Daily Archives: December 16, 2014

Court Monitor, State AGs Probing Flawed Ocwen Loan Reviews

A federal monitor is investigating whether Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN) is treating borrowers fairly after a whistleblower said the company may have improperly influenced which mortgages were picked for a compliance review.

Joseph Smith, who is overseeing a 2012 settlement with five lenders over flawed foreclosures, said in a report today that he hired an outside accountant to review Ocwen’s loan servicing after becoming convinced the company’s self-reporting was unreliable. State attorneys general monitoring the accord also said they are investigating whether Ocwen provided false or misleading information in its compliance reporting.

“I’m not saying everybody there did wrong,” Smith said in a telephone interview yesterday. “The best you could say about it was it was sloppy. It could be more.”

Read on.

Settlement Cash Used To Fight Crime

This fall, the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has directed tens of millions of dollars from a settlement with a French bank to pay for everything from computer equipment for police to processing rape-evidence kits.

Now Mr. Vance plans to give $101 million to the New York City Housing Authority for security cameras, better lighting and a swipe-card system for residents to enter the buildings.

Mr. Vance’s office has nearly $450 million to distribute, thanks to the settlement earlier this year with the bank, BNP Paribas SA, which pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, among other nations. The sum equates to more than four times his office’s annual budget.

Mr. Vance has allocated $90 million to help get tablets and other mobile devices to police; $40 million for mental-health treatment and training to help keep certain offenders out of jail; and $35 million to address a national backlog of rape kits, the forensic evidence needed to prosecute such cases.

“Each of those investments is a once-in-a-generation type investment opportunity,” he said.

Read on.

Rep. Kevin Yoder MIA After Tucking Wall Street Bailout Into Government Spending Bill

Meet Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas).

Yoder, a second-term congressman whose largest contributors are in the finance industry, introduced the provision last summer. It was literally written by Citigroup executives, but Yoder took their language and rolled it into an amendment to a spending bill in a House subcommittee meeting. It got swept into the year-end spending package because it “was within the scope of negotiations” on it, according to an Appropriations Committee aide.

The provision, which prompted a fiery speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), undoes a rule that prevents big banks from relying on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to bail them out if things go sour when they trade risky assets. The rule was put into place as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, which overhauled the financial regulatory system after the 2007-2008 financial crisis stemming from banks making extremely risky bets and losing. The government had to bail them out with taxpayer money, and Yoder’s provision paves the way for another possible bailout.

Yoder has been mum about the spending package since it passed the House. His office hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment on why he slipped the Citigroup language into it. The press statements on his website say nothing about the provision or the spending bill. There are no posts about it on his Facebook page. He’s said nothing in his Twitter feed.

But a look at the comments on Yoder’s Facebook page shows that some people, including Kansas voters, are catching on that he was the one behind the Wall Street provision. And they’re not happy.

“I have always voted for you, Congressman Yoder, but I am disappointed with your yes vote on the Omnibus bill and we, your constituents, deserve an explanation as to why,” writes Dianne Lavenburg, who lives in DeSoto, Kansas. “[P]lease clarify your involvement regarding the taxpayer bailouts for risky bank investments also included in the Omnibus bill.”

“How much did Citi donate in exchange for you inserting their requested verbiage?” asks Kevin West, who studies at Kansas State University.

“Why is there a Wall Street giveaway in the Continuing Resolution? Did you learn nothing during the last cycle of collapse and bailouts? Plain ignorance, or willful ignorance?” says Rich Reavis, who plays in a band called Rail Dog that performs around Kansas. “Did you speak out against putting that crap in the CR?”

Scott Gregory of Roeland Park, Kansas, which falls in Yoder’s district, says, “I’m sure the good folks of the 3rd District were just beating down the door to get CITI favored treatment. You are a sell-out to Wall Street lobbyists.”

And here is some responses from Rep. Yoder’s Facebook:

  • Bob Faunce You voted to cut military&families benefits during a time we are at war. Then you add CITI Corp language to the Cromnibus bill that they provided putting us back to 2006 allowing banks to use their money as they please and thus setting the American tax payer up for more bailouts. I voted for you but I guess you fooled me.
  • Brian St Denis Why did you vote for Cromnibus?
  • Joseph Barnes Jr So very sad to hear it was congressman Yoder who put the language in the omnibus bill to protect wall street bankers. I had to do a lot of research because I just couldn’t believe it. I am so disappointed, you have betrayed the hard working people of Kansas. Now these wall street banks will do it all over again.
  • Nadeem Ahmed Hey Kevin Yoder – your a jerkface – a sellout – a coward – doing the business of the big banks. Home you stay under that rock you’ve crawled under.
  • Robert Moses Grove Rep. Kevin Yoder (R – Citigroup)
  • Rick Wildrick It is truly a pity that folks in Congress are not required to wear jackets with their sponsors’ logos on them….
  • Bruce Rasmussen Did Citigroup give you that flag?
  • Susan Caylor Funderburk So when, not if, the banks put the world’s economy in a tailspin again and we taxpayers have to bail them out, make sure to thank Congressman Kevin Yoder of Kansas. For some reason he’s gone underground and isn’t responding to questions. Gee, wonder why?
  • David Fjeld New cover photo reminds one of CCR: Some folks are born, made to wave the flag
    Ooo, they’re red, white and blue
    And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
    Ooo, they point the cannon at you, Lord
  • Matthew Choate While I don’t vote for you, Congressman, thank you for giving away more of what I work for every day to the trolls running Citibank and their ilk. I hope the people in Kansas who you allegedly are working for hold you accountable.
  • Ruben R. Pena The GOP often accuse the Democrats as being the party of “handouts” and welfare giveaways…What do you call what Congressman Kevin Yoder just gave the Banks with this piece of legislation?
  • Lisa Blumer Well, Congressman, you’ve got yours, right? We people are collateral damage.
  • David Marsh So you accepted a couple hundred grand from the financial services industry, then you slipped the bank bail out provision into the omnibus bill. You are what’s wrong with American politics.
  • Ricki-tik Tavi How much did Citi donate in exchange for you inserting their requested wording?
  • Don Mac Adam Congratulations Kansas, you have The best congressman money can buy.
  • Cody Cody You are a dirt ball. Selling out the U.S. Tax payer. Call yourself a conservative. Disgusting.
  • Bruce Berlin Congressman, You are the face of political corruption in America!
  • Nathan Hall Thank you for selling us out to Wall Street. My tax money now insures big banks as they gamble with depositors money. Heads they win, tails we all lose.
  • Jim Boulden Citibank owns this congressman!
  • Tedd Kuniyuki Representative Yoder, you represent much of what is wrong with representative democracy today. Meaning, you seem to represent powerful financial backers at the expense of your constituents. While it is true that most of the American public has been sleepwalking the last few decades, it is naive to think that there are not many who understand the significance of what you and your fellow legislators are doing to the American people by advancing the interest of Wall Street banks.
  • Corny LeFerret What is the going rate for your vote?
  • Tom Stimmel In a few days everyone will forget about this. Who wantsto bet he doesn’t get re-elected?
  • Pat Cauley Looks like you are bought and paid for Mr Congressman. Inserting a bailout in the budget and setting up the American people for another bailout for wallstreet.
  • Lynn Winkelman Shame on you.
  • Cindy Mahoney You should resign. You’re not representing Kansas, you’re representing Citibank. I don’t want my tax money bailing out banks who make risky bets. Come next election, you’re done!!
  • Dana Engleman I trust you’re checking your comments. You constituents (me being one) aren’t very happy with you voting with the RINOs. Either you embrace the move toward the limited government positions or count this as you last 2 years in office.
  • John S. Parker How’s that knife in your back feel constituents? You’ve been had and now we ALL in the U.S. will eventually have to pay for it….. You should be so proud of your representative prostituting the body politic for his own personal gain…..
  • Charles Eakins This is what you call a RINO.
  • Johnny Bee Did Citibank purchase that for you?
  • Brad Snider You didn’t buy that……..Citibank did

When The Tide Rolls Out – COO, CEO & Chairman Flee FBI-Probed REIT

As The Wall Street Journal reports,

Embattled real-estate investment trust American Realty Capital Properties Inc. announced a dramatic management shake-up early Monday morning as Nicholas Schorsch, the company’s founder and executive chairman, resigned.

The move comes just over six weeks after an accounting scandal shook the company and erased more than $3 billion from the REIT’s market value.

Mr. Schorsch also resigned from the boards of several notraded REITs managed by Cole Capital Advisors Inc., an affiliate of American Realty Capital Properties.

In a surprise move, David Kay, the company’s chief executive since the end of September, and Lisa Beeson, a longtime deputy to Mr. Schorsch, also stepped down Monday morning. Mr. Kay had been handling the damage control after the accounting irregularities had been announced, meeting with investors and analysts in an effort to contain the scandal.

The company said that board member William Stanley had been appointed lead independent director and would sever as interim chief executive officer and chairman until replacements could be found.

“The actions taken today will stabilize the company and are necessary to strengthen future leadership and strategy, improve governance, and complete a separation from Nick Schorsch and his affiliates,” Mr. Stanley said in a statement. “These actions build on ARCP’s significant real estate assets and asset management capabilities, and will further restore investor confidence in ARCP.”

The company said its financial results going back as far as 2013 could no longer be relied upon, and hired outside counsel and auditors to investigate the financial results.

Pennsylvania court overturns house’s tax sale over $6.30 bill

A Pennsylvania appeals court yesterday reversed the sale of a home that was triggered by an unpaid tax bill of $6.30 in 2004, which with interest had increased to $235 by the time the property was sold at auction in 2011. The court held that the auction sale of the $280,000 home was not valid because the county tax bureau had not offered the owner an installment payment plan. The Beaver County’s Timesonline.com has the story.