Monthly Archives: September 2015

Federal Agencies Demand General Electric Continue Cleaning Up Its Hudson River Pollution

Two federal agencies on Tuesday requested that the Obama administration postpone General Electric’s plan to end its cleanup of the Hudson River without removing all the related pollution. While GE has saidit is satisfied with its cleanup and is consequently shuttering its dredging operations this year, the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a letter that GE’s current plan would leave fish in the river “unacceptably contaminated” with the toxic chemicals called PCBs that the company spewed into the river decades ago.

“Now is the time for GE to thoroughly address its PCB contamination of the Hudson River,” the agencies wrote to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has cited data to label PCBs “probable human carcinogens.”

The EPA forged an agreement in 2002 with GE to clean up some of the PCBs that the company’s Upstate New York manufacturing facilities deposited in the river in the mid-20th century. Under that agreement, EPA must approve GE’s decommissioning plan in what has become the nation’s largest Superfund site. Interior and NOAA assert that if the EPA approves GE’s plan to decommission its dredging facilities, it would remove equipment that would have to be redeployed if the agencies later require GE to do more dredging.

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Oakland Accuses Wells Fargo of Steering Blacks and Latinos Toward Bad Loans

wells-fargo-hells-cargo

We heard this story before.. Wells Fargo still is repeated offender in redlining…Court document is linked to the article…

Oakland is accusing Wells Fargo Bank of systematic predatory lending to minorities.

In a federal lawsuit filed last week, the city alleges that the bank targeted blacks and Latinos, steering them toward risky, likely-to-fail loans — the kind that caused many families to lose their homes in the ongoing foreclosure crisis.

Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker says the city has collected proof, including the testimony of former Well Fargo employees, suggesting the bank intentionally gave more expensive loans to African-American and Latino residents. Parker says minorities with good credit were given bad loans, in contrast to loans given to white borrowers with the same credit and income.

“Some of the testimony that we have gotten indicates that they felt that these borrowers were less sophisticated,” Parker says. “In some cases there’s comments that they thought they were less intelligent. It’s hard to imagine that being the case today, but in effect that’s what happened over years.”

Read on.

SEC Charges UBS Puerto Rico and Two Individuals in Actions Relating to Former Broker’s Fraud

Washington D.C.–(Newsfile Corp. – September 29, 2015) – The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged UBS Financial Services Inc. of Puerto Rico and a former branch manager for failing to supervise a former broker who had customers invest in UBSPR affiliated mutual funds using money borrowed from a UBSPR affiliated bank.  UBSPR and the bank prohibited using such loans to purchase securities and the practice exposed investors to losses while producing profits for the former UBSPR broker, the SEC alleged.

UBSPR agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying $15 million in disgorgement, interest, and penalties, which will be placed into a fund for harmed investors.  The former branch officer, Ramiro L. Colon III, agreed to a settlement in which he will pay a $25,000 penalty and be suspended from a supervisory role for one year.

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BofA to cut ‘a couple of hundred’ jobs: WSJ

(Reuters) – Bank of America Corp is planning “a couple of hundred” job cuts at its global banking and markets unit, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The bank could announce the layoffs as early as Tuesday, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Bank of America, which had about 216,700 full-time employees as of June 30, could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Attention Presidential candidates: Hispanic voters want homeownership!

In multiple surveys, Hispanics rank homeownership as the primary evidence of success and the ultimate realization of the American Dream. While the presidential election is more than a year away, the subject of housing has yet to be addressed by most of the candidates.

Between 2008 and 2012 Hispanic families lost nearly 1 million homes due to foreclosure.

This was largely due to predatory lending, high unemployment and falling home prices. Nonetheless, according to Fannie Mae’s recent national housing survey, Hispanic enthusiasm for homeownership continues to out index other demographics.

Read on.

Why Did Ted Cruz’s SuperPAC Give Carly Fiorina’s SuperPAC $500,000?

This is why we have to get rid the dark money out of politics!

Submitted by  SM Gibson via TheAntiMedia.org,

A Super PAC associated with GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has raised almost $3.5 million to date for the former CEO in her quest to become commander-in-chief in 2016. One donation in particular, though, stands out among the hundreds of contributions pledged to the CARLY for America Super PAC as so perplexingly bizarre, it has left the Federal Election Commission and a host of others scratching their heads in bewilderment.

On June 18, a donation of $500,000 was made to the Fiorina-supporting PAC by Keep The Promise I. Not only is Keep The Promise I a generous contributor who believes in Fiorina’s presidential aspirations enough to fork over half a million dollars — it also happens to be a Super PAC set up to fund a political rival of Fiorina’s and fellow presidential candidate, Senator Ted Cruz.

Why would anyone seeking the presidential nomination for the Republican party donate such a large sum to a competitor? No one currently knows the answer, but it is a question to which the FEC is actively seeking an answer.

In a letter sent to Keep The Promise I on September 21, the FEC requested an explanation be given for the disbursement of funds to CARLY for America, and that “Failure to adequately respond by (October 21) could result in an audit or enforcement action.”

The only explanation listed for the expense at the time of the contribution was “other disbursement.”

Keep The Promise I is one of four political PACs set up to raise money for Cruz’s presidential campaign endeavors (the other three are “creatively” monikered “Keep the Promise PAC,” “Keep the Promise II,” and “Keep the Promise III”). Keep The Promise I alone has already raised over $11 million dollars for Cruz so far, but not much of that money has been spent yet. According to the FEC, only $536,170 has been used by the PAC. $36,170 of that went towards paying for attorney’s fees and surveys while the bulk of the cash went towards Fiorina’s presidential war chest.

Fatal Realtor kidnapping pushes real estate industry to change

Suspect lured agent to remote property showing one year ago

A year ago next week, the search for Beverly Carter, the Arkansas Realtor who had been missing since Sep. 25, 2014, ended tragically when her body was found in a shallow grave about 25 miles north of Little Rock.

Now, Beverly’s son reveals how the industry is changing in an exclusive interview with HousingWire.

Carter was kidnapped while showing a home sometime in the early evening hours of Sep. 25, a Thursday. Her husband told police that he became concerned when by 9 p.m. his wife had not called. He drove to the site and found her brown Cadillac sport utility vehicle parked in the driveway with her purse inside it.

An intensive search followed, and on Sep. 29, police arrested a suspect.

Carter’s body was found in a shallow grave about 25 miles north of Little Rock the next day, on Sep. 30, 2014.

Arron Lewis, of Jacksonville, was arrested and stands charged with Carter’s murder. He faces the death penalty. His girlfriend at the time, Crystal Hope Lowery, was also charged with capital murder for her role.

Lowery has since pled guilty and received a 30-year reduced sentence, contingent on her agreement to testify against Lewis. Lewis is scheduled for his capital murder trial on Jan. 12.

The one–year anniversary of this tragedy has Realtors considering again the safety measures they take.

“On the one-year anniversary of the tragic death of Beverly Carter, we must recommit ourselves as an industry to the need for safety awareness and practices among real estate agents, colleagues and clients,” says National Association of Realtors 2015 President Chris Polychron. “Unfortunately, like many other jobs that require interacting with the public, selling real estate involves some risk, but we must do everything possible to ensure that future tragedies are prevented.

“One of the most important things Realtors can do to protect themselves is to always meet new clients in their office and introduce them to a co-worker,” Polychron says. “Realtors should keep their phone charged and with them, make sure someone always knows their location, be careful with sharing personal information and always trust their instincts.”

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