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New owners rescue Cameron Home'

By Staff
CHANGING HANDS The fate of this house on 29th Avenue has been uncertain since November 1998, when owner Walter Ocampo Anderson was indicted for Medicaid fraud and all his assets were frozen. Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
By Suzanne Monk/The Meridian Star
Aug. 30, 2001
The foreclosure sale of a house owned by Dr. Walter Ocampo Anderson scheduled to take place today on the steps of the Lauderdale County Courthouse was canceled Tuesday when the property was sold to David and Dana Covert of Meridian.
The house, for many years owned by the late Judge Ben F. Cameron, is in the 3200 block of 29th Avenue. Its recent turbulent history began in November 1998, when Anderson was indicted for six counts of Medicaid fraud.
Attorney General Mike Moore alleged that Anderson fraudulently billed Medicaid for almost $3.75 million between September 1997 and October 1998 about $80,000 a week.
Anderson was arrested Nov. 5, 1998. Two weeks later, an injunction was issued freezing all of Anderson's personal and professional assets.
At that time, Anderson planned to open a home for troubled girls on the property and the house was under renovation. Half-gutted, with interior walls demolished and wiring hanging from ceilings and walls, the house has been empty ever since.
New co-owner David Covert is a teacher at Meridian High School and well-known in the business community as the former owner of the Cock of the Walk restaurant.
Dana Covert was at the house Wednesday, but preferred not to comment about what she and her husband plan to do with the property. David Covert could not be reached for comment.
There were a number of hoops to jump through before the sale could take place the injunction "freezing" the property, the foreclosure by Citizens National Bank and delinquent 1998 property taxes.
Citizens National Bank paid the 1998 taxes on Aug. 9.
Bank officials asked Lauderdale County Circuit Judge Robert Bailey to lift the injunction on the house, allowing them to foreclose. Bailey granted the request in early August, and public notices about the foreclosure sale appeared in The Meridian Star.
Attorney Don Rogers represents Citizens National Bank, and had been involved in arranging the foreclosure.
The "Cameron Home" property includes five adjoining parcels. Attorney Beauchamp Jones, who prepared the deed transferring ownership to the Coverts, said the Coverts bought all the pieces that front 29th Avenue.
According to courthouse officials, the parcel the house sits on has an assessed "true value" of $178,810. It is unknown what the appraisal value is, or what the Coverts paid. Winstead Realty handled the sale.
Meanwhile, Citizens National Bank has completed foreclosure against another property owned by Anderson his former home on Lindley Road. Rogers said the current rental tenants will be moving out over the next few days.
Suzanne Monk is managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3229, or e-mail her at smonk@themeridianstar.com.