The Confusion Over Consideration: If they didn’t pay for it, they have nothing against the property

There have been multiple questions directed at me over the issue of consideration arising from presumptions made about a note and mortgage that appear to be facially valid. Those presumptions are rebuttable and indeed in many cases would be rebutted by the actual facts. That is why asserting the right defenses is so important to set the foundation for discovery.

The cases thrown at me usually relate to adequacy of consideration. Some relate wrongly to Article 3 as to enforcement of the note. I agree that enforcement of the note is easier than enforcement of the mortgage. But that is the point. If they really want the property even a questionable holder of the note might be able to get a civil judgment and that judgment might result in a lien against the property and it might even be foreclosed if the property is not homestead. That is how we protect creditors and property owners. To enforce the mortgage, the claim must be much stronger — it must be filed by a party who actually has the risk of loss because they paid for it.

One case just sent to me is a 2000 case 4th DCA in Florida. Ahmad v Cobb. 762 So 2d 944. The quote I lifted out of that case which was presented to me as though it contradicted my position is the most revealing:

“First, there is no doubt that Ahmad, as the assignee of the Resolution Trust Corporation, owned the rights to the Cobb Corner, Inc. note and mortgage and to the guarantees securing those obligations. He obtained a partial

[762 So.2d 947]

summary judgment which fixed the validity, priority and extent of his debt. Any questions as to the adequacy of the consideration he paid were settled in that ruling.

That is your answer. The time to contest consideration is best done before judgment when you don’t need to prove fraud by clear and convincing evidence. We are also not challenging adequacy of consideration — except that if it recites $10 and other value consideration for a $500,000 loan it casts doubt as to whether the third leg of the stool is actually present — offer, acceptance and consideration. People tend to forget that this is essentially contract law and the contract for loan is no exception to the laws of contract.

We are challenging whether there was any consideration at all because I already know there was none. There couldn’t be. The consideration flowed directly from the investors to the borrower. That is the line of sight of the debt, in most cases.

The closing agent mistakenly or intentionally applied funds from a third party who was not disclosed on the settlement documents. Without receiving any money from the “originator”, the closing agent proceeded to get the signature from the borrower promising to pay the originator when it was a third party who gave the closing agent the funds. If this was a “warehouse loan” in which the originator was borrowing the money with a risk of loss and the liability to pay it back then the originator is a proper party and any assignments from the originator would be valid — if they were supported by consideration. Some loans do fit that criteria but most do not.

I repeat that this is not an attempt to get out of the debt altogether. It is an attack on the note and mortgage because the actual terms of repayment were either never agreed between the investors and the borrowers or are as set forth in the PSA and NOT the note and mortgage.

If the third party (source of funds) is NOT in privity with the originator (which is the structure we are dealing with because the broker dealers wanted to shield themselves from liability for violating fair lending laws) then the closing agent should have obtained instructions from the source of funds as to the application of funds wired into escrow. Anyone who didn’t would be an idiot. But most of them, under that definition would qualify. The closing agent would also be wrong to have demanded the signature of the borrower on documents that (a) did not reveal the source of funds and (b) did not contain all the terms of repayment, as recited in the PSA.

The foreclosure crowd is saying the PSA is irrelevant — but only when it suits them. They are saying that the PSA gives them the authority to proceed with foreclosure but that the terms of the PSA are not relevant. That is crazy, but up until now judges have been buying it because they have not been presented with the fact pattern and legal argument that we are asserting.

In summary, we are saying there was NO CONSIDERATION. We are not attacking adequacy of consideration. I am saying there was no actual transaction between the originator and the borrower and there was no actual transaction between the assignor, indorsor, and the assignee or indorsee. Article 9 of the UCC is clear.

The terms of enforcement of a note govern a looser interpretation of when negotiable paper can be enforced. But the terms of a mortgage cannot be enforced by anyone unless they obtain it for value. Value is consideration. We are saying there wasn’t any consideration. Any decision to the contrary is wrong and can be contested with contrary decisions that are all correct and can be found not only in the public records but in treatises.

And this is absolutely necessary. In a mortgage foreclosure or even attachment, the party seeking the forfeiture must show that this forfeiture is necessary to secure repayment of a debt. It must also show that without this forfeiture, it will suffer a loss. In so doing they establish grounds not only for the foreclosure judgment but also for the foreclosure sale.

As pointed out in the above case, the creditor is the one who submits a creditor’s bid by definition. If the party bringing the action cannot satisfy the elements of a creditor in real money terms, then they are not permitted to bid anything other than cash. Allowing a party who did not acquire the mortgage rights for value would enable strangers to the transaction to acquire property for free, except the costs of litigation. Thus the “free house” argument is specious. It is a distraction from the real facts as to who is getting a free house.

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