To solve many of our social ills, NEO simply needs to give back what we have abandoned

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 11/14/2007 - 22:35.

It is interesting to reflect on "Cleveland" as a "shrinking city", with 100,000s in declining population, 10,000s of abandoned residential, commercial and industrial lots and buildings covering 1,000s of acres of land, and a failing tax base. Simply put, much of Cleveland is free to the taking, and taxpayers will even pay to get taken by their leaders - the land that is being freed up in this latest Savings and Loan "crisis" is worth $ billions and is being given to the friends of politicians for long term speculation and short term enrichment... what is bad for the poor is very good for the rich, who can buy low (can't beat free, with public subsidy). I'd say all this foreclosure hoopla is as fraudulent as was the housing bubble itself, being pure voodoo economic bullshit media spin to steal from the poor and give to the rich - the "Developed Nations" way and a NEO leadership specialty. I'd like to propose a completely different spin on dealing with our shrinking city crises, which is to give back to the Native Americans what we stole from them in the first place, since we destroyed it and supposedly it is now a burden to we settlers in our cowardly New World.

Create a virtual and real First Nations reservation in NEO, which includes all plots that go through foreclosure and become public property, which can be offered free or under special terms to any Native Americans who want to live there or develop, and provide the incentives to make this happen here before some other region has the sense to pursue such good economics and good karma. Offer the best incentive packages we offer the most politically connected local developers. Take the largest lots and allow them to be developed as duty-free zones, casinos, etc... give these developments the best incentives we have to offer locally, and help them secure whatever economic advantages are offered to Native Americans elsewhere in the Americas.

Basically, give the Native Americans back their land and let them make it green and bountiful again, bringing with them 100,000s of jobs and a new economy. Envision an urban Native American Vatican, so to speak, where we now have developed a Superfund Site (the Flats)... rising from the polluted ashes of Mittall, building a center of the First Nation's thought, trade, learning and economic intersections with other nations, making this an international duty free trade zone. Perhaps casinos won't be necessary to have a $ multi-billion impact, but NEO leaders want casinos soooo bad they will jump at Native American ownership without reservations.

This will all bring respect and balance to our community, for a change.


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Be Real For Native Americans (and Indians)

The header of the day above features an Indian American... being different from a Native American, which were misnamed "Indians" by some insame European invaders who thought they were in India, centuries ago. This Indian American, Sudhir Raghupathy, aka Kade, looks out over former Native American lands, much of which was blighted by the invaders and should be returned to the rightful owners, being Native Americans, rather than Indians. I know folks around here are confused about all this, and how to respect other nations and races, so I offer this visual clarification as a public service... more clarifications here...


Disrupt IT

Foreclosures Hit a Snag for Lenders

November 15, 2007


A federal judge in Ohio has ruled against a longstanding foreclosure practice, potentially creating an obstacle for lenders trying to reclaim properties from troubled borrowers and raising questions about the legal standing of investors in mortgage securities pools.

Judge Christopher A. Boyko of Federal District Court in Cleveland dismissed 14 foreclosure cases brought on behalf of mortgage investors, ruling that they had failed to prove that they owned the properties they were trying to seize.

The pooling of home loans into securities has been practiced for decades and helped propel real estate prices in recent years as investors sought the higher yields that such mortgage trusts could provide. Some $6.5 trillion of securitized mortgage debt was outstanding at the end of 2006.

But as foreclosures have surged, the complex structure and disparate ownership of mortgage securities have made it harder for borrowers to work out troubled loans, in part because they cannot identify who holds the mortgage notes, consumer advocates say.

Now, the Ohio ruling indicates that the intricacies of the mortgage pools are starting to create problems for lenders as well. Lawyers for troubled homeowners are expected to seize upon the district judge’s opinion as a way to impede foreclosures across the country or force investors to settle with homeowners. And it may encourage judges in other courts to demand more documentation of ownership from lenders trying to foreclose.

The ruling was issued Oct. 31 by Judge Boyko, and relates to 14 foreclosure cases brought by Deutsche Bank National Trust Company. The bank is trustee for securitization pools, issued as recently as June 2006, claiming to hold mortgages underlying the foreclosed properties.

On Oct. 10, Judge Boyko, 53, ordered the lenders’ representative to file copies of loan assignments showing that the lender was indeed the owner of the note and mortgage on each property when the foreclosure was filed. But lawyers for Deutsche Bank supplied documents showing only an intent to convey the rights in the mortgages rather than proof of ownership as of the foreclosure date.

Saying that Deutsche Bank’s arguments of legal standing fell woefully short, the judge wrote: “The institutions seem to adopt the attitude that since they have been doing this for so long, unchallenged, this practice equates with legal compliance. Finally put to the test, their weak legal arguments compel the court to stop them at the gate.”

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the ruling. But the inability of Deutsche Bank, as trustee for the pools, to produce proof of ownership at the time of the foreclosures will fuel borrowers’ concerns that they are being forced out of their homes by entities that may not even hold the underlying loans.

“This is the miracle of not having securities mapped to the underlying loans,” said Josh Rosner, a specialist in mortgage securities at Graham-Fisher, an independent research firm in New York. “There is no industry repository for mortgage loans. I have heard of instances where the same loan is in two or three pools.”

The process of putting together a mortgage pool begins when a home loan is originated by a bank or mortgage lender. That loan is typically sold to a Wall Street firm that pools it with thousands of others. Once a pool is packaged, it is sold to investors in different slices, based on risk. A trustee bank oversees the pool’s operations, ensuring that payments made by borrowers go to the appropriate investors.

Lawyers who represent troubled borrowers complain that trustees overseeing home loan pools often do not produce proof, usually in the form of a mortgage note, that their investors own a foreclosed property. And a recent study of 1,733 foreclosures by Katherine M. Porter, an associate professor of law at the University of Iowa, found that 40 percent of the creditors foreclosing on borrowers did not show proof of ownership. Such proof gives a creditor standing to foreclose against a borrower and is required by law.

“The big issue in all these cases, whether we are dealing with a bankruptcy court, a state court or a federal court, is who really owns the mortgage note, and that is allegedly what they securitized,” said O. Max Gardner III, a lawyer who represents borrowers in foreclosure in Shelby, N.C. “A collateral question is, has that mortgage note really been transferred and assigned to the securitization trust? If not, then they really don’t have standing. It’s Law School 101.”

When a loan goes into a securitization, the mortgage note is not sent to the trust. Instead it shows up as a data transfer with the physical note being kept at a separate document repository company. Such practices keep the process fast and cheap.

Because most foreclosures proceed without challenges from borrowers, few judges have forced trustees like Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York to prove ownership by producing a mortgage note in each case.

Borrower advocates cheered Judge Boyko’s ruling.

The plaintiff’s argument that “‘Judge, you just don’t understand how things work,’” the judge wrote, “reveals a condescending mindset and quasi-monopolistic system where financial institutions have traditionally controlled, and still control, the foreclosure process.” The cases could be filed again in state court, however.

April Charney, a consumer lawyer at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in Florida, who has been practicing foreclosure law since the late 1980s, said she rarely sees proof of ownership in cases involving securitization trusts. Her group has 30 to 50 such cases and not one of the lenders’ representatives has produced proof of ownership predating the foreclosure action.

“We see a trend toward judges having enough of this trampling of the rules and procedure and care and reverence with which lawyers and litigants and participants in the judicial process should comply,” Ms. Charney said. “Hopefully this will convince everybody that the time to work out these home loans is now.”

this is some hot stuff

Peter, thanks for the heads up. This is where it all begins, the unraveling of the scheme that hides behind the law. Next, if the law would hold the predatory servicing to account, as well, and then start parceling out the assets back to those who have been wronged and cheated, we would see justice served in NEO.


Thanks for staying on top of this.

Falls apart

  Norm--ironically, November is American Indian Heritage Month.   Personally, I hate these divine dictates, but unfortunately, we all need to reminded to show respect for one another, to not marginalize others, if only for one month out of the year.

So, everyone should attend Sherman Alexie's book talk at Cleveland Public Library this Sunday, November 18th at 2:00 p.m.  Believe me, I will be there to hear what Sherman Alexie thinks of Wahoo. 

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian is a great, important,  and needed book for our times.  I know that his story reasonates with me, and I know that it will reasonate with any one--any one and every one.  We are all different and we are all the same. 

Sherman Alexie, accepting
his prize.
Photo: Nancy Crampton

The National Book Award for Young People’s Literature was given Wednesday night to Sherman Alexie, for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Little, Brown), his semiautobiographical novel about growing up on a Spokane Indian reservation. Alexie, author of numerous novels and books of poetry, began his acceptance speech with a comment on his first NBA nomination and award: “I obviously should have been writing YA all along!”

The writer told the crowd that the first book he ever loved was The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. “I vividly remember the first day I pulled that book off the shelf. It was the first time I looked at a book and saw a brown, black, beige character—a character who resembled me physically and resembled me spiritually, in all his gorgeous loneliness and splendid isolation. ”

Alexie with his editor,
Jennifer Hunt.
Photo: Nancy Crampton

Alexie also recalled being handed a collection of Native American poetry by a writing teacher, saying that he had never before read any works by other Native Americans. He referred to a line in a poem by Adrian Lewis: “Oh, Uncle Adrian, I’m in the reservation of my mind.” He said, “I knew right then that I wanted to be a writer. It’s been a gorgeous, lonely, magical and terrifying 20 years.”

He gratefully acknowledged his editor, Jennifer Hunt, thanking her and many others at Little, Brown, along with Ellen Forney, the book's illustrator. “Most of all,” he said, “I want to thank Ezra Jack Keats and Adrian Lewis, who showed me the first stories and poems that made me realize that people might want to listen to me, too. —Diane Roback

gorgeous loneliness and splendid isolation

"Reservation of my mind," describes a lot of us :)