A central theme that has developed in my professional and national existence is that we are all being lied to in massive, systemic and crippling ways.
There are no “BIG LIES”. They are all big lies. Certainly some are bigger than others, but if you’re stuck on trying to quantify, then you will get trapped in a rut and allow the “small lies” to consume you, like a virulent MRSA flesh eating virus.
The lies are all around you, but the lies that blast you right in the face every single day like a heavy grain shotgun shell are the propaganda and lies drilled into your brain by every bit of the mainstream media.
I have had the opportunity to meet with fine reporters who are doing great work, but the vast majority of real news is not being reported….primarily because the vast majority of real America has gone googly-eyed, drugged out, numbed to a very disturbing reality that is today’s American existence.
Americans cannot manage basic math. And they certainly master the logic jump that must flow next from a rudimentary understanding of basic math. What Americans think about foreign policy is meaningless when they cannot understand the inescapable finances behind foreign policy. And because Americans cannot comprehend basic math, they are not able to grasp the inescapable reality that our society and our nation will collapse under the weight of our economic reality. I did not say society might collapse, I said society will collapse.
Numbers that I am intimately familiar with are the numbers related to foreclosure. The numbers that are broadcast and that our leaders are relying upon are all a lie. A good judge I know recently lamented the absolutely incorrect and misleading reporting that has just been released that suggested it that took like an average of 854 days to foreclose in Florida. The numbers and the reporting implied that this was some fault of the courts or judges. The implication indeed was that this was somehow the fault of the court system and THOSE DAMN ATTORNEYS AND JUDGES…WHAT WITH THEIR RULES AND LAWS AND ALL.
What the reporting and the numbers all ignore is first that the numbers themselves are all terribly flawed…way past the point of just being OOPSIE! missed a digit here or there. The methodology, the implications, the analysis is so flawed that IT’S A LIE! And so what should we all do? Should we all just sit back, especially those of us in the legal profession and allow all these lies to continue? Clearly no. We in the profession must stand up and begin shouting from the mountaintop that THE LIES MUST STOP!
I could care less about the numbers they are broadcasting, it’s the implication and analysis that flows from the numbers that are far more meaningful. It’s what the lies and the flawed methodology and the implications demonstrate. The numbers and the lies are simply the tumor that evidences the virulent cancer that continues to eat away at the very foundation of our nation, of our court system of our economy, of our entire way of life. In a recent meeting convened to discuss how to make foreclosure mediation more successful, I posited a single, simple suggestion…..
Before going into foreclosure mediation, both parties need to see an accurate and comprehensive account history.
Hardly bombshell stuff. Before I walk into a mediation where I desperately want to work out a deal in good faith between the alleged lender and my client, I need to see what numbers we’re dealing with. The plaintiff representatives in the room acted like I had just asked Coca Cola to divulge the secret formula. WE CANNOT POSSIBLY PROVIDE THIS…AND HOW DARE YOU ASK THIS QUESTION. Which is precisely the point. It’s just like that recent court proceeding where the attorney exclaimed:
This ladies and gents is precisely the problem. We’ve uncovered it over and over and over again. It is clear every time a short sale is not approved. It is clear every time a reasonable loan modification is not approved. It is clear every time a family is thrown into the street rather than allowing them to make a payment and stay in a home. There remains a fatal disconnect that will plague efforts to make foreclosure mediation a success…good faith borrowers like good faith and fair dealing on the other side.
But the big lie that no one has been willing to fully explore is the fact that the banks are just sitting on the cases. Whatever the delay in foreclosures, the predominant fault lies not with our courts, struggling as they are under an absurd funding system that does not allow them to function properly, and it is not the fault of the good foreclosure defense attorneys and homeowners that are out there trying to work through an extraordinarily difficult system. And frankly it’s not even the fault of the banks and their own attorneys. No, the primary fault lies with the banks and the plaintiffs themselves. And it’s time to expose this big lie because the implications are just earth shattering.
BY LYNN E. SZYMONIAK, ESQ., ED., FRAUD DIGEST
JANUARY 15, 2012
How many days does it take to foreclose in Florida? The average
number of days for a foreclosure action to be completed is often
reported, and usually accompanied by a criticism that the process is
too unwieldy. The long foreclosure process has often been blamed for
the nation’s slow economic recovery. The discussion often moves
quickly from ” How long does it take?” to ” How long should it take?”
While bank lawyers often argue that the foreclosure system should
be changed so that foreclosures can move quickly through the courts,
foreclosure defense advocates often point to due process horror stories
like the recent story of Chief Circuit Judge Alan Dickey in Seminole
County, Florida, who scheduled 300 foreclosure cases for three days,
saying, ” If everybody shows up, I’ll have about 30 seconds a case.”
Realty Trac provides the statistics in most stories. Realty Trac
reported in January, 2012, that in Florida it took an average of 806
days to complete a foreclosure, the third longest time in the nation.
New York reportedly took the longest to foreclose ““ 1,019 days and
New Jersey was second at 964 days.
An examination of actual foreclosure cases in Palm Beach County
does not support the Realty Trac findings. In this study, all of the
cases filed by a major forecloser, Deutsche Bank National Trust
Company (” DBNTC”), in December, 2009, were examined. DBNTC filed
170 new cases in December 2009.
Of the 170 cases, 76 cases (43.5%) remained open as of January
15, 2012. 54 of the cases were closed with entry of a final judgment of
40 of the cases were voluntarily dismissed by DBNTC. In many
cases, a voluntary dismissal indicates the parties have reached a
settlement. In foreclosures, it is also common for a bank to dismiss
when the file is being transferred to another firm, a very common
Of the cases with voluntary dismissals, the average time from filing
to dismissal was 342 days.
Of the cases closed with a final judgment of foreclosure, the
average number of days from the initial filing to the closing of the case
was 345 days. A few cases continue long after the entry of a final
judgment of foreclosure, because of post-judgment motions to re-open
or set aside the final judgment. In such cases, the actual sales date
was used as the end date.
Of the 94 resolved cases, 58 (62%) were resolved in less than one
In many of the open cases, there had been very little effort by the
banks to move the case to a final resolution. It was not unusual to
find open cases where there had been no docketed activity for over six
months, and there were numerous cases where there had been no
docketed activity for over one year.
When a foreclosure is completed, and the home sold, it is often
sold for less than half of the amount of the original loan. The median
sales price for existing homes in Palm Beach County fell from
$406,800 in June, 2005 to $183,700 in November, 2011. A trustee
may actually benefit, in the short term, from prolonging the
foreclosure process because the final realized loss does not have to be
reported to investors until the sale, thus allowing the trustee to delay
the inevitable bad news to the investors. The servicer certainly
benefits as the average servicer fees for servicing a loan in foreclosure
are often three to five times the fees for servicing a performing loan.
There were a few hard-fought cases, with discovery disputes
appearing regularly on the docket. In such cases, these disputes often
involved delays by the banks in responding to discovery requests by
the homeowner/defendants, particularly where the banks were asked
to produce trust-related documents such as the Pooling and Servicing
Agreement from the trust or original loan documents. Many of the
cases involved Affidavits of Lost Notes and Lost Mortgages. The delays
were caused by the plaintiff/bank.
This study will be expanded to include an entire calendar quarter
and the other major foreclosers, Bank of America and Chase. It will
include data from Hillsborough and St. Johns counties.