Tag Archives | Foreclosure

Our Economy Wants You to Be In Debt—5 Things You Can Do to Take Charge

PIC: Brendel (CC)

PIC: Brendel (CC)

Liz Pleasant writes at Yes! Magazine:

Last month PM Press published the Debt Resisters’ Operations Manual —also known as “the DROM.” But don’t let that menacing-sounding acronym fool you: this is a book written in plain English and filled with tips and tactics for dealing with debt.

The book has been available online since September 2012, but this publishing marks the first time the manual has been printed, bound, and sold. Don’t worry, you can still find a free copy online. But, hopefully, getting this book into stores will help its message reach more people—however ironic it might seem to buy one with a credit card.

“Everyone is a debtor so there’s no limit to the audience” said Andrew Ross, a member of the Occupy Wall Street offshoot called Strike Debt, in an interview with Guernica Magazine. Although Ross has gone public, most of the authors of the Debt Resister’s Operations Manual have chosen to remain anonymous.

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When The Government Compounds Crimes Rather Than Fights Them: The Case of Mortgage Fraud

The Crime of Our TimeWe were all victims of the financial crisis that began in 2007 (not 2008) but some of us suffered more than others. And, hundreds of millions of us are still living with the painful aftermath as its consequences began to be felt worldwide.

The first order of business in Washington back then was to bail out the victimizers, who have done quite well, thank you very much, in rebuilding their citadels of profit.

They were only marginally impacted  by some fines that were finally assessed in lieu of jail sentences.

That  money was paid by the financial institutions,  and their shareholders,  not by decision-makers who were never held accountable. It was written off as a “cost of doing business” just as fraud became a way of doing business.

We have all read about the outrageous compensation schemes that offending executives have been rewarded with, even as the media has finally discovered deepening income inequality.… Read the rest

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Homeowners Foreclose On Negligent Banks

Via CNN, in areas of the United States hit hardest by foreclosure, turning the tables on banks who turn deadbeat after repossessing homes:

Since the housing bubble burst in Florida five years ago, more than 400,000 borrowers have had their homes foreclosed on by their lenders. But for some, it’s payback time.

Hundreds of homeowners and condo associations are foreclosing on banks that have failed to pay dues and other expenses on the properties they’ve repossessed. When banks foreclose on a home they become responsible for paying fees to the homeowners association — both any unpaid fees going back as far as 12 months and all expenses going forward. In many cases, however, banks are failing to pay, leaving these associations short on cash, according to Miami-based attorney Ben Solomon. Now, homeowners groups are putting liens on the properties until banks pay up and foreclosing on them if they don’t.

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21st Century Folk Art: Foreclosure Quilts

quiltsQuilts often contain symbolic worlds reflecting aspects of the broader community or society. Artist Kathryn Clark creates “foreclosure quilts”, which are based on maps of cities, with holes representing foreclosed homes:

From 1999 to 2004, I worked for a private urban planning firm designing New Urbanist neighborhoods throughout the US. In 2007, as foreclosures began to occur I questioned my work. Did I add to this in some way? I was aware early on that these foreclosures were just the beginning of something bigger yet I felt alone when I mentioned it. Few agreed with me or seemed concerned.

It was important to me to present the whole story in a way that would captivate people’s attention and make a memorable statement. Making quilts seemed an ironic solution. Quilts act as a functional memory, an historical record of difficult times.

The quilt is pieced together using patterns of neighborhood blocks taken from RealtyTrac maps.

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Bank Of America Now Suing Itself In Foreclosure Cases

4501651351_6540d48316_nIn the latest phase of the foreclosure crisis, our nation’s biggest banks have reached a Zen-like state in which they resemble snakes eating their own tails, reports Forbes:

Here’s a sign of just how big and messy the foreclosure problem is: Bank of America has sued itself at least nine times in April.

That’s what lawyer and fraud expert Lynn Szymoniak discovered recently during a search for foreclosure filings in Palm Beach county Florida.”There are likely at least 100 examples of the same thing happening across the state,” Szymoniak says. “The company is literally seeking damages from itself in order to foreclose on the condo owner.”

“We are servicing the first mortgage on behalf of an investor and we own the second mortgage,” said Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens [in regards to one case].

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Occupy Minneapolis Forms Human Chain To Defend Foreclosed Home, Police Retreat

Shocking police confrontations with the Occupy movement are not limited to the coasts, don't ya know. Protesters in Minneapolis challenged the police directly to protect a woman's home and won:
November 19th, 2011: Following two arrests and an incident in which a police officer tried to run down an occupier with a squad car, Occupy Minneapolis formed a human chain around Sa'ra Kaiser's foreclosed home, preventing the officers from boarding it up, and ultimately forcing the police - who had no legitimate legal pretense for preventing occupiers from being there in the first place - to give up and leave.
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Top Foreclosure Firm’s Homelessness-Themed Halloween Party

homelesssqSometimes Halloween costume choice can offer an interesting window into people’s mindsets. Via the New York Times:

The law firm of Steven J. Baum, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

A former employee recently sent me snapshots of last year’s party. In an e-mail, she said that she wanted me to see them because they showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners — invariably poor and down on their luck — that the Baum firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against. When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set.

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States To Offer Banks Legal Immunity Concerning Improper Foreclosures

RealEstateAuctionTo be fair, actually suing the banks for all they’ve done wrong would be unfeasible, because there’s so much of it. Reuters reports:

State attorneys general are negotiating to give major banks wide immunity over irregularities in handling foreclosures, even as evidence has emerged that banks are continuing to file questionable documents.

A coalition of all 50 states’ attorneys general has been negotiating settlements with five of the biggest U.S. banks that would include payment of up to $25 billion in penalties and [promises] to follow rules. In exchange, the banks would get immunity from civil lawsuits by the states, as well as similar guarantees by the Justice Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

State and federal officials declined to say if any form of immunity from criminal prosecution also is under discussion. The banks involved in the talks are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, CitiGroup, JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial.

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