Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sleazebag Robosigning Foreclosure Mill Shuts Down

Following up on last month's " UPDATED: "Top US foreclosure law firm threw Halloween party where staff dressed as homeless, foreclosed-upon Americans"".

From the New York Post:
Foreclosure mill law firm Steven J. Baum P.C. shuts down
What’s in this law firm’s wallet?

New York state’s beleaguered, largest foreclosure law firm -- which today announced plans to shut down in the face of a firestorm of legal action -- has allegedly failed to turn over about $130,000 owed to three people whose co-ops were foreclosed on, and could be sitting on millions of dollars of hundreds of other people's money without those people knowing, The Post has learned.

Steven J. Baum P.C.'s move to shutter came a week after it was made ineligible to get new referrals on any Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages -- essentially a death knell for the controversial firm. The two federally backed mortgage giants moved in the face of numerous complaints about questionable legal filings by Baum.

On Friday, a Brooklyn lawyer sued Baum claiming that the firm repeatedly ignored his attempts to obtain about $130,000 for three people whose co-ops were foreclosed on and later sold off in Baum-supervised auctions.

The lawyer, Andrew Tilem, said that given Baum's vast foreclosure business there could actually be “millions of dollars” more being withheld from hundreds of others.

“I think this is the tip of the iceberg,” said Tilem, who filed the three suits in Brooklyn Supreme Court on behalf of the three former co-op owners Friday after his phone calls and letters to Baum went unanswered for months.

Tilem insisted that he already knows of about a dozen other people who are each owed between $2,000 and $100,000 by Baum’s firm, which handled the sales of their foreclosed co-ops on behalf of lenders.
The money was left over after payments to the mortgage holder, maintenance fees and other costs.
Baum already is under investigation by the New York Attorney General's Office for foreclosure work unrelated to the money allegedly being withheld from foreclosed co-op owners....MORE
Now for the NYSBA's Comittee on Professional Discipline to get their act together.

Yesterday MarketBeat linked to a (NYT) DealBook post that quoted the Times' Joe Nocera who wrote the original piece:
...On Saturday, Joe Nocera, The Times columnist who originally wrote about the firm’s Halloween party, published another column about the controversy. In it, he quoted an e-mail that Mr. Baum had sent him last week.

“Mr. Nocera — You have destroyed everything and everyone related to Steven J. Baum PC,” said the letter. “It took 40 years to build this firm and three weeks to tear down.”

“I think that’s what they call shooting the messenger,” Mr. Nocera wrote.