Tag: housing

No Jail Time for Billionaire But There Is a Bit Of Justice

As David Dayen puts it, “it isn’t prison” but the consequences are at least a bit satisfying.

Finally, a Financial Executive Is Sacked for His Company’s Misdeeds

By David Dayen, The New Republic

Lets say you run a company whose misdeeds are splashed across the pages of the business section on an almost weekly basis. you might reasonably expect to be fired without delay. But then let’s stipulate that you’re in the financial service industry. Recent history suggest that you’ll be able to keep your job and your handsome bonus, and that even if law enforcement decide to penalize the company for improprieties, somebody else – like your shareholders – will pay those fines, leaving you to continue your charmed life unscathed.

William erbey, the billionaire chairman of the mortgage serving giant Ocwen, probably thought that would be his fate as well, but he didn’t anticipate the determination of New York Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky. On Monday, Lawsky announced that Erbey would step down from Ocwen and four related businesses, as part of the settlement of an investigation into the companies sad enduring legacy of ripping off homeowners.

The consequences for Erbey have been huge financial losses as Ocwen shares dropped 31% “after agreeing to a settlement that prevents it from acquiring mortgage-servicing rights until the company makes improvements to satisfy New York regulators.” The company must also provide $150 million for relief to homeowners and hire a monitor who will approve the appointment of two independent directors to Ocwen’s board and continue to oversee the business.

According to Forbes, poor Erbey is no longer a billionaire:

Erbey, according to Forbes’s Real Time Wealth Rankings for billionaires, lost over $300 million on Monday causing his net worth to fall to around $800 million and knocking him out of the billionaire ranks. He was worth as much as $2.5 billion in March when we published our annual listing of the world’s wealthiest. [..]

Forbes now calculates Erbey’s net worth at $802 million, as of late afternoon trading.

As Atrios said, “it’s sad that this is all we’ll get.”  

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: These are a few of my least favourite things by NY Brit Expat

It’s been one of those weeks where so many things have come to light that I simply do not know where to begin writing first. I sit there and think, which of the various things that I have been listening to or reading about have actually annoyed me to the point of actually writing about. I have realised that I am just generally annoyed.

When I thought about it more, I concluded that the underlying theme of these various stories is a complete and utter contempt by bourgeois governments (that lay claim to being utterly democratic) of the vast majority of people that they govern. Whether they govern competently or not, whether there is anything resembling a democratic mandate or not; it is the utter contempt in which they hold the majority of the population that has really gotten my goat.

I also realised that this is not only confined to governments, it is a view shared by the leadership of religious authorities, by arms of the state (police, armies, etc.) and even by the heads of sporting associations.  This contempt is a reflection of the fact that those in power think/know that when push comes to shove, they know who they serve and it is not the vast majority of people; it is a tiny elite hiding behind the word “democracy” while actually not even slightly being accountable to that majority. It is the abuse of power by those that have it wielded against those that view themselves as powerless. Having just spoken to my postman about my frustration, he agreed and said “this is a long term problem, what can you and I do about it”?

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DOJ sues Texas RV park for violation of Fair Housing Act (evicting transwoman)

Eric Holder has filed a lawsuit putting the federal government behind the discrimination claim of a transwoman against a Texas RV park.

On October 3 the suit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler Division) against George Toone and his company, In Toone Services.  In Toone Services owns Texas RV Park in Athens, TX.

Roxanne Joganik filed a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in June 2012, alleging that Toone discriminated against her on the basis of sex, violating the federal Fair Housing Act.  Joganik and her roommate, Darlina Anthony, moved into the park on a month-to-month lease in April of 2011.  In Toone Services acquired the property in May of 2012, 5 days after Joganik had paid her rent through the month of June.  Joganik informed Toone that she was transgender and asked him if he would have a problem with her wearing female clothing in the common areas of the RV park.  Toone said it would be a problem because “there are children around the pool.”  So Joganik refrained from doing so.

A week later Toone distributed copies of the new park rules, requiring residents to sign them along with their service agreements.  The rules said that management “reserved the right to refuse entrance to anyone for any reason other than ‘race, religion, handicapped (sic), color or national origin.'”  The new rules did not include sex or family status, which are protected classes under the FHA.  So Joganik refused to sign the rules.

“Foaming the Runway for the Banks”

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Disregard all cheery news you hear from the MSM that the housing crisis is over and housing prices are stable and on the rise. It’s not over. We are still bailing out the banks over the troubled homeowner.

“The evidence is overwhelming: home prices are anything but stable.”

Michael Olenick: Still Looking for a Housing Bottom

Two trends are apparent. One is that banks are delaying foreclosures, or not foreclosing at all despite long-term delinquencies. The other is that private equity firms – flush with cash thanks to Tim Geithner’s religious devotion to trickle-down economics and the resulting cascade of corporate welfare – have been bidding up and holding foreclosed houses off the market. These two factors have artificially limited supply and, combined with cheap mortgages rates, driven up prices. While we can debate whether these strategies represent the best public policy, these policies are obviously not long-term sustainable. [..]

Holding back inventory means that the houses that are put on offer sell faster and at higher prices. That creates an incentive to delay foreclosures or not foreclose at all even when a home is delinquent. Though this seems obvious, the mainstream housing finance community – aided by a freelance “housing analyst,” – uses the faster figures to somehow prove banks are not holding houses. [..]

Besides lower foreclosure activity, the government is going all out to give away houses to private equity firms. Recently Fannie Mae sold 275 properties across metro Phoenix in one sale to a mystery buyer, according to a report by Catherine Reagor of the Arizon Republic. [..]

Anybody who has been a landlord seems to quickly tire of it so, assuming there isn’t a pending planned mass immigration to Phoenix, these investors will eventually want to cash out by selling these houses. Further, they will want to minimize maintenance expenses while they are renting out these houses, so the eventual sale of these houses will increase supply and prolong the housing crisis. Geithner’s policy of shaking down Main Street to help Wall Street continues to hurt your street. [..]

Taking account of the delayed foreclosures and the beginning of mass purchases of houses would mean there should be a surge in home prices, but we’re still seeing little movement in many areas. This is especially puzzling given how inexpensive mortgage are. [..]

Of course, this assumes that people can get mortgages for these houses, though many can’t. Young people especially are hopelessly in debt thanks to out-of-control tuition hikes predictably caused by equally out-of-control student loan policies. [..]

Thanks to low lower foreclosures, real-estate speculators buying in bulk, and low interest rates there is enough direct and anecdotal evidence to suggest that we may be seeing a real-estate recovery on paper. Further, these policies are clearly calibrated to bring about a bubble, despite that bubbles are difficult to control and are not, by definition, sustainable: they always eventually pop. Let’s at least hope that when this bubble bursts the new Wall Street bulk buyers are treated with the same ruthless “free market” vigor that the prior owners of these houses were treated with after the last bubble burst. However, I doubt the mystery Asian money buyer, that Fannie sold Phoenix to, will ever be subject to something like the rocket docket.

Washington’s Blog goes down the list of evidence that “the government’s “Homeowner Relief” Programs are disguised bank bailouts … not even AIMED at helping homeowners. It’s a fascinating piece with all the links to this sham.

Former special inspector general overseeing TARP Neil Barofsky (@neilbarofsky) joined Up w/ Chris Hayes to talk about his book “Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street.” Along with panel guests Heather McGhee (@hmcghee), vice president of policy and research at the progressive think tank Demos; Josh Barro (@jbarro), who writes “The Ticker” for Bloomberg View; Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn), senior contributing writer for Newsweek/Daily Beast; and Up host Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes), Barofsky shares his thoughts on the failure of TARP and the housing crisis.

Federal Reserve Lies About Foreclosures

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

While the attention was on the SCOTUS ruling on the affordable Care Act, this is what was going on under the radar at the Federal Reserve:

Federal Reserve, Regulators Arguing for More, Quicker Foreclosures

by David Dayen

The Federal Reserve has decided to put their thumbs on the scales of justice, explicitly attempting to overturn state-based anti-foreclosure laws on the spurious grounds that they hurt the economy.

This story by Tim Reid in Reuters cites the Fed arguing against the kind of laws in states like Nevada – and soon, California – that have saved hundreds of thousands of homes from foreclosure.

   “State and federal laws enacted to protect homeowners from eviction in the wake of the 2008 housing crash may be extending the slump, according to a growing number of economists and industry experts.

   Foreclosures have all but ground to a halt in Nevada, which passed one of the stiffest borrower-protection laws in the country last year. Yet the housing market is further than ever from recovery, local real estate agents say, with a lack of inventory feeding a “mini-bubble” in prices that few believe is sustainable.

   A recent U.S. Federal Reserve study found that in states requiring a judicial review for foreclosure, delays associated with the process had no measurable long-term benefits and often prolonged the problems with the housing market.”

There’s been a concerted effort to overturn due process in these judicial foreclosure states, on the theory that foreclosures must be quickly flushed through the system so the market can “clear.” Incredibly, house organs like the Fed still express this opinion even after years of documented evidence of illegal foreclosures using false and forged documents in court. The explicit recommendation from the Federal Reserve is to react to systematic foreclosure fraud by closing the courthouse doors to troubled borrowers.

The entire premise that judicial foreclosure states are prolonging the housing slump is completely spurious. Nothing furthers the housing slump more than a spate of foreclosures flooding the market, increasing the supply of distressed homes that sell cheaply and bringing down property values in a particular area. That’s what the Fed is arguing for.

Yes, they’re serious. This is basically siding with the banks, giving fraud as pass and screwing the homeowners and housing market with a flood of foreclosures. And Reuters and other trade publications have decided to publish the propaganda that keeping people in their homes is causing the market to slump and the solution is more foreclosures.

Freelance writer and attorney who helped expose the foreclosure fraud, Abigail Field takes on the Reuters “b.S.” sentence by sentence, shredding the propaganda that the housing crisis was caused by homeowners but by the banks themselves who created the shadow market of foreclosed homes and the underwater crisis. She makes these four points:

  • First, en route to committing mass securities fraud the banks dishonored their contracts and failed to document the mortgage loans as they promised investors they would. As a result, they’ve had to fabricate nonsensical, obviously fraudulent and often sworn statements to try to foreclose. It’s that swamp of fraud that’s causing the delays.
  • Second, banks are manipulating housing market inventory, letting properties they own rot, not listing them for sale, and when auctioning them, sometimes outbidding third parties.
  • Third, bankers’ securities fraud broke the secondary market for non-government backed mortgages. As a result, there’s a lot less capital to lend wannabe homeowners.
  • Fourth, lender-driven appraisal fraud led to such inflated prices that the underwater problem is directly attributable to them.
  • Rather than deal in the reality that our housing crisis is banker driven and dare push the meme that bankers must be held accountable, Reuters is helping bankers (and their government allies) push the idea that if only we made it easy for bankers to use their fraudulent documents, the housing market would heal quickly.

    There’s even more that exposes not just the Federal Reserve’s pass on bank fraud but the how the Obama administration’s so called homeowner bail out is just more hand outs to the banks:

    Sentences ten and eleven:

    “The increasing doubt about the impact of anti-foreclosure laws on the long-term health of the housing market calls into question a basic principle of the Obama Administration’s approach to the housing crisis.

    Many Democrats, including Obama, say struggling homeowners should get more time to make good on their mortgage arrears, or have the breathing room to renegotiate their loans with lenders, especially in the wake of the “robo-signing” scandal in which banks were found to have falsified foreclosure paperwork.”

    How I wish the Obama Administration’s approach had really been about helping struggling homeowners. Instead it has been mostly theatrics with gifts to the banks thrown in. Most recent example – the latest refinancing program has become a fee/profit center for the big banks. Moreover, if homeowners did “make good”, that would be better for everyone involved, including the broader market, but in the era of maximally predatory servicing, it’s not easy. Ditto with mortgage mods that work – and when they include principal reduction that’s meaningful, they work.

    Hey, look! In sentence 11 we get the first whiff of banker wrongdoing. And wow, he not only uses the misleading “robo-signing“, but he also says “falsified foreclosure paperwork.” Foreclosure “paperwork” doesn’t sound that serious, though, does it? How about “falsified documents affecting property title”? Or, “lied under oath about how much borrowers owed and to whom?”

    And as Yves Smith at naked capitalism notes in her article the lies get repeated ad nauseum:

    The way Big Lies get sold is by dint of relentless repetition. In the wake of the heinous mortgage settlement, foreclosure fatigue has set in. A lot of policy people want to move on because the topic has no upside for them. Nothing got fixed, the negotiation process took a lot of political capital (meaning, as we pointed out, it forestalls any large national initiatives in the near-to-medium term), and Good Dems don’t want to dwell on a crass Obama sellout (not that that should be a surprise by now). But the fact that this issue, which ought to be front burner given its importance both to individuals and the economy, is being relegated to background status creates the perfect setting for hammering away at bank-friendly memes. When people are less engaged, they read stories in a cursory fashion, or just glance at the headline, and don’t bother to think whether the storyline makes sense or the claims are substantiated.

    Just look at the headline: “Evidence suggests anti-foreclosure laws may backfire.” First, it says there are such things as “anti-foreclosure laws.” In fact, the laws under discussion are more accurately called “Foreclose legally, damnit” laws. Servicers and their foreclosure mill arms and legs have so flagrantly violated long-standing real estate laws in how they execute foreclosures that some states have decided to up the ante in terms of penalties to get the miscreants to cut it out. [..]

    And that is perhaps the most remarkable bit, the failure to consider that gutting the protections to the parties to a contract undermines commerce. Borrowers in judicial foreclosure states paid higher interest rates due to the greater difficulty of foreclosure. So now they are to be denied what they paid for because the banks recklessly disregarded the procedures they set up and committed to perform? What kind of incentive system is it when we reward massive institutional failure with a bank-favoring settlement and supportive messaging from central bank economists? As Dayen stated:

       “So when these officials argue against laws like those in Nevada, which merely criminalize a criminal practice, or California, which provides due process for people having their homes taken from them, they’re arguing in favor of what amounts to a dissolution of justice.”

    I don’t think you’ll read anything like this at Reuters. Shameful

    Housing Market’s Irrational Exuberance

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    … how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions…

    – Alan Greenspan, Dec. 5, 1996

    “Irrational exuberance”, “unrealistic expectations” accurately describe some of the reports about the alleged rebound in the housing market, such as this report on the increase in housing prices:

    Home prices rose in nearly all major U.S. cities in April from March, further evidence that the housing market is slowly improving even while the job market slumps.

    The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index shows increases in 19 of the 20 cities tracked. That’s the second straight month that prices have risen in a majority of U.S. cities.

    And a measure of national prices rose 1.3 per cent in April from March, the first increase in seven months.

    San Francisco, Washington and Phoenix posted the biggest increases. Prices fell 3.6 per cent in Detroit, the only city to record a drop.

    The month-to-month prices aren’t adjusted for seasonal factors. Still, prices in half of the cities are up over the past 12 months.

    Then there was this news in Bloomberg about the increase in demand for new homes:

    Demand for new U.S. homes rose more than forecast in May as mortgage rates dropped, bolstering the residential real-estate market while other parts of the world’s largest economy cool.

    Purchases climbed to a 369,000 annual rate, the most since April 2010 and up 7.6 percent from the prior month, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 67 economists was 347,000. The number of houses on the market held near a record low.

    The problem with this rise in housing prices and an increase in new home sales is that its a poor indicator of the real “health” of the housing market. Even Yale Prof. Robert Shiller, co-creator of the quoted Case-Shiller house price index, takes a cautious view of these optimistic predictions of a housing recovery:

    MUCH hope has been pinned on the recovery in home prices that began about a year ago. A long-lasting housing recovery might provide a balm to households, mortgage lenders and the entire United States economy. But will the recovery be sustained? [..]

    The most obvious reason for hope is that, unlike stock prices, home prices tend to show a great deal of momentum. Correcting for seasonal effects, home prices as measured by the S.&P./Case-Shiller 10-City Home Price Index increased each month from June 1995 to April 2006, then decreased almost every month to May 2009. Since then, they have risen through January, the latest month for which data is available.

    So, because home prices have been climbing of late, isn’t it plausible that they’ll keep doing so?

    If only it were that simple.

    Home price booms and busts do end, sometimes quite suddenly, as was the case for the boom of 1995 to 2006 and the bust of 2006 to 2009. Today, we need to worry about strong headwinds, as the government begins to withdraw its support of a still-troubled lending industry and as foreclosures are dumping millions of homes onto the market.

    Michael Olenick explains at naked capitalism:

    Yale Prof. Robert Shiller, co-creator of the well-known Case-Shiller house price index, takes a more sober approach. Shiller argues in the New York Times until meaningful principal reductions are put in place that house prices are hosed. Pricing may bump up on artificial scarcity caused by the relatively low number of foreclosures after the robo-signing scandal, but in the long run underwater borrowers are likely to drown. Further, because of sky-high loss severities in foreclosures – my own data shows it is not at all uncommon for investors to lose the entire face value of a mortgage in a foreclosure – principal reductions make good business sense.

    Shiller embraces an idea being floated about lately; having municipalities use eminent domain to “take” mortgages at fair market value. Databases like the one I’ve been compiling clearly show the loss severity of similar mortgages in similar ZIP codes, allowing municipalities to ascertain fair market value of the mortgages, as opposed to the houses. In bubble-states, where negative equity issues are most pronounced, fair market value of most mortgage would be no more than 20-percent of the face value of the first mortgages – and oftentimes far less; no more than a few cents on the dollar – while second liens would be worthless.

    Assuming this approach is only used with the consent of the homeowner, I’d suspect that one last call the servicer before implementation would magically result in an almost immediate modification: no lost paperwork, no transfers to the offshore call center, no capitalized interest.

    That’s too rational for anyone to heed.

    AG Harris Still Standing Up For CA Homeowners

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    While Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and his merry band of AG sell outs push for an agreement to settle the mortgage fraud, it looks like California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, is sticking to her plan to hold the worst of the abusers feet to the fire.

    The Miller agreement, which is also being backed by US Attorney General Eric Holder, could result in an even smaller settlement than the $25 million and would still leave the banks open to legal claims in the states that do not sign on to the agreement. While California is the state with the largest number of foreclosures, not signing onto the agreement would mean that homeowners would have to wait longer for relief but, as AG Harris has stated, it “would allow too few California homeowners to stay in their homes…. After much consideration, I have concluded that this is not the deal California homeowners have been looking for.”

    Ms. Harris has been under considerable pressure from the Obama administration, who has considered her a replacement for Eric Holder should Obama be reelected. However. many community organizations, unions and liberal groups have urged to her not to sign on to the Miller agreement unless there is a larger monetary settlement or, that failing, the states are allowed to prosecute the banks for crimes they may have committed. Neither of those two stipulations appears to have happened, nor are they likely.

    Along with New York’s Eric Schneiderman, Delaware’s Beau Biden, Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto and a couple of other state attorney generals, Ms. Harris’s position is good policy for the state, as well as, good politics for her. She has stood by the people who put her in office, the people she will need to support her should she run for governor or the US Senate. We could use a few like her in that body.

    FDIC Objects to BoA Bailout & Files Suit

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    Well, well, this is getting juicy. The FDIC has filed a lawsuit objecting to the $8.5 billion bail out of the Bank of America:

    The FDIC, the receiver for failed banks, owns securities covered by the settlement and said it doesn’t have enough information to evaluate the accord, according to a filing yesterday in federal court in Manhattan.

    Under the agreement, Bank of America would pay $8.5 billion to resolve claims from investors in Countrywide Financial Corp. mortgage bonds. The settlement was negotiated with a group of institutional investors, including BlackRock Inc. (BLK) and Pacific Investment Management Co. LLC, and would apply to investors outside that group.

    Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK), the trustee for the mortgage-securitization trusts covered by the agreement, has asked a New York state judge to approve the settlement in November. An investor group is trying to move the case to federal court, which Bank of New York opposes.

    Investors that would be bound by the settlement, including American International Group Inc., have criticized the deal and Bank of New York’s role representing investors in the mortgage bonds. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden have sought to intervene in the case and asked the court to reject it.

    The Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has further upped the ante:

    The attorney general of Nevada is accusing Bank of America of repeatedly violating a broad loan modification agreement it struck with state officials in October 2008 and is seeking to rip up the deal so that the state can proceed with a suit against the bank over allegations of deceptive lending, marketing and loan servicing practices.

    In a complaint filed Tuesday in United States District Court in Reno, Catherine Cortez Masto, the Nevada attorney general, asked a judge for permission to end Nevada’s participation in the settlement agreement. This would allow her to sue the bank over what the complaint says were dubious practices uncovered by her office in an investigation that began in 2009.

    In her filing, Ms. Masto contends that Bank of America raised interest rates on troubled borrowers when modifying their loans even though the bank had promised in the settlement to lower them. The bank also failed to provide loan modifications to qualified homeowners as required under the deal, improperly proceeded with foreclosures even as borrowers’ modification requests were pending and failed to meet the settlement’s 60-day requirement on granting new loan terms, instead allowing months and in some cases more than a year to go by with no resolution, the filing says.

    The complaint says such practices violated an agreement Bank of America reached in the fall of 2008 with several states and later, in 2009, with Nevada, to settle lawsuits that accused its Countrywide unit of predatory lending. As the credit crisis grew, the settlement was heralded as a victory by state offices eager to help keep troubled borrowers in their homes and reduce their costs. Bank of America set aside $8.4 billion in the deal and agreed to help 400,000 troubled borrowers with loan modifications and other financial relief, such as lowering interest rates on mortgages.

    I’ll bet you this has Obama and the remaining AG’s panties in a twist, since, according to rumors they were looking to settle this by Labor Day.

    Here’s the link to the FDIC’s brief:

    FDIC Objection to Bank of America Mortgage Settlement

    Obama Corruption: Cover Up of Banking Fraud

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    Recent attempts by the Obama administration to persuade New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to sign off on the 50 state agreement that was being brokered by Iowa AG has resulted in Schneiderman being removed from the panel last week. In the on going power play to get Schneiderman to play ball with an agreement that would allow the banks to get away with a piteous fine and protection from any litigation regarding fraudulent foreclosures, Matt Stoller, formerly of Open Left and former Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson, writes a revealing article at Naked Capitalism that examines President Obama and AG Tom Miller dishonesty in the negotiations and their need to squash Schneiderman’s investigations. Stoller argues that all the parties are doing what they think is right not because any of them must but because it is their choice. While it can be said that is somewhat true, there is the matter of law that they have all sworn to uphold. Scheiderman seems to be the one of the few, along with Delaware AG Beau Biden and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is doing just that:

    The banking system is really at the heart of our politics, which is why it’s such a great test of one’s political theory of change. I’ve been following the foreclosure fraud story for a few years now, because it’s the tail end of a massive economy-wide fraud scheme that started as early as 2003. The securitization chain failure can’t be put back in the bottle, the housing system it collapsed is simply too big to bail. So elites keep trying to patch this up the way they have everything else. It isn’t working. And their scheme has been obvious and obviously dishonest. Along with Obama (who I criticized as empty as early as 2004, ratcheting this up to dishonest and authoritarian by 2006-2007), I pointed out that Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller was engaged in serious bad faith only a few months after the negotiations started.

    I’m no genius, I just listened to what these people actually said and did. Obama mocks the idea that he is an honest politician, overtly, lying about NAFTA and FISA very early on in power. Miller lied to activists about being willing to put bankers in jail, and then said he was negotiating with banks in secret. It was overt. For Miller, as with Obama, few people really picked up on the lies until recently. Iowa activists who heckled Miller got it, as did Naked Capitalism readers. Now it’s becoming more and more obvious. That’s just how it is, I suppose, people in the establishment are paid to not notice corruption until the harsh glare is too bright.

    The crazy thing is that robosigning is apparently still going on. Right now, the “settlement” talks are the equivalent of law enforcement negotiating with a serial killer over whether he’ll get a parking ticket, even as he continually sprays bullets into the neighborhood. Even having these “settlement” talks when the actual crimes haven’t been investigated or a complaint hasn’t been registered should be example enough that this process is rigged as badly as Dodd-Frank. It should not be a surprise that the administration is putting pressure on Eric Schneiderman, that Tom Miller is kicking him out of the club house. That’s who these people are. It’s what they believe in. Just as it should not be a surprise, though it is laudable, that Schneiderman isn’t knuckling under to the administration. I suspect he probably is laughing at the idiocy of Miller’s pressure tactic. I mean, this is a guy going up some of the most powerful entities in the United States: Bank of New York Mellon, Bank of America, the New York Fed, etc. And the Iowa Attorney General isn’t going let him on conference calls? Mmmkay.

    Stoller doesn’t end there with his indictment of the corruption and sell out to the banks. He call out the failure of Obama’s policy agenda in the wake of the 2010 defeats as a wake up call to Democrats and the party:

    From 2006-2008, the Bush administration’s failures crashed down upon conservatives, and they in many ways could not cope. But their intellectual collapse was bailed out by Obama. Faux liberals are seeing their grand experiment in tatters, though right now they can only admit to feeling disappointed because the recognition that they have been swindled is far too painful. And the recognition for many of the professionals is even more difficult, because they must recognize that they have helped swindle many others and acknowledge the debt they have incurred to their victims. The signs of coming betrayal were there, but in the end it all comes down to judging people based on what they do and who they choose as opponents. And this Democratic partisans did not do, choosing instead a comfortable delusional fantasy-land where foreclosures don’t matter and theft enabled by Obama (and Clinton before him) doesn’t matter.

    Ouch.

    Of course there is always the possibility that a “minor player” such as Schneiderman can be easily taken down with an overblown personal scandal, as was former NY AG and governor, Eliot Spitzer. Schneiderman seems unfazed and unmoved by the threats and accusations that he undermining a bogus settlement with the banks that would help thousands of homeowners. And after the failures of other programs, such as HAMP, who is really going to believe that this is the cure?

    The latest development in this on going battle for a realistic Main St rescue came when John O’Brien, Registry of Deeds for Southern Essex County in Massachusetts is requested that Iowa AG Tom Miller step down:

    Schneidernan getting kicked off the committee should come as no surprise to anyone following the foreclosure negotiations and is sickeningly similar to Pam Bondi, Florida’s Attorney General firing Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson, who were heading up investigations on a series of mortgage related crimes for over a year.

    While Bondi insists that the firings were a result of poor job performance, Miller points more towards attitude and that Schneiderman is somehow not a team player.

    snip

    This is like Pam Bondi firing the two assistant AGs in Florida,” O’Brien said. “Miller claims that Schneiderman was undermining the negotiations. Why wouldn’t he since the negotiations are far from being in the best interest of homeowners and the general public? This settlement clearly favors the banks and I’m one hundred percent behind Eric Schneiderman. This is an outrage and they are beginning the process of selling the American people down the drain I say Miller should step down and all AGs should be appalled at what has happened.”

    Schneiderman’s removal will likely make it easier for state and federal officials to reach an accord with the five banks. However, the potential amount of money they’ll be able to extract will likely decrease.

    American Banker posted the 27 term sheet of the negotiations presented to the banks with major servicing operations by the AGs and Federal Banking Regulators.

    The deal completely handcuffs state attorneys general whose constituents are suffering serious economic damage as a result of the foreclosure fiasco and fraud by the banks and servicers.

    When the investigation into robo-signing and fraud, Tom Miller had a brief moment of righteous advocacy until he received $261,445 in campaign contributions from out-of-state law firms and donors from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector shortly after he announced he was seeking criminal charges and retribution from the banks for mortgage fraud — that’s 88 times what he has received in the past decade.

    Nice pay off, Tom. Now, I wonder what Barack’s campaign is getting?

    True Colors Residence for LGBT youth to open in NYC

    The True Colors Residence is a project of Cyndi Lauper, her manager Lisa Barbaris and the West End Intergenerational Residence, a non-profit that provides housing and support for homeless families and seniors.

    The True Colors Residence will be the first permanent housing facility in the state of New York for homeless LGBT youth.  Up to 40% of homeless youth in New York identify as LGBT.

    In New York City, a very disproportionate number (up to 40%), of homeless youth identify as LGBT. Even more disturbing are reports that these young people often face discrimination and at times physical assault in some of the very places they have to for help. This is shocking and inexcusable!

    That’s why my manager, Lisa Barbaris and I are collaborating with Colleen Jackson and West End Intergenerational Residence to create the True Colors Residence, (TCR), a permanent supportive housing program for homeless LGBT youth 18-24 years old.

    We’ll be building from the ground up so our residents will have a brand new, modern building with studio apartments for each resident and both indoor and outdoor community space to socialize or attend education and recreation programs.  Each resident will be responsible for paying affordable rent based on their income and will receive ongoing assistance in obtaining employment best suited to their individual interests and skills.  Although TCR will not require participation in it’s programs, a variety of social and educational support services will be available to all who request them.  Our primary goal is to provide a physically and emotionally safe and supportive environment that will empower our young residents to be the self-loving, happy, and successful individuals they were meant to be.

    –Cyndi Lauper

    The facility on W 154th Street near Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem will have 30 studio apartments and will open September 1.

    Donations are encouraged.

    Housing Crash Imminent

    I have been writing about housings downturn for sometime and housing has been trending downward for the last 57 months straight. Even with all the government support, various moratoriums, delays, refinances, loan reworks and a plethora of other gadgetry the trend still remains.

    Now I am ready to call a crash. But before I get to that specific information lets look at some recent data.

    Shadow Inventory q2_2011

    Housing – Da Dip

    If you only listen to the talking heads you may find it surprising that the housing correction is still ongoing. Quite simply put, with all the efforts of the US government, the Federal Reserve, and various agencies the best they have accomplished is to delay the decline. Now that all the capital is spent, all the programs finished, the decline ensues. The only thing left in the bag is MOPE (Management of Perspective Economics).

    What is MOPE? In a nutshell its a pathetic attempt to ‘talk’ people into an action. The theory goes that if you say its sunny outside, and its a torrential downpour, yet everyone leaves the house without an umbrella then the concept works.

    For housing the concept is the same. Is everyone telling you that its sunny and “now is a great time to buy” and the justification they use is “look how much prices have come down” as evidence? The first thing I always ask these people is “Can you tell me when when would be a bad time to buy?”. In hindsight they will all mention a few years ago … but when the mania was at hand they were the very same touting the “housing never goes down in price” mantra.

    What is left is wishful thinking and its pretty pathetic.

    D.R. Horton’s http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=comprare-viagra-generico-100-mg-spedizione-veloce-a-Napoli Donald Horton:

    http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=sildenafil-how-to-get-from-online-drugstore “Market conditions in the homebuilding industry are still challenging, with high foreclosures, significant existing home inventory, high unemployment, tight mortgage lending standards and weak consumer confidence. However, housing affordability remains near record highs, interest rates are favorable and new home inventory is still very low,” Horton said. “We continue to focus on providing affordable homes for the first-time buyer while having product available for move-up buyers, further adjusting our cost structure relative to our current sales pace.”

    http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=quanto-costa-viagra-generico-50-mg-in-farmacia-a-Venezia Translation: We’re still in the dumps, but we’re lowering prices, so come on and buy.

    http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=accutane-side-effects-surgery Pulte’s Richard Dugas: “Over the near term, we expect the industry will continue to face low levels of demand and that overall operating conditions will remain highly competitive.” go to link Dugas then said he expects a return to profitability in the “back half of the year.”

    http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=mg-sudden-weakness-mestinon-prednisone-effects Translation: Still bad, but it has to get better, right?

    get link Meritage‘s Steven Hilton:

    “The market has obviously softened since the federal home buyer tax credit expired in April last year, as reflected in total U.S. home sales as well as our own sales and closings. As a result, http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=vardenafil-senza-ricetta-Venezia we have offered larger incentives in some of our communities, resulting in lower margins that offset the improvements we are achieving in our new higher-margin communities… enter the spring selling season for the last few months is off to a tepid start, and we have not produced sales at the pace we would have hoped this far into the 2011 selling season. We believe the housing market in general is still bouncing along the bottom, with pockets of strength in certain of our markets.”

    follow url Translation: We’re lowering prices, throwing in upgrades, and it’s not really working.

    News that serious delinquencies are on the decline suggesting that those left standing in their homes will remain. Kyle Lundstedt of LPS Applied Analytics aka Dr. Doom reports that mortgage delinquencies, down more than 11 percent month-over month, are at the lowest level since 2008.

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