US TRUSTEES ATTACKING PRETENDER LENDER STANDING IN MLS

COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary

In his experience, Mr. Shaev said: “The attorneys who represent the banks invariably state that they will get the collateral file for us and prove that the banks had possession of the documents at the appropriate time. But then when we review the file it doesn’t show that at all.”

“The Central Question rising to the surface and now unavoidable is whether a party claiming to be a secured creditor would prevail if there was a normal adversary hearing on the merits where the normal rules of evidence apply” — Neil F Garfield

EDITOR’S NOTE:  In bankruptcy courts across the country, pretender lenders have been able to rely upon an unwritten code wherein a motion to lift stay (MLS) filed by a secured creditor would be unopposed by the trustee. The pretender lender would not only be free to continue with judicial or nonjudicial foreclosure and sale, they would also have the appearance of a court order  apparently confirming their right to foreclose.

When I first broached the subject with various US trustees around the country in 2007 and 2008 they were extremely skeptical. I proposed a business model to them which would provide the protection to the debtor that was intended by the Constitution and the statutes governing the substance of bankruptcy petitions.  I showed them that the US trustee, the attorney for the US trustee, the creditors, and the attorney for the debtor would all be able to share in a larger estate and thus earned more fees than was currently the case where a home was in foreclosure.

It was my opinion then and it is my opinion now that not only do the pretender lenders lack standing to pursue a foreclosure, but that there does not appear to be any credible party in the securitization chain who would possess such standing. It was my opinion that the participants in the securitization scheme had hopelessly obscured the obligation and split the obligation from the note and mortgage as well as splitting the note from the mortgage.

Thus while the obligation clearly exists, subject to offsets and counterclaims, there is no law or legal theory under which the obligation was in fact secured. The US trustees in bankruptcy were not only skeptical, they were actually opposed to my plan because they did not want to be part of any procedure by which a borrower abused the judicial process in order to gain a windfall or undue advantage.

In a major change of policy, US trustees in bankruptcy court are now challenging the standing and viability of the claims made by the pretender lenders. The premise was that if a lawyer came to bankruptcy court claiming to represent a lender that was secured by a mortgage on the property it was presumed that the representation to the court was true. As we have seen in various news reports there are good reasons to question whether the attorney represents anyone, whether any of the parties to whom the attorney refers is an actual creditor, and whether the claim is secured by a mortgage on the home.

The wrongful foreclosure damage actions are giving pause to everyone involved in the closing of these deals and in the processing of the “foreclosures.” Invariably, the old trustee on a deed of trust is substituted with one with whom the pretender lender has an ‘arrangement” concerning going forward, regardless of the obstacles.

The employment of  intermediaries used to obscure the fraud in the sale of the bogus mortgage bonds and the bogus mortgage loans are the business model for the employment of intermediaries used to obscure the fraud on the court in foreclosures.

These intermediaries — originators, brokers, title agents, escrow agents, appraisers, trustees, and foreclosure companies are all in the cross hairs of lawyers across the country who are suing for individual or class action relief. Any party moving forward at this point can be held to the “knew or should have known” status required for a fraudulent foreclosure or slander of title action. If it is negligence, there might be insurance coverage. If it is viewed as an intentional act of fraud, the insurer for errors and omissions might decline coverage for even the defense of the action.

The megabanks have intentionally and in so many words set up various “bankruptcy remote” vehicles that are intended to insulate them from liability in case this thing explodes in their faces. They wish to protect their claim of plausible deniability and point the finger at the actual people who got the hands dirty — as the recent closing of  David Stern’s office in Florida demonstrates. These remote vehicles are submitting credit bids at auction which are by all accounts not only illegal, but void.

Any issuance of a title document reflecting a “credit bid” is essentially a “wild deed,” — i.e., one that can and would be ignored by a title examiner. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that nearly all REO property is still legally owned by the homeowners who believe their home was foreclosed and sold.

The central question that is gradually rising to the surface is simply whether or not a party claiming to be a creditor could sustain its burden of proof in a normal evidentiary hearing. The presumptions that were used before the securitization of residential mortgage loans made sense when the transaction lacked the complexity and duplicity inherent in the scheme of securitization as it was practiced by Wall Street. It is now apparent to many judges, many lawyers, many people in the media, many homeowners, and now US trustees in bankruptcy, that the old presumptions do not apply.

In plain language, the parties claiming to be creditors are not creditors, because the bankruptcy estate does not owe them any money. The same is true in federal and state civil court. The mega banks took advantage of their appearance of propriety and the old presumptions and made the judicial system of vehicle for fraudulent conveyances. The resulting chaos in the chain of title, claims under title insurance, and the inability to obtain a satisfaction of mortgage from a party that is authorized to execute it is the major challenge confronting the legal system.

This has thrust an enormous burden on the offices of the  property appraiser and County recorder across the country. 66 million transactions involving “wild deeds” are now in the chains of title in tens of millions of homes.

The resolution to this crisis is obvious even if it is odious. It has happened in the past that title records have been corrupted beyond repair. It becomes necessary to push a figurative “reset” button with a window of opportunity for those affected to present their claims in a manner required by the court and the legislature of each state. It is in this process that the homeowners will receive an opportunity to obtain some relief while the investors who advanced the funds for the loans recover as much as possible.

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November 27, 2010

Don’t Just Tell Us. Show Us That You Can Foreclose.

SYSTEMIC CHANGE NEEDED

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON

NY TIMES

AFTER examining their foreclosure practices for flaws in mortgage documentation and other procedures, many of the nation’s largest banks have resumed — or will soon resume — trying to evict defaulted borrowers.

JPMorgan Chase, for example, told investors this month that it had extensively reviewed its foreclosure controls, trained personnel in the unit and started new procedures to ensure that all legal requirements would be met when it moves to seize a property in default.

“If we find any foreclosures in error, we will fix them,” JPMorgan Chase said.

But while banks may have booted a few robo-signers and tightened up some lax procedures, one question at the heart of the foreclosure mess refuses to go away: whether institutions trying to take back a property can prove they even have the right to foreclose at all.

Some in the industry believe that questions about this issue — known as “legal standing” — are trivial. They say it’s just a gambit by borrowers’ lawyers to throw sand in the foreclosure machine. Nine times out of 10, bankers say, the right institutions are foreclosing on the right borrowers.

Maybe so. But the United States Trustee Program, the unit of the Justice Department charged with overseeing the integrity of the nation’s bankruptcy courts, is taking a different view. The unit is stepping up its scrutiny of the veracity of banks’ claims against borrowers, and its approach is evident in two cases in federal bankruptcy court in Atlanta.

In both cases, Donald F. Walton, the United States trustee for the region, has intervened, filing motions contending that the banks trying to foreclose have not shown they have the right to do so.

The matters involve borrowers operating under Chapter 13 bankruptcy plans overseen by the court in the Northern District of Georgia. In both cases, the banks have filed motions with the bankruptcy court to remove the automatic foreclosure stay that results when a court confirms a debtor’s Chapter 13 repayment plan. If the stay is removed, the banks can foreclose.

In one case, the borrower had her Chapter 13 plan confirmed by the court early last month. About two weeks later, Wells Fargo asked the court for relief from the stay so that it could foreclose.

Responding on Nov. 16, Mr. Walton asked the court to deny the bank’s request because it had failed to produce any facts showing that it was entitled to foreclose — either as the holder of the underlying note or as the agent for the holder.

The other case involves a couple who had their Chapter 13 plan confirmed by the court in March 2009. A month ago, Chase Home Finance, a unit of JPMorgan Chase, asked the court for relief from the automatic stay so that it could start foreclosure proceedings.

Again, Mr. Walton objected, asking the court to deny the request on the same grounds as argued in the Wells Fargo matter — in this case, that Chase hadn’t proved that it controlled the note on the property.

Jane Limprecht, a spokeswoman for the trustee program, confirmed that it was ratcheting up its scrutiny on banks’ foreclosure practices.

“The United States Trustee Program is engaged in an enhanced review of mortgage servicer filings in bankruptcy cases to help ensure the accuracy of the claim to repayment,” she said. She declined to comment on specific filings.

A Chase spokesman said the bank is the holder of the note in the Georgia case, giving it standing to file the motion.

A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo said that in its case, it is the trustee of a mortgage security that contains the loan, not the servicer. In its capacity as the trustee for mortgage loans serviced by others, it says it expects those servicers to abide by all required laws, processes and procedures.

Howard D. Rothbloom, a lawyer in Atlanta who represents borrowers in bankruptcy, welcomed the actions by Mr. Walton and said he believes they show a sea change in the United States trustee’s thinking on the foreclosure mess.

“Until now, what we had was homeowners complaining about a lack of due process,” Mr. Rothbloom said. “Now you have the federal government complaining about the abuse of the judicial process. That’s really what was missing before.”

The judges overseeing these matters have not yet ruled on the banks’ or the trustee’s requests. And Wells Fargo and Chase may indeed be able to persuade the trustee that their filings were proper.

But the trustee’s intervention in these matters indicates that it wants banks to show the courts that they have the right to foreclose, rather than simply telling them they do. That had been the custom, after all. Now, Mr. Walton’s motions may serve as a warning to banks that they need to be better prepared if they want to foreclose on a borrower.

“For years, the trustee would always take the creditors’ side,” Mr. Rothbloom said. “My strong opinion is the U.S. trustee’s perspective is that they exist to stop borrowers from cheating banks. Perhaps they are coming to the realization that banks can also cheat borrowers.”

FEDERAL trustees in other parts of the country have also intervened in borrower cases, but many of these actions have been related to questionable foreclosure fees or to dubious legal or documentation practices. The shift to a broader focus on the issue of standing suggests that the courts may no longer accept at face value the banks’ arguments that they have the right to foreclose or represent the institution that does.

David Shaev, a lawyer in New York who works with troubled borrowers, says the United States trustee there has also intervened in one of his cases, taking up the issue of a bank’s right to foreclose.

In his experience, Mr. Shaev said: “The attorneys who represent the banks invariably state that they will get the collateral file for us and prove that the banks had possession of the documents at the appropriate time. But then when we review the file it doesn’t show that at all.”

As many large banks renew their foreclosure efforts, Mr. Rothbloom says he hopes that the United States trustee will bring about a comprehensive change in bank practices.

“I’ve gotten resolutions for clients in individual cases, but I’m just a flea on the tail of an elephant,” he said. “Resolutions of individual cases don’t bring about systemic change.”

And systemic change is precisely what’s needed.

FLA BK COURT STOPS US BANK N.A. NO STANDING FEB 2010

The Affidavit executed by Movant’s loan servicer makes no mention of the location of the original Note or who has possession of it. Movant proffered no business records or testimony tracing ownership of the Note and establishing Movant is the present holder of the Note.

The Affidavit executed by Movant’s loan servicer makes no mention of the location of the original Note or who has possession of it. Movant proffered no business records or testimony tracing ownership of the Note and establishing Movant is the present holder of
the Note.
The veracity of the Allonge and Assignment is questionable. The dates contained in the Allonge are chronologically impossible. The Allonge is dated August 1, 2006, but references a trust that came into existence on October 31, 2006. The signature of Jennifer Henninger is undated and not notarized. The Allonge was not referenced in or filed with Movant’s Motion in October 2009, but was presented three months later as an attachment to its post-hearing brief.

The Assignment was executed and recorded post-petition approximately two weeks prior to Movant’s filing of the Motion for Relief. It was prepared by Jennifer Henninger, who executed the Allonge, and was recorded by the law firm that is representing Movant in this proceeding. Jack Jacob’s execution of the Assignment was notarized by Jennifer Henninger and witnessed by Louis Zaffino, the affiant of Movant’s Affidavit. It appears the Allonge and the Assignment were created post-petition for the purpose of the relief from stay proceeding. Movant did not establish Jennifer Henninger and Jack Jacob had authority to execute the Allonge and Assignment.


FLA BK COURT STOPS US BANK N.A. NO STANDING FEB 2010

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
ORLANDO DIVISION

In re:

JORGE CANELLAS, Case No. 6:09-bk-12240-ABB
Chapter 7
Debtor.
_____________________________/

ORDER

This matter came before the Court on the Motion for Relief from Stay (Doc. No.
22) (“Motion”) filed by U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee of the Lehman
Brothers Small Balance Commercial Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, 2006-3
(“Movant”), and the Objection thereto (Doc. No. 25) filed by the Chapter 7 Trustee Carla P. Musselman (“Trustee”). Hearings were held on November 23, 2009, December 7, 2009, December 21, 2009, and January 4, 2010 at which the Trustee, her counsel, counsel for Movant, and counsel for the Debtor Jorge Canellas (“Debtor”) appeared.

The parties, pursuant to the Court’s directive, filed post-hearing briefs (Doc. Nos. 43, 45, 46, and 47). The Movant’s Motion is due to be denied for the reasons set forth herein. The Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law after
reviewing the pleadings and evidence, hearing live proffers and argument, and being
otherwise fully advised in the premises.

Hoffner Avenue Property

The Debtor filed this case on August 21, 2009 (“Petition Date”). He owns commercial property located at 830 Hoffner Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32809
(“Property”) and more particularly described as:
Lot 7, SUNDAY BLOCK, according to the plat thereof, recorded in Plat Book O, Page 27, of the Public Records of Orange County, Florida.

He values the Property at $250,000.00 and listed “Aurora” in Schedule D as holding a
security interest in the Property valued at $0.00 (Doc. No. 1). The security interest is not designated as contingent, unliquidated, or disputed. He did not claim the Property as exempt in Schedule C. The Property constitutes non-exempt property of the estate
pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 541(a).

The Debtor filed an Affidavit (Doc. No. 47) asserting the Property is important to his appraisal business, Appraisers of America, because he operates his business at the Property. The Debtor’s statements regarding his business location and intentions as to
the Property are inconsistent. He set forth in this Statement of Financial Affairs (Doc. No. 1) he operates the business at his home at 2033 Bearing Lane, Kissimmee, Florida 34741. He set forth in his Statement of Intention (Doc. No. 1) he intends to surrender the Property. His Schedule J does not include a monthly expense for the Property.

The Trustee filed a memorandum on October 21, 2009 stating the initial meeting of creditors pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 541 was held and concluded on October 14, 2009, but she has not designated this case as an asset or no asset case. No bar date has
been established for the filing of proofs of claim. No proofs of claim have been filed.
The Debtor received a discharge on December 22, 2009 (Doc. No. 39).

Movant filed the Motion for Relief from Stay on October 19, 2009 seeking relief from the automatic stay of 11 U.S.C. Section 362(a) pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Sections
362(d)(1) and (d)(2) to continue a foreclosure proceeding against the Property which was
pending on the Petition Date. Movant asserts in its Motion:

(i) It is the “owner and holder” of a promissory note and first-priority mortgage on the Property pursuant to an Assignment of Mortgage and Loan Documents.
(ii) The Debtor has failed to pay the monthly mortgage payment of $2,282.90 since May 1, 2009 and the loan balance is approximately $300,662.84, which contains interest charges of $18,232.08, late charges of $570.70, and forced placed insurance
costs of $11,314.24.
(iii) The Property has a value of $178,273.00 based upon the Orange County Property Appraiser’s 2009 assessment.
(iv) Legal title to the Property is vested in the Debtor.
Accompanying Movant’s Motion are:

A. An Affidavit in Support of Motion for Relief from Stay executed in the State of California on October 9, 2009 by Louis Zaffino as a special assets officer at
Aurora Bank FSB, which is Movant’s authorized servicer and services the Debtor’s loan.
The Affidavit sets forth the loan balance and a break-down of the arrearages.

B. A copy of the Promissory Note (“Note”) executed by the Debtor as Borrower on August 1, 2006 for the principal amount of $274,500.00 payable to Lehman
Brothers Bank, FSB as Lender. The Note requires the Debtor to make monthly loan payments of principal and interest of $2,282.90 to Lender from October 1, 2006 for sixty months and thereafter at varying monthly amounts. The interest rate is variable. The
Note designates the loan as Loan Number 00207199.
The Note provides it is secured by the Property described in the Mortgage dated August 1, 2006. It sets forth at page 2: “The terms of this Note . . . shall inure to the benefit of Lender and its successors and assigns. . . .” and it is “governed by federal law
applicable to Lender and, to the extent not preempted by federal law, the laws of the State
of California without regard to its conflicts of law provisions.”

C. A copy of the Mortgage dated August 1, 2006 and executed by the Debtor as Grantor, and his wife Amanda Crim as the joining spouse, in favor Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB as Lender pursuant to which the Debtor granted Lender a first-priority
mortgage in the Property, its rents, and personal property to secure his performance of the
Note obligations. The Mortgage references Loan Number 00207199, the Note, and contains an identical legal description for the Property as contained in the Note.

The Mortgage provides regarding governing law:
With respect to procedural matters related to the perfection and enforcement of Lender’s rights against the Property, this Mortgage will be governed by federal law applicable to Lender and to the extent not
preempted by federal law, the laws of the State of Florida. In all other respects, this Mortgage will be governed by federal law applicable to Lender and, to the extent preempted by federal law, the laws of the State of California without regard to its conflicts of law provisions.

Mortgage at p. 7. It provides regarding successors and assigns: Subject to any limitations stated in this Mortgage on transfer of Grantor’s interest, this Mortgage shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the parties, their successors and assigns.
Id. “Lender” is defined as “Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB, its successors and assigns.” Id.

The recordation stamp on page one of the Mortgage reflects it was recorded in the Official Records Book for Orange County, Florida on August 15, 2006 as Instrument 20060534342 at Book 08805, Page 4292.

D. A copy of an Assignment of Mortgage and Loan Documents (“Assignment”) executed on September 28, 2009 by Jack Jacob as the Vice President of
“Aurora Bank FSB f/k/a Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB,” and notarized on September 30, 2009, purporting to assign the Mortgage and underlying loan documents from Aurora Bank FSB, formerly known as Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB, as Assignor, to and in favor
of Movant, as Assignee, “effective as of the 30th day of November, 2006.”

The Assignment references the Mortgage’s Book and Page Numbers and the Property’s common and legal descriptions. The recordation stamp on its first page
reflects it was recorded in the Official Records Book for Orange County, Florida on October 5, 2009 at Book 9944, Page 1038.

Trustee’s Objection

The Trustee opposes Movant’s Motion on the grounds Movant lacks standing to obtain stay relief and it failed to perfect its security interest prior to the Petition Date.
Her opposition is grounded on the contention the Assignment is invalid. She has
presented various legal theories in support of her position:

1.Aurora Bank FSB f/k/a Lehman Brothers Bank did not own the Mortgage and Promissory Note on the date of execution of the Assignment and had no authority to assign them to Movant.
2. By the terms of the two securitized trusts for Lehman Brothers designated 2006-3 registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission, no assignment occurred.
3. The Assignment was executed and recorded post-petition and may constitute a violation of the automatic stay pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 362(a)(4).
4. Movant has not established that on the Petition Date it had physical possession of the original Promissory Note properly endorsed in its favor.
5. Lehman Brothers’ ability to enforce the Promissory Note or Mortgage was extinguished in 2006 when it was paid by the Trust for the pool of mortgages which form the Trust’s corpus.
6. Title between the Promissory Note and Mortgage were bifurcated, thereby rendering the Mortgage unenforceable.
The Trustee asserts Movant is an unsecured creditor and she has authority to sell the Property free and clear of encumbrances for the benefit of the estate.
Movant asserts the Note and Mortgage are owned by the Lehman Brothers Small Balance Commercial Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, 2006-3, a private securitized trust, and Movant, as the asserted owner and holder of the Note and Mortgage, has
authority to enforce the security interest. Movant presented with its post-hearing brief an Allonge to Promissory Note (“Allonge”) purportedly dated August 1, 2006 and executed by Jennifer Henninger as the Special Assets Administrative Assistant of Aurora Bank FSB directing: Pay to the Order of U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee (the
‘Trustee’) under the Trust Agreement dated as of October 31, 2006, among Structured Asset Securities Corporation, as Depositor, Lehman
Brothers Bank, FSB, as Servicer, and the Trustee relating to Lehman Brothers Small Balance Commercial Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates,
Series 2006-3, without recourse.

Doc. No. 46 (emphasis added).

The Debtor filed an Affidavit (Doc. No. 47) stating he had no prepetition communications with Movant, was not aware Movant had a security interest in the
Property, and, if the Assignment is deemed invalid, desires to purchase the Property from the Trustee.

Analysis

The evidence presented establishes the Property is encumbered by the Mortgage, which secures the Debtor’s performance of the Note. The Mortgage was properly perfected pre-petition through its recordation in the Official Records Book for Orange
County, Florida. The Mortgage and Note have not been bifurcated. The Mortgage has not been satisfied. The Debtor had actual knowledge of the unsatisfied Mortgage and the Trustee, through the recordation of the original Mortgage, had constructive, if not actual,
knowledge of the unsatisfied Mortgage. Kapila v. Atlantic Mortgage and Inv. Corp. (In re Halabi), 184 F.3d 1335, 1339 (11th Cir. 1999).

The purported assignment of the Note and Mortgage to Movant does not affect perfection or constitute a transfer of property of the estate or the Debtor. Id. at 1337.
“[A] subsequent assignment of the mortgagee’s interest – whether recorded or not – does not change the nature of the interest of the mortgagor or someone claiming under him.”
Id. at 1338. Recordation of an assignment post-petition does not constitute a violation of the automatic stay. Id. at 1337; Rogan v. Bank One, N.A. (In re Cook), 457 F.3d 561, 568 (6th Cir. 2006) (affirming the analysis of In re Halabi).

It is uncontroverted the Note has been in default since approximately May 2009 and a balance of approximately $300,662.84 is due and owing. The Debtor, who is a property appraiser, values the Property at $250,000.00 and Movant values the Property at $178,000.00. The Debtor is not making adequate protection payments to Movant. There
is no equity in the Property and it is not necessary to an effective reorganization given this is a Chapter 7 proceeding and the disclosures made by the Debtor regarding the Property in his bankruptcy papers. Grounds exist for relief from the automatic stay
pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Sections 362(d)(1) and (d)(2).

Movant’s Motion, however, is due to be denied because Movant has failed to establish it has standing to seek stay relief. A motion for relief from the automatic stay must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest. 11 U.S.C. § 362(d); FED. R. 7
CIV. P. 17(a)(1); FED. R. BANKR. P. 7017. “The real party in interest in relief from stay is whoever is entitled to enforce the obligation sought to be enforced.” In re Jacobson, 402 B.R. 359, 366 (Bankr. W.D. Wash. 2009). Only the holder of the Note and Mortgage, or
its authorized agent, has standing to bring the Motion. Id. at 367.
Movant asserts in its Motion it is the “owner and holder” of the Note and Mortgage, but has presented no evidence substantiating that assertion. The copies of the Note presented do not contain an endorsement evidencing an assignment of the Note.
The Affidavit executed by Movant’s loan servicer makes no mention of the location of the original Note or who has possession of it. Movant proffered no business records or testimony tracing ownership of the Note and establishing Movant is the present holder of
the Note.

The veracity of the Allonge and Assignment is questionable. The dates contained in the Allonge are chronologically impossible. The Allonge is dated August 1, 2006, but references a trust that came into existence on October 31, 2006. The signature of Jennifer Henninger is undated and not notarized. The Allonge was not referenced in or filed with Movant’s Motion in October 2009, but was presented three months later as an attachment to its post-hearing brief.

The Assignment was executed and recorded post-petition approximately two weeks prior to Movant’s filing of the Motion for Relief. It was prepared by Jennifer Henninger, who executed the Allonge, and was recorded by the law firm that is representing Movant in this proceeding. Jack Jacob’s execution of the Assignment was notarized by Jennifer Henninger and witnessed by Louis Zaffino, the affiant of Movant’s Affidavit. It appears the Allonge and the Assignment were created post-petition for the purpose of the relief from stay proceeding. Movant did not establish Jennifer Henninger and Jack Jacob had authority to execute the Allonge and Assignment.

Movant’s submissions are insufficient to establish it is the owner and holder of the Note and Mortgage or is authorized to act for whoever holds these documents. In re Relka, No. 09-20806, 2009 WL 5149262, at *5 (Bankr. D. Wyo. Dec. 22, 2009) (granting
stay relief where movant established possession of note through testimony of witness
who personally retrieved note from movant’s vault); In re Jacobson, 402 B.R. at 370 (denying movant’s stay relief motion due to movant’s failure to establish it was holder of note); In re Hayes, 393 B.R. 259, 270 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2008) (denying movant’s stay relief motion and sustaining debtor’s claim objection due to movant’s failure to establish it was holder of note). Movant has not established it has standing to bring the Motion and the Motion is due to be denied.

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the Property located at 830 Hoffner Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32809 and more particularly described as:

Lot 7, SUNDAY BLOCK, according to the plat thereof, recorded in Plat Book O, Page 27, of the Public Records of Orange County, Florida is encumbered by the Mortgage executed by the Debtor on August 1, 2006 and recorded in the Official Records Book for Orange County, Florida on August 15, 2006 as
Instrument 20060534342 at Book 08805, Page 4292, which Mortgage constitutes a valid properly perfected lien, and which secures the Promissory Note executed by the Debtor on August 1, 2006 in the principal amount of $274,500.00 and designated as Loan
Number 00207199; and it is further ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the amount of the Mortgage lien encumbering the Property exceeds the Property’s value and there is no equity in the
Property; and it is further ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the Movant’s Motion for
Relief from Stay (Doc. No. 22) is hereby DENIED due to Movant’s failure to establish it
has standing to bring the Motion; and it is further

ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the Trustee, within twenty-one days of the entry of this Order, is hereby directed, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 704(a) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5009, to file with the Court a Report of No Distribution or to designate this case as an asset case.

Dated this 9th day of February, 2010.

/s/ Arthur B. Briskman

ARTHUR B. BRISKMAN
United States Bankruptcy Judge

DOUBLE STANDARD on Defaults

So in Chapter 11 for the big boys they address reality and treat the value of the property the way it is. But in individual little guy petitions for relief in bankruptcy court, they stick you with the entire amount of the Note even if the security is only worth 20% of the “principal.” And it’s not like the bank comes out any better. They still only get the value of the property. The ONLY thing accomplished by treating the property AS IF it were worth the amount of the principal due on the note is that the homeowner gets to be evicted.

Editor’s Comment: REALITY is not just a concept. Property values went artificially high and finally went into a correction period that is still not over. So the owners of the multibillion dollar residential Stuyvesant Town decided to drop off the keys and walk away. They bought the place for $5.4 billion, didn’t use their own money, and then decided that the place was only worth $2 billion now and would never recover because the price they paid was based upon artificially high appraisals. Sound familiar?
So the banks and investors (mostly the investors) take the hit for the loss and the intermediaries walk away with all the money they made while they owned the deal.
  1. NOTE: THERE IS NOT ONE WORD ABOUT THE MORALITY OF LIVING UP TO THEIR OBLIGATIONS ON $5 BILLION IN PRINCIPAL LEFT ON THE NOTE THAT FUNDED THE PURCHASE OF THIS RESIDENTIAL PIECE OF PROPERTY.
  2. BUT IF A LITTLE GUY DOES IT WITH HIS OWN HOUSE, THEN EVERYONE IS CHATTERING ABOUT MORAL RESPONSIBILITY. WHICH IS IT?
  3. THE “PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY” CROWD SEEMS TO HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THE STUYVESANT DEAL SO WE CAN ASSUME THEY HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH YOU TURNING IN THE KEYS AND WALKING ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL HOME. IT’S CALLED STRICTLY BUSINESS, RIGHT?
And while I am on the subject of double standards, the one in bankruptcy court is simply stunning. Any fool knows that if you lend someone $100 and you get a bicycle as security, then you have security up to the value of the bicycle. So if the bike is worth $50, you have $50 worth of security and the other $50 is obviously secured by nothing. Chapter 11 proceedings for the big boys recognize this when they do “lien stripping.”
If property is worth only $1 million and the mortgage note is for $5 million, the creditor’s claim is stripped into two parts — the secured part ($1 million) and the unsecured part ($4 million). The same holds true if you are a land speculator by profession and you have multiple houses. But if you are average Joe or Josephine you can’t strip the lien. Why? Because congress said so, that’s why.Speculators and big boys get the treats.
So in Chapter 11 for the big boys they address reality and treat the value of the property the way it is. But in individual little guy petitions for relief in bankruptcy court, they stick you with the entire amount of the Note even if the security is only worth 20% of the “principal.” And it’s not like the bank comes out any better. They still only get the value of the property. The ONLY thing accomplished by treating the property AS IF it were worth the amount of the principal due on the note is that the homeowner gets to be evicted.
Of course that IS the point. They want the homeowner out. They want the loan in default. Because the defaulted loan is worth far more in insurance dollars than it is in fair market value on sale. And the bonus is they get the house too even though they didn’t put up a nickle for the loan.
January 26, 2010

Wide Fallout in Failed Deal for Stuyvesant Town

In the beginning, investors and lenders could not get enough of the record-breaking $5.4 billion deal to buy the largest apartment complexes in Manhattan: Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

Now, three years later, they cannot get away from it fast enough.

The partnership that bought the 80-acre property on the East River announced on Monday that it was turning the keys over to its lenders after it defaulted on its loans and the value of the property fell below $2 billion.

Yet in walking away, the partners, Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty, have left tenants in limbo and other investors with far bigger losses.

Many of the other companies, banks, countries and pension funds — including the government of Singapore, the Church of England, the Manhattan real estate concern SL Green, and Fortress Investment Groups — that invested billions of dollars in the 2006 deal stand to lose their entire stake.

“At the time, it looked like a sound investment,” said Clark McKinley, a spokesman for Calpers, the giant California public employees’ pension fund, which bought a $500 million stake in the property. “When the market tanked, we got caught.”

Calpers, he added, has written off its investment. So has Calsters, a California pension fund that invested $100 million, as has a Florida pension fund that put $250 million into the deal.

Even though nearly all of the attention and blame surrounding the default has been directed toward Tishman Speyer, it will lose only its original investment of $112 million. (BlackRock will also lose $112 million.)

Any collateral damage to Tishman Speyer, which manages a $33.5 billion portfolio of 72 million square feet of property in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America, was expected to be minimal; real estate experts said that Tishman’s reputation might suffer, but that the firm would still be able to put together deals and raise capital.

“This is a big black eye for them,” said John McIlwain, a senior fellow for housing at the Urban Land Institute. “But it’s not the end of Tishman. They own a lot of property. It’s a dent, but not the end.”

For decades, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were an oasis for middle-class New Yorkers; they were built in the 1940s by Metropolitan Life, which received tax breaks and other incentives in exchange for keeping rents low, initially for the World War II veterans who were the first tenants.

With rents and condominium prices skyrocketing in 2006, MetLife put developments on the auction block. A partnership formed by Tishman Speyer and BlackRock paid $5.4 billion. The acquisition cost was actually $6.3 billion, because the partnership had to raise $900 million for reserve funds to cover interest payments, apartment renovations and capital improvements.

The rental income did not cover the monthly debt service. But the two partners were betting that they could turn a healthy profit over time as they replaced rent-regulated residents with tenants willing to pay higher market-rate rents. But their plan fell apart when they could not convert enough apartments to the higher rents as quickly as they had planned. And in the past two years, average rents in New York have fallen sharply, along with property values.

Last year, analysts predicted that Tishman Speyer and BlackRock would default. That prediction intensified when New York State’s highest court ruled in the fall that the partnership had improperly deregulated and raised the rents on 4,400 apartments. The partners were forced to roll back rents and they have been in negotiations on rebates owed to tenants. (The eventual owners, not Tishman Speyer and BlackRock, are expected to inherit liability for the $215 million in rent rebates.)

On Jan. 8, the owners defaulted on $4.4 billion in loans ($3 billion in senior mortgages and $1.4 billion in secondary loans). They had also raised $1.9 billion in equity. The problem was that the latest appraisal put the value of the complexes at about $1.9 billion.

“It’s the poster child for the entire housing bubble,” said Daniel Alpert, managing partner of Westwood Capital. “There’ll be some other spectacular blowups, but this will be at the top of the pecking order.”

Mr. McIlwain said it may take a decade or more for the prices to reach the levels they did in 2006.

“You’re talking about a prime deal at the top of the market when money was fast and free,” he said. “You’re not going to see money that is fast and free until bankers’ memories fade, which typically takes 10 years.”

In the meantime, real estate analysts said the collapse of the Stuyvesant Town deal would send ripples throughout the real estate investment community.

“The fact that they have given the keys back is going to have a chilling effect,” said Keven Lindemann, director of real estate for the research firm SNL Financial, which covers publicly traded real estate. “This was such an enormous transaction that it looks like most, if not all, of the equity is going to be wiped out.”

The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, which made a $575 million secondary loan, and invested as much as $200 million in equity, stands to lose all of that.

CWCapital, the company that is negotiating with Tishman Speyer and BlackRock on behalf of the mortgage holders, declined to comment. With Tishman Speyer stepping down as manager of the 11,227 apartments, CWCapital has talked to both the LeFrak Organization, which owns and manages thousands of apartments in Queens and elsewhere, and Rose Associates, the Manhattan company that had managed the two complexes before Tishman Speyer took over.

This month, several of the secondary lenders sent letters to Tishman Speyer and BlackRock threatening foreclosure because of the default. The partners tried unsuccessfully to craft a new deal that would have involved them putting up “several hundred million dollars,” in return for restructuring the loans, according to one real estate executive briefed on the negotiations.

The secondary lenders, he said, had “overplayed their hand” in the hope that they would get back some of their investment. Instead of being forced into bankruptcy, Tishman Speyer and BlackRock will walk away sometime after a new manager is in place.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be in the best position of anyone involved in the deal’s financing. They acquired over $2 billion in securities backed, in part, by the $3 billion Stuyvesant Town mortgages. Fannie and Freddi Mac have to be paid before any other debtholders, but they are not parties to the negotiations over the property.

They may well become an integral part of the solution. In a report issued Monday, Deutsche Bank suggested that CWCapital’s most likely action will be to wipe out the existing mortgage and attempt to sell the complexes. “Given the size of the properties and an asking price likely to be well in excess of $1 billion, a sale may necessitate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac providing financing to a potential buyer,” the report said.

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