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Buldge Bracket Banks' Foreclosure Unit Mocks Foreclosed Families @ Company Party
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Buldge Bracket Banks' Foreclosure Unit Mocks Foreclosed Families @ Company Party - October 30, 2011, 08:04 PM

Nice way to throw more fuel on the "Occupy" fire. Between the arrest of Goldman Sachs and P&G Board Member Rajat Gupta and this in the same week, people wonder why the Occupiers will not leave.





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On Friday, the law firm of Steven J. Baum threw a Halloween party. The firm, 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.

The party is the firm’s big annual bash. Employees wear Halloween costumes to the office, where they party until around noon, and then return to work, still in costume. I can’t tell you how people dressed for this year’s party, but I can tell you about last year’s.

That’s because a former employee of Steven J. Baum 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. “There is this really cavalier attitude,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose. I told her I wanted to post the photos on The Times’s Web site so that readers could see them. She agreed, but asked to remain anonymous because she said she fears retaliation.

Let me describe a few of the photos. In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.

A second picture shows a coffin with a picture of a woman whose eyes have been cut out. A sign on the coffin reads: “Rest in Peace. Crazy Susie.” The reference is to Susan Chana Lask, a lawyer who had filed a class-action suit against Steven J. Baum — and had posted a YouTube video denouncing the firm’s foreclosure practices. “She was a thorn in their side,” said my source.

A third photograph shows a corner of Baum’s office decorated to look like a row of foreclosed homes. Another shows a sign that reads, “Baum Estates” — needless to say, it’s also full of foreclosed houses. Most of the other pictures show either mock homeless camps or mock foreclosure signs — or both. My source told me that not every Baum department used the party to make fun of the troubled homeowners they made their living suing. But some clearly did. The adjective she’d used when she sent them to me — “appalling” — struck me as exactly right.

These pictures are hardly the first piece of evidence that the Baum firm treats homeowners shabbily — or that it uses dubious legal practices to do so. It is under investigation by the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. It recently agreed to pay $2 million to resolve an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the firm had “filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage assignments in the state and federal courts in New York.” (In the press release announcing the settlement, Baum acknowledged only that “it occasionally made inadvertent errors.”) ......

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/29/op...veal.html?_r=1



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October 31, 2011, 12:01 AM

Fack'em. Their times for honoring themselves is limited.


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October 31, 2011, 01:01 AM

Well but it is their job. Also what about all the people that bought homes just to flip them and they got stuck. They gambled and lost and then wanted a bailout. True some people do just get in a rough spot and need a little help but I have zero sympathy for those that tried to get rich flipping houses during the boom and then had to go bankrupt. Its a gamble and you lost. Suck it up.

And yes I am ranting because I tried to buy a bigger house and every time I found a good deal a fucking relator would buy the dam thing and jack the price up and flip it. Bad enough you have the inside line on this stuff but to ask me to bail you out when it did not work. I say fuck you.


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October 31, 2011, 03:09 AM

They're not making fun of investors though. Investors simply walked away.
These are people who fought tooth and nail to get a home and were trying to keep it.

You would be amazed how inflexible the banks were and still are. You have a number of people who simply want to refinance the loans they already have but are struggling to keep up on, only to take advantage of the lowest rates in 50 years - which would ensure they could absolute pay the note with some room to breathe.

Instead the banks are saying, "no". It's crazy. They don't want to refinance to ask for a write down. They only want to refi to a lower rate which would be in the bank's long term best interest.

Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face.



“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a Prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires”.

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