellent points and I agree with 501Venus in that if these folks couldn’t realize from the beginning that the home they were buying was uninhabitable, how could they suddenly go into the construction business? Pookie ‘nem must have been breathing hard down their necks after they got on the show and got the $$ and house “wif da great ideas.”

    After watching this video, It was just even more apparent that education was lacking and so were teeth as noted in Energize’s earlier comment.


  23. Please refer to Malachi 3 verse 6-9. Enough said… Although I am curious as to what kind of vehicles they may have now? Like someone else typed.. seems like they wanted to show out…Our people die due to lack of knowledge…..God makes very clear the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience. Open the book…. Read…. Learn…. Let’s show ourselves approved!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Welcome to Hicktown, Infiniteworth!

  25. It is not right to judge everyone makes mistakes. This family just did not do the right thing and now they are paying for it. God does things for a reason. God giveth and he takes away. So don’t jugde this family because you never know what can happend to you. This is just an important lesson, never do things that you might regret in the future because they will come back ot haunt you. I would love to have lived in the home but i’m not going to hinder my blessings by telling someone else that they are stupid for what they did.

  26. Map,

    First of all,GOD has nothing to do with the foolish mistakes that the Harpers made. Let’s not put this on God, okay?

    God is not cruel enough to TAKE a family’s home, knowing they need a place for shelter and well being.

    I don’t need to judge the Harpers. Their ignorance if obvious.

  27. I think the bible verse “money in the hands of a fool (ignorant, unlearned, not wise) will soon depart” pretty much sums up this whole incident.

    I myself will not judge them because I’ve made some stupid mistakes myself when it came to money due to a “lack of knowledge”. But I took responsibilty for my actions and DID NOT BLAME GOD nor others. I also learned from those mistakes and got on a path to educate myself when it comes to financial matters. It is hard when you weren’t taught how to correctly handle money, but in the midst of getting knowledge, sometimes there are some hard lessons to learn. The key is to learn from your mistakes and if you are ever blessed to have such an opportunity again, try not to blow it.

    I pray they will not end up homeless and in the midst of it all, they get knowledge and education when it comes to financial matters.

  28. This is a sad situation. So sad. But we shouldn’t kick a person when they’re down. We never know what position life will have us in later down the road even when using good sense. Pray for them.

  29. bdavy,

    Nothing agitates me more than having someone come in here telling folks who to pray for. I pick and choose my own prayer list. If you desire to pray for them, fine, but don’t tell anyone else who to pray for. That’s not your place. And no one here is kicking them. They kicked their own selves via their ignorance.

  30. I know that this is likely an archived blog by now and perhaps none of you read it, but I stumbled on this blog when reading about these people and it made me so frustrated and angry. I’m shocked that so many of you are spouting verses from the bible and in the same breath berating fellow humans in such a scathing manner, particularly the one from Ginny, who suggests these people now deserve to live on the street. They deserve to be homeless because they made poor financial decisions? Doesn’t sound like a Godly perspective to me.

    First of all, you can’t trust everything you read in the media.

    Secondly, whilst these people were quite obviously stupid and reckless to use such a gift the way they did, making stupid mistakes or being naive or ignorant to certain dangers when you feel blessed doesn’t make a person less God fearing or even less worthy in the first place. Yes there are bible principles which could’ve been applied here that would’ve prevented these things and it’s evident that they were carried away with the thought of what they could have. But humans are prone to err, we make mistakes, sometimes and definitely in this case big ones. If the level of “black or white” judgement leveled on this blog was used by God then nobody would stand a chance.

    I would also add that a lack of education or teeth for that matter has little to do with a person’s worth or standing before their God.

    All I’ve heard here (apart from a select few) is self satisfied hypocrisy and straight up cruelness. Surely in this case the passages about brotherly affection, forgiveness and sympathy would be more applicable? Perhaps the majority of you have failed to read them.

  31. Interesting oobs, how you roll up in here and accuse everyone of hypocrisy and of berating these individuals, yet you begin your second full paragraph saying, “whilst these people were quite obviously stupid….”

    You obviously have a lot of time you your hands. Why not spend it on another blog, where they have time to entertain your foolishness.

  32. I did have time on my hands this morning as it happens. I apologize if I caused any offense,

    If you finish the sentence you quoted you’ll see I was referring to what they did as opposed to them as individuals. But you’re right, I should’ve said “whilst their actions were quite obviously stupid and reckless”.

    I would point out though that I didn’t accuse everyone of hypocrisy, there were, as I said, a select few who seemed to have a balanced view. However the majority of comments, in my opinion, were very harsh and derogatory, which I found to be hypocritical since the Bible was being so heavily quoted and there wasn’t much forgiveness or empathy being offered for people of a fellow faith in such a distressing situation. I find it frustrating that so many professed Christians are very quick to use scripture to point out another’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Stones and glass houses come to mind, since we’re all full of faults and time and unforeseen occurrence befall us all.

    Interesting to me how you chose to gloss over the actual content of my post with defensiveness. Still you’re right, i did just roll up here and since it seems different opinions are written off as mere foolishness here in HicksTown, you’re right I think my time would be better spent elsewhere.

  33. Oobs,

    There are over 20,000,000 blogs on the internet. Please go visit one of them since Hicktown obviously is not the blog for you.


  34. Pingback: HicktownPress » Blog Archive » The Harper Family from Extreme Makeover in Foreclosure Again

  35. Only God can judge them. Oh, and EvangelistET too, I guess. It’s between them and God. None of your business. They didn’t lose YOUR money.

  36. Brown, I’m curious as to why you signed a thread from 2008? I could see if there is new information on them but you did not mention anything new.