Being sued by Citibank – never been thru this before

Hello everyone,

My name is Steven. I’m going to give as much relevant information as I
can, in asking for input.

QUICK BACKGROUND
– In 2000 I was making about $120,000 a year, had money in the bank, etc. working as a consultant in the financial district.
– My credit was excellent.
– purchased a home in Rockland County, NY.
– In 2001, I lost my business after Sept. 11th. There was simply no consulting work on Wall Street for corporate trainers for about 3 years.
– I worked odd jobs, making about $30-$40,000 per year, borrowed money to keep my home, then sold it when I could. I went thru all savings and retirement, and ended up with significant debt to keep my home payments up (using lines of credit) and help family during financial crisis (never dreaming my career would never return).
– The consulting business changed – interactivity and instructional design made me mostly obsolete – so I left that line of work and began working as a counselor and musician, and eventually a minister.
– Sold my home in 2004. Broke even after paying $20,000 to creditors. STill about $40,000 in debt.
– I moved upstate and rent. Still make about $40,000/year.

CREDITORS
– In 2004, I sold my home.
– In 2004, due to a fluke – I got a consulting job and paid back most of my debt. The job ended before I was able to pay all my debts before selling my home and moving. I still owed about $20,000-$25,000 in unsecured debt as of 2005, when my job ended.

– Went back to making $40,000 per year or less.
– Unable to pay creditors much of anything since early 2006.

CAR ACCIDENT:
One last detail. In January of 2007, I was a passenger in a serious accident. I broke my hand and ribs and damaged by back. I was out of work for 4 months. I was overwhelmed with bills, etc. – unable to pay any debts since then, basically. After a year, my concentration returned, I’m a 95% back to normal; stamina has returned.

LOST JOBS:
– In 2007, a writing job I had ended due to my car accident. At that point, my already small income decreased by $1,000 per month.
– In early 2008, a small computer job I had which paid me about $500-$1000 per month ended. I have made up the income by teaching music wherever possible.
– Important Note: Corporate Training skills have changed, and my skills are out of date except for traditional classroom training. For that reason, I am no longer marketable as a corporate consultant for most jobs. My skill set for “instructional design” and “interactive training” is not sufficient any longer.
– I’m out looking for work constantly. Whatever I can do in my field of teaching (adult ed); and ministry (I’m a substitute minister at a church, but it is mostly volunteer… however, I am a doctoral candidate (can’t complete a doctorate now for financial reasons) and I perform weddings, funerals and services for money whenever I can.

ISSUE:
I am being sued. I was served papers by a creditor on Saturday, June 28th. The principal balance on the account was about $12-15,000. The creditor said they would accept a $10,000 settlement. But I was unable to pay ANYTHING – NOTHING. They sued for $28,000.

I need help making a reply and trying to get the amount adjusted. I’m still making very little money and cannot make a payment at this time, but I am healthy and constantly looking for additional work. I am teaching now in Adult Ed programs, and have a 1/2 time job as music minister in a local church. I also teach privately. While I am not making more than about $3,500 per month GROSS, things are looking brighter. More jobs inquiries are coming my way. I am very hopeful I can start paying off these debts again soon.

I don’t know how to tell a judge that, how to file an “Intent to Defend” Notice. I’ve never been in court over money before. I made up an “Intent to Defend” and am calling the court to see if I can deliver today.

I have proof of my current income and expenses; I am holding no information back. I have tax filings from 2006 and 2007, to take to court. They will see, there’s nothing left over at this point.

I trust this is enough relevant information. I need to reply to the court and to my remaining creditors. I have every intention of paying the principal back or negotiating reasonable settlements. Given my circumstances, I just cannot pay right now. I have failed at getting them to understand this.

Thank you for any advice.

Steven J

PS. I stopped taking calls from creditors several months ago. I have sent them all letters to explain my financial situation. I cannot borrow money from any source to pay down any of these debts. I must generate the money to pay back my remaining creditors.

PPS. Bankruptcy is still not an option. I want to negotiate and pay creditors as my income increases. In addition, an attorney advised me not to file while I had a pending accident case.

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