Foreclosure Defense Florida

My Dear Fellow Attorneys:

MLK-LettersI have spent this week, the week we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr and his accomplishments during the civil rights movement, thinking about the very real parallels between that tumultuous time and where we are today in this country.   Especially today, when I serving a sentence in a jail of sorts, I have been considering how King and his followers were constantly attacked.   The attacks King and his followers suffered are not unlike the attacks that are visited upon those few who are standing up to defend consumers, fight for basic rights and the Rule of Law.  

I am absolutely convinced that in the very near future, the sentiment of those who still do not fully appreciate what is happening in this country will shift in much the same way that the world now understands the profound wrongs that were visited upon nation prior to the civil rights movement. In much the same way that so many people finally woke up and became repulsed by the perpetuation of a system that was repugnant to the basic ideals this nation professed to represent, The People first will rise up to demand justice and economic rights, and then later those who are clinging to power will reluctantly yield.

My personal struggle comes at the very moment of a profound national crossroads.   It has been rumored this week that the banks will announce a deal soon with the attorney generals from all across the country that have been investigating them.   If any deal is indeed inked it will be a most dark day in this nation’s history.   A deal between the banks and the attorney generals will indeed be the last nail in the coffin of the fiction that we are still a nation ruled by laws.  

So as you think about all this, close your eyes for a moment and picture Martin Luther King sitting in a Birmingham jail and responding to a letter of complaint that he had recently received:

My Dear Fellow Attorneys:

While confined here in a foreclosure courtroom, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of myself and the other foreclosure and consumer defense attorneys by those who do not understand that the work of defending the helpless is the highest calling of the legal profession. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in foreclosure courtrooms, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against defending consumers in court, fearful that all these defendants want is a ” Free House”. I have the honor of serving and defending families and good people who find themselves down on their luck and facing foreclosure. Despite some of the unfair, unfortunate and misinformed characterizations of my clients perpetuated by some small segment of the population, my clients are not in foreclosure because they want to be in foreclosure. They are not unemployed because they do not want to work. They are not down on their luck because they sought out a tortured existence in this world. They are in foreclosure because they have no money. They have no money because there are no jobs. There are no jobs because their government has failed them. The industries and institutions that should be providing jobs and providing the money that would permit them to pay their bills and fulfill their obligations have closed down here at home and sent all the jobs offshore. For many of my clients, foreclosure courtroom is their last stop before they disappear into oblivion. They stand in courtrooms gripping onto their homes with white, bleeding knuckles, hoping against all hope that what they have heard about justice and fairness and equity and our nation’s court system really is true.

But more basically, I defend homeowners in court because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the fight for the Rule of Law beyond my own cases and clients. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid. Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Saint Petersburg and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

You deplore the defense of foreclosure cases and the Occupy protests that are taking place all across this country. But your statements, I am sorry to say, fail to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations and the defense. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social and legal analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place all across this country, but it is even more unfortunate that this nation’s power structure left the 99% with no alternative.   What is playing out in foreclosure courtrooms and in the halls of government through this crisis we have all come to know as Fraudclosure is a sorrowful desecration of a court and government system that was once held up on every corner of this planet as the idealized model of mankind’s legal, social and economic order.   We must now all acknowledge that this crisis reveals that these idealized notions were dangerous delusions and corrupt misrepresentations.

A most clear expression of this breakdown can be seen in the failed attempts by the failure of attorneys general from all across this country to fulfill their obligations to protect and defend the consumers that they swore a oath to protect and defend. It is terribly unfortunate that attorneys general from states all across this nation are meeting in secret with the banks and their henchmen and that they appear to close to finalizing some sort of deal. If the attorneys general that are supposed to be representing the interests of The People do indeed finalize a deal, it will truly be a deal with the devil. Such a deal will hasten our nation’s descent into a dark pit of white collar criminal lawlessness from which we will never recover.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in foreclosure courtrooms. There can be no gainsaying the fact that injustice engulfs our entire nation. Foreclosure courtrooms are probably the most clear expression of this injustice in the United States. The ugly record of injustice in foreclosure is widely known. Defendants in foreclosure have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more violations of the fundamental principles of justice and equity in foreclosures than in any other aspect of our national existence. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, homeowners and activists have sought to negotiate with the banks and institutions.

But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation. Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of banking community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by them–for example, they would review homeowners for loan modifications. On the basis of these promises, homeowners, attorneys and courts agreed to suspend most pending foreclosure cases. As the weeks and months went by however, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few temporary modifications were offered then just as quickly removed. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action like foreclosure trials, whereby we would continue the defense of homeowners and speaking out against the banks and the corporate elite as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community.

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why motions and discovery, foreclosure trials and so forth? Isn’t mediation a better path? You are quite right in calling for mediation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that an industry which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issues. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to successful mediations. I therefore concur with you in your call for mediations. Too long has our beloved court system been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue. One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in foreclosure courtrooms is untimely. Some have asked: “Why didn’t you give the new mediation programs time to act?” The only answer that I can give to this query is that the programs and the plaintiffs must be prodded about as much as before. We are all sadly mistaken if we feel that these new mediation programs will bring any real changes without pressure on the banks to deal fairly and in good faith. While the new banks and servicers may be different, they are both corporate creatures, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that the banks will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to mortgage modifications and solutions. But they will not see this without pressure from devotees of consumer rights.

My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in consumer rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals. We know through painful experience that fair dealings are never voluntarily given by the banks; it must be demanded by the consumers that bailed them out. Some say, ” Be patient, pushing these issues is not well-timed.”

Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have suffered unduly from the tortures of this obscene and unfair economy and its parasitic legal and political system. For years now I have heard the words, “Wait, a solution is coming!” It rings in the ear of every American citizen with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” We have waited for since 2008 for the banks and Wall Street to start treating Americans fairly. The banks and Wall Street are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining extraordinary profitablity, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining principle reductions or short sale approvals.

Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts foreclosure to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen good families thrown into the street, when you have seen the banks kick down doors and change the locks with no court order, when you have seen law enforcement standing idly by and saying, ” it is a civil matter”, when you have seen court rulings that are repugnant to fundamental laws, when you have seen the bank and corporate executives reap unconscionable profits, when you have seen clients become sick and die due to the stress and pain of foreclosure and their economic situation, when you have seen single women who live in mortal fear that her front door may be kicked down for the third time, when you see children who have only known their parents suffering–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to aggressively pursue foreclosure cases, to stand up for basic laws and argue that certain foreclosure case law should not be followed. You express concern that we some of the recent case law should not be followed. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.” Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law or appellate case is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law and economic reality. A just law and a just outcome in foreclosure recognizes that the homeowners that the banks are using the court process to throw into the street have already paid the banks and institutions through trillions of dollars in tax benefits and direct profits. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

All homestead foreclosures, when the case is defended because the homeowner has already paid the bank his fair share through bailouts, handouts and direct political corruption. Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the banks, which have obscenely unequal bargaining power have passed laws that benefit themselves while forcing trauma and the expenses of their ill-conceived laws on the unrepresented taxpayer and consumer who is victimized by their laws?

Throughout this nation all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent the voice of The People from being heard and to silencing advocates and critics. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured? Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been charged with abusing my First Amendment rights. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which restricts speech. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to punish well-intentioned criticism of our court system and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest. I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate ” free homes” as some do. That would lead to anarchy. One who seeks to defend a homeowner must be willing to counsel that homeowner to begin making what payments he can. I submit that an individual who correctly and aggressively defends the correct foreclosure case is in reality expressing the highest respect for law. Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience.

It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws. I must make two honest confessions to you, my fellow attorneys.

First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with other attorneys. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the consumer’s great stumbling block in his stride toward fairness is not the banks or the servicers, but the attorneys who are more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefer a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for demanding economic justice and the return to the Rule of Law in courtrooms; who live by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises those who are suffering to wait for a “more convenient season.”

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. I had hoped that the other attorneys would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social and economic progress. I had hoped that the other attorneys would understand that the present tension in the our courts is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the consumer accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all consumers wake up and start fighting back.

Actually, we who engage in the defense of consumers are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured. In your attacks on consumer attorneys and activists you assert that our actions, even though professionally and ethically appropriate, must be condemned because they slow down the court process.

I have even heard many good judges cry aloud, ” The Supreme Court and Legislature demand we conclude foreclosure trials in 18 months!” But is this a logical assertion? What if the legislature demanded that all criminal cases be concluded in some arbitrary period, but the prosecutors did not want to proceed with false evidence? What if family courts were underfunded yet the legislature demanded swift closure”¦and yet the couple that stands before you did not yet want their divorce”¦.would you still demand they conclude their divorce”¦or else? You speak of foreclosure defense as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow attorneys would see my efforts as those of an extremist.

I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the economically depressed community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of those who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of “somebodiness” that they have adjusted to their condition; and in part of a few middle-class Americans who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence.

It is expressed in the various Occupy groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Occupy Wall Street. Nourished by the frustration over the continued existence of economic and social discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated our corrupt form of government, and who have concluded that corporations are an incorrigible “devil.” Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom and fairness eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American people. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom and economic equality and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. I had hoped that the banks and institutions would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor class can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed people, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action.

But despite notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen. When myself and others started defending homeowners in foreclosure a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by other attorneys. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the foreclosure defense movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of their own offices.

In spite of my shattered dreams, I come to court everyday with the hope that other attorneys would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed. Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the attorney class. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the attorney class. How could I do otherwise? There was a time when the attorney class was very powerful. In those days the attorney class was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.

Whenever the good attorneys entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the attorneys pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey the Rule of Law rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. Things are different now. So often the attorney class is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of attorneys, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the attorney class’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of The People is upon our court system as never before. If today’s court system does not recapture the spirit and integrity of the early courts, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an institution with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust. Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Are attorneys too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the highest called among the ranks, the attorneys above the other attorneys, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of attorneys have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for foreclosure justice and basic rights.

It is true that the courts have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the foreclosure crisis.   In this sense they have conducted themselves rather mechanically. But for what purpose? To preserve the system of foreclosure. Over the past few years I have consistently asserted that the vast magnitude of problems in the pending foreclosure files currently filed demands that most be dismissed in order not to soil the entire court system’s integrity.   There was indeed a clearer path out of this wilderness many years ago when all of these problems were first so clearly demonstrated, but those in power failed to heed the warnings and step into the light   The same path still exists, but it has certainly grown much longer.   The path is quite simply a return to respect for the Rule of Law and a greater respect for the sacred function of our nation’s court system, judges and attorneys.   For far too long, our nation’s third branch of government has sat prostrate to the legislative and executive branches then, with its backside exposed, bent in supplication to business interests that seek to do such injustice to all people. This must not continue.

Never before have I written so long a letter. I’m afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is sitting here in a foreclosure courtroom, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me. I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an antagonist on one side of this profound economic and social rights battle but as a fellow attorney all on the side of justice and the Rule of Law.

Let us all hope that the dark clouds of injustice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood, Matthew Weidner

And I especially encourage you to read Luther’s Letter From A Birmingham Jail

23 Comments

  • dlennon says:

    Hello, I am not an attorney – just a client whose path to the guillotine has been eased by you; after piles of paper work and endless years of trying to work with every source available proved to be a fiduciary joke on me.

    As the first sentence of your narrative was read – it struck me that Saint Thomas Aquinas has found a sounding board. So, it was not surprising when he showed up later in this piece.

    I read the essay – but I am a subjective admirer.
    Only the busiest of the thinking few – for whom this was written will find the time it absorb your thoughts.
    Never underestimate those busy few.

  • fran says:

    Matthew,

    You sure are a good article writer! Your mind must be full of words all the time. ha

    Are you still not doing any homeowner association lien foreclosures?
    Do you know anybody that does on the side of a homeowner and not the association?

    You won’t believe that I got the lawyer to dismiss the foreclosure and lis pendens action against me because of major flaws, and now he is proceeding with a Count II for a money judgment for the same thing! And its all based on an invalid assessment.

    I’m getting ready to sign your petition to run for office. I am the one that suggested for you to do that!

    Fran in Lakeland

  • learning2 says:

    AMEN!!!

    I am forwarding this to my attorney who has changed his tune since I hired him.

    My attorney, whom I have since paid a retainer fee, now tells me that ‘The Rule of Law’ can be trumped by local ‘Common Practice’!!!

    No matter that my case was addressed with laws and cases dating back to the 1700/1800s! Outrageous.

    I think he be a ‘turn coat’!!!

  • learning2 says:

    p.s. Do you have a ‘print’ button?

  • D. Amend says:

    Matt,
    Thank You and the other few brave foreclosure defense attorneys out there. You are as true a soldiers as any in foxholes.

  • john woodworth says:

    Mr. Weidner,

    I read every word of your beautifully crafted missive. Frankly, I was moved to tears, as I found myself wishing my own counsel shared even a modicum of your beliefs and intensity. You do jurisprudence a great service, sir, and history shall likely reflect this.

    We are a disabled couple in Oregon who got ‘loan flipped’ a few times by Countrywide, with a promise of a loan modification equaling our former payment—we needed quite a bit to repair a large, sinking section of our home, and they promised to modify if we would re-write the mortgage every time we needed more funds for the project. When it came time to modify, BofA was just taking over the offices of CW I had been dealing with, and they refused.

    We fortunately found the services of a pro-bono firm, and file a TILA reciscission claim—-the judge denied their motion to dismiss, and requested mediation. One year later, mediation arrived, and BofA was not ready! But prior to that, they initiated foreclosure on us, with a sale date three days after Christmas, 2009. Intervention by the attorneys prevented that, thank God.
    Then, two months later, we were accepted into the HAMP program and promised that three consecutive on time payments would result in a permanent mod—-we were so relieved! However, the program dragged out for eight months (I made many phone calls) and we were summarily kicked off due to NPV—a subject I had already cleared with a Senior Loan Officer. That crushed us. Now we are awaiting trial—and even if we win, it is my understanding they have no obligation to live up to CW’s verbal agreement to modify our loan.

    And so we still live with the cumulative pressure, stress and anxiety. Both of our disabling conditions are worsening by the day, but no one really seems to care. In the end, we will probably be forced out, and we truly have no where else to go.

    In our condition, life seems a little less worth living.

    Thanks for listening.

    John Woodworth
    Alliance For The Disabled
    Gold Beach, Oregon
    onyx@harborside.com

    • thank you so much; i appreciate your support and your struggle. life must always be worth living, although those around and in power certainly make it less appealing. there is indeed a great evil that has taken over this world and we are all paying such a price….please stand tough and keep up the fight!

  • Katheryn says:

    Thank you Matt for a wonderful, truthful and moving letter. It would seem that greed has replaced any integrity or morality left in this United States. Money is everything but basic rights and values are nothing. I pray that those in power may feel something and deeply reflect what is happening to this country. They may feel above it now as they defend and litigate for the corrupters who have deep pockets to which they now benefit monetarily, but in time, they will come to know that they are not totally exempt from the repercussions yet to come. It will in some way hurt them or someone close to them in the long run. They are helping, by their lack of action or for monetary profit, to set up a world in which their children will suffer. When corporations are given the green light to blatantly break basic rules of law while also taking away cititzens basic rights, they and their families and friends will suffer also and it is going to be a long and painful lesson. It is, unfortunately, inevitable. We are moving forward technologically at a very fast pase, but we are also moving backwards in regards to humanity at an equally fast pace. How sad for all of us. May God have mercy on us.

  • Cheryl says:

    Matt: I can channel what the average attorney thinks of your letter but will speare you the pain and agony that your profession has very little humanity and that you’ve clearly chosen the wrong one.

  • Danelle Hills says:

    Mr. Weidner,

    Can you possibly tell me an attorney in North Carolina that “gets it” as to what the banks have been doing, how our home’s title is now going to be unclear (since our mortgage was securitized by the lender), who might be able to take our case for foreclosure defense?

    We had been dealing with a lawyer at a firm in Raleigh re getting Bank of America to modify our loan. This lawyer originally had said to us upon signing up with him that he could certainly delay foreclosure, if nothing else. His boss and principal of the firm had attended O. Max Gardner’s foreclosure defense bootcamp, which is how my husband and I found the law firm. This past week, after we had not been able to PAY the mortgage now for awhile, Bank of America (we had a loan with Countrywide the Bank took over) mailed us notice that we have 45 days to pay the deficiency or the bank will accelerate the loan and foreclose. When we called the lawyer, he threw us under the bus. Do YOU know any lawyer in our state (North Carolina) who may take our case and DEFEND us?

  • Charles says:

    Matt tell the truth, you cried writing this? I am as macho as they come and I struggled holding back the watery eyes.

  • Well said Matthew. Keep fighting the good fight. You have inspired us all.

  • Mindy Machanic says:

    Dear Mr. Weidner,

    Thank you for your beautiful, well-spoken argument for truth, justice and what used to be “the American Way.” Unfortunately, the people who most need to read it won’t. That is the way things are now.

    Like the people above, I am battling BofA from a Countrywide loan. But I have to do it Pro Se. No lawyer where I live in Western KY will take the case, the ones who know anything about this stuff have either done foreclosure work for BofA, or they won’t take the case even though they say I have a strong case and great documentation -I don’t have $10,00 or $15,000 to put down as a retainer – or they only know how to do it within a bankruptcy case, which I don’t need. Actually, I have over $100,000 cash in this house that I can’t touch, although if I can hang on until June, maybe I can take out a reverse mortgage against it. Haha, right? They totally ruined my formerly excellent credit.

    This is the second time they have foreclosed against me. Last time they rushed to court with a month-too-early “owed from” date. I got it dismissed outside of court because I talked to a lot of people, pointed out that I had made some payments they rejected, and that one of their own people said would take me out of default when she took the payment over the phone. This time, I was in the HAMP program, met my end, and BofA was just a month or two late when they “offered” me a “final modification” that had very high capitalzed costs, which I asked about since they don’t itemize them. Oh, those were fees from the foreclosure! The one their foreclosure mill attorney wrote the dismissal letter for, “each side to bear its own costs”! They had no record of that. I sent them a copy. I said I’d take the mod when they got the numbers right. 4 months later, mod but no itemization, 3 months later, itemization of sorts but now the mod numbers were out of date because I’d been still paying. Along the way, before I started in the HAMP Trial from Hell, they flip-flopped and lied and stonewalled long enough that I had scheduled a voluntary real estate and personal property auction that I had canceled then rescheduled and that ticked off the auctioneer so much they practically (literally on a few things) gave things away. House didn’t even meet payoff (and I had more cash in than I owed BofA)and I got a check for $295 from it on about $30-$40k of antiques, art, collectible art pottery, etc. Think the “Independent Review” people will count that (plus the storage unit I had to take out to get stuff out of the house to, and the garage door they killed, and the red dogwood they killed…) as an acceptable report of financial damage from the BofA foreclosure? Yeah? I have a modification for you…

    Let’s just say the rest of the story is no better, and they stretched it out long enough that they can say I rejected 2 offers and am no longer eligible, blah blah…except they changed account records and system notes from Executive Customer Advocates who’d worked with me. I just learned they had filed an “Assignment” of the mortgage from MERS to themselves 2 days before the official dismissal in 2009, that they put in the Complaint along with saying they were the owners of loan (didn’t mention the note!) even though all along, right up through the week before they filed the Complaint, they had been saying they weren’t the owner, just the servicer. (When they sent their Change of Servicer/FDCPA Notice this past summer, they had a non-existent Freddie Mac trust listed as owner, and they totally ignored my dispute letter on the notice.) BofA lied to OCC when I complained several times; each time they responded the ever-changing “Advocates” got things more tangled up but of course, OCC just believed whatever BofA said.

    And they filed the Complaint a couple weeks before the holidays, with response time to be right after New Year’s Day. With another incorrect owed-from date. Of course, they sent 4 or 5 Notices of Intent to Accelerate in 2010, after they kicked me out of the HAMP program, without doing anything after that, and now, they sent a letter around Thanksgiving saying I’d been referred to foreclosure dept. for review when I refused to send in yet another huge packet for them to again refuse any assistance since the HAMP mod is “off the table.” (They sent a special forebearance agreement during the HAMP Trial and then a year later, a notice of successful completion – which the rest of BofA claimed didn’t exist, and then said it was an error when I sent them a copy!) I certainly didn’t get 30 days notice specifically about the current situation before they foreclosed!

    I extended time to respond a few times with their lawyer, don’t think I have longer than this coming Monday Jan 23, no matter what. I am having a really hard time organizing 3 years of constant ongoing stressful interactions and nonresponsive bullying and abusive retaliation on my accounts (not crediting payments for months on end…) into orderly single-fact paragraphs and then tying them to my multiple counter-claims (and 11 affirmative defenses! some of which may get moved to counterclaims so I can get more damages…) In the background introduction, I’ve decided to say things like, “this is described in detail in a series of emails, see exhibit C-1 through C-5” and “this is very common and is described in detail and extent in the AIG lawsuit filing, pages XXX-XXZ, attached as Exhibit …” and spend the majority of the counterclaims explaining legal theory to the judge here. Most people just give up and walk, I guess. Not me, I’m too stubborn, and can’t see losing all that money while they get ever more. I don’t think I’d be able to make it back, I’m 61 and on social security disability, which all this hasn’t helped.

    Keep up the good work. We need more like you. Especially here, where they keep sending Mitch McConnell back to the Senate. I’m not from around here, and intend to leave, but not until I win this case against BofA without handing back the keys – unless they give back all my money and damages, too! Glad to hand it over then… Belize and Panama are looking good.

    Thanks for being there.
    M. (mindymac)

  • Matt,
    I have never had the privilege to speak to you or receive information directly from you, but through a mutual friend, I came to represent Ohiofraudclosure. He spent a great deal of time trying to open my eyes to the foreclosure crisis. Since the eye-opening, I have attempted to focus the majority of my time on helping homeowners in Ohio facing foreclosure. The ground work you have laid has been emensely helpful. Your hours of hard work have allowed others like me to understand incredibly complex matters. Thank you for your time and efforts.

    The rewards of helping homeowners have been in the form of gratitude. I have never in my 22 years of practicing law, been involved with a group of people more appreciative of my efforts. I do not have to “sell” my wares, the practice sells itself, and I can simply focus on providing quality legal services. In addition, my wares are not some technical gimmic that I may not truly understand. Instead, you have demonstrated that experienced civil litigators have valid defenses as well as,discovery, motion, and trial techniques that can greatly benefit homeowners. By forcing the Banks to litigate cases, homeowners can obtain a more level playing field in negotiations.

    I just wanted to thank you. If someone had not traveled the path before me, I would have not had the ability to stand up for what I know to be true in the face of unbelieving Judges and Magistrates.

    Bruce

    • There is such an honor in what you and I have had been given the privilege to do and such a reward for those that we have the honor to serve. We must all do our part to bring our profession back into a place of honor and respect….until that day, you and I know the power and the emotion and the love that comes from serving those who need it most.

  • Reuben Nieves says:

    The depth of the banks depravity is yet to be exposed. The banks have used non-judicial foreclosures against the commandment of the Constitution. Below is an excerpt of a comming brief:

    B. GOVERNMENT CONTROL OVER BANKS IS AS A POLICYMAKER
    National Banks, like CitiBank and Federal Savings Associations are federally chartered corporations created under acts of Congress (The National Bank Act of 1864(NBA) and The Homeowner Loan Act of 1933(HOLA) respectively, for public and national purposes. CitiBank, as a national bank, was ” not created for its own sake, or for private purposes. Osborn at p. 823. National banks and federal savings associations are among the agencies of the United States created to advance the government’s public economic policy goals under the Commerce Clause to engage in fostering commerce throughout the nation which is a purely public function exclusive to the government. At Id at p. 861, the court said:
    ***[T]he case of M’Culloch v. Maryland is founded on, and sustained by, the idea that the Bank is an instrument which is “necessary and proper for carrying into effect the powers vested in the government of the United States.”***
    “Under the public function test, when private individuals or groups are endowed by the State with powers or functions governmental in nature, they become agencies or instrumentalities of the State and subject to its constitutional limitations. The public function test is satisfied only on a showing that the function at issue is both traditionally and exclusively governmental.” Kirtley v. Rainey, 326 F.3d 1088, 1093 (9th Cir. 2003)
    As a reward national banks and federal savings associations benefit by not paying state taxes, avoiding state predatory lending laws through the concept of Federal preemption, allowing them to export high interest for the credit card thus avoiding the state usury laws. The expansion of the national banking system in 1864 with the creation of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ushered a more progressive agenda to implement Hamilton’s vision that there was a symbiotic relationship between agriculture, commerce, and manufacturing, and that progress in each of these sectors was necessary for America’s economic development. Long before the Revolution, Hamilton recognized that the future of America lay in business and industry, and that a Central Bank was necessary to the nation in cases of emergency in the financing of war. (Report of Credit II, Dec. 1790). Hamilton understood that to develop into an industrial power, America would need a powerful economic system.
    In the OCC’s — National Banks and the Dual Banking System (2003) p. 3 it was stated:

    Although a system of national banks would not be created until 1863, the need for and desirability of federal banks and their potential role in shaping a national economy were evident from the very beginning of the United States***
    In First National Bank v. Missouri, 263 U.S. 640 (1924) at p.664 the court said:

    ” The national banks organized under the act are instruments designed to be used to aid the government in the administration of an important branch of the public service. They are means appropriate to that end. ***”
    Thus, the government’s control over the operations of national banks is as a policymaker providing guidance for national goals through the regulatory agencies to maintain exclusive control over the bank operations which does not terminate.
    In Federal Land Bank v. Bismarck Co. of St. Paul, 314 U. S. 95 the issue was whether the lending functions were proprietary or governmental. The court said:

    The argument that the lending functions of the federal land banks are proprietary, rather than governmental, misconceives the nature of the federal government with respect to every function which it performs. The federal government is one of delegated powers, and from that it necessarily follows that any constitutional exercise of its delegated powers is governmental. (cite) It also follows that, when Congress constitutionally creates a corporation through which the federal government lawfully acts, the activities of such corporation are governmental. (cites)
    As part of their general lending functions, the land banks are authorized to foreclose their mortgages and to purchase the real estate at the resulting sale. They are “instrumentalities of the federal government, engaged in the performance of an important governmental function.”(cites) )[B,U]
    The conclusions that can be drawn from Bismarck, as self-evident inferences, are that if the lending activities of the land bank are governmental, and foreclosure is part of the general lending functions as the court held, then foreclosure is a governmental activity, and the federal land bank is a governmental actor. In like manner Citibank, as a national bank and sister entity created by Congress for an equally public purpose and under equally established guidelines must, as a self-evident inference, be a governmental actor for the purpose of 5th Amendment rights guaranteed against the government by the Constitution when foreclosing. It is a reasonably inference that Judge Daniels and the magistrate should have drawn in the motion to dismiss as required under the standard of review.

    In Pittman v. Home Owners’ Loan Corp.308 U. S. 21, the court said:
    ***that the activities of the Corporation through which the national government lawfully acts must be regarded as governmental functions, and as entitled to whatever immunity attaches to those functions when performed by the government itself through its departments. (cite) [B]
    But with the immunities the obligations of government must also attach as was held in Lebron, at p. 375 when the court said:
    (c) ” ***Like some other Government corporations, Amtrak’s authorizing statute provides that it “will not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government,***”
    (d) Although § 541 is assuredly dispositive of Amtrak’s governmental status
    for purposes of matters within Congress’s control–e. g., whether it is subject to statutes like the Administrative Procedure Act-and can even suffice to deprive it of all those inherent governmental powers and immunities that Congress has the power to eliminate-e. g., sovereign immunity from suit-it is not for Congress to make the final determination of Amtrak’s status as a Government entity for purposes of determining the constitutional rights of citizens affected by its actions. The Constitution constrains governmental action by whatever instruments or in whatever modes that action may be taken***
    (e) Amtrak is an agency or instrumentality of the United States for the purpose of individual rights guaranteed against the Government by the Constitution. ***A contrary holding would allow the government to evade its most solemn constitutional obligations by simply resorting to the corporate form[B,U ]
    Like Amtrak, national banks including CitiBank and its operating subsidiary CitiMortgage are federal instrumentalities. The banks are members in banking systems created to advance the government’s economic public goals, and controlled through the director of The Comptroller of the Currency. Like Amtrak CitiBank and CitiMortgage should be considered government entities for purposes of determining the constitutional rights of citizens affected by its actions. Homeowners are citizens whose constitutional rights are affected by non- judicial foreclosures exercised by federally chartered corporations like CitiBank and its instrumentality CitiMortgage. To paraphrase an old saying, ” that with great power comes great obligations.” This is no less true when Congress confers enumerated and incidental powers on a bank it creates for important governmental functions. It follows that with the immunities from taxation and state laws the constitutional obligations of the government must also attach. For as Justice Scalia said in Lebron, at p. 399:

    But it does not contradict those statements to hold that a corporation is an agency of the Government for purposes of the constitutional obligations of Government rather than the “privileges of the government,” when the State has specifically created that corporation for the furtherance of governmental objectives, and not merely holds some shares but controls the operation of the corporation through its appointees.
    In Lebron, respondent also invoked the court’s decision in the Regional Rail Reorganization Act Cases, 419 U. S. 102 (1974), which found that Consolidated Rail Corporation, or Conrail, not to be a federal instrumentality, despite the President’s power to appoint, directly or indirectly, 8 of its 15 directors. See id., at 152, n. 40; Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973, § 301, 87 Stat. 1004. But the court specifically observed in that case, that the directors were placed on the board to protect the United States’ interest

    “in assuring payment of the obligations guaranteed by the United States,” and that “[f]ull voting control … will shift to the shareholders if federal obligations fall below 50% of Conrail’s indebtedness.” 419 U. S. , at 152. Moreover, we noted, “[t]he responsibilities of the federal directors are not different from those of the other directors to operate Conrail at a profit for the benefit of its shareholders, …which contrasts with the public interest “goals” set forth in Amtrak’s charter, ***. Amtrak is worlds apart from Conrail: The Government exerts its control not as a creditor but as a policymaker, and no provision exists that will automatically terminate control upon termination of a temporary financial interest.
    In distinguishing Amtrak from Conrail for the purpose of determining that Amtrak was a federal instrumentality subject to constitutional constraints, the court focused on the control of the corporation by the government, the public interest goals of the corporation, that no provision existed that would automatically terminate the government’s control upon termination of a temporary financial interest, and the fact that in Amtrak the role of the government was as a policymaker and not as a creditor as in Conrail. The elements which led the court in Lebron to attach the constitutional obligations of the 1st amendment to the corporation can also be attributed against CitiBank and CitiMortgage in attaching its 5th amendment obligation because defendants are federal instrumentalities created for public and national purposes in carrying out the government’s public economic goals as mandated by its authority under the Commerce Clause. Thus the government’s control through the regulatory agencies is as a ” policymaker” where control would never terminate. Control of the operations is exercised by the director of the OCC over national banks and the director of the OTS over Federal Savings Associations.
    In American Bankers Mortgage Corp. v Federal Home Loan Corp. (D.C. No. 94-55967 1995, 9th Cir.) the court decided the issue against the framework of Lebron. The court held that Freddie Mac was not an entity subject to the due process clause of the 5th Amendment because it was more private, and compared to Amtrak, the government control over the operations was much less. Neither case decided what would be the bare minimum control over the operations by the government that would suffice to put a corporation under the due process clause. That however is not the case here for as the Court in Easton v Iowa explained the government’s control over the operations of national banks at p. 239:

    Our conclusions, upon principle and authority, are that Congress, having power to create a system of national banks, is the judge as to the extent of the powers which should be conferred upon such banks, and has the sole power to regulate and control the exercise of their operations[B,I,U]
    In federal savings associations the government control is clarified in Fidelity Fed. S. & L. v. De la Cuesta, 458 U.S. 141 (1982) p. 161, as the court said:

    The broad language of § 5(a) expresses no limits on the Board’s authority to regulate the lending practices of federal savings and loans. [cites]*** And Congress’ explicit delegation of jurisdiction over the “operation” of these institutions must empower the Board to issue regulations governing mortgage loan instruments.
    Since the elements which led the Court in Lebron to attach the constitutional constraints to Amtrak could be attributed to CitiBank in this case, Judge Daniels and the magistrate could have reasonably inferred that CitiBank, acting through its subsidiary, is a governmental actor for the purpose of attaching the 5th Amendment Due Process Clause.

    After reading this research can believe that the Constitution is being violated by national banks.

    Respectfully,

    Reuben Nieves
    reuben.nieves@yahoo.com

  • barbra orr says:

    Amen. Great words. I feel the people are no longer heard by anyone. Congress and the senate do what is best for them and I am sure the DA’s will too. Money talks honesty walks.

  • Danielle Coimbra says:

    Dear Attorney Weidner.
    Do you know anyone in NH or MA that might help my very complicated case. Even the NH Attorney Generals office said I need a good Attorney of my own. They are helping me out after I lost my home to a flood. Now I have been in battle with Citimortgage. It’s a nightmare and six months later my son and I are technically still homeless and 65K of my insurance money in escrow with citimortgage. I am also being sued by a contractor because they cannot get their insurance money from that 65K sitting in escrow at citimortgage.
    More to the story, but I’ll spare you the details. I need help now.
    Thank you.
    Danielle

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