Friday, September 17, 2004

FBI: Mortgage Fraud Is Rampant in U.S.

Fraud is running rampant in the nation's mortgage industry, with nearly three times as many reports of suspicious activity so far this year compared with 2001, a top FBI official said Friday.

"It has the potential to be an epidemic," said Chris Swecker, FBI assistant director for criminal investigations.

Through the first nine months of 2004, mortgage companies and banks have reported more than 12,100 instances of suspicious activity compared with only 4,220 in 2001. The FBI currently has 533 pending mortgage fraud investigations, compared with 102 in 2001.

Law enforcement officials say the lending and refinancing boom that accompanied record low interest rates in the past few years is a key reason for the increased fraud. The FBI has identified several "hot spots" around the country where fraud is especially prevalent, including Florida, California, Nevada, Michigan, Missouri and Illinois.

Note the prevalence of fraud in three Sunbelt states where CIDs are the norm in new housing. Here, the victims are banks. -- Politics -- Panel eyes oversight of housing groups
Here's the Sacramento Bee's writeup on the CLRC recommendations for administrative agency oversight of CIDs in the Golden State.

With more than 36,000 homeowners associations in California controlling $6.3 billion in cash, a state commission wants to take a closer look at how these private governments are operating.
The California Law Revision Commission will consider a proposal today at a meeting in Oakland to create a new agency to oversee homeowners associations and assist resolution of disputes.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

California Law Revision Commission recommends creation of Common Interest Developmetn Bureau in Department of Consumer Affairs
This is a significant event because it comes from a highly credible organization and recommends taking the major step of agency creation. I don't think the money is there to do it, but what do I know? |Blind residents want pet rules amended for guide dogs-- Couple, home association go to court over dog droppings
You'd think HOAs would learn from the experience of other associations that get hammered into the ground like a tent stake. But no...this association is persecuting a blind couple because they have a hard time doing a perfect job of picking up after their GUIDE DOGS. Because they are BLIND, which means they CAN'T SEE. Get it, members of the BOD? How about some humanity, or at least a little common sense?

INDIO -- There may be an occasional dog dropping found in the street outside Dennis and Shirley Bartlett’s home, but it’s not because of a lack of courtesy.

The Bartletts,both completely blind, try to pick up after their guide dogs, Nebraska and Marna, the best they can, but admit they don’t always get everything.

"Sometimes you will miss little pieces just because (the dog moves)," said Dennis Bartlett. "You can’t get everything all the time."

It’s those times he’s missed, though, that have caused contention between the Bartletts and the Desert Grove homeowners association in Indio.

There is so much contention that the Bartletts have filed a small claims civil suit against the association’s former president, DelmarPierce, for harassment and prohibiting their guide dogs from defecating in the street -- the method in which they were trained to relieve themselves.

The Bartletts hope the civil suit is the first step toward getting the association to amend its rules and regulations --known as CC & Rs or Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions -- to protect guide dog users.
AB 2598 Assembly Bill - ENROLLED
So, the big foreclosure bill has been enrolled. But I heard a rumor yesterday. A California journalist who shall remain nameless told me that the word is circulating to the effect that Governor Schwarzenegger may veto this bill. He is being lobbied by CAI and other groups, I am told. He has until the end of September, I believe. Stay tuned. A veto would tick off the HOA activists to no end. As I posted some time ago, Der Governator knows about CID living because he lives in a gated community.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Greta Grab-o!--New York Observer
Lifestyles of Fox News Rich and Famous in Condoland, Part Deux... First it was Geraldo, who is already PO'd at the BOD, and now it is Greta:
The Fox News real-estate stampede continues. Recently, Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren landed a one-bedroom condo at the storied Essex House on Central Park South. According to real-estate sources familiar with the proceedings, Ms. Van Susteren, the host of the prime-time program On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, went to contract on the property in July for $657,000. Her new one-bedroom apartment covers 850 square feet and has an open granite kitchen with a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a marble bath and a built-in washer-dryer. A Washington, D.C.–based anchor, Ms. Van Susteren plans to use her Central Park South perch as a Manhattan pied-à-terre when she visits the Fox News mothership in midtown.

Let's see, $657,000 for 850 square feet works out to...$773 per square foot. Must be pretty nice. Now, I wonder what will happen if her condo board tells her she has to turn down the stereo.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Geraldo sues his housing development -- Concord Monitor Online

HACKENSACK, N.J. -Geraldo Rivera is suing the co-op board of the housing development he lives in, alleging members wrongly kept a $10,000 deposit on one of his properties and prevented him from buying another.

The Fox News senior correspondent owns two homes in the 26-acre Edgewater Colony, where residents own their homes but share ownership of the land.

Rivera said the board refuses to return the security deposit for construction of the first home he bought about five years ago, among other allegations.

"They are arbitrarily and capriciously interfering with my house, down to minimalist details like whether or not I should have a fish tank, or whether I should plant a certain kind of flower or tree," he told The Record of Bergen County for Saturday's editions.

Karen Painter Randall, a lawyer for Edgewater Colony, said the lawsuit is "entirely without merit."

If Lesson Number One for the industry was "Don't throw elderly widows out of their homes," you'd think they'd know by now that Lesson Number Two is, "Don't P.O. internationally reknowned journalists."

But I guess that would be asking too much. I can't wait to see the Fox News documentary.

AB 2598 Assembly Bill - Status
The Steinberg bill is about to become law. The Assembly has concurred in the Senate amendments, and it has been sent to enrollment. After that it goes to Der Gubernator.