Wells Fargo may have some ‘splainin’ to do on foreclosures

So Wells Fargo, which does a bit of business here in Minnesota, insists its foreclosure process is so bulletproof it isn’t going along with this moratorium business. Well, it may now have some ‘splainin’ to do. In sworn statements, Wells Fargo employees admit that they “robo-signed” hundreds of foreclosure documents without checking them for accuracy. Chris Serres’ Strib story says: “Wells Fargo’s procedures have come under closer scrutiny in recent weeks. Some consumer attorneys who represent people who have lost their houses argue that the bank’s employees made some of the same missteps as its rivals by carelessly rushing foreclosures without verifying the accuracy of the documents. Linda Tirelli, a consumer bankruptcy attorney in Connecticut and New York, calls the bank’s statement that its affidavits are accurate ‘absolutely outrageous.’ “

The Financial Times story says: “Xee Moua said she signed as many as 500 foreclosure-related papers a day on behalf of the bank. Ms Moua said the only information she had verified was whether her name and title appeared correctly. Asked whether she checked the accuracy of the principal and interest that Wells Fargo claimed the borrower owed — an important step in banks’ legal actions to foreclose Ms Moua replied: ‘I do not.’ Ms Moua nevertheless signed affidavits, reviewed by the Financial Times, that said she had ‘personal knowledge of the facts regarding the sums of money which are due and owing to Wells Fargo.’ These affidavits were used in lawsuits brought by Wells Fargo to repossess homes.” I can understand how a moratorium on foreclosures slows the real estate industry’s process of touching bottom and bouncing up, but good god, what happened to due diligence?

An AP story on the “robo-signing” says: “In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in ‘foreclosure expert’ jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says. In depositions released Tuesday, many of those workers testified that they barely knew what a mortgage was. Some couldn’t define the word ‘affidavit.’ Others didn’t know what a complaint was, or even what was meant by personal property.”

By the looks of the re-inspection report, it may be just as well that Kim Huoy Chor Asian Cuisine in St. Paul has been shut down by a 7-0 vote of the City Council. The PiPress’s Dave Orrick reports: “Days after Vuthy Taing, the owner, publicly pledged his University Avenue eatery was sparkling clean after two years of failing inspections, city inspectors found numerous problems remained, from food being left out for hours to ‘dozens of dead roaches in an unused hallway in the basement,’ according to an inspection report … attorneys and inspectors reported that two years of violations at Kim Huoy Chor amounted to the worst chronic violation in the history of city food inspections. At least two patrons reported being sickened after eating at the restaurant at 1664 W. University Ave.” Any time you get to “worst … in history,” it’s time to drop the curtain.

MPR’s Poligraph, its ad-veracity checking service, declares new TV spots by Tim Walz and Randy Demmer, attacking each other down in the 1st District, are both … false. On Walz’ shot at Demmer, for supposedly proposing a privatization of Social Security, Catharine Richert writes: “While Demmer previously said he’d support allowing people control [of] their Social Security contributions investments, he’s backed off that position; PoliGraph could find no evidence that he’s recently campaigned on the idea. More importantly, the Walz ad claims that Demmer has a plan to privatize Social Security. In fact, Demmer doesn’t have a plan one way or another on the issue, saying only that it needs reform.” Demmer, meanwhile, is claiming Walz shipped $1.5 billion worth of jobs overseas (via the stimulus package). On that, Richert says, “the ad neglects that new wind projects in the U.S. — financed by foreign companies or by American companies — create jobs locally, a point that the Department of Energy has gone to great length to point out. It’s hard to pin down precisely how many jobs local wind projects have created, but the American Wind Energy Association estimates that stimulus money helped create or save upwards of 40,000 jobs in 2009.” Other than that, good going, guys.

Jeremy Herb, in the Strib’s “Hot Dish Politics” blog, notes that Norm Coleman’s American Action Network is targeting Walz, along with 21 other Democrats, with a nice pool of cash: “Coleman’s group, ‘action tank’ American Action Network, is reportedly making a $19 million ad buy to target House races in 22 districts across the country, including against 1st District Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, Politico [first] reported. … The American Action Network, which Coleman serves as CEO, is one of several outside conservative groups planning to spend $50 million against Democrats in the House this election. Coleman’s organization is operating under a new campaign-finance landscape created this year after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which granted corporations and unions the ability to spend an unlimited amount of money supporting and opposing candidates.”

Michele Bachmann’s stunning fund-raising success has many believing that Republicans are overwhelming Democrats in the campaign cash game. Chris Cillizza reports that that isn’t true. But the game changer for the GOP is the Citizens United ruling. An AP story explains: “Under rules liberalized by both the Supreme Court and a federal appellate court, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS can raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals and corporations. American Crossroads is registered with the Federal Election Commission and as such must reveal its donors, but Crossroads GPS is registered only as a nonprofit with the IRS and doesn’t have to disclose its sources of money. The fundraising figures, made available to The Associated Press, place the two Crossroads groups on track to meet their goal of $52 million by Election Day, and put them on virtually the same financial footing as the National Republican Senatorial Committee.” The opaque nature of the money coming into these organizations is not an accident: “Legislation to require groups that air political ads to divulge their donors passed the House this year but has stalled in the Senate. Another vote to break the Senate stalemate could come in the next few weeks. While Crossroads GPS donors are secret, American Crossroads filings with the Internal Revenue Service and with the FEC show that the group initially built itself with large contributions. Companies controlled by major Republican donor Harold Simmons have donated $2 million. Simmons bankrolled ads in 2008 linking then-candidate Obama to William Ayers, a Vietnam-era militant who helped found the violent Weather Underground. Other million-dollar donors include Bradley Wayne Hughes, founder and chairman of Public Storage; former Univision president Jerry Perenchio; and Trevor Rees-Jones, founder of Chief Oil and Gas.” Oh, stop your mewling. These guys are no different than you and me. The Supreme Court said so.

After his, uh, “I’m broke, I need a public defender gambit,” Denny Hecker’s (latest) secret benefactor has been ordered to appear in court on Monday … and be ready to cut another check. Writes David Phelps in the Strib: “In court papers, Davis said the unidentified individual is required to attend the hearing and should be ‘prepared to testify as to the ultimate source of said funds and his or her ability to reimburse the public for funds already expended’ on behalf of Hecker through the federal public defender program.”

No information yet on the motivations for the teenage murder-suicide in Lakeland Tuesday night. The PiPress’s Elizabeth Mohr does one of those reaction-of-friends stories, saying, “No one answered the door at Campbell’s home Wednesday, and a call to the home was not returned. A phone number for Grijalva’s parents could not be found.” KSTP’s Tim Sherno gets a couple of articulate friends of the deceased commenting in his piece.

Who isn’t a fan of Cossetta’s? The landmark Italian chow palace is going to dramatically refurbish itself. Matt Smith in City Pages writes: “The market will be expanded to include all of the current restaurant, which will house a meat market and new bakery. The restaurant will be relocated in the new building, which will also contain a pastry shop and gelateria. (The expansion will take place toward the current parking lot, and another parking area will be built on Smith Avenue.) Cossetta’s is also planning a new, although small, wine shop, Vanyo says.” Prices, they promise, will stay the same.

You did see the latest Brett Favre groin shot? WCCO caught it at a Vikings practice Wednesday in Eden Prairie, and it is SFW.

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/14/2010 - 10:05 am.

    I intend to introduce a resolution demanding a constitutional amendment requiring strict time limits and only public financing (equalized for all qualified candidates) for national political office (President/vice president, house and senate) at my next precinct caucus meeting.

    From the ground up is the only way we’ll ever change the system so that all our national representatives seek after the very best ideas regarding how to design and implement government programs that meet the needs of the vast majority of the population of the nation (rather than only caring about the needs of rich campaign contributors, both individuals and corporations).

    Once we have passed the national amendment it should clear the way for state amendments which create similar systems within each state, each according to its own traditions.

    Would anyone else like to do the same? Maybe there’s a chance we can reboot this nation to government “of the people, by the people and for the people” in place of the locked-up loop we now find our system stuck in: government “of the money, by the money, for the money.”

  2. Submitted by Bill Kellett on 10/14/2010 - 11:03 am.

    Nice idea Greg, but aren’t those caucus resolutions sort of like crossword puzzles, meant only to fill time until the real business is completed (selecting candidates) and then tossed away?

  3. Submitted by Lauren Maker on 10/14/2010 - 11:16 am.

    By signing affidavits by robo, Wells Fargo is committing fraud on the court –the signer of the affidavit is verifying under oath that the information contained in it is true and correct from their personal knowledge.
    Chances are, the information is neither true or correct. Wells Fargo could have these foreclosures thrown out because of this fraud on the court.
    No big surprise, as many people attempting to work with Wells Fargo to revamp their mortgages under the federal legislation are being told time and again to submit information to WF–only to be told again the next month to submit the same information–again with no action by WF. No one gets their mortgage adjusted.
    And I know of at least one case where Wells Fargo is attempting to collect legal fees on an incompleted foreclosure, when no file was opened by the attorney.

    Greg– your idea has merit, but how about something more effective and alot simplier–we need a constitutional amendment that corporations are not people.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/14/2010 - 11:55 am.

    All that filthy corporate cash is a stain on our nice, clean Minnesota politics isn’t it, Brian.

    Thank goodness there is one group out there that is willing to pour nice, clean cash into the system, without expecting any special treatment in return.

    “In fact, so far in 2010 Education Minnesota has outspent the business group nearly seven to one, spending more than $1.29 million to influence the outcome of all kinds of elections, versus expenditures by the chamber of $187,000.”


  5. Submitted by B Maginnis on 10/14/2010 - 12:19 pm.

    Ah, Swifty, you’re the best!


  6. Submitted by Cecil North on 10/14/2010 - 03:58 pm.

    After due consideration, and a review of the posting rules on this site, I have decided that it would not be appropriate compare BD’s response to Swift’s post to grooming behavior among a pack of baboons.

  7. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/14/2010 - 10:04 pm.

    Bill, maybe that’s the way the Republicans do it. I don’t know, I’ve never attended a Reb caucus, but for the Democrats, precinct caucus resolutions go to the County Convention then to the state where they’re all voted up or down and the ups, where aimed at national issues, go to the national convention platform committee.

  8. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/14/2010 - 11:11 pm.

    “Thank goodness there is one group out there that is willing to pour nice, clean cash into the system, without expecting any special treatment in return.” said Swift without a note of sarcasm.

    No, just special treatment on selfist issues like keeping teacher’s pay above poverty level and schools with enough money to keep lights on and the heating bill paid. Frivolous stuff like that.

    Anyway, the article did mention a small thing at the bottom:

    “the chamber may not be flooding the airwaves with ads lambasting candidates its members fear won’t be good for business, but plenty of other groups are making independent expenditures to benefit Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Emmer and others.

    “Most famous at the moment is MN Forward, which got $150,000 from Target, which lived to regret it after employees and shoppers alike protested Emmer’s stance on gay marriage. MN Forward’s disclosure [PDF] shows that the group has spent nearly $700,000 to influence elections and has nearly $1 million more in reserve.”

    Don’t worry Swift. There’s plenty of anti-education money flowing to the right to balance things out.

  9. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/15/2010 - 08:53 am.

    Greg K: Dennis Kucinich and others from the Progressive Democrats Caucus have called for public financing of all federal-level campaigns for years. See http://www.democrats.com or Kucinich’s web site.

    You might start a petition which others could sign on-line to show support.

    I believe (but could be wrong) that People for the American Way (www.pfaw.org) and Public Citizen (www.citizen.org) have on-line petitions we can sign for a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United.

  10. Submitted by B Maginnis on 10/15/2010 - 09:43 am.


    You must be a big fan of Joyce Behar and Whoopi Goldberg on “The View”.

    The ony grooming Swift and I are doing is our hair, in advance of the celebrations on November 3rd.

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