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Foreclosure defense lawyer says he will give away free home for best 'tear-jerker' essay

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A Florida foreclosure defense lawyer says he will give away a free home to a person who writes a “tear-jerker” essay explaining the need.

Lawyer Mark Stopa announced his plans to give away the home in a blog post, WTSP and WFLA report. So far he has received dozens of letters.

“You pick up one and you think nobody can possibly have it worse than that,” Stopa told WTSP. “You’re tearing up and then the next one is somehow worse. It’s just so sad what people live through or are living through.”

His inspiration for the home giveaway, Stopa wrote on his blog, came from his 8-year-old son Markus, who asked one day, “Why can’t you give away a house, Daddy?”

“Well, Markus, I can,” Stopa said in the blog post.

He will give a home away, free and clear, to a Florida resident who agrees to live there. The winner will be chosen by Stopa and his three children based on essays from would-be homeowners that are postmarked by Tuesday, Dec. 23, he said in a later blog post. Stopa will choose the home after selecting a winner.

The essays must be 200 words or less. “You have to realize,” Stopa wrote, “we can only choose one, and I’m sure the winner is going to be an incredible tear-jerker. I’m thinking cancer, significant hardship, something of that ilk. If you’re not in that boat, please spare yourself the disappointment and me and my kids the read.” The paragraph is followed by a happy face.

Current clients aren’t eligible because of state ethics rules, Stopa says.

Stopa has had a prior run in with ethics officials. He was reprimanded in June for impugning the integrity of a judge in a motion he dictated to an assistant that was filed without further review. “The double standard here, respectfully, reeks,” Stopa wrote in the motion. The Tampa Bay Times covered the ethics case.

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