Daily Archives: June 1, 2016


It is well settled that a foreclosure sale cannot be held while a timely motion for rehearing is pending because enforcement of a final judgment is suspended by the filing of the rehearing motion. United Invs. Ltd. P’ship v. Resolution Tr. Corp., 566 So. 2d 370, 370 (Fla. 3d DCA 1990) (Mem). Accordingly, the trial court erred by not cancelling the August 10, 2015 foreclosure sale, and the foreclosure sale must be set aside. See Hoffman v. BankUnited, N.A., 137 So. 3d 1039 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014) (Mem).

Based on the foregoing, we grant the petition, quash the order denying Petitioners’ motion to cancel the sale offoreclosure, direct the trial court to set aside the foreclosure sale to Cienfuegos, and remand for proceedings consistent herewith.

Petition granted.

Full opinion below…



Seterus, one of the country’s largest servicers of home mortgages, has been hit with a class action lawsuitalleging the company has overcharged its customers for mandatory insurance coverage by partnering with one insurance provider, who then kicks back a portion of the purportedly overpriced insurance policies to Seterus.

On May 24, plaintiff Jolanta Rozwadowska filed the putative class action in Cook County Circuit Court against Seterus Inc. and QBE First Insurance Agency over the alleged kickback scheme.

According to public records, the mortgage on the property was modified in 2014, and assigned to Fannie Mae. Seterus serviced the mortgage on behalf of Fannie Mae. In 2015, Fannie Mae filed a foreclosure lis pendens notice with Cook County against the property, public records said.

While Seterus was servicing Rozwadowska’s mortgage, the lawsuit said she allowed her home insurance coverage to lapse. Under the terms of her mortgage contract, this allowed Seterus to then select a new insurer to cover the property, and force her to pay for the coverage.

This so-called “force-placed” insurance coverage is standard practice for Seterus and other home mortgage loan servicers, who require the insurance to cover their investment against hazards, the complaint said.

However, while the language of the contract authorizes loan servicers, like Seterus, in the event of a lapse of coverage, to purchase “reasonable and appropriate” insurance policies to cover the home, the lawsuit said Seterus and QBE “have an exclusive arrangement,” under which “QBE First monitors Seterus’ mortgage loan portfolio to identify lapses in coverage or inadequacy of insurance.”

When such lapses are found, the lawsuit said, Seterus allows QBE to buy the insurance, and Seterus includes the premium in its borrowers’ mortgages.

However, the complaint said in Rozwadowska’s case, and in the case of potentially thousands of othershomeowners in Illinois and elsewhere, Seterus “abused the discretion” granted it under the mortgage loan agreement, force-placing insurance policies that are overpriced because, according to the complaint, “a considerable portion” of the premium charged to borrowers is “kicked back to Seterus and/or QBE First.”

Find out more here…


The winner of Fannie Mae’s latest auction of nonperforming loans is a familiar face.

New Jersey Community Capital, a nonprofit community development financial institution, made the winning bid for Fannie Mae’s third “community impact pool” of nonperforming loans. NJCC had won the auctions for Fannie Mae’s first and second pools in this series, which are aimed at nonprofits, smaller investors and minority- and women-owned businesses.

The latest pool won by the nonprofit contains 83 loans backed by properties in the Miami metro area. The unpaid principal balances totaled $19.7 million.

The sale price for the pool “was in the high 60s as a percentage of unpaid principal balance,” Fannie Mae said in a news release Thursday. The average loan size for the pool was $237,672, and the average note rate is 5.07%. On average, the loans are 51 months behind on payments.

More here…

USA TODAY analysis finds 3,500 legal actions by and against Trump, fighting everyone from the government to the vodka makers

Donald Trump is a fighter, famous for legal skirmishes over everything from his golf courses to his tax bills to Trump University. But until now, it hasn’t been clear precisely how litigious he is and what that might portend for a Trump presidency.

An exclusive USA TODAY analysis of legal filings across the United States finds that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and his businesses have been involved in at least 3,500 legal actions in federal and state courts during the past three decades. They range from skirmishes with casino patrons to million-dollar real estate suits to personal defamation lawsuits.

The sheer volume of lawsuits is unprecedented for a presidential nominee. No candidate of a major party has had anything approaching the number of Trump’s courtroom entanglements.

Just since he announced his candidacy a year ago, at least 70 new cases have been filed, about evenly divided between lawsuits filed by him and his companies and those filed against them. And the records review found at least 50 civil lawsuits remain open even as he moves toward claiming the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in seven weeks. On Tuesday, court documents were released in one of the most dramatic current cases, filed in California by former students accusing Trump University of fraudulent and misleading behavior.

Read on.

Newly released affidavit: Former Trump U sales rep call it ‘scheme’ that preyed on elderly and uneducated


In a newly released affidavit, Ronald Schackenberg, a former sales rep, talks about the high pressure tactics used to lure students:

In my experience, the primary goal of Trump University was not to educate students regarding real estate investing. The primary focus seemed to make money as quickly and easily as possible … From the very beginning, Trump University speakers told students to raise their credit limits so they could be ready to purchase real estate. In fact, the speakers then told students to use their increased credit limits to purchase the next level of Trump University … I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.

More from the NY Times:

In a set of documents unsealed on Tuesday, Mr. Schnackenberg, a sales manager, recounted how he was reprimanded for not pushing a financially struggling couple hard enough to sign up for a $35,000 real estate class, despite his conclusion that it would endanger their economic future. He watched with disgust, he said, as a fellow Trump University salesman persuaded the couple to purchase the class anyway.

Testimony From Ronald Schnackenberg, a Former Employee of Trump University

Wall Street’s Fab Five: The House Candidates Most Dependent on the Finance Industry

Hedge fund and other private equity managers have created a huge imbalance in the campaign finance picture with their massive contributions to super PACs. But as an industry, Wall Street writ large makes its mark in the simplest of ways: by simply giving more, by far, to candidates than any other interest group.

Naturally, though, not all candidates are created equal.

A quintet of House incumbents and challengers are far more reliant on the financial world to fuel their campaigns than most others running for a seat in that body — they’ve received twice as much from the securities and investment industry in the 2016 election cycle as they have from their next highest donor industry, OpenSecrets’Anomaly Tracker shows. A bipartisan bunch, they are: Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.),Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) and David Jolly (R-Fla.) and candidates Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Andrew Heaney (R-N.Y.).

The two non-incumbents have raised the most from the Wall Street-centered industry. That makes sense, considering they’re running to represent two of the country’s most prominent Valleys in the financial realm: Silicon and Hudson.

Khanna, a former Obama administration official headed into a rematch in the California Democratic primary this month with Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), has long projected himself as the new, young face that can represent Silicon Valley better than the Baby Boomer currently occupying the seat and collecting ethics complaints.

That means, apparently, building a donor base of investors: Khanna has raised$480,500 from the securities and investment industry compared to $170,752 from his next top iindustry, electronics manufacturing. Khanna lost his bid to unseat Honda in 2014 by fewer than 5,000 votes. That year, he raised $629,950 from financiers, compared to $261,345 from electronics manufacturing.

Read on.

Trump Michigan charity linked to telemarketer AG targeted


lol! The con artist donates to a con artist!

One of 40 veteran’s groups that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced Tuesday as recipients of $5.6 million raised in January is linked to a telemarketing firm that has come under the scrutiny of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.

West Bloomfield-based Foundation for American Veterans was among the charities Trump released Tuesday after media inquiries. The donation: $75,000. A professional fundraiser for the charity, Southfield-based Associated Community Services, has paid a settlement following a cease-and-desist order from the attorney general.

In 2013, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette reached a $45,000 settlement with ACS, following complaints that the firm wrongly used the Attorney General Office’s name to convince senior citizens to provide their credit card information.

Attempts to reach the ACS at its Southfield office Tuesday were unsuccessful. Representatives for Schuette’s office also did not return phone calls.

As recently as last week, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit against the telemarketer, accusing it of using deceptive statements and sending false pledge reminders to convince individuals, mostly senior citizens, to donate.

Read on.


90-year-old widow fights foreclosure

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A 90-year-old widow is facing thousands of dollars worth of fines for code violations.

Marie Louise Sikorski has no way to pay the fines or to fix the problems herself. But a neighbor felt inspired to help Sikorski.

Sikorski has called a little pink house on Webber Street home for decades. She’s scared she’ll lose it. “We’re concerned with how the city is acting,” Sikorski said.

Her husband, a military veteran, died years ago. Since then, her house has fallen into disrepair. In recent years, the city issued numerous code violations and threatened to begin the foreclosure process.

The home was rundown, the yard was overgrown, a fence was broken, and neighbors were complaining.

Read on.

What Happened When the FBI Investigated Foreclosure Fraud in Florida

By David Dayen

Six years ago, FBI agents in Jacksonville, Florida, wrote a memo to their bosses in Washington, DC, that could have unraveled the largest consumer fraud in American history. It went to the heart of the shady mortgage industry that precipitated the financial crisis, and the case promised to involve nearly every major bank in the country, honing in on the despicable practice of using bogus documents to illegally kick people out of their homes.

But despite impaneling a grand jury, calling in dozens of agents and forensic examiners, doing 75 interviews, issuing hundreds of subpoenas, and reviewing millions of documents, the criminal investigation resulted in just one conviction. And that convict—Lorraine Brown, CEO of the third-party company DocX that facilitated the fraud scheme—was sent to prison for duping the banks.

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, VICE has obtained some 600 pages of documents from the Jacksonville FBI field office showing how agents conducted a sprawling investigation. (The Jacksonville case is also featured in my new book, Chain of Title.) The documents suggest the feds gained a detailed understanding of how and why the mortgage industry enlisted third-party companies to create false documents they presented to courts, as detailed in the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement, for which the big banks paid billions in civil fines. The banks’ conduct is described in the settlement documents as “unlawful,” and the Jacksonville FBI had it nailed almost two years earlier.

Read on.

Holy smokes Batman! Social media captures incredible line to see Sanders’ Oakland, CA speech

And check out the line waiting to see the Sanders’ rally in Oakland, CA on Monday. Very long. And yes, my feet were hurting standing in line and being on my feet all day watching the Sanders’ rally in Vista, CA for over 8 hours two weeks ago:


Local Dianne Yee drew up the map below based on another video of the same line:

 Photo: Dianne Yee