Daily Archives: April 13, 2014


Meet the Palm Harbor man who is 12 years behind on his mortgage payments and 14 bankruptcy petitions

Meet the Palm Harbor man who is 12 years behind on his mortgage payments and 14 bankruptcy petitions

There are people who are late on their mortgages, and then there’s Paul Stenstrom.

The Palm Harbor man hasn’t paid a cent on his home since 2002, back when gas cost $1.61 a gallon, Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq and Kelly Clarkson was the first American Idol. Now, 12 years later, the world has moved on. Stenstrom has not.

As of this week, he and his family were still in the house even as a bank pressed ahead with efforts to evict them.

“I understand it looks bad,” Stenstrom says of his decade-plus of payment-free living. “But it was wholly legal.”

Stenstrom, 62, has benefited from a federal law that automatically stops all actions by creditors, including banks trying to foreclose, when a person declares bankruptcy. Between 2002 and last year, Stenstrom and his wife filed a total of 18 bankruptcy petitions to keep their house from being sold at public auction.

Bankruptcy officials have a term for people like the Stenstroms: serial filers.

“It’s one thing to file in 2003 because you lost your job and in 2007 because you had medical issues,” says Judge Michael Williamson of the U.S. bankruptcy court in Tampa. “That’s not the serial filer. The serial filer abuses come in the mortgage foreclosure cases where people want to live free in the house.”

The Justice Department doesn’t keep statistics on serial filers, but “someone with more than four cases, that would be unusual,” Williamson says.

Tampa Bay judges say they can’t remember many other local homeowners who have fended off foreclosure for more than a few years, let alone 12. The Pinellas-Pasco court system has sections in each county that deal exclusively with foreclosures “to move them along,” says Chief Judge J. Thomas McGrady.

But there’s not much they can do when a delinquent homeowner heads to bankruptcy court.

“It’s very frustrating,” McGrady says.


SEC eyes test that may lead to shift away from ‘dark pools’

SEC eyes test that may lead to shift away from ‘dark pools’

U.S. securities regulators are considering testing a proposed reform that could drive business to major stock exchanges and away from alternative trading venues such as “dark pools” that critics say may be hurting investors by reducing the quality of pricing.

The proposal, which has so far only been discussed among staff involved in policymaking at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, could limit how much trading occurs inside brokerages and in dark pools, according to people familiar with the matter.

The measure aims to address a concern among some regulators and academics about the increasing level of trading that happens outside of exchanges.

They say that the amount of trading being done in the “dark” means that publicly quoted prices for stocks on exchanges may no longer properly reflect where the market is, meaning that investors may not be getting the best prices for their trades.

The measure under consideration, known as a “trade-at” rule, has long been sought after by exchanges like Nasdaq OMX and the New York Stock Exchange as a way to win back market share against off-exchange competitors such as Credit Suisse’s Crossfinder, one of the largest dark pools in the United States.


Investors Ask 11th Circ. To Revive ‘Foreclosure King’ Suit

Investors Ask 11th Circ. To Revive ‘Foreclosure King’ Suit

Law360, Miami (April 11, 2014, 8:50 PM ET) — Investors in a foreclosure services company formerly headed by Florida’s now-disbarred “foreclosure king” David J. Stern on Thursday urged the Eleventh Circuit to reinstate its suit against Stern alleging misrepresentations to investors.