Monday, October 31, 2011

New York "foreclosure mill" mocks homeless at halloween party

Posted by Christian  |  at  31.10.11

Speaking of offensive halloween costumes....

For the full story and images, visit the New York Times

A former employee of the largest foreclosure firm in New York City, Steven J. Baum, has shared some photos taken at last years office party, revealing what she describes as 'an accurate representation of the firm's mind-set.'

"There is this really cavalier attitude," she said. "It doesn't matter that people are going to lose their homes." Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose.

From the author of the article:

Let me describe a few of the photos. In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: "3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served." My source said that "I was never served" is meant to mock "the typical excuse" of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.

A second picture shows a coffin with a picture of a woman whose eyes have been cut out. A sign on the coffin reads: "Rest in Peace. Crazy Susie." The reference is to Susan Chana Lask, a lawyer who had filed a class-action suit against Steven J. Baum - and had posted a YouTube video denouncing the firm's foreclosure practices. "She was a thorn in their side," said my source.

These pictures are hardly the first piece of evidence that the Baum firm treats homeowners shabbily - or that it uses dubious legal practices to do so. It is under investigation by the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. It recently agreed to pay $2 million to resolve an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the firm had "filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage assignments in the state and federal courts in New York." (In the press release announcing the settlement, Baum acknowledged only that "it occasionally made inadvertent errors.")
The firms reaction to the Times piece?

"It has been suggested that some employees dress in ... attire that mocks or attempts to belittle the plight of those who have lost their homes," the statement read. "Nothing could be further from the truth." It described this column as "another attempt by The New York Times to attack our firm and our work."

Yes, those images aren't mocking anyone! Those employees dressing up to portray those who have lost their homes as whining, lying, alcoholic losers, is just their way of showing empathy.



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