Denise Mitsuma is free and clear of the mold-filled home at 19 Walker Farm Lane in Barrington.
Ownership of the home was transferred to the Rhode Island Housing Mortgage and Finance Corporation after a closing on May 8, according to a warranty deed filed in Barrington Town Hall.
Mitsuma got back what she paid for the home last fall -- $210,000, according to the deed, of which $42,000 was her down payment. She also got her $6,500 in closing costs reimbursed, said Steve Martin, chairman of the Barrington Housing Board of Trustees. But nothing else.
Mitsuma said previously that she had around $24,000 in expenses related to living elsewhere while trying to get West Elmwood to buy back the home.
Other details of the settlement reached between Mitsuma, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, which owns the affordable housing development, and RIHMFC, which provided the cash, remain undisclosed.
Indeed, Mitsuma reportedly signed a confidentially agreement as part of the closing, which Martin called a “gag order.”
Attempts to reach the two principals in the settlement, Mitsuma, and Sharon Conrad-Wells, the executive director of West Elmwood, were unsuccessful. Phone messages left for them were not returned.
Barrington Town Manager Peter DeAngelis Jr., who served as kind of a broker for the settlement by suggesting that RIHMFC provide the cash for West Elmwood to repurchase the house, also said he preferred not to comment on the settlement right now.
Final agreement on the settlement came several months after it was first suggested by DeAngelis. In the meantime, Mitsuma moved all of the personal belongings she could save out of the home on March 16. She said on that day that her attorney, Greg Carrara of Barrington, asked her to no longer make any public comment about her plight.
The mold sprouted in 19 Walker Farm Lane after the basement of the home off of County Road near Hundred Acre Cove filled with a foot of water several weeks after she moved into it late last fall. Mitsuma began to clash immediately with West Elmwood about cleaning up the house and making it healthy and habitable again. See Patch story.
Martin said in March at a Housing Board meeting that Rhode Island Housing had agreed in principle to provide the money to repurchase the house. But West Elmwood appeared to be dragging its feet.
Mistuma is living in Little Compton, according to the address on the deed. Her 10-year-old daughter is a student at St. Luke’s School in Barrington, the primary reason she moved to Walker Farm Lane.
West Elmwood now must make the house marketable again, Martin said to the Housing Board. In developing property, he said, there are always risks. The 150-year rainstorm that caused the flooding last fall became one of them.
“I’ve reviewed the civil engineering,” Martin said. “Everything looks like it was done okay. Nobody is at fault. We may never see a rainstorm like that again.”
But state law says a buyer of a new home “has a right to expect habitability,” he said. “This house is not habitable.”
The rest of the board agreed that the situation was West Elmwood’s problem -- a problem the nonprofit did not handle well.
“We’re working through this,” Martin said then. “But West Elmwood is going to have to step up.”
The corporation apparently finally did step up with the help of RI Housing.