Most of us working in foreclosure defense find the foreclosure procedure despicable. The lies and fraudulent documents make our hearts ache and stomachs turn; and when a judge refuses to see the deceit – CORRUPTION lights up like a neon sign. It’s time we take over these land grab issues, hand them back to the states and ask the Governors and Legislators to reign in the courts and protect the constituents. This is not about a “free house” – which is pure bankster propaganda that is hard to overcome. This is about truth, integrity and honesty – none of the attributes that Wall Street banks possess these days.
One Washington state constituent, Linda Michelle Darnell, a foreclosure defense consultant, wrote a compelling letter to her governor, Jay Inslee. We should all take the time to construct the same prose to each and every governor in the United States – and hope they will heed our pleading before it is too late. This letter is for every Governor to digest:
RE: OPEN LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR REGARDING FORECLOSURE CRISIS IN WASHINGTON STATE/REQUESTING FORMATION OF A TASK FORCE , FUNDING FOR THE WA.FFA MEDIATION PROGRAM AND STATEWIDE PRINCIPAL WRITE-DOWNS
Dear Governor Inslee:
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Congratulations on your recent election. As a lifelong republican, the first time I voted democrat was a vote for you because I appreciated what you said in the debates about the housing crisis and what you thought was an appropriate response. You seemed to indicate more understanding than your opponent and more sensitivity to the plight of Washington citizens who have been harmed by this crisis. This was a determining factor for me as I considered my vote after several years of being aware of the problem. I have been working intimately with people harmed by the crisis and behavior of our most power financial institutions, observing the injustice and the damage caused on a broad spectrum and the lack of response from our leadership at both the state and federal level, and I believed that this issue was of paramount importance. How can we discuss state and municipal budgets without seriously considering the collapse of our largest industry, real estate and the ripple effect throughout the economy?
I believe based upon my experience that there was in fact a premeditated, engineered effort to extract wealth from the middle class via the largest Ponzi scheme in human history through an complex scheme of mortgage backed securities, credit default swaps, creation of the mortgage electronic registration system, circumvention of centuries old title recordation protocol and predatory lending practices.
The Washington Post: By Ylan Q. Mui
“Median income fell nearly 8 percent, to $45,800, in 2010. The median value of stock-market-based retirement accounts declined 7 percent, to $44,000.
But it was the implosion of the housing market that inflicted much of the pain. The median value of Americans’ stake in their homes fell by 42 percent between 2007 and 2010, to $55,000, according to the Fed.
The poorest families suffered the biggest loss of wealth from the drop in real estate prices. But middle-class Americans rely on housing for a larger part of their net worth. For some, it accounts for just more than half of their assets. That means every step downward is felt more acutely.
Rakesh Kochhar, associate director of research at the Pew Hispanic Center, calls this phenomenon the “reverse wealth effect.””
After much research, observation and consideration I am not of the opinion that homeowners should necessarily be granted a “free house.” However, I do believe that the response to the crisis has been wholly inadequate.
According to the Washington State Bar Association Home Foreclosure Legal Aid Project there are 5,000 new foreclosure filings every month. http://www.mywsba.org/default.aspx?tabid=161
The current situation is not only unsustainable, it is inequitable. Every day I have borrowers contact me who have attempted for years to negotiate with their lender to achieve a modification. Often as a result of the economic down turn, which I would argue was somewhat engineered, they have suffered some sort of hardship.
As responsible citizens (I have not yet met the proverbial “deadbeat” homeowner) they contacted their lender in an effort to negotiate and were usually told that they had to miss 3 payments in order to qualify for a modification. While this seemed counter-intuitive they felt desperate and they trusted their lender and so their nightmare begins. They spend months sending paperwork that gets lost, goes stale or is insufficient according to the lenders constantly changing guidelines. I have had clients that have spent YEARS during this process. Then if they make it to review and then the temporary payment period (TPP) they feel a sense of relief make their 3 months of payments on time as directed in order to find out that they do not qualify for the permanent modification because …well, the sky is blue. Yes, it is that ridiculous!
I have not even addressed the issue of escrow account manipulation, leveraged default, improper assignments, forgery, the manufacture of fraudulent documents etc, etc, etc… It would take me hours to describe what has transpired. I have observed it with my own eyes and had I not, I would not believe it. Additionally, it is my observation that there is very little opportunity for enforcement of the laws and statutes that should govern this situation because the victims have few resources and even the attorneys attempting to assist are stretched to capacity.
Aside from the obvious impact on our economy, I must alert you to the human cost. I see families that were middle class only 6 years ago, now facing homelessness. I have had men who were once confident, successful business men break down in tears in front of me. I had a woman who was dying of stage four cancer call me for help as the sheriff was tossing her life time of belongings on her front lawn at the bidding of Wells Fargo. This was after two years of the modification battle I mentioned earlier. Homelessness, divorce, chemical addictions and destroyed lives are the result of this situation and homeowners are not the only victims. Rental rates are increasing, joblessness is a severe issue and wages are stagnating and I would assert that these issues are all indirectly related to the issue of the foreclosure crisis. I often hear that Americans should “pull themselves up by their boot straps!” What if their boots were stolen?
In 2012 the Washington State legislature attempted to address the issue by enacting the WA State Foreclosure Fairness Act. Unfortunately, as someone who works with people attempting to utilize this mediation program, I observe that it ineffectual. There is only 10% participation rate and of those who participate only a small number achieve a modification that results in home retention. Please see the report enclosed with this letter. It would perhaps be helpful if this program was funded more adequately.
Consequently, this program has been unsuccessful in its effort to mitigate the foreclosure crisis. I believe this is in large part because the program is not sufficiently funded. The effect is that VERY FEW people even know about it.
I have illustrated what I see as the problem; now let me suggest what I see to be a potential solution. I would suggest that you use all the authority and powers of your office to initiate a full investigation. I believe that that investigation would support the claims I have made herein. Next, I would suggest the formation of a task force to identify the issues, explore solutions and implement those solutions. Further, I would suggest to plan for statewide principal write-downs to the current market value. This would help people meet qualifications (net present value calculations) that would qualify them for a loan modification, allow them to get back on track and get back to a normal life. Most importantly it would stabilize their financial situation such that they would then have peace of mind and disposable income. This would be good for municipal and state budgets. People paying $1000.00 a month to an attorney to fight for their homes, are not building decks and doing home remodels.
Additionally, I would request you do everything within your powers to ensure that Washington citizens receive the justice they are entitled to under the rights afforded them via the Washington State constitution and that the integrity of our legislative and judicial system be restored such that there is accountability for the behaviors that precipitated this situation and in fact are still going on today. You can do this by encouraging the legislature to pass legislation that:
- Makes the “Beneficiary Declaration” (RCW 61.24.030(7)(a)) a felony or monetary damages.
- Require Mandatory recordation of every assignment or transfer
- Veto the HB because this will cause further harm to properties owners and do nothing to restore the integrity of the title recordation system. Rather it will legitimize what we see as a crime.
THE COST OF DOING NOTHING
What is the cost of doing nothing? It is my observation that there is a significant increase in awareness of the issue and the perceived criminality of the behavior of the lending institutions along with the lack of response by our elected officials.
I am witnessing a swelling emotion that I can only characterize as rage. I would implore you in your capacity as Governor of this great state to do what you can to avert the sort of uprising that I see as inevitable if something is not done very soon. John F. Kennedy said:
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
If people lose their jobs, homes and families they really don’t have much more to lose. Currently, there are 101 Million Americans receiving food stamps according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Audit Report 27001-0001-10 June 2013. http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/27001-0001-10.pdf
In Washington state homelessness among students is up 46.7 percent since 2007-8 according to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction of Washington State http://www.k12.wa.us/Communications/pressreleases2013/HomelessStudents.aspx While we are concerned about state education budgets we must consider what sort of quality of education children will get when they are studying in their car by the light of a street lamp.
I am a pretty reasonable person. I decided three years ago to fight back in a reasonable way, case by case via the courts system. I will say that as a result of what I have seen even my patience is running thin. Since the election, I have seen little to no response from your office or that of Bob Ferguson. Many who voted for both of you are deeply dismayed. I am not naive to the difficulty of getting things done in Olympia. However, I have seen no response at all and meanwhile over 20,000 people stand to lose their homes so far this year this year in Pierce, Snohomish and King Counties alone and the state is facing a budget crisis. This is not only unacceptable it is unconscionable.
I implore you to do what you can in your capacity as executive to yield to the will of the People rather than of corporate interests inspire a reasonable response from our leadership. I dare say the welfare of this state and many careers in the next election cycle may depend upon it.
Thank you for your careful consideration of this matter and I, those in the Law office where I work and those in the foreclosure defense/activist community await your response.
Linda Michelle Darnell,
Foreclosure Defense Consultant”
Click here for the PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS. Ms. Darnell says: “We are also looking for attorneys to draft amicus briefs in support of this action. Do you have any attorneys who represent any of the organizations you are affiliated with that might be interested?” Contact:
SCOTT E. STAFNE, ESQ.
ANDREW J. KRAWCZYK, ESQ.
STAFNE LAW FIRM
239 North Olympic Avenue
Arlington, Washington 98223
(360) 403-8700 Telephone
(360) 386-4005 Facsimile
This is an excellent letter. Many thanks to Ms. Darnell, and to Shelley for bringing this to our attention. Now, pull out your pens and write your governor – TODAY! The more letters the better.