On Thursday May 10, 2012, the Florida Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the extraordinary case of Roman Pino v. Bank of New York. Make sure to bookmark here to watch the arguments live, and in advance, click here and here and here and here to read all the briefs before hand
Now to refresh all your memories, Roman Pino was one of those despicable sub human beings who conned a big bank into loaning him a huge sum of money so that he could purchase a big fat mansion that he knew he could never afford and that he knew he never had any intention of paying for. Tom Ice is the unethical foreclosure defense attorney who conspired with Pino, coming up with all kinds of excuses and technicalities that allowed this very bad person to live in his house for free.
Well, that’s the narrative that comes from the bankster and foreclosure fraud apologists in this war. The truth is Roman Pino was a terribly unsophisticated hard working American who believed in the con and the promises of the banking industry and was conned into taking out a comparatively small loan with unreasonable terms on a perfectly reasonable home in an ethnic neighborhood. When Roman got into trouble financially he tried his best to work things out and found himself stiff armed by the very same banking cartel that has been pounding all of America into bloody submission for years now. Tom Ice is the dedicated foreclosure defense warrior who took this brother in need under his protective wing, showed him and his family the highest values of this calling called the practice of law and promised him that he would protect and defend his family, no matter what it took.
As Pino’s foreclosure case was pending at the trial court level, Ice’s dedicated and passionate legal staff noticed that things were not at all right with the documents the foreclosure mill had submitted to the trial court. No, not your run of the mill robo signed or forged documents, after all, we all became so desensitized to lies and fraud and forgery in our courtrooms so long ago, that something really blatant would have to stick out in order to make any difference at all. Now think about that again because that’s what this case is really about:
we all became so desensitized to lies and fraud and forgery in our courtrooms so long ago, that something really blatant would have to stick out in order to make any difference at all.
The documents that were submitted in a court of law were so obviously forged and fraudulent, so corrupted, devoid of truth that the bank was forced to dismiss the case and not proceed. But Ice remembered that our courts and the lawyers that took an oath to serve the law had an obligation not to ignore lies and fraud and forgery because such things left unchecked will destroy this nation. Ice wanted to pursue the truth, to uphold the Rule of Law, but the trial court refused to allow him to even go down this path. The trial court affirmatively and, albeit a bit indirectly, stated, ” we are not in the business of Truth and the Rule of Law, you will not ask these questions.” And so Ice, principled lawyer who took an oath and made a promise to his client, appealed the trial court’s refusal to allow him to pursue the Truth and uphold the Rule of Law.
Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals court could have done the correct and the proper thing, they could have stated affirmatively that our nation’s courts are about The Truth and that our courts must uphold the Rule of Law, but they did not. The appellate court asserted that doing so was too dangerous and so after making the following statement,
” many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents”
Pino’s requested remedy, if imposed, ” may dramatically affect the mortgage foreclosure crisis in this State.”
So the bottom line here is one of Florida’s high appellate courts (and no I don’t mean high like they’ve been smoking weed) first identifies a massive ongoing criminal enterprise that permeates our state’s entire court system (although they dance around this with the euphemisms, ” tainted” and ” suspect documents”) then rather than just come right out and say, ” We’re the courts and we don’t put up with this.”, they just wipe their hands clean of the whole mess and ship the case up to the highest court in this entire ethically-challenged state, the Florida Supreme Court. Let the Supremes deal with this mess, the Fourth DCA figured, we’re just gonna take a pass on this one.
Now the Damndest thing happened when this case made its way before Florida’s Supreme Court. Well, actually many Damndest Things happened starting first with the briefs filed by the chief bad boy in this case, Bank of New York. Their arguments amount to, ” ignore all this fraud and forgery and lies”, just keep running away from this crime spree and continue to pretend like it never happened. Next, the Florida Land Title Insurance Association and the Florida Banker’s Association both filed Amicus or, ” Friend of the Court Briefs”. Now, I’ve written several pieces on these magnificent pieces of work which, taken together assert the proposition that if Florida’s courts take the side of Truth and The Rule of Law, the entire State of Florida will just blow right up into millions of pieces, break off from the rest of the United States and sink immediately into the bottom of the ocean, killing every single citizen in a sort of state-specific rapture. Not only do they assert that Florida’s courts cannot punish fraud and forgery and lies, the briefs boldly assert the proposition that no one, not even courts should be permitted to even inquire into the details of their industry’s crimes. Here’s the direct quote:
” Scrutiny of the validity of an assignment of mortgage may be inappropriate under any circumstances.”
Wow. Yes. My favorite fraudclosure quote of all times. They wrote that and submitted it to the Florida Supreme Court. No one, not even the Supreme Court of Florida can examine the forged and fraudulent documents that choke our state’s court system. Now I faced down this very same argument recently in a trial I lost (now on appeal)where the bank lawyer, faced with a Linda Green assignment and all sorts of other mess essentially said”¦.
Scrutiny of the validity of an assignment of mortgage may be inappropriate under these circumstances.
The trial court bought it and I lost. (more on that here) I can only shudder to think that will happen to this state if the Supreme Court buys into this same madness.
But here’s the thing, these two groups write these briefs from a detached and academic perspective as if they are merely helpful observers who just happened to be standing on the sidelines while a grotesque and brutally violent crime spree occurs”¦..over the course of a decade or so. But that’s not at all the case. These two industries, and the members they proudly represent, are key co-conspirators in this crime spree that continues to play out in communities and in courtrooms all across this state”¦.even to this day. Now they may not actually be pulling the trigger over and over and over again, but they are certainly providing the bullets, and providing the guns, and setting up the victims and then directing the specifics of the attacks. Over and over and over again. Even to this day.
The title insurance and banking industries are not these innocent parties coming to court trying to serve the interests of The Law I serve, instead, they should be named as co conspirators in a massive criminal indictment. They both profited enormously while this crime spree called fraudclosure just kept rolling right through this state and now they have the audacity to stand in this state’s highest court and claim innocence and some sort of moral integrity. It’s mind blowing really, but that’s the state of politics in Florida today”¦.this, the most corrupt state in the nation.
And while we’re on the subject I’m going to swerve into a monstrously dangerous area here. An area called campaign fundraising and Florida’s Supreme Court. Money is indeed the root of all evil. And because money is the root upon which all our state’s political leaders and campaigns are built upon it must therefore be true that our state’s money grubbing political campaigns are in fact evil. Now, it’s bad enough that our elected state officials are not elected anymore, but are in fact auctioned off in a process known as campaign fundraising, but would you like to know what politicians have raised the most money for their campaigns during this election cycle? Right, you guessed it, Florida’s Supreme Court justices. And who are some of the biggest supporters and organizers of the fundraising efforts for our state’s highest court? (Hint: It isn’t homeowners and the street fighting foreclosure defense attorneys fighting for justice in this case.) Right, correct, you guessed it”¦..the ferociously moneyed banking and foreclosing industries.
From Naked Capitalism:
Florida demonstrates how heavy-hitter law firm miscreants go undisciplined by the bar. One particular egregious example of influence-peddaling involves the foreclosure mill Shapiro & Fishman. The firm has been under investigation by the Florida attorney general’s office (initiated under the last incumbent, Bill McCollum). Shapiro & Fishman is a regular user of mortgage assignments prepared by Lender Processing Services, the employer of the notorious robosigner ” Linda Greene” and an avid practicer of ” surrogate signing” which is NewSpeak for forgery. Nevada and Missouri have indicted LPS employees. The firm is operating under a consent order from the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC and the OCC.
And, if you want to go a little deeper down the rabbit hole….
A Supreme Court case out of Palm Bay may exemplify the type of high-stakes yet little-known litigation that’s about to inspire a corporate-funded campaign to oust Florida justices.The case stems from code-enforcement liens on a foreclosed home and will decide whether city halls can put themselves ahead of banks for sales proceeds when neighborhood eyesores finally sell.
But tens of millions of dollars hang on the decision for the powerful financial services industry, on one side, versus Florida taxpayers, who often pay to mow and secure neglected properties.Other states, including Iowa and Mississippi, already have seen corporate-sponsored campaigns that toppled justices and cleared seats for business-friendly jurists.
And so a very real question that should be asked as Florida’s Supreme Court ponders the frankly very serious questions presented in the Pino case is whether even our state’s highest court is free from the creeping influence of campaign finance? The question will not be answered with the Pino case alone and it will not be answered definitively anytime in the near future. Rather, this question will be pondered by intellectuals and legal scholars and reporters and academics in years to come. One thing is certain however, this questioning will not come from practicing lawyers who suffer the wrath and the persecutions from the establishment and their government for daring to ask such questions. You see, all of those who have dared to speak up have suffered the whipping and we just know for certain that more whippings will come.
The other side in this battle between Truth and Justice and Lies and Deceit not only moves along unpunished and with no penalty”¦.they in fact profit enormously in this on-going war. And at the end of the day, it’s not just foreclosure cases and homes that are lost, it’s our entire nation and those values and principles you were deluded into thinking we stood for that are lost. I hope we will all consider this as the Oral Arguments play out next Thursday.
And as we’re all thinking about this, think for a moment as well about the horrible price attorneys like Tom Ice and Lynn Syzmoniak and June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards and April Charney and Mark Stopa and Chris Forrest and Chip Parker have all had to pay, and continue to pay. Each in their own way have suffered attacks and serious consequences because they dared to stand up and speak out against this machine and it tyranny. There are indeed casualties in every war and in this war for The Truth and for the heart and soul of our nation and its laws, these warriors, along with pro se activists like Lisa Epstein, Michael Redman, Nye Lavalle and all the other warriors that have dared to speak up have been smacked down by The System. And so, this case, this battle is a rallying point for all those who have suffered the sharp point of the Imperial Spear, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the Warriors like Tom Ice along with his wife and their dedicated staff. No matter how the court case plays out, the world will always know which side of the battle they all stood.