National Media Takes Aim At Jacksonville Foreclosure Court

Editor’s Note: Unconfirmed reports say that McCollum is looking for a job in the banking sector.

National Media Takes Aim At Jacksonville Foreclosure Court

By

Adam Kirk – Morning News Producer

@ November 12, 2010 6:54 AM Permalink | Comments (3)

An article in Rolling Stone Magazine hits newsstands this morning, taking aim at Jacksonville’s new foreclosure court, and one of the judges behind it.

The article, written by Matt Taibbi, is a critical look at the proceedings inside the Duval County courthouse and one of the multiple retired judges trying to clear a massive back-log of foreclosures, Judge A.C. Soud.

It characterizes the process as full of “fraud” because it claims most of the big lending institutions can not come up with a legal paper trail to document who owns the homes being foreclosed on, and the payment history.

However, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has characterized the process very differently in recent interviews.

When asked on CNBC recently whether there are examples of homeowners’ property rights being trampled on, and whether there are cases of homeowners being evicted when they are not in default, McCollum simply said “That would be very rare, and most of this is technical,” referring to the paperwork problems in foreclosure proceedings.

McCollum characterized the foreclosure crisis in Florida as a problem that is keeping property values low and Florida’s economy from recovering, rather than a problem that is forcing people out of their homes en masse.

“If there’s no confidence in the (foreclosure) process, and there are a lot of bad titles out there, it would be a disaster for us recovering in the market, with the tens of thousands of properties we have out there in the market,” McCollum said in an interview on the FOX Business Network.

McCollum said as many as 25% of properties being foreclosed on in Florida are abandoned, and many of the property owners have not paid their mortgages in 2 or 3 years.

In Jacksonville it was recently revealed that JEA, the city owned utility that provides power to Duval County, is paying to keep power on at abandoned and foreclosed homes.  While that cost is substantially less than it would cost to send crews to each home and turn the power off and on, it highlights the myriad of hidden costs being heaped on top of Floridians already struggling to keep their heads above water in a recession, and pay their own mortgages on time.

According to the property-tracking website Zillow.com, property values have fallen in Jacksonville 15.4 percent year-over-year on average, and that amount is higher in historically poor and minority neighborhoods.

But the huge hit to property values isn’t just confined to those neighborhoods with the highest percentage of foreclosed properties.  Riverside and Avondale, recently named as one of the best areas to live in the country by national publications, have seen double-digit declines in property values in the same time period.  A quick drive through those areas, and you will notice an uncommon number of “fore sale” and “for rent” signs in historically upscale communities.

And while those properties would have demanded top-tier rental or purchasing candidates a few years ago, a check of local rental websites tells a tale of reduced expectations from landlords who are now competing with properties that won’t sell on the open market, and are being rented at a discount.

“It seems like a fairly simple process,” wrote a man commenting on the story on the WOKV Facebook page.  “No one is “kicking” anyone out of thier(sic) homes, they have not paid for the homes, they don’t own them.”  A local soldier who lives at area beaches also said he is barely keeping his head above water because of how upside-down he is in his mortgage, and fears for his future if he has to leave the area and sell his home.

A caller to our WOKV Listen Line said he’d recently been through the very court in question, and said “my lawyer told me I had a zero percent chance of winning, and she said every single case that goes before that court, the homes are sold.”

13 Responses

  1. Why note ask APRIL CHARNEY what its like? She lives there.

  2. @ David,

    Thanks for the video link. That’s a very concise telling of the tale, one that everyone should hear.

  3. Aside from risk of civil unrest, which would in turn have foreign investment shy away (if it is not already shying away because of clouded titles and the THREAT of civil unrest), there is the potential for this mess to become big enough to have foreign powers band together to demand changes in the US.

    The US can not depend on sheer military might to continue global financial tactics that are directly impacting foreign governments on a massive scale.

  4. First of a series of videos explaining the financial empire that controls the world and the inexplicable actions of the President, congress, courts, and (soon) police. There is no republic, democracy or government by the people. Its becoming a system on the Chinese model:

    http://www.csper.org/intro-video.html

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BCCPBekker, Financial Wellness. Financial Wellness said: Editor’s Note: Unconfirmed reports say that McCollum is looking for a job in the banking sector. National Med… http://bit.ly/cHOt9z […]



  6. Guest Post: Fraud and Complicity Are Now the Lifeblood of the Status Quo (Banality of Financial Evil, Part 2)

    Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/12/2010 10:14 -0500

    The status quo would collapse were systemic fraud and complicity banished. Rather than the acts of evil conspirators, they have become the foundation of the U.S. economy and financial system.

    Though fraud and complicity are presented in the mainstream media as isolated conspiracies outside the status quo, the truth is that the status quo is now entirely dependent on fraud and complicity for its very survival. Every level of the status quo would immediately implode were fraud and complicity suddenly withdrawn from the system.

    How is this true? let me count the ways.

    1. The mortgage market. As I reported recently in this Daily Finance story, the private market for mortgage-backed securities is dead. Now that we all understand the entire mortgage is not just riddled with fraud and misrepresentation of risk, but it is entirely dependent on fraud and misrepresentation of risk to function, no one is willing to touch any of this debt–except if it is guaranteed by the Federal government (and thus by its taxpayers).

    Now that the systemic fraud and misrepresentation of risk have been exposed, the $10 trillion mortgage market has ceased to function except as a dumping ground where private players can dump 100% of their losses on the taxpayers (profits were privatized, losses are socialized).

    2. Foreclosures and our Banana Republic system of “law”. There are two sets of laws (and two sets of books) in status quo America: one set of laws for “too big to fail” banks and Wall Street, and one for the rest of us peons.

    Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners.

    3. Housing and commercial real estate (CRE). Does anyone seriously think housing is recovering from organic demand? Does anyone seriously think housing wouldn’t fall off a cliff if the Central State withdrew its collusive propping-up of the real estate market?

    As I reported in These Numbers Paint a Bleak Picture for Housing, there is essentially no evidence that housing is recovering due to “organic” (that is, non-State-manipulated) supply and demand.

    Rather, Home Prices Fall in Nearly Half of U.S. Metro Areas and the percentage of underwater homeowners rises.

    4. Wall Street. Perhaps no finer example of a system totally dependent on fraud and misrepresentation of risk exists than Wall Street. To pluck but a few from dozens of recent examples:

    J.P. Morgan, BofA Report Perfect Trading Quarters.

    Proprietary Trading Goes Under Cover: Michael Lewis.

    Want to get away with murder? Become a bank.

    SIGTARP Report: Treasury Hid AIG Losses.

    5. The stock market. As I outlined in Dependency, The Fed and the Market (November 8, 2010), the stock market would roll over and crater without constant intervention and manipulation by the Federal Reserve and other Power Elite/Central State agencies.

    Astute reader Russ R. and Zero Hedge pointed me to this interview with Jeremy Grantham in which he rightly identifies the Fed’s goal as controlling the economy rather than the money supply, and the Fed’s only avenue for this manipulation is the “wealth effect” which it believes is triggered by a rising stock market.

    But as I laid out in Are the Fed’s Honchos Simpletons, Or Are They Just Taking Orders? (November 1, 2010), the “wealth effect” and its discredited cousin, the “trickle-down” theory, are both doomed to fail.

    The stock market gained over 50% in 2009, adding trillions of dollars in “wealth effect,” yet the median household income fell 0.7% to $49,777 in 2009. So much for the “wealth effect” from rising stocks having any positive effect on actual household incomes.

    In essence, the Fed is counting on an illusion of temporary wealth to ignite a firestorm of new borrowing and spending. Unfortunately for the Fed, 90% of American households don’t own enough financial assets to feel even the illusion of newfound wealth, and those that do have been burned twice this decade when all that “wealth” in stocks vanishes (NASDAQ down almost 80% in 2000-02, S&P 500 down 45% from October 2008 to March 2009).

    6. Corporate accounting. With pro-forma earnings, off-balance sheet assets, derivatives booked as “mark to fantasy,” much of Corporate America’s accounting is dependent on fraud and misrepresentation of risk to plump up the all-important quarterly earnings.

    I have written extensively on this recently:

    U.S. Financial Markets: The Well Has Been Poisoned (Anger of the Honest Part II) (October 23, 2010)

    The Loss of Trust and the Great Unraveling To Come (October 18, 2010)

    The Normalization of Sociopathology in America (October 16, 2010)

    The Rot Within: Our Culture of Financial Fraud and the Anger of the Honest (October 15, 2010)

    7. Politics. I addressed this recently in two entries:

    Concentrated Wealth and the Purchase of Political Power: Democracy’s Death Spiral (October 29, 2010)

    The Stealth Coup D’Etat: U.S.A. 2008-2010 (October 28, 2010)

    8. The entire status quo, from worker bees to Power Elites and the Political Class.

    The Banality of (Financial) Evil (November 9, 2010)

    The Strain of Being Evil

    (The present) state is marked by the rise of the pygmy leader, the sovereign as dolt, the CEO as figurehead that knows little, who has no real need of knowing. It is in this gimlet-eyed tone that Hegel should be read when he says that “no reference to particularity of character” is necessary in the leader of an advanced state or in this case, large bank in an advanced money economy. Hegel continues:

    “In a completed organization we have to do with nothing but the extreme of formal decision, and that for this office is needed only a man who says ‘Yes,’ and so puts the dot upon the ‘i.’ The pinnacle of state must be such that the private character of its occupant shall be of no significance.”

    What is known in the literature as “moral hazard” creates an ecology that results in moral lassitude rather than evil. Thus our bankers are no robber barons, no blood suckers, but rather “dot the i” dolts, and at their best, their very best, they are performers who pantomime what a leader should look like in order to “dot the i” or appear to.

    I think that sums up the foreclosure crisis, the banks, the courts, the regulatory agencies, Wall Street, the Fed, the Treasury, and the rest of the Political Class.

    When a system becomes dependent on fraud and misrepresentation of risk for “business as usual,” then all that is required of the complicit is to “dot the i’s” and fill out the report, court order, balance sheet, act of Congress, etc., just like everyone else does.

    Thus does the banality of (financial) evil come to full flower.

  7. Indeed Franklie Lee, I appreciate your comments. I would say to you however that lots and lots of people lost their homes to foreclosure during the eighties and I for one ask Fannie and Freddie to reconsider their position to : Foreclose, foreclose and foreclose. They would not listen then and they have not listed now during this latest fiasco. It is not name bashing when we bring certain and definite information to the table so that the general public can know what you know, that we are just about shackled by the elite groups. I remember a FNMA representative who made a statement to the press who said “they will fill the pain.” To keep that in context, she said that in reference to homeowners who abandoned their homes without notification to the servicer. That just goes to show you the mindset of Fannie and Freddie. They knew that so many homeowners were being met at the gates of Hell by the Loan Servicers and in fact, have pretty much encouraged it. They had a policy that they refused to change as the housing situation became so critical that it has affected our economy, both nationally and foreign. Yes, I am going to speak their names sufficiently to the regulatory but keep in mind, as my past experience with these agencies as hown, they will do nothing. Thus the reason for the lack of ethics, honesty, fair dealing and good faith to the home buyers of America. The Fannie and Freddie group were the best of the best in the 80’s with respect to what they required of their mortgage brokers who sold them loans, but that would change in the late 90’s. I wrote the story “Not in my backyard Mr. Lender”, but did not allow it to published because back in 2005 and 2006 when it was written, no one would have believe what I was saying. Shame on me for holding back. AFter 35 years in the business, I should have known better. What difference would it have made, the administrations supported the lenders and still are and unless the AG’s understand what their job is, we will once again be facing a firing squad, at least that is the way most people feel now that they have been thrown out of the homes, probably fraudulantly so as well.

  8. Stop the name calling and party bashing and listen carefully….it’s not what or who you think it is. It’s not who you voted for or against. It’s not Bush….it’s not
    Obama….Clinton….fill in the name here______.

    It’s about the “quiet coup” that’s been going on for quite some time. Many times before, the lobster in the pot scenario has been mentioned, the one that started out in ice water prior to the roiling boil. That’s exactly what has happened to us. It’s almost as if we’ve
    been drugged to stupor. We need to wake up and see that .01% of the population now owns us, lock, stock, and barrel. We might as well be wearing leg shackles chained deep in the bowels of a creaking, heaving ship heading north from Africa. A slave is a slave,
    no matter what the quarters.

    Let’s all just wake up together, shall we? Slap your neighbor and help them to realize that this is not how America used to be. The courts were fair and just once upon a time. Politicians argued about this and that but got policy in place at the end of the day. Houses
    were homes and they were secure, you never heard of anyone losing their home before securitization spread like a pandemic. Jobs were there for those willing to work, and weren’t in constant danger of being shipped off to other lands. Wages kept up with a families needs. Education was considered an attainable goal by those willing to work at it, even if that meant working a job while schooling.

    Almost as if awakening in a nightmare, Americans suddenly find ourselves sold out, left high and dry, with barely enough in the larder to scrape up a meal. Why? It’s quite simple. The elite, who have managed to grab title to St. Charles Place, all the way around to Park Place and Boardwalk, own the whole board. If you want to travel, it’s by B&O railway, which they own. Your utilities? Why do you think they’ve gone up 200% in the
    last few years?

    Folks, let’s keep the shouting down. We have a common foe. In spite of it’s overall apparent strength, it’s Achilles’ heel is the very same heel that is crushing down on our necks each and every day. Finance. GS. Chase. Citi. There’s a chink in the armor within the banking cartel. This foe appears really huge, just like a Trojan horse, and yet it’s actually just a front for some uber wealthy assholes. All that needs to be done here is a concerted effort at cutting off the lifeblood to this vampire. Talk until you’re blue in the
    face to your AG, to your neighbor, to your Senator and dentist….get the point across that
    we need to regain and reclaim our nation. Take money away from these bitches.

    If we don’t, we are so screwed.

  9. I am sorry to hear that Bill McCollum did not know any better than this and has so misunderstood what this type of activity represents. Obviously the Judge knew a lot more than he did. On so many of the cases that I worked on, the people were qualified for their loans but the management of the loan servicing technique and the set up of the first payments (particularly on new construction) was foremost in providing this tool of distruction for the lenders to leash out on the homeowners of the nation. So many were put into the dangerous loan programs, but then they were forced to the gates of Hell by the loan Servicers, at which time they put their agenda in place to guarantee failure by the homeowner of any of the ridiculous ploys of loan modification, forebearance, etc. Now, to expedite their agenda, the foreclosure mills and other lender employees and servicers, particularly those that were dealing with securitized loans, did not follow the pooling agreements and violated that which the investors need to sue them for and then proceeded to foreclose cutting out the true ownership of the loan. I gotta tell, you there is so much more to this and the AG needs to stay off of television making those kinds of statements until he knows what is happening. The people may be in default but it was the trickle down effect that caused them to lose their jobs and go into default so his comments that because they are in default the loan needs to be processed for foreclosure, regardless of the fraud. That has been the only way the homeowners have had time to study and fight the big banks and the judges who did not know either in the early stages what was going on. Now it is out there and yes, we did this to our own people and I am not sure how the Administrations and the Congresses can face anyone. AG needs to do more research. He should give me a call and I will explain it to him with case histories. The finance people of today were basically the sons and daughters of the 80;s. You would have thought they would have learned something about foreclosure and entrapment. Whether they are doing it or it is being done to them.

  10. HELLO EVERY ONE,

    IF YOU EVER DECIDE TO COMMIT A CRIME AND THE PROSECUTORS WANT TO PUT YOU IN JAIL THE FLORIDA A.G. HAS SEALED THE DEAL FOR YOU.

    THE NEW AND MOST EXOTIC DEFENSE WILL BE THAT IT IS ALL TECHNICAL. NO MATTER THE TYPE OF FRAUD OR CRIME. IT IS TECHNICAL, IF YOU FORGE SOME ONE’S SIGNATURE, OR USE A FAKE NOTARY SEAL, OR IF YOU BRING FABRICATED EVIDENCE TO COURT, THAT WOULD NOT BE A BIG DEAL. IT IS ALL TECHNICAL.

    WE CAN NOW STAND UP IN COURT AND SAY, I PAID MY LOAN IN FULL YOUR HONOR, I HAVE A CERTIFIED TRUE COPY OF THE CHECK. MY SOS NOTARIZED IT WITH A SEAL WE GOT FROM SOME ON LINE OUTFIT, MY WIFE IS WITNESS AND BY THE WAY THE DOG DID EAT THE ORIGINAL CHECK. BUT WITH THESE TECHNICALLY VALID EVIDENCE THEY OPPOSING PARTY CANNOT ENFORCE ANYTHING. BOTH PARTIES HAVE SHAM EVIDENCE SO WE ARE EVEN.

    SCREW THE LAW. THIS FLORIDA A.G. IS ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE THAT ONLY CONFIRM MY SUSPICIONS THAT JUST LIKE IN BRAZIL’S ELECTIONS, ANY CLOWN CAN GET ELECTED IF THE JUST SAY THE MAGIC WORDS DEAR BANKNSTER I AM WILLING TO BEND OVER AND DROP THE SOAP, ONLY IF YOU GIVE ME MONEY TO BE ELECTED. I WILL MAKE SURE THE PEOPLE WHO GET ME ELECTED GET RUN OVER AND THAT THEY ARE NEVER ABLE TO ASSERT THEIR RIGHTS. DEAR BANKSTER, I PROMISE TO BE A GOOD BOY AND TAKE IT FOR YOU.

    SINCERELY,

    YOUR SOLD OUT A.G.

  11. To make a long story short.

    WE ARE THE LAUGHING CLOWNS OF THE WORLD.

    THE BANKSTERS HAVE CAUSED ALOT OF HARM TO OUR SOLDIERS AND OUR CITIZENS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

    Yesterday was Veterans day They showed the courage of the soldiers in World War 2. The soldiers were courageous beyond belief. The were fighting Evil.

    The Banksters are eating up our moral fiber. The Judges who allow the banksters to get away with it are causing far more damage than the banksters.

    judges need to be brought up on charges of Treason. And put up in front of a fireing squad.

    G-D BLESS AMERICA.

  12. INTERNATIONAL ALSO. People are being told all over the world about the fraud and the clouded title issues. They are broadcasting that if you purchased a home in Florida that you cannot sell it for 7 years because the banks did not foreclose with the proper paperwork (fraud perjury etc….) So that is why property values will continue to fall.

    OBAMA CRIME DOES NOT PAY. DO YOU TEACH YOUR BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS THAT IT IS OKAY TO COMMIT CRIMES? WHAT SHOULD I TEACH MY CHILDREN THAT TO COMMIT FRAUD, CRIME IS GOOD FOR AMERICA?

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