PressWatch: foreclosure fraud/TriMet

Home "owners" should copy this URL and bookmark it:

http://4closurefraud.org/

and this:

http://chattahbox.com/us/2010/10/16/foreclosure-fraud-who-owns-your-house-wheres-the-note/

 

For yourself , for everyone you love, even for everyone you will love, you need housing and land rights.  Fight.  Get a lawyer if you need one.

 

Headlines:

Washington, October 20 (RHC)-- U.S. federal investigators have opened a criminal probe of the improper approval of thousands of foreclosures by some of the nation’s largest banks.

The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force says it is conducting a multi-agency investigation of allegations lenders filed fraudulent documents to repossess homes.

According to news sources in the U.S. capital, the firms are being investigated for allegedly misleading federal housing agencies and potential violations of federal laws on mail or wire fraud.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said banks could face legal action, noting that if the firms are not meeting those requirements, they face fines and can face legal action from homeowners.

Sources: RHC.

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http://4closurefraud.org/2010/10/20/and-so-it-begins-chicago-sheriff-says-no-to-enforcing-foreclosures/

Lisa Epstein and Michael Redman

Chicago Sheriff Says NO to Enforcing Foreclosures

The sheriff for Cook County, Illinois, which includes the city of Chicago, said on Tuesday he will not enforce foreclosure evictions for Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase and Co. and GMAC Mortgage/Ally Financial until they prove those foreclosures were handled “properly and legally.”

Bank of America, the largest U.S. mortgage servicer, and GMAC, on Monday both announced rollbacks from their foreclosure moratoriums.

The announcement by Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart comes after weeks of damaging accusations of shoddy paperwork that may have caused some people to be illegally evicted from their homes.

“I can’t possibly be expected to evict people from their homes when the banks themselves can’t say for sure everything was done properly,” Dart said in the statement.

“I need some kind of assurance that we aren’t evicting families based on fraudulent behavior by the banks. Until that happens, I can’t in good conscience keep carrying out evictions involving these banks,” he added.

Or as Denniger puts it…

Fight Back: Refuse To Enforce

Here’s a message to all the County Sheriff’s: Tell the banks to **** off!

The sheriff for Cook County, Illinois, which includes the city of Chicago, said on Tuesday he will not enforce foreclosure evictions for Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase and Co. and GMAC Mortgage/Ally Financial until they prove those foreclosures were handled “properly and legally.”

Imagine that: A lawman who understands that The Bill of Rights actually applies to the people!

The 5th Amendment, specifically: You may not be deprived of liberty or property without due process of law.

“Robosigned” documents violate that right.  So does perjury in court proceedings.

“I need some kind of assurance that we aren’t evicting families based on fraudulent behavior by the banks. Until that happens, I can’t in good conscience keep carrying out evictions involving these banks,” he added.

Now that’s even better.  Will Sheriff Dart extend this all the way back to the origination of these loans, their pooling into securities, and questions about whether or not they were in fact sold more than once, rendering the person who claims to be foreclosing not necessarily the real party at interest?

What if the note has been bifurcated and nobody has a right to foreclose? Sue to collect, yes.  Foreclose, maybe not.

Let’s see lawmen and lawwomen all across this nation refuse to accede to the banksters demands until they prove that the law was complied with – up and down the line.

Sheriffs are elected officials.

The elections are coming.

We the people must demand that each and every Sheriff standing for election take a position on this – will you stop enforcing foreclosures NOW and continue to do so until the banks prove that each and every one is 100% legal, including all required transfers and endorsements, from origination to eviction?

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In case you haven’t heard already, the local transportation authority TriMet has taken unilateral action to reduce drivers’ paychecks by as much as $240 per month.  Ask yourself if you could cover all of your expenses if your monthly pay was reduced by $240.  Do you think it might cause a problem?  If you’re most workers in this region it certainly would.  

Perhaps this news causes some confusion to you; you might ask, “don’t they have mandatory arbitration at TriMet?  Can management take unilateral actions like that during contract negotiations?”

The short answer is that they can, though the process is likely to eventually reverse the takeback.

Full disclosure here: I am a TriMet driver, and I speak only for myself, not for other drivers, not for the union, and certainly not for TriMet.

I’ve attended many union actions and picket lines over the years, meeting airline workers, Voight-Sulzer workers, Fred Meyer workers, and others, and now I’m getting ready to finally attend a picket for my own union, today at the downtown Hilton here in Portland, half an hour after I finish this show.  It’s a different kind of feeling for me, since this time it’s my own career on the line.

And yet there’s so much familiar to it too—the constant vilifications from the local monopoly-owned chain daily, the manipulations and distortions from the management, the lack of solidarity from workers who have internalized their own oppression.

 

You may have heard that the TriMet drivers had considered a slowdown strike or a sick-out.  It’s likely you would have heard it either from local station KATU or from the anti-union Oregonian.  Here’s what the Oregonian said on the 11th, in part—this from Joseph

Rose:

 

"Any actions orchestrated by any represented public transit employee or group of employees to prevent the full, faithful or proper performance" of service would violate collective-bargaining laws, she wrote.

Within hours, ATU 757 President Jonathan Hunt fired off a reply. "Let me make it crystal clear," Hunt said. "Neither I nor the officers of ATU 757 have ordered a sanctioned work slowdown."

Hunt told The Oregonian that he had "just become aware" of the campaign when he received TriMet's letter. "We are not pushing for this," he said. Still, he acknowledges, drivers could act on their own.

If enough call in sick, it could force TriMet to cancel some routes and likely make others run behind schedule throughout the day. Operators say they don't see how managers can prove who was and wasn't too ill to report for work.

Another option: a work slowdown, when drivers follow TriMet's myriad operating rules to the letter.

Drivers usually let little things slide to stay on schedule. But during the slowdown, every transfer would be checked. Every passenger would be required to pay fare to the nickel.

As a result, no bus in the in the Portland area would run on time, drivers say.

Although drivers are confident they could get away with a daylong slowdown, the action is still considered a strike under the law, said Jackie Damm, a Portland labor attorney.

"They would basically be withholding services in support of a labor dispute," Damm said.

It was the ATU, not the state's transit agencies, that asked the Legislature to add transit employees to a state law that already prohibited police and firefighters from  striking. Public workers who can't strike have the right to binding arbitration to settle contact disputes.

The transit union was partially motivated by the messy 2005
Lane Transit District strike, which shut down bus service in the Eugene area for six days.

So, why would a union seek to give up the right to strike? Public workers who can't strike have the right to binding arbitration to settle contract disputes between labor and management. "They felt they could do better with an arbitrator than go on strike," Damm said.

After reaching an impasse in negotiations for a new contract, the union and TriMet will have to pay an arbitrator appointed by the state Employment Relations Board to impose the most reasonable of the two positions.

With health care costs skyrocketing, TriMet wants employees to start paying a portion of their benefits.

TriMet employees have one of the best benefits packages in the nation, with the agency paying 100 percent of a composite rate for medical costs for full-time employees, dependents and retirees. An annual TriMet audit released last week showed fringe benefits now are 152 percent of wages. What's more, TriMet's "post-employment benefits" grew about 29 percent from $632.2 million to $816.5 million from January 2008 and January 2010.

The union has countered with a proposal that rolls over the 2003 contract with no additional benefits.

 

………………………….There’s more, at Oregonlive.com………………………..

All that makes it sound like the Union is being sneaky and unreasonable.  But it is in fact Neal McFarlane, the TriMet CEO, who came up with a letter claiming that ATU representatives had warnied his office of the strike.  That letter’s archived at KATU and Oregonlive.com, and it’s worth a read, because it’s a perfect example of the dishonest sort of tactics being brought to bear against your fellow workers.

The letter’s claim that Union reps would threaten a slowdown is ridiculous, because the Union knows that since bus operations were deemed security-sensitive years ago, we haven’t had to strike, and instead we’ve had access to something much better—binding arbitration.   That $240 pay cut is going to get struck down, and the only hope McFarlane has of crushing the drivers is if he can provoke an illegal strike.  So KATU and the Oregonian are there, as they traditionally are, to help crush the worker. 

By contrast,  Jim Redden, an actual journalist, began his Tribune article with “TriMet union leaders have told drivers not to stage a sick-out or work slowdown on Wednesday. According to Amalgamated Transit Union 757 President Jonathan Hunt, union leaders told about 100 workers to report for work and do their jobs as usual during a Monday evening meeting. “The union is not sanctioning any kind of strike, slowdown or work stoppage,” Hunt told the Portland Tribune on Tuesday morning.”

By the way, do you get a paycheck?  Then you’re a worker.  And you have a responsibility to organize your workplace.  Here is a link for doing so: 

http://www.aflcio.org/joinaunion/how/howto.cfm

TriMet bus drivers are tested randomly for drug use.  They aren’t allowed to hire on if they have a felony on their record.  They’re trained for a month before being allowed to take a bus on the line.  When they do, they’ll find that there is at least one message a day sent to all the drivers to look for someone confused, deranged, feebleminded, or lost for some other reason.  And the bus drivers do look, and hundreds of people are returned to their concerned families each year, because of bus drivers.  We also get messages telling us to look for fugitives from the police, assault perpetrators, bank robbers, rapists, whatever.  I don’t know what the return rate is for that.  Every bus driver has stories— surviving an assault, driving a cardiac patient or a woman in labor  to the ER.  We are your fellow workers.  We’re picketing theTriMet  rail conference at the Hilton today. 

 

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