Saturday, February 25, 2012
The "robo-signing" settlement won’t help homeowners, and it doesn’t hurt the banks. - Slate Magazine
The main motivation behind the administration’s indulgence of serious criminality evidently is fear of the consequences of taking tough action on individual bankers. And maybe officials are right to be afraid, given the massive size of the banks in question relative to the economy...The message to bank executives today is simple: build your bank to be as big as possible—and then keep growing. If you manage to become big enough, you and your employees are not just too big to fail, but also too big to jail.
This explanation makes sense to me. These big banking corporations are above the law.
"“I was hired as one of those “Independent File Review Specialist” at a company called Promontory working on Wells Fargo Bank. I have 15 years industry experience in all facets of the mortgage & title industry, and just needed a job at the moment. I must say the whole project is a mess, and a terrible joke on the victims of foreclosure and the American people. It’s a total sham.”
Friday, February 24, 2012
Case shines light on how much power private security has when policing neighborhoods - chicagotribune.com
"It's a massive, ad hoc privatization of government services," said Evan McKenzie, a University of Illinois at Chicago associate professor of political science and critic who has written two books on the topic. "That's why you get these weird situations.
"It makes sense to (homeowners groups) from a property-management perspective," he said. "But if you view it another way, the actions of any government are supposed to be limited by concepts of civil liberties. Civil liberties don't always apply here."
An Illinois appeals court in a strongly worded ruling last month found that Lake Holiday's practice of stopping and detaining drivers for violating homeowners association rules was unlawful. The court also found that the association's use of amber-colored flashing lights on its vehicles was unlawful and that the association could be held liable for Poris' false imprisonment claim.
A LaSalle County judge had previously ruled in favor of the homeowners association.
Indeed. I couldn't have said it better myself.
Here's the meat of the opinion:
"As set forth above, the Association's security department's practices of stopping and detaining drivers for violating Association rules and using amber flashing and oscillating lights on its security vehicles are unlawful. Thus, the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to the Association on those issues. We affirm the court's grant of summary judgment to the Association on plaintiff's claims that the Association's use of recording equipment and radar violate Illinois law. However, we reverse and remand for the trial court to grant summary judgment to plaintiff on his claims that the Association's practices of stopping and detaining drivers for rule violations and of using amber lights on their security vehicles are unlawful...Because Podnar restrained plaintiff for violating an Association rule, not a criminal law, plaintiff established the elements necessary for his false imprisonment claim. The trial court erred in granting summary judgment to the Association on that count. We reverse and remand to the trial court to enter summary judgment in favor of plaintiff on the liability portion of his false imprisonment cause of action and to determine plaintiff's damages."
The case is:
APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, THIRD DISTRICT
2012 Ill. App. LEXIS 42; 2012 IL App (3d) 110131
January 24, 2012, Opinion Filed
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Palmer owned and operated Home Owner Association Services, which provided management services and managed accounts for homeowner associations in Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
Prosecutors say when Palmer closed the company's Kansas City office in March 2011, $751,302 was missing from the accounts of 32 homeowner associations.
Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link to yet another of the dozens and dozens of HOA/condo manager frauds that have taken place in recent years. But remember: all of them are isolated instances that do not point to the need for government oversight of this industry.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Courts order demolition of $1.1 million Macomb County mansion built too close to property line | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
The Michigan Court of Appeals has told a couple they have to tear down all or part of their $1.1 million mansion because they built it too close to their property lines.
The order came in a lawsuit a neighboring couple filed in 2004 against Simon and Saca Palushaj over their 9,000-square-foot house in Macomb County’s Washington Township, 25 miles north of Detroit...The Thoms’ attorney, Thomas Kalas, said he was not surprised by the ruling because courts already have determined deed restrictions are legally enforceable. “These are not new or novel issues,” Kalas said. “Deed-restriction law is pretty much settled. You have to abide by them.”
Don Nordeen sent this link to a pretty extreme example of the way US courts view deed restrictions. Historically British courts were somewhat dubious about deed restrictions because they thought over time use restrictions would accumulate and reduce the value of property, but as we know the US judiciary buys the argument that restrictions are good for property values because they prevent unwanted uses of land. The truth is not that simple--either way--but of course now the real estate development industry has taken this simple tool and injected it with steroids and growth hormones and created the homeowner association-run subdivision.
A report this week showing rampant foreclosure abuse in San Francisco reflects similar levels of lender fraud and faulty documentation across the United States, say experts and officials who have done studies in other parts of the country.
The audit of almost 400 foreclosures in San Francisco found that 84 percent of them appeared to be illegal, according to the study released by the California city on Wednesday.
Incredible, isn't it? Where are the criminal prosecutions of these people?