Living Lies/Neil Garfield on Georgia

http://livinglies.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/wake-up-georgia-courts-are-opening-the-door-on-wrongful-foreclosure/

http://livinglies.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/wake-up-georgia-courts-are-opening-the-door-on-wrongful-foreclosure/

Wake Up Georgia: Courts Are Opening the Door on Wrongful Foreclosure

Posted on March 15, 2013 by Neil Garfield

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE IN GEORGIA

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 (East Coast, including Georgia – the Atlanta Area) and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.

The selection of an attorney is an important decision and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

Editor’s Note: For years Georgia has been considered by most attorneys to be a “red” state that, along with states like Tennessee showed no mercy on borrowers because of the prejudgment that the foreclosure mess was the fault of borrowers. For years they have ignored the now obvious truth that the defective mortgages and wrongful foreclosures do make a difference.

Now, reflecting inquiries from Courts below who are studying the the issue instead of issuing orders based upon a knee-jerk response, the State has taken a decided turn toward the application of law over presumption and bias. There is even reason to believe that the door is open a crack for past wrongful foreclosures, as the Courts grapple with the fact that thousands of foreclosures were forced through the system by strangers to the transaction and thousands of wrongful foreclosure suits have been dismissed because of the assumption by judges that no bank would lie directly to the court. It was a big lie and apparently the banks were right in thinking there was little risk to them.

Look at Pratt’s Journal of Bankruptcy Law February/ March Issue for an article on “Foreclosure Law in the Wake of Recent Decisions on Residential Mortgage Loans: The Situation in Georgia” by Ashby Kent Fox, Shea Sullivan and Amanda Wilson. Our own lawyers have out in front on these issues for a couple of years but encountering a lot of resistance — although lately they are reporting that the Courts are listening more closely.

The Georgia Supreme Court has now weighed in (Reese v Provident) and decided quite obviously that something is rotten in Georgia. Focusing on Georgia’s foreclosure notice statute but actually speaking to the substantive defects in the mortgages and foreclosures, the majority held, as a matter of law, that

o.c.G.a. § 44-14- 162.2(a), requires the person or entity conducting a non-judicial foreclosure of a residential mortgage loan to provide the borrower/debtor with a written notice of the foreclosure sale that discloses not only “the name, address, and telephone number of the individual or entity who shall have full authority to negotiate, amend, and modify all terms of the mortgage with the debtor” (the language that appears in the statute), but also the identity of the “secured creditor” (not required by the statutory language, but which the majority inferred based on legislative intent). the majority further found that the failure to identify the “secured creditor” in the foreclosure notice renders the notice, and any subsequent foreclosure sale, invalid as a matter of law.

Once again I caution litigators that this will not dispose of your case permanently and that such rulings be used strategically so that you are not another hallway lawyer explaining how you were right but the judge ruled against you anyway. Notice provisions can be cured, non-existent transactions cannot be cured. Leading with the numbers (the money trail” and THEN using decisions like this to corroborate your argument will get you a lot more traction than leading with defective paperwork.

As I have said repeatedly, no judge, no matter how sympathetic to borrowers is going to give much relief when the borrower has admitted the debt, note, mortgage and default. These must be denied and lawyers should study up on the subject as to why they can and should be denied, and to persevere through discovery to show that the note, mortgage, default and even the debt have all been faked by strangers to the transaction.

Forcing the opposing side to show that they are a bona fide holder FOR VALUE will flush out the truth — that originator in nearly all cases was never the lender, creditor or even broker. They were simply paid naked nominees just like MERS, leaving no real party in interest on the note or mortgage, no consideration between the parties stated on the note and mortgage or notice of default, and no meeting of minds between the real lender (who is NOT in privity with the nominee lender) who, as an investor received a prospectus and Pooling and Servicing Agreement and advanced money under the mistaken belief they were buying bonds of an entity that either did not exist or was simply ignored by the investment banker and the other participants in the false securitization scheme that was used to cover-up a PONZI scheme.

Practice tips: DENY and DISCOVER. Ask for proof of payment and proof of loss. The assignments, the note and the mortgage are not proof of the debt, they are potentially evidence of the debt and the security agreement ONLY if the foundation is there (testimony by witness with personal knowledge, with exhibits of wire transfer receipts and wire transfer instructions, cancelled checks etc.) to show that the originator shown as payee and “Secured party” or “beneficiary” was lender of money.

Make them show that they booked the loan as a receivable with a reserve for default. Discover that they actually booked the transaction as a fee for service (shown on the income statement) and never entered it on their balance sheet.

And PLEASE study up on voir dire, objections and cross examination. If you are not quick and ready objections to leading questions and other issues might well be waived unless you interrupt the questioning as fast as you can stand up. If you study up on hearsay and the business records exception to hearsay you will discover that in practically no case were the business records qualified as exceptions to the hearsay rule. But if you don’t raise it, if you don’t have statutory and case law and even a memo on the subject the judge is going to rule against you. We are talking about good lawyering here and not bias amongst judges.

Land Records, Foreclosures, tax evasion

It is no secret that the foreclosure hell sweeping the country has resulted in a nightmare from hell. 

The land records of the past 300 years is in peril, as is your right to know who owns your Note, and who you are obligated to make your payments to.

There is an important Petition to sign to help your county keep the records in order.  It is one of the only safeguards that you, as a borrower have against the banksters.

Click the link, there are 100,000 signatures needed!

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/mandated-national-land-record-audit.html

Those We Look to for Protection

View Larger

corrupt  photo

Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com

U.S. Attorney Sally Yates (center) announces that ten local police officers have been arrested on corruption charges in a press conference at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta on Tuesday Feb. 12th, 2013.

By Steve Visser

Staff

Federal authorities announced the arrest of 10 metro law enforcement officers Tuesday on charges of arranging protection for a street gang’s drug deals.

“Obviously the breadth of the corruption is very troubling,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Yates . “It is certainly the most (officers) this office has charged in a long time.”

The case began as a street gang investigation by the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, whose undercover agents learned that gangs had officers on the payroll for protection, Yates said. The FBI took command of the public corruption aspects of the case.

At least one officer recommended that the gang use a school parking lot to exchange drugs for cash because trading backpacks there would not look suspicious, Yates said at a 2 p.m. news conference.

The law enforcement officers arrested today were: Atlanta Police Department Officer Kelvin Allen, 42, of Atlanta; DeKalb County Police Department Officers Dennis Duren, 32, of Atlanta and Dorian Williams, 25, of Stone Mountain, Georgia; Forest Park Police Department Sergeants Victor Middlebrook, 44, of Jonesboro, Georgia and Andrew Monroe, 57, of Riverdale, Georgia; MARTA Police Department Officer Marquez Holmes, 45, of Jonesboro, Georgia; Stone Mountain Police Department Officer Denoris Carter, 42, of Lithonia, Georgia, and contract Federal Protective Services Officer Sharon Peters, 43, of Lithonia, Georgia. Agents also arrested two former law enforcement officers: former DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office jail officers Monyette McLaurin, 37, of Atlanta, and Chase Valentine, 44, of Covington, Georgia.

Civilians arrested today were: Shannon Bass, 38, of Atlanta; Elizabeth Coss, 35, of Atlanta; Gregory Lee Harvey, 26, of Stone Mountain, Georgia; Alexander B. Hill, 22, of Ellenwood, Georgia; and Jerry B. Mannery, Jr., 38, of Tucker, Georgia.

Some of the officers were retired and some were active duty. The highest rank was sergeant and the payoffs ranged as high as $7,000 per transaction. Each transaction involved at least five kilograms of cocaine, which carries a 10 year minimum sentence, Yates said.

Officers were involved in multiple transactions, provided escorts to dealers and buyers and offered to provided muscle if necessary to protect their clients, Yates said.

Yates said the investigation is ongoing and declined to say whether more officers would be arrested.

ATF Special Agent in Charge Scott Sweetow would not name the street gang involved but he suggested the public corruption aspects would be more far-ranging.

“I can say this is probably not the last you will be hearing of this case,” he said.

A press release from Yates’ office detailed the following allegations:

DeKalb County Police Department

Between October 2011 and November 2011, DeKalb County Police Officer Dennis Duren, working together with Bass, provided protection for what he and Bass believed were four separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Duren and Bass accepted cash payments totaling $8,800 for these services. During the transactions, Duren was dressed in his DeKalb County Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt, as he patrolled on foot in the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place. After the first two transactions, Duren allegedly offered to drive his patrol vehicle to future transactions for an additional $800 fee, and afterward received an additional $800 in cash for using his patrol vehicle in the final transaction in November 2011. Duren and Bass are each charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Duren also is charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Between January and February 2013, DeKalb County Police Officer Dorian Williams, working together with Mannery and Bass, provided protection for what he and Mannery believed were three separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Williams and Mannery accepted cash payments totaling $18,000 for these services. During the transactions, Williams was dressed in his DeKalb County Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt, and he patrolled the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place in his DeKalb Police vehicle. During a meeting between the three transactions, Williams allegedly instructed Bass to remove any cocaine from the scene if Williams had to shoot someone during the upcoming sale. In another meeting, Williams suggested that future drug transactions should take place in the parking lot of a local high school during the afternoon, so that the exchange of backpacks containing drugs and money would not look suspicious. Williams and Mannery are each charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

Stone Mountain Police Department

Between April and September 2012, Stone Mountain Police Officer Denoris Carter, working together with Mannery, provided protection for what he and Mannery believed were five separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. For these services, Carter and Mannery accepted cash payments totaling $23,500. For all five transactions, Carter dressed in his Stone Mountain Police uniform. In four of the deals, he arrived in his police cruiser and either patrolled or parked in the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place and watched the transactions. During the final transaction in September 2012, Carter was on foot, displaying a firearm in a holster on his belt, and he walked through the parking lot in which the transaction took place and watched the participants. Finally, during one of the transactions, Carter agreed to escort the purchaser of the sham cocaine in his police vehicle for several miles, until the purchaser reached Highway 78. Carter is charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments, attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Atlanta Police Department

Between June and August 2012, Atlanta Police officer Kelvin D. Allen, working together with Coss, provided protection for what he and Coss believed were three separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Allen and Coss accepted cash payments totaling $10,500 for their services. For two transactions, Allen dressed in his Atlanta Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt. Allen patrolled on foot in parking lots in which the undercover sales took place and appeared to be monitoring the transactions. During a meeting after the three transactions, a cooperator gave Allen and Coss each a $1,000 bonus payment in return for protecting the three transactions. Allen and Coss are each charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Allen also is charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

MARTA Police Department

Between August and November 2012, MARTA Police Department Officer Marquez Holmes, working together with Coss, provided protection for what he and Coss believed were four separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. For these services, Holmes and Coss accepted cash payments totaling $9,000. During the transactions, Holmes was dressed in his MARTA Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt. In two of the transactions, Holmes patrolled on foot in the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place and monitored the transactions. During the other two deals, Holmes drove to the site in his MARTA police cruiser and parked next to the vehicles in which the undercover drug sale took place. Holmes is charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments, attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Forest Park Police Department

Between October to December 2012, Forest Park Police Sergeants Victor Middlebrook and Andrew Monroe, sometimes working alone and at other times together, provided protection for what they believed were six separate drug deals in the Atlanta area, all involving multiple kilograms of cocaine. For his services in the first four transactions, Middlebook accepted cash payments totaling $13,800. During these transactions, Middlebrook wore plain clothes, but displayed his badge and a firearm in a holster on his belt. He patrolled on foot in the parking lots nearby the vehicles in which the undercover sales took place and appeared to be monitoring the transactions. For the final two transactions, both Middlebrook and Monroe provided security and were given cash payments totaling $10,400. Middlebrook again monitored the transactions on foot in plain clothes while displaying his badge and gun, while Monroe watched from his vehicle in the parking lot and afterward escorted the purchaser of the sham cocaine for several miles. Middlebrook and Monroe are charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine; Middlebrook is also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office

In January 2013, former DeKalb County Sheriff Jail Officer Monyette McLaurin, working together with Harvey, provided protection for what they believed were two separate drug transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Harvey already had provided security for two undercover drug transactions in December 2012, falsely representing that he was a DeKalb County detention officer and wearing a black shirt with the letters “SHERIFF” printed across the back during the transactions. Harvey then stated that he knew other police officers who wanted to protect drug deals, and in January 2013 he introduced McLaurin as one of these officers. During a meeting to discuss future drug transactions, McLaurin falsely represented that he was a deputy employed by the DeKalb Sheriff’s office, even though his position as a jail officer ended in 2011. McLaurin and Harvey further stated during this meeting that they may need to kill another person who knew that Harvey had protected drug deals, if this person reported the activity to others.

During the two transactions in January 2013, McLaurin was dressed in a DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office uniform with a badge, and he carried a gun in a holster on his belt. He accompanied the undercover seller of the cocaine to pick up the drugs from a warehouse, counted the kilograms the seller received, and stood outside the purchaser’s vehicle during the actual transaction. He further discussed with the seller whether they should agree upon a signal for the seller to indicate that the sale had gone awry, requiring McLaurin to shoot the drug buyer. For their services, McLaurin and Harvey were paid $12,000 in cash. McLaurin and Harvey are each charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Later in January 2013, McLaurin and Harvey introduced a second former DeKalb County Sheriff’s Jail Officer, Chase Valentine, to help provide security for future drug deals. Like McLaurin, Valentine falsely represented himself to be a DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputy, even though his position as a jail officer ended in 2010. Together with Harvey, Valentine provided security for one undercover drug transaction on January 17, 2013, during which he wore a DeKalb Sheriff’s Office uniform and a pistol in a holster on his belt. During the transaction, Valentine escorted the seller to pick up the sham cocaine, counted the number of kilograms delivered, and stood outside the purchaser’s car during the actual transaction. For these services, Valentine received $6,000 in cash. Valentine is charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Federal Protective Services

In November 2012, Sharon Peters, who was a contract officer for the Federal Protective Services, worked together with Mannery to provide protection for what they believed were two separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. For these services, Peters and Mannery accepted cash payments totaling $14,000. For both transactions, Peters parked her vehicle nearby the cars where the sham drugs and money were exchanged, and watched the transactions. Before both transactions, Peters told others that she had her pistol with her in the car. Peters is charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Imposter Clayton County Police Officer

Between December 2012 and January 2013, Alexander B. Hill falsely represented himself to be an officer with the Clayton County Police Department while providing security for what he believed were three separate drug transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. During an initial meeting, Hill wore a uniform that appeared to be from Clayton Police, but during the transactions he wore plain clothes and, for at least the first deal, a badge displayed on his belt. For these services, Hill received payments totaling $9,000 in cash. Hill charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Something to Seriously Consider…

A Lesson Learned on the Anniversary of Wounded Knee

http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion-conservative/2013/01/very-powerful-stuff-gun-control-and-the-massacre-at-wounded-knee-2560028.html
By Anonymous

December 29, 2012, marked the 122nd anniversary of the massacre of 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. These 297 people, in their winter camp, were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began AFTER the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms. When the final round pierced the air, of the 297 dead or dying, two-thirds (or 200) were women and children!

Around 40 members of the 7th Cavalry were killed. Over half of the dead were by friendly fire from the Hotchkiss guns, which were in the hands of their overzealous comrades-in-arms. Twenty members of the 7th Cavalry were deemed “National Heroes” and awarded the Medal of Honor for their acts of cowardice.

We do not hear of Wounded Knee today. Historians do not mention it in our history classes or books. What little does exist about Wounded Knee is normally the sanitized “Official Government Explanation” or the historically and factually inaccurate depictions of the events leading up to the massacre on the movie screen. Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history. It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people.

Before you jump on the emotionally charged bandwagon for gun-control, take a moment to reflect on the real purpose of the Second Amendment–The right of the people to take up arms in defense of themselves, their families, and property in the face of invading armies or an oppressive government. The argument that the Second Amendment only applies to hunting and target shooting is asinine. When the United States drafted the Constitution, “hunting” was an everyday chore carried out by men and women to put meat on the table each night. “Target shooting” was an unheard of concept. Musket balls were a precious commodity in the wilds of early America and were certainly not wasted “target shooting.” People who fled oppressive and tyrannical regimes in Europe wrote the Second Amendment, which refers to the right to arm American citizens for defense purposes should such tyranny rise in the United States.

As time goes on, the average citizen in the United States continues to lose personal freedom or “liberty.” Far too many times, unjust bills are passed and signed into law under the guise of “for your safety” or “for protection.” The Patriot Act signed into law by G.W. Bush, which was expanded and continued by Barack Obama, is just one of many examples of American citizens being stripped of their rights and privacy for “safety.” Now, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is on the table and will most likely be abolished for “our safety.”

Before any American citizen blindly accepts whatever new firearms legislation that is about to be voted upon, they should stop and think about something for just one minute—Evil does exist in our world. It always has and always will. Throughout history evil people have committed evil acts. In the Bible, one of the first stories is that of Cain killing Abel. We cannot legislate away “evil.” Good people will abide by the law; defective people will always find a way around it.

Furthermore, evil exists all around us. However, looking back at the historical record of the past 200 years across the globe, where is “evil” and “malevolence” most often found? They are found in the hands of those with power—tyrants in governments. We can attribute the worst human tragedies on record and the largest loss of innocent human life to governments. Who do governments target? They target “scapegoats” and “enemies” within their own borders…but only after they have been disarmed to the point where they are no longer a threat. Ask any Native American, and they will tell you it was inferior technology and lack of arms that contributed to their demise. Ask any Armenian why it was so easy for the Turks to exterminate millions of them, and they will answer, “We were disarmed before it happened.” Ask any Jew what Hitler’s first step prior to the mass murders of the Holocaust was—confiscation of firearms from the people.

Wounded Knee is the prime example of why the Second Amendment exists, and why we should not be in such a hurry to surrender our Right to Bear Arms. Without the Second Amendment, we have no right to defend ourselves and our families. “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” ~ John Adams, 1826

DeKalb County Strikes Again!!!

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2012/05/09/3am-home-eviction-in-dekalb-sparks-outrage.html

3am Home Eviction in DeKalb Sparks Outrage

Written By: APN STAFF

5-9-2012

By Scott Brown, Special to the Atlanta Progressive News

(APN) DEKALB COUNTY — In the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 02, 2012, over twenty deputies from the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department, under orders from Sheriff Thomas Brown, drilled the locks and kicked in the doors of the Christine Frazer’s home with guns drawn in order to evict four generations of family members.

Frazer, the homeowner, had fallen behind on her mortgage payments and was foreclosed upon in October 2011.

According to Frazer, her family members, including her 85-year-old mother and 3-year-old grandson, were told by officers to “act like it was a fire drill” and grab what they could and get out.

Frazer said they were not even allowed a shower before being escorted from her home of eighteen years at three in the morning.

She described the event as “literally a nightmare.”

Her three dogs were taken to the pound and all of her belongings were put out on the street, which police had completely closed off.

At a press conference in front of her belongings hours after the eviction, Frazer lamented, “I’ve been in this home eighteen years. My daughter was raised here. My husband died here. My grandson came home here. This is my home.”

“They came in as if they were executing a warrant to find drugs. It makes no sense,” Frazer’s lawyer, Joshua Davis, said of the eviction.

Sheriff Thomas Brown told Fox 5 television news that he attributed the unusual timing and the large number of officers used in the eviction to the presence of Occupy Atlanta protesters who had been camping in the yard for the past four months in an attempt to prevent what they described as an illegal eviction based on an illegal foreclosure.

Frazer has filed a lawsuit, which is currently pending in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, against the company that foreclosed on her home last October, Investors One Corporation.

Ownership of the mortgage has changed three times in the past six months and, according to Frazer’s lawyer, the chain of title was broken when the previous owner of the mortgage, a bank based in Indiana, failed to uphold their legal obligation to transfer the title, rendering the foreclosure by Investors One Corporation fraudulent.

“There are judges that are in place that could have done a little research, if they’d done a little title search they’d have seen that something in the milk wasn’t clean,” Frazer said.

Frazer, 63, began to fall behind on her mortgage payments after losing her husband and her job in 2009. She has been unable to find a job ever since and is currently on early retirement social security.

Sheriff Brown told Fox 5 he gave the homeowner ample time to reach a settlement with the mortgage holder before serving the eviction notice.

Frazer said she tried to restructure the mortgage, but Investors One Corporation was uncooperative and intent on foreclosure, only offering to reinstate the loan if she was able to pay 20,000 dollars in cash. Currently she has paid over 240,000 dollars on the mortgage on a house currently appraised at only 40,000 dollars.

On Monday, May 07, 2012, in response to the early morning eviction ordered by Sheriff Thomas Brown, Occupy Atlanta held a protest in front of the Dekalb County Sheriff’s office.

At one point, more protesters pulled up in a van full of Frazer’s belongings, and Occupy Atlanta unloaded mattresses, furniture, and bags of other items that deputies had left on the curb nearly one week prior and piled them in front of the doors to the Sheriff’s Office, along with signs reading “Fraudclosure” and “Wall St. criminals are not convicted. The people are evicted.”

Standing before a pile of her belongings in front of the Sheriff’s Office during a press conference, Frazer said, “This is not just about me and my family, this is about families across America.”

Frazer is certainly not alone in her struggle to keep her home. According to Corelogic, Inc., a company specializing in financial analysis, over 1.4 million homes in the US are currently in the foreclosure process, and states like Georgia have been ground zero in the housing crisis.

A recent Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report shows Metro Atlanta home prices fell 17.3 percent between February 2011 and February 2012, a fact that is fueling the continuing foreclosure crisis in the state.

Occupy Atlanta has taken up home defense as a tactic for combating what protesters view as unfair and illegal practices by banks and the financial industry as a whole.

Leila Abadir, one of the Occupy Atlanta protesters who had been camping on the lawn at the Frazer household, says the fight is not over. Occupy Atlanta will continue to assist the Frazer family in finding proper housing, she said.

They will also keep working to shed light on what she believes to be unethical and potentially criminal activity on the part of Investors One Corporation.

According to Fox 5, after most of the protesters left the sheriff’s office, police surrounded a remaining protester’s vehicle, which they impounded for possible evidence. They issued two citations to two people for littering and arrested one of them because he did not have identification on him.

Wrongful Foreclosure Complaints

 

It is truly amazing, the number of wrongful foreclosure complaints that are on the internet.  People search around for a complaint to copy and file in the Court, and wallah!  That one looks like a winner! 

Ever do a google search on “wrongful foreclosure”?  Amazingly… there are millions of returns on that phrase.

The other thing that no one considers, is who really puts all those sample complaints on the web?  Is every site on the up and up, or do the banks contribute their share with mis-information.  It would have to be that way. 

I have noticed some of the complaints that have ended up in the Courts, filed by pro se litigants.  Obviously, someone put that complaint out there, just so that these people would file it and fail.  Like… Well, there is another we won’t have to worry about fighting us in the courts.  So who?  Who would do such a thing?

Clearly another pro se litigant would not take an unproven complaint and suggest to others that it is a winner. 

And God knows, the plethora of bad case law already created from the rulings of federal courts, ESPECIALLY rulings from US District Court or the Northern District of Georgia, with the exception of course of Amy Totenberg’s rulings.  Those are actually the only ones worth readings. 

If you have a case in front of any other judge in NDGa., why even wait till its over to read the ruling, you know what it will say.

New rule allowing Ga. homeowners to halt foreclosures | www.wsbtv.com

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/new-rule-allowing-ga-homeowners-halt-foreclosures/nP4wb/

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. —

A metro Atlanta consumer attorney said he has already been able to halt a dozen foreclosures using a new ruling from the Georgia Court of Appeals.

The latest case involves a Forsyth County home and lending giant Wells Fargo.

“Having to move out of the dream home that my son and I built is the worst thing I could think of,” said homeowner David Stripland.

The recession hit his car dealership around the same time the housing crisis, cutting his home’s value more than 60 percent.

“You can’t sell it, you can’t re-fi, you have to get a modification,” said his wife, Paulette.

The Striplands said the process went on for more than a year. They then received a string of foreclosure notices from Wells Fargo.

“Foreclosure. It’s a shame,” said Paulette through a stream of tears.

The foreclosure has now been halted, after a recent ruling by the state appellate court.

Wells Fargo does not hold the note. It only services the loan. The note holder is not clearly stated.

The Striplands paid forensic auditors who found the loan has been divided up into dozens of securities sold to investors.

“Once these notes are chopped up and turned into bonds, securities, whatever; who really owns it?” asked their attorney, Bob Thompson.

But the Georgia Court of Appeals ruling in a case involving a Cobb County family and servicers Provident Funding, LLC, ruled homeowners have “a right to know” to whom they actually owe the money, lest they be “misled or confused.”

“Even a dog in Georgia has the right to know who’s kicking him,” Emory law professor Frank Alexander told Channel 2’s reporting partners at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

“These big banks and Wall Street have to follow the law of the land, just like I do,” said Paulette Stripland.

Channel 2’s Jim Strickland learned just before 5 p.m. Thursday, Wells Fargo had halted the foreclosure.

Thompson said most homeowners in peril should take action on their own.

Call and get it stopped and get yourself some time, because with time most people can work things out,” he said.

It is likely Provident will appeal to the state supreme court.

Daily Report: Public shut out of Georgia courts

http://www.dailyreportonline.com/PubArticleFriendlyDRO.jsp?id=1202561653020

Public shut out of Georgia courts

R. Robin McDonald

Daily Report

07-03-2012

Judges across Georgia are closing courtrooms to the general public, citing as reasons a lack of space and security concerns.

They are doing so even though the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2010 vacated a Georgia Supreme Court ruling that had upheld the closure of a DeKalb County courtroom and the removal of members of the public during jury voir dire. The U.S. justices said at the time that courtrooms should remain open to the public except in rare circumstances.

Since then, courtroom closures have been challenged in DeKalb, Fulton, Cobb and Towns counties in Georgia’s appellate courts. Two weeks ago, the Southern Center for Human Rights sued the Cordele Judicial Circuit, claiming that its superior court judges are continuing to bar public access to court hearings despite a consent agreement in 2004 that they would stop the practice.

The appellate challenges to closed courtrooms across the state have garnered mixed success, but Judicial Qualifications Commission officials are concerned.
Closing courtrooms, said JQC Chairman John Allen, “could be a violation” of state judicial canons “depending on the set of facts surrounding the closing.”

JQC director Jeffrey Davis told the Daily Report that in his work observing judges in action around the state, he is often met at the courtroom doors by local deputies who ask for his credentials and question why he is there.

“I’ve personally experienced the chill that members of the public would feel,” he said. “I’m a lawyer. It’s not that I’m under-dressed for court.”
Once a member of the public has passed through courthouse metal detectors or security at a courthouse entrance, Davis said, “No citizens should be questioned about the reason they are in a public courtroom.”

But, he continued, “It seems to be the modus operandi around the state for courts to have deputies who question those who are simply in the court without business before the court. People ought to be able to watch their government in action. And justice which is done in secret—or a feeling by those who are coming to the courthouse that somehow they don’t have a right to be there—chills the public’s ability not only to access the courts but also to have confidence in the judicial system.”

DeKalb County
Last year, DeKalb State Court Judge Barbara Mobley resigned her post to end a JQC ethics investigation that included allegations she had interfered with the public’s access to a public courtroom. Mobley posted signs that restricted access to court hearings and directed court personnel to ask court observers to identify themselves and state their business, “thereby chilling the public’s right to observe matters before the court,” according to the JQC’s report to the Georgia Supreme Court.

The Daily Report reported last year that Mobley was one of a number of DeKalb judges who had posted signs on their courtroom doors limiting courtroom access to criminal defendants, their lawyers and alleged victims. The sign on Mobley’s door said, “We do not have space for extra people.”

Allen told the Daily Report last week that after Mobley resigned, he asked the DeKalb judges “to please meet and reconsider their policy of automatically closing their courtrooms as opposed to making a case-by-case decision.”

“Openness of course is such a basic principle of the law in Georgia jurisprudence and U.S. constitutional jurisprudence,” Allen continued. “You erode the confidence in the integrity and fairness of the courts by closing the courts as a matter of course.”

“Ours was just a courtesy call,” he said, “so that the conduct of the court didn’t rise to the level of being egregious.”

Allen said he also reminded the DeKalb bench of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Presley v. Georgia, 130 S. Ct. 721, which slapped the Georgia Supreme Court for upholding a decision by DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Linda Hunter to close her courtroom during jury selection in a criminal case.

In its ruling vacating the Georgia decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to a public trial extends to the voir dire of prospective jurors and that, “Trial courts are obligated to take every reasonable measure to accommodate public attendance at criminal trials.”

The decision did allow for exceptions, holding that, “The right to an open trial may give way in certain cases to other rights or interests, such as the accused’s right to a fair trial or the government’s interest in inhibiting disclosure of sensitive information.”

But, it stated, “Such circumstances are rare, however, and the balance of interests must be struck with special care. The party seeking to close a hearing must advance an overriding interest that is likely to be prejudiced, the closure must be no broader than necessary to protect that interest, the trial court must consider reasonable alternatives to closing the proceeding, and it must make findings adequate to support the closure.”

Last year, DeKalb Chief State Court Chief Judge Wayne Purdom told the Daily Report that he posted signs limiting access to his courtroom on days when he heard jail pleas, when numerous prisoners were in court or on arraignment days when as many as 100 people might need seats. On those days, he said, members of the public were only admitted “by request.”

While acknowledging that courtroom access “is a public right,” Purdom told the Daily Report that “regulation of entrance to the courtroom is a case-by-case situation.”
Purdom also agreed that signs barring entry might have “a little bit of a chilling effect.” But, he continued, “I think there are limited situations where control of access is appropriate, although keeping the public out is not.”

Fulton challenges
Last month Atlanta attorney Brian Steel argued before the Georgia Court of Appeals that a judge’s decision to close a Fulton County courtroom had violated a criminal defendant’s constitutional rights.

Steel appealed the decision of then-Fulton County Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington, who in the 2009 rape trial of Corsen Stewart apparently barred the public, including the defendant’s mother, from the courtroom during jury voir dire in a situation nearly identical to the DeKalb closure that led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Steel, who was not Stewart’s lawyer during the trial, said he took the case on appeal after Stewart’s mother came to see him, told him she had been locked out of the courtroom when attorneys were questioning potential jurors for her son’s case and burst into tears in his office.

In 2010, Steel asked the Georgia Supreme Court to overturn the 2006 Fulton County murder conviction of Travion Reed, basing one argument  on Judge Craig Schwall Sr.’s decision to close the courtroom during the testimony of two witnesses. Prosecutors countered that the courtroom’s closure was warranted because the two witnesses in question feared for their safety. A third witness in the case had been shot a short time after the murder, and a fourth witness had been threatened with a screwdriver in an attack that prosecutors claimed was likely linked to the defendant.

At the time, neither Reid nor his attorney objected. That omission proved critical to the Georgia Supreme Court which—three weeks after its decision in Presley was vacated—affirmed Schwall’s decision to bar public access to his courtroom during the testimony.

Steel did not represent Reed at his trial.

In an opinion written by Justice George Carley, the high court held 6-1 that in order to prevail, Reid “must show that he was prejudiced by counsel’s decision not to object to the brief closing of the courtroom. … Indeed, to hold otherwise would encourage defense counsel to manipulate the justice system by intentionally failing to object in order to ensure an automatic reversal on appeal.”

But Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, the lone dissenting vote, countered that, “No reason was articulated to support closing the courtroom” for the two witnesses when “closure was not sought for others who not only might have been, but actually were, placed in peril because of their testimony.”

“The trial court’s findings were clearly inadequate to support closure of the courtroom,” her dissent stated. “Moreover, the trial court failed to consider any alternatives to closure,” she said.

“Although the majority concludes that Reid has not shown prejudice,” Hunstein concluded, “Reid is not required to do so in order to obtain relief for a structural error which was a violation of the public-trial right.”

Steel said last week that “Prejudice is pretty hard to show when you’re closing a courtroom. It’s an almost unobtainable bar that the Supreme Court set.”
Steel said that in the Stewart appeal he argued before the state appellate court on June 13, “I’m challenging the Reid decision. … It’s primed to have a new discussion about it.”

Fulton County is not the only place where Steel has challenged closed courtrooms. In 2010, Steel also asked the Court of Appeals to overturn a Towns County defendant’s conviction because the judge moved jury selection to a nearby church and barred the public, including the defendant’s wife and daughter, from attending. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction last March on other grounds without addressing the courtroom closure.

Cordele claims
Last month the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta filed suit against the Cordele Judicial Circuit’s three superior court judges and the sheriffs of Ben Hill and Crisp counties in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Georgia in Albany, claiming that county court officials are systemically barring the public from criminal court hearings that they say should be open to the public.

Stephen Bright, the center’s president and senior counsel, noted that in 2003, as part of a larger civil rights suit on behalf of the county’s indigent defendants, the Southern Center accused circuit officials of restricting public access to the courts. But Bright said the 2003 suit was dismissed in 2004 after circuit officials promised that courtrooms would remain open.

John Pridgen, chief superior court judge of the Cordele Circuit and a defendant in both suits, has called the 2003 allegations “complete fabrications” claiming, “There was never anything inappropriate about what we did then and what we do now.”

Another Cordele Circuit judge noted in a letter filed with the Southern Center’s complaint that the courtroom in the Crisp County Law Enforcement Center is particularly small, with limited seating.

Southern Center attorney Gerry Weber told the Daily Report last month that the center also has received anecdotal evidence that other courtrooms are being closed “in a lot of different places” across the state and is launching an investigation to determine the extent of the problem.

‘Keeps us free’
Courtroom public access issue came to the fore in Cobb County last year, when former Governor Roy Barnes secured the dismissal of an indictment against the CEO of the Cobb EMC because the grand jury presentments were made inside the new courthouse while its doors were locked and deputies barred access via a separate catwalk entrance.

The Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the indictment’s dismissal in March, ruling that, “The Georgia Supreme Court has held that any failure to return the indictment in open court is per se injurious to the defendant.”

Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, who dissented in the state Supreme Court’s Presley decision, said in an interview with the Daily Report that the U.S. Supreme Court opinion vacating Georgia’s Presley decision “made it pretty clear … that you cannot, as a matter of policy, close courtrooms.”
In her dissent in Presley, Sears specifically addressed arguments based on lack of space.

“A room that is so small that it cannot accommodate the public,” she wrote, “is a room that is too small to accommodate a constitutional criminal trial.”
But the former chief justice, now a partner at Schiff Hardin, told the Daily Report that judges still may close a courtroom “in very narrow circumstances.” But their reasons  for doing so, “have to be well articulated,” she said. “It has to be on a case-by-case basis … It also has to be a last resort.”

Sears said she doesn’t belittle judges who struggle with issues of space and security.

“That’s what created the majority in the Presley case,” she said. “It wasn’t that the judges felt you should keep people out. They saw what a problem it was in these tiny courtrooms trying to manage things. You get very sympathetic when a trial judge is trying to … keep things secure.”

The issue, she explained, is one of competing values. But to trump the value of open courtrooms, she said, “would take some effort. … Public access is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. It’s what keeps us free.” 

<a href=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/jump/alm.dailyreportonline/;pos=300a;ptype=;tile=2;sz=300×250&#8243; target=”_blank”> <img src=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/ad/alm.dailyreportonline/;pos=300a;ptype=;tile=2;sz=300×250?”></a&gt;


Copyright 2012. ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved.

Daily Report: Public shut out of Georgia courts

Daily Report: Robin Hood lawyer fights foreclosures with a passion

 

http://www.dailyreportonline.com/PubArticleFriendlyDRO.jsp?id=1202559725985

‘Robin Hood’ lawyer fights foreclosures with a passion

Katheryn Hayes Tucker

Daily Report

06-18-2012

For 34 years, Robert Thompson Jr. had been a business and labor lawyer — as was his father before him — defending corporations and financial institutions and even serving on several banks’ boards of directors.

But something happened to him two and half years ago that changed his entire practice. Now, he challenges banks and financial institutions in court, accusing them of wrongful foreclosure and outright fraud on behalf of individuals who are a step away from losing their homes.

The turning point for Thompson came at Christmas time, 2009. His mortgage servicer — with whom he had been embroiled in disputes over what he said were misapplied or lost checks, late fees for payments that had been made on time, unnecessary insurance costs and double billings for taxes — moved to foreclose on his home.

“I was a single father with three young children living with me in that house,” the silver-haired Thompson said during an interview in his Buckhead Thompson Law Group office filled with books about the financial industry and the economic crisis. “It was very upsetting.”

But, he added, “I was the wrong person to pick on about injunctions and bank law.”

On Dec. 28, 2009, he went before Fulton County Superior Court Judge John Goger, asking for an order enjoining the mortgage company from proceeding with the foreclosure. The judge’s first question was, “How much do you owe?” Thompson recalled.

“I told him I didn’t owe anything, that my payments had all been made on time, and that in fact they owed me more than $50,000 in overpayments and mystery fees,” Thompson recalled.

“Can you prove it?” the judge asked.

Thompson recalled he pointed the judge to canceled checks and FedEx receipts, and the judge granted Thompson’s injunction. Thompson filed a lawsuit against his loan servicer for mortgage fraud and abuse, wrongful foreclosure, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, conversion, misrepresentation, defamation, libel and deceit.

“People started talking about it,” Thompson said. “I thought it was just me, but then people started calling saying they had the same problem and wanting to know if I could help them.”

Now, Thompson is a man obsessed. And he said he’s had success halting foreclosures — but acknowledged securing such an injunction for a client is only the first step.

Thompson said he still has new clients coming to his office daily. Most don’t have the exact situation as his, where the payments were current but not applied to the account. The biggest percentage, he said, are struggling because of a loss of income and are seeking loan modifications to make payments more manageable, but were told by their mortgage holder they weren’t eligible either because they weren’t behind or far enough behind.

Thompson said being behind on mortgage payments isn’t a requirement of federally funded modification programs. But, on the assumption that it was, he said, his clients missed payments in hopes of qualifying for modifications, then found themselves in foreclosure with their lender refusing to accept more payments. Thompson calls that being “lured into default.”

Out of hundreds of cases he’s reviewed in the past two and a half years, he said, there wasn’t a single one where he didn’t find fraud or at least errors in the records. So far, he said, he has not yet been able to say to a homeowner, “I can’t help you because the bank did everything right.”

Bank representatives say it’s absurd to suggest banks want to foreclose if there are other options. They admit some paperwork mistakes happen but suggest it’s not right to make those a basis for loan forgiveness.

Meanwhile, Thompson is ordering up forensic audits — at a minimum of $1,000 each — to ferret out problems so that he can go to court to block foreclosures. A forensic auditing company analyzes the loan activity and tracks the transfers of deed and title as the loan has been sold by one financial company to another — and sometimes to several others.

Sometimes, Thompson said, he finds the foreclosing lender has already sold the note and collected the balance, and thus doesn’t have the legal right to foreclose. Often Thompson finds what he calls a “break in the chain of title” because the deed and the note have not been kept together in the transactions, which he said is illegal.

He can’t charge the homeowners the hourly rates he used to bill his corporate clients. Some can hardly pay anything. Occasionally, he said, he just offers free advice on how to fight a foreclosure pro se. Most of the time he negotiates a flat fee varying in amounts according to the work that needs to be done and the client’s ability to pay. “I have to make it affordable or they can’t do it,” he said. “But I can’t do it for free.”

He is especially busy the week before the first Tuesday of every month, when crowds gather on the courthouse steps for the auctioning of foreclosed homes. This month alone, he went to court for 25 injunctions to stop foreclosures.

Asked how many he won, he said, “All of them. But the injunction is only the first step.”

The next step varies, but often includes lawsuits against the lenders or servicers who initiated the foreclosure.

Lender representatives said Thompson’s charges about banks’ motivations don’t make sense.

“Do you really think the lender wants that house back?” asked Mo Thrash, a lobbyist for the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia and McCalla Raymer, a law firm with offices in Georgia that represents lenders. “It is absolutely ridiculous to think the lender would want the home back.”

Thrash said the conventional wisdom — that the best outcome for the lender is for the homeowner to make all their payments until the loan is paid in full — is still true, maybe more so now because of falling real estate prices and difficulty in selling homes. “I admit mistakes do happen, but I’d be willing to bet that the majority of these cases are a two-way street,” he said. “It takes two to tango.”

The majority of mortgage banks — 99 percent — are ethical and honest, Thrash added. To suggest otherwise, he said, is “absolutely crazy.”

If the personal foreclosure experiences of Thompson and some of his clients are as they described them, “It was a mistake,” said J.D. Crowe, senior vice president of Southeast Mortgage of Georgia Inc. and a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia Board of Governors.

“If that’s the case, that’s why he won an injunction and will probably win his lawsuit. With the number of foreclosures in the last few years, there’s a lot of paper going back and forth,” Crowe said.

But like Thrash, Crowe said it’s “ridiculous” to suggest that a lender would want to foreclose if there were an alternative. “Lenders want to work with borrowers. They don’t want to foreclose,” he said.

Crowe also suggested that when homeowners win their foreclosure fights, they usually win on a technicality — a mistake in the paperwork or the separation of the deed and note in the selling of the loan by one financial institution to another. In such cases, if homeowners win damages or loan forgiveness, allowing them to walk away from their mortgage payments, said Crowe, “I think it is unconscionable.”

Disbelief, said Thompson, is the biggest challenge he faces in fighting foreclosure fraud. “People who have never suffered through it cannot believe it. It challenges the fundamentals of everything you want to believe about the banks being honest and the government protecting you.”

He cited the case of client LaVonda DeWitt, a patent lawyer whose income was reduced because her firm’s revenue dropped. In an interview, she said she contacted her mortgage company to discuss a loan modification so she could lower her payments.

“They said I wasn’t eligible because I still had a job,” she said.

Then she was laid off. She called her lender again about the modification and was told she wasn’t eligible because didn’t have a job. She said she was also told she wasn’t eligible unless she was three months behind. She stopped making payments in December 2010. She also filed a complaint with the U.S. Treasury Department over being denied a loan modification. The lender responded with a document she had never seen saying she had been offered a modification and rejected it, but later admitted that claim was a mistake, according to DeWitt. She still wasn’t offered a modification. She received a foreclosure notice in March of this year.

She met with Thompson, who went to court with her to block the sale on the first Tuesday in April. She won the injunction but still wasn’t able to negotiate a loan modification. So, on Thompson’s advice, she filed a lawsuit in federal court.

DeWitt said Thompson reminds her of the fictional Atticus Finch, taking on jobs that other lawyers don’t want.

Another client of Thompson’s, Patricia Sibley, won an injunction a year ago, then filed a lawsuit against the lender for wrongful foreclosure. The suit is pending in the Northern District of Georgia. Sibley and her husband are still in their home — “because of Bob Thompson,” she said.

As with DeWitt, Sibley’s suit is based on what Thompson calls “luring into default.” When the recession hit and slashed revenue for her advertising company, Sibley said she had to close her business. She and her husband had paid down by half their $950,000 15-year mortgage on their north Atlanta home near the Chattahoochee River, and their payments were current, she said in an interview.

She contacted the lender to ask about changing the terms to lower the payments. Since they still had some income, they felt they could afford the loan if they could spread it back to 30 years. They were told they weren’t eligible for a modification because they weren’t behind. They skipped one payment and called again, but were told they were not far enough behind to be eligible, according to Sibley and the lawsuit. After the third missed payment, they received a foreclosure notice. They tried to talk to the lender’s customer service department many times and offered to pay the loan current and cover fees in return for restructuring, she said, but heard no response.

The house was advertised for foreclosure. The weekend before the first Tuesday in June 2011, cars were driving by the house and stopping to take pictures, Sibley said. It was an experience she said she wouldn’t wish on anyone.

A friend called and said she had a friend who knew someone who might be able to help — Thompson. The friend said, “I have somebody who’s like Robin Hood. He takes from the banks and gives to the poor.”

“Not that we’re the poor,” Sibley added. But, she said, “I never would have dreamed I’d be in this position.”

Sibley’s case is unresolved, but Thompson was able to get an injunction to prevent foreclosure while it’s pending.

McCurdy & Candler, which has offices in Decatur and Atlanta, handled Sibley’s foreclosure for PNC Mortgage, as well as DeWitt’s foreclosure for Chase. Managing partner Sidney Gelernter said the firm couldn’t comment on any pending case or even discuss foreclosures generally. Sibley’s suit is being defended by Ballard Spahr. One of the lawyers working on the case in Atlanta, Christopher Willis, said the firm couldn’t comment on any matter involving any of its clients.

Sibley’s lawsuit is against National City Mortgage Company, National City Bank, PNC Mortgage, Bank of America and unidentified investors. Sibley said she tried repeatedly to find out the identity of the investors who now own the loan — in order to work out payment terms — but PNC, the servicer, wouldn’t tell her.

A spokeswoman for PNC said the company couldn’t comment on any lawsuit. “We do work with customers,” said Amy Vargo, noting modification programs described on the PNC website.

In his own personal case, Thompson sued BAC Home Loans Servicing, which is a subsidiary of Bank of America, and Bank of New York Mellon, formerly known as Bank of New York, successor in interest to JP Morgan Chase Bank. Bank of America acquired Countrywide Mortgage Company, which was Thompson’s loan servicer. Thompson’s lawsuit names four companies that owned his note successively. Thompson’s case — which he has withdrawn for now — was defended by Monica Gilroy of Alpharetta’s Dickenson Gilroy, who said she couldn’t discuss it.

The foreclosing firm in Thompson’s case was Shuping, Morse & Ross, based in Riverdale. Neither the managing partner, Sheltan Andrew Shuping Jr., nor the lawyer who handled the foreclosure, Kevin Duda, could be reached for comment.

Thompson’s lawsuit — moved from Fulton Superior Court to federal district court in Atlanta — seeks damages for overpayments and unauthorized fees, harassment and injury to his credit and reputation, naming a figure of $5 million.

Thompson said he has stopped making mortgage payments, and BAC has stopped trying to foreclose. He moved to withdraw his complaint, while keeping the door open to refiling it later, and the judge agreed. He said he believes the courts are evolving in their understanding of foreclosure fraud, and he plans to reinitiate the suit at a time that will be advantageous. For now, he said, “It’s an armed truce.”

Thompson’s case in federal court is Thompson v. BAC Home Loans, No. 1:10-CV-3205-TCB.

Sibley’s case in federal court is Sibley v. National City Mortgage Co., No. 1:12-cv-00305-SCJ-JFK.

Daily Report: Robin Hood lawyer fights foreclosures with a passion

Courthouse News Service

GEORGIA ON MY MIND..>..

Tuesday, June 12, 2012Last Update: 7:06 AM PT

Squirrely Ethics in Georgia, Former Exec Says

By IULIA FILIP

ShareThis

ATLANTA (CN) – A former executive claims in court that the Georgia Ethics Commission fired her for trying to investigate a gubernatorial candidate’s violations of campaign finance laws.
     Stacey Kalberman claims the chairman of the state ethics commission board, who was the candidate’s appointee, retaliated against her to deter the investigation and promote his political career.
     Kalberman sued the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission fka Georgia State Ethics Commission, Executive Secretary Holly LaBerge and Chairman Patrick Millsaps, in Fulton County Superior Court.
     The state ethics commission oversees campaign funding and spending of elected officials and lobbyists.
     Kalberman was executive secretary of the commission from April 2010 until June 2011, when she says she was “forced out of her job”.
     As executive secretary, Kalberman managed the commission’s administrative, legal and investigatory functions, including investigations of complaints under the Georgia Campaign Finance Act, according to her complaint.
     “Between March and May of 2010, Kalberman became aware of three third-party complaints made against a gubernatorial candidate (the ‘candidate’) concerning his campaign’s compliance with the Georgia Campaign Finance Act,” the complaint states.
     “The candidate had reappointed Millsaps to his position on the commission.
     “The commission’s investigation revealed troubling irregularities with the candidate’s campaign financial disclosures.”
     After the candidate’s counsel ignored her request for documents, Kalberman says, she prepared draft subpoenas for the commission’s review.
     Kalberman says she discussed the subpoenas with Millsaps at least four times and told him that “the candidate’s campaign had possibly violated campaign contribution limits on many occasions.” But she says Millsaps asked her to keep the matter in “strict confidence” and refused to sign the subpoenas.
     Kalberman claims that in June 2011, less than 3 weeks after she provided the subpoenas to the commissioners, Millsaps asked her to meet him to discuss the commission’s budget.
     But instead of discussing the budget, Millsaps told her the commission was cutting her salary by 35 percent and eliminating the position of deputy secretary, filled by Kalberman’s chief investigator, according to the complaint.
     “At the June meeting, it was obvious to Kalberman that Millsaps’ sudden ‘budget cut’ was retaliation against her for pursuing the ethics investigation into the candidate,” the complaint states. “Kalberman, exhausted from previous weeks of dealing with her mother’s diagnosis of stage IV metastatic breast cancer, became emotional and stated she could not work for the drastic reduction in salary Millsaps proposed.
     “At no time did Kalberman resign her employment with the commission.”
     Kalberman says that though she denied she had resigned, Millsaps sent her an email saying that the commission had accepted her “resignation.”
     She says Millsaps refused to return her phone calls or further discuss the proposed budget cuts with her.
     “Millsaps then began maliciously spreading false rumors to the press and to the public that Kalberman had resigned from her position during the June meeting,” the complaint states.
     “On June 15, 2011, Kalberman sent a detailed email to Millsaps outlining several alternative plans for restructuring the budget to avoid Millsaps’ proposed cuts.
     “Kalberman also indicated in her email that she felt that Millsaps’ alleged ‘budgetary concerns’ were pretextual to hide his real reason for removing Kalberman from her position: to deter the investigation into the candidate. Kalberman made it clear to Millsaps that she planned to proceed with her job duties, which included the investigation.
     “Millsaps ignored Kalberman’s overtures to discuss the commission’s budget, leaked Kalberman’s email to the press, and told the press that Kalberman had resigned from her position and that she behaved badly by becoming ‘upset’ at the June meeting. In addition, Millsaps misled the press when he reported he could not really remember if he ever received the candidate’s subpoenas.”
     Kalberman says the commission enacted Millsaps’ proposed cuts and forced her to resign, claiming her authority had been compromised.
     The complaint adds: “Kalberman’s resignation as executive secretary amounted to a constructive termination because the commission, and specifically Millsaps, forced her out of her job and made it clear she would be rendered powerless, amounting to nothing more than a figurehead.”
     Kalberman says Millsaps’ statements to the press hurt her reputation and prevented her from getting similar ethics-related jobs.
     She seeks compensatory and punitive damages for retaliation under the Georgia Whistleblower Act and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     She is represented by Kimberly Worth with Joyce Thrasher Kaiser & Liss.

Courthouse News Service