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Check Out The Little House In Maine That Started The Nationwide Foreclosure Freeze (PHOTO, NYT Story)

This is the house where it all started.  It was in a deposition for the foreclosure case that news of GMAC using a robo-signer was first revealed almost 3 months ago.  Very interesting story from the NYT.


DENMARK, Me. — The house that set off the national furor over faulty foreclosures is blue-gray and weathered. The porch is piled with furniture and knickknacks awaiting the next yard sale.  In the driveway is a busted pickup truck. No one who lives there is going anywhere anytime soon.

Nicolle Bradbury bought this house seven years ago for $75,000, a major step up from the trailer she had been living in with her family.  But she lost her job and the $474 monthly mortgage payment became difficult, then impossible.

It should have been a routine foreclosure, with Mrs. Bradbury joining the anonymous millions quietly dispossessed since the recession began. But she was savvy enough to contact a nonprofit group, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, where for once in her 38 years, she caught a break.

Her file was pulled, more or less at random, by Thomas A. Cox, a retired lawyer who volunteers at Pine Tree. He happened to know something about foreclosures because when he worked for a bank he did them all the time. Twenty years later, he had switched sides and, he says, was trying to make amends.

Suddenly, there is a frenzy over foreclosures. Every attorney general in the country is participating in an investigation into the flawed paperwork and questionable methods behind many of them. A Senate hearing is scheduled, and federal inquiries have begun. The housing market, which runs on foreclosure sales, is in turmoil. Bank stocks fell on Thursday as analysts tried to gauge the impact on lenders’ bottom lines.

All of this is largely because Mr. Cox realized almost immediately that Mrs. Bradbury’s foreclosure file did not look right. The documents from the lender, GMAC Mortgage, were approved by an employee whose title was “limited signing officer,” an indication to the lawyer that his knowledge of the case was effectively nonexistent.

Mr. Cox eventually won the right to depose the employee, who casually acknowledged that he had prepared 400 foreclosures a day for GMAC and that contrary to his sworn statements, they had not been reviewed by him or anyone else.

GMAC, the country’s fourth-largest mortgage lender, called this omission a technicality but was forced last month to halt foreclosures in the 23 states, including Maine, where they must be approved by a court. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and other lenders that used robo-signers — the term caught on instantly — have enacted their own freezes.

The tragedy of foreclosure is that some homeowners may be able to stay where they are if their lenders are more interested in modification than eviction. Without a job, Mrs. Bradbury is not one of them. Her family, including her 14-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son, lives on welfare and food stamps.

“A lot of people say we just want a free ride,” Mrs. Bradbury said. “That’s not it. I’ve worked since I was 14. I’m not lazy. I’m just trying to keep us together. If we lost the house, my family would have to break up.”

It has been two years since she last paid the mortgage, which surprises even her lawyers.

“Had GMAC followed the legal requirements, she would have lost her home a long time ago,” acknowledged Geoffrey S. Lewis, another lawyer handling her case.



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Reader Comments (19)

Sorry Folks, The Put-Back Apocalypse Ain't Gonna Happen


John Carney...cheyenne has already pointed out the weakness to Carney's argument...
Oct 15, 2010 at 6:55 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Foreclosure Crisis Finally Hitting Banks Where it Hurts: Their Stock Prices


Must read summary from yves...forget the headline...this story ties it all together...
Oct 15, 2010 at 6:56 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Oct 15, 2010 at 6:58 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
The mortgage servicers (who we introduced here), the group of financial workers who have been involved with the wave of fraud and the reason foreclosures have shut down, aren’t really regulated. I want to continue to emphasize this, and I want to quote from Andy Kroll’s January 2010 Mother Jones piece Can Anyone Stop the Predatory Lenders?

Oct 15, 2010 at 7:01 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Oct 15, 2010 at 7:01 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Oct 15, 2010 at 7:02 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Oct 15, 2010 at 7:03 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Oct 15, 2010 at 7:05 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Oct 15, 2010 at 7:06 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Bank of America Announces That It Has Discovered Some Trivial Technical Problems With a Small Number of its Mortgages


this is funny...
Oct 15, 2010 at 7:09 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Oct 15, 2010 at 7:11 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
The growing scandal over the improper, and perhaps fraudulent, foreclosures on homes by US banks is becoming both a financial and a political hot potato. Wall Street is being forced to admit to yet more unsavoury practices linked to mortgage bonds and President Barack Obama has been dragged into the affair.

Oct 15, 2010 at 7:12 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Oct 15, 2010 at 7:15 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
The Maine motto is "Dirigo". Here is your chance starting in a few days.
Dec 22, 2010 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Maine's highest court rules in favor of bank

The court agreed GMAC Mortgage should not be held in contempt despite its 'reprehensible’ handling of foreclosure documents.



In what has become a high-profile case, Maine’s highest court refused Tuesday to find a mortgage company in contempt for signing a sworn document in support of foreclosing on a woman’s home without reviewing pertinent records.

The case gained national attention when the woman’s attorney found that GMAC Mortgage and other banks had engaged in a pattern of “robo-signing” such documents – processing them quickly for use in foreclosures without reviewing records to verify the information. The revelation led to a freeze on home foreclosures across the nation, congressional hearings and investigations by attorneys general in several states, although not Maine.

By a 5-1 margin Tuesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld a lower court’s decision against imposing sanctions on GMAC or the Federal National Mortgage Association – Fannie Mae – or finding either in contempt.
Dec 7, 2011 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn

Elderly couple’s eviction from Albion home draws LePage’s ire

The Maine governor vows to change the law about foreclosure of elderly people's properties after the Albion couple, both 80 years old and disabled, were evicted from their home.


Gov. Paul LePage is so angry that an elderly, disabled couple was evicted from their Albion home that he plans to change the law so it never happens again. The town of Albion foreclosed on the property of Richard and Leonette Sukeforth, both 80 years old, in December 2015 because of nonpayment of taxes. The rundown camp at 180 Marden Shore Road on Lovejoy Pond was sold by the town for $6,500 and the new owner evicted the couple last week. “I’m livid about it and I think we have to have laws to protect our most vulnerable,” LePage said in an interview with the Morning Sentinel. LePage said he, personally, tried to help the Sukeforths retain their home and asked Pine Tree Legal to get involved, but the nonprofit organization that provides free legal help to low-income Mainers determined the foreclosure was done legally. However, LePage said he thinks it is immoral that a veteran and his sick, bedridden wife, who are at the end of their lives, were kicked out of their home and he is going to fight to ensure the practice is prohibited in the future. “I’m going to ask for an ombudsman to mediate disputes between communities and taxpayers, not just elderly,” LePage said Friday. “I want to change the foreclosure law as it relates to poverty, and one of the things I want to do is force them (communities) to sell property at market value and any revenues above taxes and revenue and foreclosure fees go back to the original owner.” “What they did is unbelievable. It’s just not the way it’s done,” he said of the town of Albion. A lawyer in LePage’s office tried to arrange a meeting with the man who bought the Sukeforth home, but the new owner refused to do so unless it occurred in his own lawyer’s office with his lawyer present.
“My husband and siblings and our neighbor all tried to pay the taxes up to date, and they refused payment. This wasn’t sitting well with any one of us. Every town has the right to refuse payment, but can also accept the payment as well. When we tried to pay selectmen, they said when an auction is posted in the newspaper, they can no longer accept payment, but that wasn’t true.”

LePage said the town at that point could have accepted the payment. “It’s never too late until the deed transfers, and the deed had not transferred,” he said.

The Sukeforths now are living in a trailer park in Holden with their daughter, Yvette Ingalls, where a nurse comes every day to tend to Leonette, who is a retired nurse herself. She is diabetic, weak and fragile and was in a hospital bed prescribed by her doctor when the eviction took place, according to the Sukeforth family. Rachel Sukeforth, their daughter-in-law, who lives across the street with their son, Rick, said she and her husband drove her in-laws to Holden in a snowstorm the night they were evicted. “That deal was very underhanded,” Richard Sukeforth said in a phone interview from Holden. “I don’t care what anybody says. It weren’t right. They came down and evicted us when my wife was right in a hospital bed. We’re both 80 years old, so they done it and got away with it and they’re happy.”
Jan 8, 2017 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
This is a comment from the road commissioner and neighbor of the evictees... the property is waterfront as well. Jason Marks who "bought" the property is well connected electrical contractor.

"In my opinion, this was definitely "arranged." While we sat there waiting for the bids to be read, Jason Marks and Mike Getchell, the town Chairperson were discussing electrical work that the town needed done. Jason said he would come down and do it as soon as they were ready. The article mentioned that Jason is the only electrician in Albion. We have another licensed electrician living right on our road in Albion. I would also like to mention that I've been told that one of the Marks' family had held a political office in Albion in the past. Also, Winston Marks, Jason's father owns the abutting property of this evicted family and Winston does not have septic in his yard, due to town regulations. With this newly "acquired" property, he will surely be able to have septic now."
Jan 8, 2017 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn

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