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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

If the GOP nominates this guy...

[Editorial disclaimer--I've been on the receiving end of Trott & Trott's legal activity, so I'm a bit biased. Nevertheless, permit me to comment anyway.]

...they deserve every second of the shellacking they're going to get.

Look, David Trott has every right to earn his money the way he does. If he hadn't done it, the banks would have found someone else to be their hired gun. And let's admit that you don't have the right to stay in a home you're not paying for. There's another party at the end of the contract, and they have rights, too.

It's the way the system works. Which, of course, prompts the question of whether that system is as just as it should be, or if it is governed by certain crony imperatives, distorts and warps markets and manages to screw the vulnerable while leaving the financial sector in high cotton, but let's bracket that for another day.  

Mostly.

He also has the right to spend his money--obtained in lawful business activities--in pursuit of political office. I'm not someone who thinks Citizens United was a bad decision.

However....

When he can't bring himself to identify his business in his campaign ads, you know there's a problem. A serious problem. In fact, it's quite reminiscent of the deflections abortion supporters go through to avoid discussing just exactly what choices they're defending.

The bottom line is that Trott has made millions foreclosing on people and booting them out of their homes. Which is perfectly legal--and at some level necessary--but that doesn't mean he's who you want to represent the interests of 700,000+ people. In fact, if you're trying to shed the image of the cold corporate Romney technocrat, you could hardly do worse than the guy behind the operation that led to this:

 Mark Rozier sometimes stares out the window of the lower flat of a decrepit duplex where he lives on Burnside Street in northeast Detroit. Some windows in the other flat are boarded up with plywood, the lawn is patchy and brown. Across the street sits a once-tidy, cream-colored house.

He once owned that house. Built a second story. Added a bedroom and a bath. Renovated the kitchen, carpeted the porch, tended the flower beds. And raised a family there, despite the rapid deterioration of one of Detroit’s most blighted neighborhoods.

But Rozier, like tens of thousands of other Michiganders, lost his home to foreclosure during the housing crisis. After a three-year legal battle with Trott’s law firm and the bank, the notice arrived last Christmas Eve. He was evicted in January and moved his wife, who is on kidney dialysis, his bedridden mother, and his uncle, who has Down syndrome and is in a wheelchair, into a neighbor’s empty duplex across the street.

With the neighborhood in decline, his former house was only worth $10,000 when the foreclosure was filed — even though Rozier, 49, owed $48,000 on the mortgage, money taken out in part to fund the improvements. He’d started missing his $634 monthly payments in 2009 when his wife, Nomora, a nurse’s aide, went into kidney failure and could no longer work.

Rozier said he scraped up $8,000 to try to keep it.

The bank, through Trott’s law firm, refused that offer, and spent three years and thousands of dollars in legal fees, taking the home away from him, Rozier and his attorney said.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. spokeswoman Amy Bonitatibus said the bank tried to work with the Roziers early on but that Rozier made the cash offer too late, after the house had been foreclosed upon. The bank spent little on legal fees because the case stalled after a judge halted the eviction for a year, she said.

“We worked hard to keep the customer in his home,” she said.

The home is now for sale for $4,900. Most of the $8,000 Rozier said he had saved up at the time of the foreclosure went to other bills, including medical payments for his sick wife.

“I hope someday we can go back home,” Rozier said wistfully in a recent interview. “That maybe somebody will let me buy back my house.”

The home that Rozier put his heart and earnings into has since been stripped by vandals of its copper wiring, plumbing and kitchen cabinets. The front door and side doors have been kicked in, and it is taking on the look of all the other homes in the neighborhood — one of despair.

Attorney Angela Howell, who helps low-income families fight foreclosures and represented the Roziers in their battle, said there were government programs that could have helped the Roziers refinance, if Trott’s law firm and the lender had agreed.

“Why does Trott, the bank, want to spend $20,000 in attorney fees fighting to throw this family out of a home they won’t be able to resell?” she asked. “It makes no sense.”

The political ads write themselves. If he beats Bentivolio (an OK freshman representative who won only because of the McCotter staffer scandal), then you know the business wing of the GOP is really running the show. Like the French Bourbons, they've learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They always lose the big battles, but they have all the answers.

Which is why I so rarely bother with political commentary these days.

2 comments:

  1. These people remind me of Oscar Wilde's famous description of a cynic: A person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

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  2. They are a foreclosure mill, which I am sure Dale understands. The actual attorneys' fee in that individual case was probably small because foreclosure mills take on a huge number of cases. They are set up so ordinary people can contact virtually no one at the firm.

    The defendant should have filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and filed for a loan modification at the same time. That would have slowed the process down considerably and he might have gotten his loan modification. I have had some success doing that for clients. Alternatively he could have purchased the home back using a straw man purchaser contacting the bank directly and bypassing the law firm, although considering the condition of the neighborhood, I might have advised him to simply live in it rent free and give it up after the sheriff knocks on the door. People can get emotionally attached to houses and I can understand that, but often times they simply are not worth it if they are in a neighborhood heading south with a vengeance.

    It takes a special type of idiocy for the head of a foreclosure mill to think that he has any type of political future.

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