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Florida Hardest Hit: A Bank Slush Fund That Fattens Banks And Hurts Taxpayers

By September 22, 2015No Comments

From The Tampa Times:

“It’s a slush fund for the banks,” said attorney Matthew Weidner, who represented many Hardest Hit Fund recipients after their 12 months of what he calls “free rent” came to an end.

“We used taxpayer money to (help) the balance sheets of the banks with no accountability and consideration of whether it made sense to do that,” Weidner said. “It’s crazy.”

In 2009, a bank foreclosed on Antoniou’s luxury condo on Bayshore Boulevard. Yet two years ago, he was approved for up to $42,000 in federal funds to help pay the mortgage on another property he was struggling to keep.

Now, he is about to lose that, too.

Anoniou is among scores of Tampa Bay borrowers who got assistance from the federal Hardest Hit Fund but were unable to resume making mortgage payments on their own after the aid ran out. Since January, banks have served foreclosure notices on him and 84 other bay area residents who also were approved for up to $42,000 in assistance.

The bottom line: Taxpayers spent as much as $3.57 million to bail out 85 people who in all likelihood will lose their homes anyway, a Tampa Bay Times analysis found.

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