Daily Archives: January 8, 2015

MERS’ rights as a mortgagee upheld in Illinois

MERSCORP has again come out victorious in a legal challenge brought against the company by a disgruntled homeowner.

The company announced earlier this week that the Circuit Court of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit for Lake County, Illinois rejected a claim from a borrower, who said that their mortgage was void and unenforceable because MERS, the named mortgagee on the mortgage at the time the mortgage was originated, was not licensed under the Illinois Residential Mortgage License Act.

The borrowers, Bogdan and Hanna Schak, executed a mortgage to MERS on Sep. 10, 2007. The mortgage was assigned to CitiMortgage on Sep. 18, 2007. CitiMortgage filed a complaint for foreclosure against the Schaks on June 9, 2010.

A summary judgment was entered against the Schaks on Oct. 2, 2013, their property was subsequently sold and the order approving the sale was entered into the record on June 20, 2014.

Read on.

Illinois Revokes License of Temp Agency Check Cashing Store

Illinois regulators revoked the business license last month of a check cashing store featured in a ProPublica investigation of temp agencies and labor brokers in Chicago.

The revocation order is the latest in a string of government and legislative actions taken in response to a ProPublica series on the growth of temp work in the United States. Illinois regulators said they learned of the store’s unlawful collection of fees from ourstory in April 2013.

According to the order, the 26th and Central Park Currency Exchange arranged a deal with a labor broker to funnel temp workers to its check-cashing business. Under the arrangement, the temp agency gave the workers’ paychecks to the labor broker who then brought them to the check cashing store. The store distributed the checks only after it had deducted fees for the broker and for its services, according to the order by the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

“The workers, earning minimum wage, were charged fees by the licensee well in excess of the amount permitted by law,” Francisco Menchaca, director of the Division of Financial Institutions, wrote in the Dec. 2 order.

Regulatory actions rarely lead to criminal charges and the Illinois Attorney General’s office said it has not received any information about the case from the agency.

The store has appealed the license revocation and is allowed to remain open until a hearing before an administrative judge. Bruce Balonick, an attorney for the check cashing store, said he didn’t believe “the currency exchange did anything wrong other than to serve its customer.”

Read on.

Church: JPMorgan mismanaged millions in trust funds

INDIANAPOLIS — A historic local church, richly endowed by the late Eli Lilly Jr., lost millions of dollars due to JPMorgan Chase and Co.’s self-dealing and mismanagement of two trust funds, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of Christ Church Cathedral claims “JPMorgan caused the church trusts to lose approximately $13 million in value.”

The suit says the loss resulted from JPMorgan’s decisions “to purchase over 177 different investment products, mostly from itself, using church funds because they produced the highest revenues to JPMorgan, to the detriment of Christ Church.”

A JPMorgan representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment fromThe Indianapolis Star. Investment divisions of America’s largest bank served from 2004 through the end of 2013 as the trustee over two church accounts valued at more than $30 million.

The lawsuit says the bank “used millions of dollars of church funds to purchase from itself clearly unsuitable investments for the church including private equity funds, structured notes, hedge funds, and other proprietary funds, many of which had no track record of success and were doomed to fail.”

Over the course of its 10-year management of the two church funds, the lawsuit says, “the percentage of proprietary products (JPMorgan) purchased from itself on behalf of the church ranged from 68 percent to a staggering 85 percent of the portfolio.”

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JPMorgan Chase Sued Over Alleged HIV Discrimination

A former corporate vice president of JPMorgan Chase is suing the banking giant, alleging the corporation violated the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) by ignoring a doctor’s order related to the man’s HIV care.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) filed the suit on January 2, 2015 in the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles. It was filed on behalf of Jesus Leon, the bank’s former vice president of community development banking in Los Angeles. The suit alleges the bank violated California law as well as the ADA.

The lawsuit states that Leon began working with Chase in June of 2010 as vice president of global philanthropy, and in January of 2012 accepted a position in Los Angeles. It explains that he was diagnosed with HIV in 2004, and maintains that — prior to July 2012 when the alleged discrimination began — Chase was aware of his HIV-positive status.

Federal law has determined that being HIV positive qualifies under the ADA. As such, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for a person living with HIV.

In April 2012, Leon says, he submitted documentation from his doctor explaining that he needed a medical leave. Chase approved that leave and Leon returned to his post in July 2012.

According to the case, his physician also wrote that that Leon, because of his medical condition, should not work more than 40 hours per week. Leon states he requested that the company provide a reasonable accommodation on this basis, but alleges in his lawsuit that the company did not honor the request to limit his work hours to 40 hours per week. On July 19, 2014, Leon claims that as a result of working more than 40 hours, his medical condition worsened, requiring his being transported from his work by an ambulance.

The next day, Leon says in his lawsuit, he filed a formal complaint with Chase Human Resources officials regarding the company’s alleged failure to honor his medically necessary reasonable accommodation.

Read on.