Bank of America foreclosed on a home in Collier County, Florida. That’s certainly not news. The home’s owners, Warren and Maureen Nyerges, had paid cash for the property, so there was no mortgage on which to foreclose, but Bank of America foreclosed anyway… and that’s not news either. It may sound crazy, but it doesn’t even make the top 10 list of crazy where BofA or any other of the mortgage servicers are concerned.
I mean, as far as headlines go, “Bank of America Does Something Stupid,” is about as newsworthy as, “Cat Chases Mouse in Kentucky.”
The home’s actual owners hired a lawyer, Todd Allen, and a judge finally told Bank of America to give back the house they stole. Okay, that’s sort of news, I suppose, because all too often that doesn’t happen and the bank gets away with it.
And in this case, the judge even ordered BofA to pay the homeowner’s legal fees of $2,534. News? I don’t know… not to me.
Five months passed since the judge’s order and Bank of America still hadn’t paid the homeowners their twenty-five hundred and change… well… yawn and double yawn. Bank of America didn’t pay their bill yet. Yeah, like I’m shocked to hear that. Countrywide was supposed to pay homeowners something like $8 billion like two years ago and I haven’t heard anything about those checks going out either. So… big deal.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the homeowner’s lawyer showing up with the local Sheriff to repossess the bank’s desk and computers in order to satisfy the judgment entered against BofA… okay, that’s somewhat funny… hysterical even. Here’s how WINK News reported it:
The couple took their case to court and after a year and a half nightmare the foreclosure was dropped. A Collier County judge said Bank of America has to pay the couple’s $2,534 legal fees for the error. After more than five months the bank still hadn’t paid up. So, the homeowners’ attorney did just what the bank would do to get their money, legally seize their assets.
“I instructed the deputy to go in and take desks, computers, copiers, filing cabinets, including cash in the drawers,” Attorney Todd Allen told WINK News.
Outside the Bank of America on Davis Boulevard, several deputies stood by with movers ready to start hauling out the bank’s office supplies and furniture.
Inside, the homeowners’ attorney was locked out of the bank manager’s office by deputies while the bank manger tried to figure out what to do.
WINK News was quite proud of their reporting of this story, calling it: “A WINK News exclusive,” and crap like that. And, if course, the Internet lit up like Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree at the news of a homeowner supposedly “foreclosing on Bank of America.”
Here’s WINK’s headline:
Tables Turn: Deputies and movers show up at bank to seize property for homeowner.
Tables turned? Which tables turned? I missed the tables turning, damn it.
Okay… look… I’m in this fight too and I know we can all use some good news… and just about anything might pass for being good news, at times. We’re up against the largest and most politically influential financial institutions the world has ever known. Oh, and don’t forget corrupt, disingenuous, heartless, morally bankrupt… you know… the words that go right along side “largest and most politically influential” when describing the to-big-to-fail banks of today.
So, it hasn’t been an easy fight to fight, and it won’t be an easy to one to win. There will be many setbacks and may times we who are fighting the banksters will feel like giving up. So, I get it that this story was one that everyone wanted to read and pass around to others… going viral, I think they call it. I must have received 200 emails containing a link to this story, for example. People went out of their way to pass it along… so… I don’t know… I guess that’s fine.
But was anything accomplished by passing THIS story around? No, not a damn thing. And it’s because EVERYONE MISSED THE POINT… the point that mattered, to coin a phrase.
Here’s how the WINK News story ended, by the way:
After about an hour the bank finally cut a check to satisfy the debt, and no furniture was taken. A representative for Bank of America issued a statement saying they are sorry for the delay in issuing funds. They claim the original request went to an outside attorney who is no longer in business.
Awww, golly… see… the bank wasn’t trying to hurt anybody… it was just an error and they fixed it once it was brought to their attention. Why did that homeowner have to be such a bully… bringing the Sheriff and all that… probably scared some of the nice folks that were there to do their banking… probably some women and children there at the time too. Bad homeowner. Bad homeowner.
What the heck is going on around here? We’re now passing around a story about a stupid PR stunt by a lawyer that ended up making Bank of America look REASONABLE? Oh my God, people… listen to me here… this is pure insanity.
Say the following sentence out loud and slowly to a child or anyone under the age of 30, or someone from another country regardless of age:
BANK OF AMERICA STOLE SOMEONE’S HOUSE. THEY FORECLOSED ON A FREE AND CLEAR HOME… THEY TOOK IT FROM THE PEOPLE THAT OWN IT.
If you really tried saying that to someone as I suggested… how did the person react? Did he or she even believe you? What did his or her face look like, assuming he or she did believe you? What questions did they ask you after they heard the incredibly shocking and disturbing news?
Now try telling them that it took 18 MONTHS for the home’s owners to get the home back. EIGHTEEN MONTHS. A week would have been outrageous. Eighteen months is unconscionable, unless perhaps we’re talking about Russia-under-Stalin, or something like that.
And need I remind you that Florida is a judicial foreclosure state? So, that means that a judge allowed Bank of America to steal this home. And… what? Is the judge sorry? Does he get fired for that? Is he even aware of what his incompetence facilitated? Why wasn’t he quoted by WINK?
And about WINK News being so proud of their “exclusive.” Where were they during the last 18 months, while this family was living in absolute hell on earth? Did they lift a finger to publicize their plight? Did they even care?
And can we just talk for a minute about the penalty for stealing a home in this country? Because, come to find out… it’s just a fine… on the scale of maybe a parking ticket to a bank. Let’s see… stole a home… okay, that’ll be $2534. No problem let me make a call and I’ll get you a check.
That’s quite a deterrent, wouldn’t you say? For $2534, there might be some at banks capable of stealing someone’s home on purpose… you know, just for fun… because they’re pissed at them, or whatever… in order to watch the home’s owner twist in the wind helplessly for a year and a half.
“Come her… this is funny stuff… watch them move into a motel with their kids… Hahahahahaha… watch what happens next… the Dad shoots himself in the head, or has a heart attack… it’s priceless.”
Cheap entertainment, right? Where is the outrage at this having happened in this country? Has it just become the norm that people occasionally have their homes stolen from them, for a year or two from time to time? Cars have always been stolen on occasion, so now it’s homes too? Seriously?
Here’s an idea for the homeowner’s attorney Todd Allen. If you want to try a PR stunt… go get $2534 in one dollar bills, call up WINK NEWS… and the judge who allowed this to happen and levied the paltry fine… and set the money on fire in the middle of the down square.
Now, that might get someone’s attention… or maybe not.
NOW, ABOUT MISH SHEDLOCK…
Even Mike “Mish” Shedlock, who writes the blog Global Economic Analysis, which is one that I happen to like a great deal, doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in this country, in fact he spends most of his column covering this sensationalistic piece of garbage story talking about homeowners squatting while not paying mortgages.
He did get some of it right. He thought the $2534 fine was absurd, and that it took 18 months to correct… well, preposterous. So, that’s the Mish I know and love… one of the only sites out there to have gotten something right here. Here’s how he started…
Sensational cases like this make all the headlines, but are statistically meaningless, with a bordering on zero percentage.
That said, I side with the couple. Indeed I think suing for expenses only is a travesty of justice. Something like $100,000 would be more appropriate.
It is preposterous that it would take 18 months to determine there was never a mortgage. Unfortunately, that is how fooked the system is. Alternatively, that is how fooked Bank of America is. Most likely, it’s both.
But after that, Mish showed me that’s he’s been a little too busy reading up on the EU, because he knows nothing about what’s happening on the street where he lives. He said:
“… I do not object to huge fines for complete blatant stupidity as depicted by Bank of America in the above article. If there are more cases than I think, so be it.
First we need to start with a realistic assessment of errors and a breakdown of how serious those errors are. In the above instance, it is clear there was a severe error, and an errors that should have been rectified in 2 days, not 18 months. I do not object to punitive fines in such instances.”
IF THERE ARE MORE ERRORS, Mish? IF? Gee, well… maybe there are? Do you think? Could be? Might be? Gosh, I’m not sure? Should we do a study on this to see if we can’t find out? You know… get to the bottom of things?
This is proof positive for me that our government has no idea what to do because they have no idea what’s going on. Because if Mish doesn’t know, then no one does.
Then Mish goes on… and on… on a subject about which he clearly knows almost nothing. It’s really very unlike him, shockingly so… so I figure someone should say something.
“I see cases like the above trumped up as if they are common, and I see people clamoring to give homes to people free and clear because of a messed up MERS and “show me the note” objections.”
Do you really see all that, Mish? Where? Where exactly are the cases like this being “trumped up” as being common? They ARE common, and I’d love to see who’s doing the trumping. I’m not saying there are thousands of cases EXACTLY like this, but I’m sure as hell saying that there are tens of thousands… and maybe hundreds of thousands of cases where the abuse by the mortgage servicer would shock any thinking and caring person’s sensibilities… and where the laws of this country have unquestionably been broken.
Not that you’ll find them in many mainstream media outlets going back two years, but I think you can probably figure out what that might be, can’t you, Mish? And lately, I believe 60 Minutes has exposed quite a bit on the topic… unless of course you don’t consider banks committing fraud and forgery anything to get all worked up about.
Mish, for the record there are thousands that have been turned into virtual shut-ins as a result of the bank’s illegal behavior and tactics. Some have taken their own lives. Are they all, in your mind, just a bunch of deadbeats that bought homes they can’t afford… shame on them? I’ve read your column for two straight years… and you’re much smarter than that, so I can only assume you’ve spent no time on this issue… and if that’s the case, why start now when the only possibility is that you’ll either preach to the choir or embarrass yourself?
Unfortunately, he went on…
“The current focus is not on justice, but rather maximum punishment.
Those who want the courts to conclude that MERS has clouded every title, better be careful of what they wish. Should that be the ultimate ruling, no one who owns a home that went through the MERS system will currently have a valid title.
Want to sell your home? Sorry you can’t. Want to buy a home? Sorry, you better not because the title will be clouded. This is serious stuff. If the MERS opponents get their way, Housing in the US would literally shut down.
In their desire to punish banks and let people live in their houses for free, few have bothered to figure out the severe consequences on innocent parties who simply want to sell or buy a home.
Punishing the banks to the maximum extent possible to slay the evil MERS dragon, consequences be damned, should not be the focus. Instead, we need to determine actual damages before sensible fines can be levied. Meanwhile, and far more importantly, we need to determine what we need to do to fix this mess, determine how to fix or scrap MERS, and do everything we can to get the foreclosure backlog behind us.”
There’s just so much wrong with his take on this, I hardly know where to begin.
First of all, this is not all about MERS, in fact, very little of it is about MERS. Have you read the OCC’s Consent orders? MERS itself has said it will not be foreclosing going forward. Forget about MERS, Mish… there are much weightier issues with which to grapple here.
(At the bottom, I’ve provided links to ALL of the OCC’s COnsent Orders, by the way.)
And the current focus is neither on justice nor maximum punishment, as far as the foreclosure crisis is concerned. In fact, to-date I’d say the focus is on looking the other way and pretending we’ve just got a few million irresponsible deadbeats who need to be thrown out of their homes for the betterment of our economic society. So far, Mish, the focus has been moronic and uneducated, and since you’re neither of those things, it’s time to look closely for yourself.
We don’t need you fear mongering about how no one will be able to buy or sell a house in this country, because for one thing… that’s already the case, for the most part. And for another, if we don’t get some smart people like you looking at this crisis and making intelligent suggestions as to what might be done to fix it, no one will want to buy or sell a house in this country for 50 years, any more than they want to in other dual economies… as is the case in… let’s say the Philippines.
And no one with any credibility is advocating that the solution be that people should get to live in homes for free in order to punish banks. The banks have broken very serious laws… many of them and repeatedly, and they should face whatever punishment is deemed appropriate under the law. We’re still a country of laws, aren’t we Mish? How about we just stay with the whole law thing and let whatever the law says handle the punishing part? Sound fair?
And three are lots of innocent people that have either already been run over by this crisis or who will be very soon, and for years to come, if our current stance on this issue doesn’t change. Lots and lots… as in millions upon millions. And we need people like you to help stop that process, because it benefits no one. The foreclosure crisis today can NOT be accurately characterized as as bunch of people borrowing too much or an emerging inability to handle debt.
The crisis we are facing today is the fault of many things, as you know, and most notably the utter failure of our government to handle anything effectively… properly… with the use of a brain.
You don’t hear me coming out saying that you’re wrong about Greece, China, markets, debt ceilings, and the like… do you? No you don’t. Because I respect your views on those global economics issues. But on this, Mish… you’re just plain wrong.
I know, you want to work through the foreclosure backlog… we all want things to improve in the housing markets. But not at the expense you’re advocating. Not by allowing the economic and psychological slaughter of millions of working class Americans who’ve done nothing wrong and yet are being inappropriately vilified by those who don’t understand the situation in the least.
We’ve already got enough people doing that… we call them “BANKERS”. And they’re the people that coopt the courts in order to steal homes in an attempt to cover up the biggest case of fraud in the history of the world.
That’s all I have to say about that… for now. I wonder if this article will even reach 10 percent of the one about the homeowner foreclosing on Bank of America.
No, actually I don’t.
CONSENT ORDERS ISSUED BY THE OCC AFTER CONCLUDING THEIR INVESTIGATION:
- Interagency Review of Foreclosure Policies and Practices
- Consent Order for Bank of America
- Consent Order for Citibank
- Consent Order for HSBC Bank
- Consent Order for JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
- Consent Order for LPS; DocX, LLC; and LPD Default Solutions, Inc.
- Consent Order for MetLife Bank, N.A.
- Consent Order for MERSCORP and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS)
- Consent Order for PNC Bank, N.A.
- Consent Order for U.S. Bank National Association, U.S. Bank National Association ND
- Consent Order for Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.