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Stop foreclosure loans for everyone | unsecured personal loans | secure and safe

In Memoriam: Mary Morabito

    On July 24, 2016, Mary Matosian Morabito, beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, died peacefully in Santa Barbara. She was born in Milwaukee, Wis. on July…

Article source: http://templecitytribune.com/?ulfr7xc=1708313745

Low-Income Philadelphians Get Help Paying the Water Bill – Next City

Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian.

Follow Rachel .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Article source: https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/philadelphia-low-income-water-bill-help

Public Notices

MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE SALE

Default having been made in the payment of the indebtedness secured by that certain mortgage executed by Christopher D. Devos and wife, Constance R. Devos, originally in favor of The Citizens Bank, on the 29th day of April, 2010, said mortgage recorded in the Office of the Judge of Probate of Coffee County, Alabama, in OFFREC Book 522 Page 593; the undersigned PHH Mortgage Corporation, as Mortgagee/Transferee, under and by virtue of the power of sale contained in said mortgage, will sell at public outcry to the highest bidder for cash, in front of the main entrance of the Courthouse at Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama, on July 25, 2017, during the legal hours of sale, all of its right, title, and interest in and to the following described real estate, situated in Coffee County, Alabama, to-wit:

Lot 16, Block A, Foxchase Phase II, a subdivision in the City of Enterprise, Alabama, as found recorded in Plat Book 3, Page 249, in the Office of the Jude of Probate, Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama.

Property street address for informational purposes:  122 Woodmere Dr, Enterprise, AL  36330

THIS PROPERTY WILL BE SOLD ON AN “AS IS, WHERE IS” BASIS, SUBJECT TO ANY EASEMENTS, ENCUMBRANCES, AND EXCEPTIONS REFLECTED IN THE MORTGAGE AND THOSE CONTAINED IN THE RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE OF PROBATE OF THE COUNTY WHERE THE ABOVE-DESCRIBED PROPERTY IS SITUATED.  THIS PROPERTY WILL BE SOLD WITHOUT WARRANTY OR RECOURSE, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED AS TO TITLE, USE AND/OR ENJOYMENT AND WILL BE SOLD SUBJECT TO THE RIGHT OF REDEMPTION OF ALL PARTIES ENTITLED THERETO.

Alabama law gives some persons who have an interest in property the right to redeem the property under certain circumstances.  Programs may also exist that help persons avoid or delay the foreclosure process. An attorney should be consulted to help you understand these rights and programs as a part of the foreclosure process.

This sale is made for the purpose of paying the indebtedness secured by said mortgage, as well as the expenses of foreclosure.

The successful bidder must tender a non-refundable deposit of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) in certified funds made payable to Sirote Permutt, P.C. at the time and place of the sale. The balance of the purchase price must be paid in certified funds by noon the next business day at the Law Office of Sirote Permutt, P.C. at the address indicated below. Sirote Permutt, P.C. reserves the right to award the bid to the next highest bidder should the highest bidder fail to timely tender the total amount due.

The Mortgagee/Transferee reserves the right to bid for and purchase the real estate and to credit its purchase price against the expenses of sale and the indebtedness secured by the real estate.

This sale is subject to postponement or cancellation.

PHH Mortgage Corporation, Mortgagee/Transferee

Rebecca Redmond

SIROTE PERMUTT, P.C.

P. O. Box 55727

Birmingham, AL  35255-5727

Attorney for Mortgagee/Transferee

www.sirote.com/foreclosures

414840

6/21, 6/28, 7/5/17

Article source: http://www.southeastsun.com/public_notices/article_9b598e1e-55de-11e7-a36b-a3953f478cd9.html

North Carolina Supreme Court Holds Liberal Standard of Notice Pleading Applies to Judicial Foreclosure Actions

In an important decision for creditors, the North Carolina Supreme Court recently clarified the distinction between judicial foreclosure and non-judicial foreclosure by power of sale.  In U.S. Bank v. Pinkney, the Supreme Court held that judicial foreclosure is an ordinary civil action subject to the liberal standard of notice pleading of North Carolina’s Rules of Civil Procedure.  The ruling benefits creditors because it means if they bring a judicial foreclosure action, they need not prove their case in their initial complaint.  They merely must allege a debt secured by a deed of trust, a default, and their right to enforce the deed of trust.  The ruling is especially helpful for creditors who acquired loans through transfer and assignment, and who may have indorsement or other issues in their documentation raising questions about whether they may enforce the loans.

Civil Actions and Judicial Foreclosure

To understand the decision, it helps to know the difference between civil actions and special proceedings, and the difference between judicial and non-judicial foreclosure.  A civil action is an ordinary lawsuit before a trial judge.  A plaintiff files a complaint against a defendant, the defendant answers, and the case proceeds.  The complaint must contain sufficient allegations that, if proven, entitle a party to relief, but a plaintiff need not prove its entire case. Under the liberal standard of notice pleading, the court must accept allegations as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.  A court should not dismiss a complaint unless the plaintiff could prove no set of facts entitling him to relief under some legal theory. In a civil action, the parties can engage in discovery, present and defend evidence, and make legal arguments by motion.  If the parties do not resolve the case through settlement or dispositive motion, it culminates in a trial.

A judicial foreclosure is a civil action.  The lender files a complaint in the county where the property is located asking that it be sold under judicial process and the proceeds applied to the mortgage debt.  The complaint must allege, at minimum, a debt, default on the debt, a deed of trust securing the debt, and the plaintiff’s (lender’s) right to enforce the deed of trust.  If the lender prevails, the court enters a judgment on the debt and orders a judicial sale of the mortgaged property.

Special Proceedings and Non-Judicial Foreclosure Under Chapter 45

Special proceedings are resolved by the clerk of court.  They are not lawsuits.  When a creditor forecloses under the power of sale provision in a deed of trust, it engages in a non-judicial foreclosure. Chapter 45 of the North Carolina General Statutes governs non-judicial foreclosures and requires the clerk to authorize a foreclosure sale if the lender establishes the existence of (1) a valid debt, (2) default, (3) the creditor’s right to foreclose (including that creditor is the “holder” of the loan documents), (4) notice, (5) “home loan” classification and applicable pre-foreclosure notice, and (6) that the sale is not barred by the debtor’s military status.  Most foreclosures in North Carolina are of this non-judicial variety.  At a foreclosure hearing, the creditor files an affidavit to prove these elements.

The Pinkney Case

In 1997, the Pinkneys borrowed money from Ford Consumer Finance Company to purchase real property.  The Pinkneys signed a promissory note and a deed of trust encumbering the property.  U.S. Bank acquired the loan through a series of transfers and assignments.  In 2014, after the Pinkneys defaulted, U.S. Bank filed a complaint seeking judicial foreclosure of the deed of trust.  The complaint alleged that the Pinkneys owed a valid debt to U.S. Bank, that they had defaulted, and that they had refused to pay the debt after written notice of default.  As to U.S. Bank’s right to enforce the Ford Consumer Finance Company loan documents, the complaint alleged a series of transfers and attached various assignments and allonges as exhibits.

The borrowers moved to dismiss the complaint.  The trial court found the exhibits failed to include a required indorsement and dismissed the action with prejudice. The North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that U.S. Bank failed to establish affirmatively all elements under Chapter 45.  Specifically, the Court of Appeals found that the complaint failed to establish that U.S. Bank was the holder of the note secured by the deed of trust.  In reaching their decisions, the trial court and Court of Appeals looked at U.S. Bank’s complaint as if it were the affidavit filed in a non-judicial foreclosure proceeding. 

The North Carolina Supreme Court’s Decision

The North Carolina Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals.  The Supreme Court began by reminding the courts that North Carolina’s Rules of Civil Procedure contain a liberal standard of notice pleading. Under that standard, a complaint sufficiently alleges a claim if it contains enough detail to place the court and the parties on notice of the essential facts to be proved at trial.  The Court held that—just like any other civil action—a creditor seeking judicial foreclosure does not have to prove its entire case at the initial pleading stage.   Trial courts may not evaluate judicial foreclosure complaints by considering if they prove all elements of a Chapter 45 non-judicial foreclosure by power of sale.

Here, because U.S. Bank alleged a debt, default, a deed of trust securing the debt, and that—through the chain of transfers—it was the holder of the promissory note (with the right to enforce the deed of trust), the Court determined that its complaint met this standard. 

Conclusion

The North Carolina Supreme Court’s ruling addresses the minimum requirements for bringing a judicial foreclosure action.  A complaint sufficient to survive dismissal under North Carolina law is not the same as a judgment on the debt and a judicial sale of the mortgaged property.  Creditors still must prove their right to foreclose and be able to defend evidentiary and other objections by the borrower.  But this case is a victory for creditors.  If nothing else, it provides leverage to creditors.  Borrowers can no longer dismiss a case at inception and will be forced to submit to discovery, motions, and the specter of a full-blown trial to avoid foreclosure.

Article source: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/north-carolina-supreme-court-holds-liberal-standard-notice-pleading-applies-to

Detroiter sues, says his lifelong home demolished in ambush-style eviction

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Detroiter is suing the Detroit Land Bank Authority over the demolition of his childhood home. He says he was still living in the house and the demolition destroyed his life. Land bank lawyers say he’s just trying to embarrass and harass the land bank with his suit.
Wochit

Daniel Murray says his lifelong home on Detroit’s west side was seized by the city’s Land Bank Authority in an ambush-style eviction — his photos, mother’s antiques and the family china cabinet among belongings tossed into a Dumpster and hauled away. Two months later, the property was demolished with federal money at a cost of $22,030.

The Detroit Land Bank says the building was blighted, utilities were shut off, Murray wasn’t living in the house and he never owned the property. And he just wants to embarrass and harass the land bank with a lawsuit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court naming the authority and Rickman Enterprise Group, the demolition contractor, seeking more than $25,000 in damages.

More on Freep.com:

Duggan: Nobody from the mayor’s office has been subpoenaed, questioned in demolition probe

Pontiac Silverdome demolition could start within 45 days

2 years after mystery home demolition, Detroit will clean up mess

But earlier this month, the judge in the case, David Groner, denied the land bank’s request to dismiss Murray’s suit. Among his findings, Groner said Murray had ”stated a claim for wrongful eviction” under state law and the lawsuit could proceed.

Murray declined to be interviewed. But through his attorney, he issued this statement: 

“This house was my home. I grew up there, my family lived there, I lived there, and I kept everything there. I told the Land Bank I was living there and wanted to stay. By destroying the house, the Land Bank destroyed my life.”

Craig Fahle, spokesman for the land bank, said money from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund was used to demolish Murray’s home. The Hardest Hit Fund is the largest single source of the city’s demolition dollars and the money comes from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). 

According to Christy Goldsmith Romero, the special inspector general for TARP, the Hardest Hit Fund should not be used to uproot people from their homes.

Fahle pointed to the land bank’s court filings and other records, which contend Murray wasn’t living in the house and had not lived there for a long time.

“Treasury intended that the HHF Blight Elimination Program prevent foreclosures by combating the ills associated only withvacant and abandoned  properties, rather than lived-in residences,” according to a December 2015 letter from Romero to the Treasury secretary that SIGTARP provided to the Free Press.

The Hardest Hit Fund was launched in 2010 to help homeowners affected by the Great Recession avoid foreclosure. The HHF Blight Elimination Program was announced in 2013.

Detroit has spent roughly $120 million in hardest-hit money for demolition, and expects to spend an additional $132 million.

After taking office in 2014, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan launched an ambitious effort to tear down 40,000 abandoned buildings across the city. To date, the city, the land bank and the Detroit Building Authority have demolished about 11,700 structures, mostly houses in neighborhoods, but not without problems.

  • The FBI and SIGTARP have launched an investigation, and on Tuesday, Duggan’s office confirmed that a federal grand jury has issued a subpoena related to the demolition program. Duggan said his office is not a target of the investigation. 
  • The Treasury suspended payments for blight removal in Detroit for two months last year during a review that led to new procedures to evaluate bids and pay contractors.
  • The city’s auditor general has been auditing the program.
  • The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is negotiating a consent order or judgment with the city over the mishandling of asbestos at demolition sites. Any judgment or order will include financial penalties.  

Josh Akers, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn who has followed the land bank and teaches geography and urban studies, said the land bank’s issues reflect a lack of controls and expertise to manage a large-scale demolition program, especially one with a strong emphasis on speed.

Akers said oversight is complicated by multiple sources of demolition funds, each with different rules.

Akers said he is familiar with Murray’s case, and believes the land bank should figure out what happened, instead of calling Murray and his neighbors liars, and being so “adamant … about their right to tear down his house. You can’t give Daniel his house back, but you can look at your processes to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

Akers said the land bank doesn’t have “that kind of internal capacity. No wonder they’re facing so many other outside challenges from the various agencies that oversee them.”

Fahle, the land bank spokesman, declined comment on Murray’s situation, citing the pending lawsuit. But he pointed to stronger controls adopted in 2016 to ensure all state and federal guidelines are followed properly.

According to his lawsuit, Murray’s parents bought the house in 1961, when he was 8, and he continued to live there after their deaths; his father in the 1970s, his mother in the 1990s. But he didn’t have title to the house. The structure was forfeited to the Wayne County treasurer for non-payment of taxes in September 2011 and ended up in the hands of the land bank in April 2014.

Murray, who is 64 and receives federal disability benefits, said he was not aware that the land bank owned the property until he got a call from a neighbor, Maurice Gambrell, who said two men had pried open the door to his house with a crowbar, according to the lawsuit.

Gambrell said the men told him in April 2016 that Murray’s house was on the city’s demolition list and they were there to empty it, the lawsuit said.  

Murray was in Southfield at the time, watching his grandchildren, and rushed back to Quincy Street, which is northeast of Livernois and Fenkell, to confront the men and make a police report, the suit said.

The men took Murray’s medications and about $250 in cash, the suit claims. They had also strewn other belongings around the house, damaged the blinds and removed the front door.

Murray scrambled to find out what was going on: He wrote to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and other elected officials, and soon after got a call from Fahle, the land bank spokesman. Fahle told him that the land bank owned the property, according to the lawsuit.

Fahle assured Murray the land bank would not demolish the house, the suit says.

In May, late on a Friday afternoon, Murray got another call from Gambrell while watching his grandchildren: A Dumpster had been parked next to the house and an eviction appeared imminent.

Murray called the land bank again to remind officials he was still living in the house, the suit said.

Fahle sent a message to three other officials saying: “We need an inspector to check for occupancy, Caller Daniel Murray claims to still live in the house,” according to the suit.

But on the following Monday, about 7 a.m., an eviction team was at the house, throwing Murray’s things into a Dumpster.

Because it was before business hours, Murray couldn’t reach the land bank, and because he didn’t have a car that morning, he couldn’t get back to Detroit to stop the eviction, his suit says.

When he finally returned to Detroit several days later, the Dumpster and his things were gone.

“This ambush-style eviction has been deeply traumatic and disruptive to Murray’s life. He lost the home he had lived in since age 8, that his deceased parents had purchased. He is now without a home and is renting a room at a family member’s house,” the suit says.

“Additionally, Murray lost essentially all of his belongings that he kept in the house,” including clothes and furniture. As a person who receives disability and food assistance benefits, “these cannot be easily replaced.”

“Moreover, a price cannot be put on the countless other of his deeply personal family possessions, including family pictures, his family china cabinet, and his mother’s antiques,” the suit claims. 

The land bank, in court records, said Murray wasn’t living in the house, and cited inspections of the property by contractors in 2014 and 2016.

“There were NO credible or reasonable signs of human occupancy at the property” during the time the land bank owed the building, land bank lawyers told the court. “The property was confirmed vacant and abandoned through multiple investigations and indicators.”

However, the CEO of a company that did a 2014 inspection said in a sworn statement that it was an ”external inspection only.”

In other court filings, the land bank said it couldn’t answer questions about whether other inspectors went inside Murray’s house because the information “is outside the Detroit Land Bank Authority’s scope of knowledge.”

The land bank said gas and electricity to the property were shut off in December 2015. It said the water was turned off in 2008, which Murray’s lawyer, Matt Clark of Detroit, disputed.

“Plaintiff’s claims are frivolous,” the land bank told the court in asking that the case be dismissed. “It is quite clear that plaintiff has pursued this course of action with the primary purpose to embarrass or injure the defendant … Plaintiff has engaged in a campaign of libel and slander.”

According to an October 2016 memo by the land bank’s demolition director, Becki Camargo, Murray did not live at the property at the time of the inspections or demolition. She said he never owned the house and never produced a lease. 

“Therefore the demolition was proper and did not require an eviction,” Camargo wrote. “Any personal property left behind in the house was abandoned long ago when Mr. Murray moved out.”

Rickman, the demolition contractor, said in court filings that it first learned of Murray’s concerns when it received a copy of his lawsuit. Rickman’s lawyer, Anthony Adams, did not return calls seeking comment. 

Three of Murray’s neighbors have signed sworn affidavits saying he lived in the house.

“Anyone who looked at 15745 Quincy from the street would have seen that the home was occupied and not abandoned. The lawn was continuously mowed and otherwise kept up, the doors and windows were locked, there were possessions in the home, and a gate was up around the yard,” said neighbor Shona Butts.

Two other neighbors, Dwayne Lee and Gambrell, said Murray would regularly shovel the snow, mow the lawn and take out the trash. Lee said he would “often see the lights on in Daniel’s house.”

In an interview on his front porch, Gambrell said: “It’s not fair the way they took the house down.” He said Murray’s house could have been fixed up for less than the more than $22,000 spent on the demolition. 

David Harris of Southfield said in an affidavit that he and Murray grew up as neighbors on Quincy and have known each other for more than 50 years. Harris said he would pick him up at his house twice a week to take him on errands because Murray didn’t have a car.

He said he went inside Murray’s house frequently, and it was “where he kept all his possessions. He was not a resident at any other home.”

Contact Jennifer Dixon: 313-223-4410 or jbdixon@freepress.com

Article source: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/2017/06/19/ambush-eviction-demolition/378899001/

Wayne County Treasurer Sabree Extends Interest Rate Reduction Program

Wayne County Treasurer Eric R. Sabree is pleased to announce that his office has chosen to extend the June 7, 2017 deadline for a special program to reduce interest rates for homeowners at risk of foreclosure from 18% to 6%.

The Interest Reduction Stipulated Payment Agreement (IRSPA) program for 2017 has been extended to June 28, 2017.

“This is a great opportunity for people to reduce interest rates saving money and saving their homes,” said Treasurer Sabree. “We thought it was a highly successful program last year and we worked hard to have it reinstated for 2017 by legislative action. We are voluntarily extending the program until June 28 to give as many people as possible an opportunity to sign up and avoid foreclosure.”

In the program, homeowners are eligible to enter into payment plans at a reduced interest rate — 6%, compared to the usual 18% — and pay delinquent taxes. The result is a reasonable monthly payment amount that will help hundreds of families stay in their homes. The reduced interest plan is available only to those who own their primary residence.

The program is extended to reduce foreclosures in Detroit and Wayne County with numerous properties at risk for unpaid 2014 property taxes.

The program was announced by Treasurer Sabree, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in April, the Interest Reduction monthly payment agreement — which had expired in 2016 — has been reinstated in 2017 under a bill signed by Gov. Rick Snyder. The new program, which also reduces the interest rate to 6 percent from 18 percent, took effect in April.

Article source: https://michronicleonline.com/2017/06/16/wayne-county-treasurer-sabree-extends-interest-rate-reduction-program/

Wells Fargo Denies New Allegations of Improper Mortgage Changes

Wells Fargo (WFC) is facing allegations that officials in the bank’s mortgage department changed home loans held by customers in bankruptcy, even during its 2015 fraudulent accounts crisis, the New York Times reported.

Several lawsuits allege that the mortgage changes, which came as surprises to customers, lowered monthly payments but extended borrowing terms for decades. This meant customers in bankruptcy would pay less monthly, but would eventually owe the bank more due to the lengthened term and subsequent interest.

The suits also contend that Wells Fargo pushed through changes without proper approval from the court or a third party who sign off on this type of change for a borrower who declared personal bankruptcy.

Wells Fargo spokesman Tom Goyda said the borrowers were notified of the changes, which have helped over one million families avoid foreclosure.

Shares of Wells Fargo traded slightly down at midday.

What’s Hot on TheStreet

Beware Tesla fanboys: Tesla (TSLA) burning money, but shareholders are the likely ones to blister and feel the pain. The standard 90-day corporate equity lockup period for Tesla, following its $402.5 million stock sale of March 16, ends Thursday TheStreet reports. As a result, Tesla will be free to conduct another stock offering as soon as Thursday, which is a real possibility given the electric car company’s debt situation, partly due to its Solar City investment, and need for additional cash. Any new issuance the company may seek would likely need to take place before July, which is when Tesla issues its quarterly report on car sales. Alternatively, an offering could come in late August after Tesla issues its quarterly financial report.

Article source: https://www.thestreet.com/story/14181176/1/wells-fargo-denies-new-allegations-of-improper-mortgage-changes.html

North Carolina Supreme Court Holds That Liberal Standard of Notice Pleading Applies to Judicial Foreclosure Actions

In an important decision for creditors, the North Carolina Supreme Court recently clarified the distinction between judicial foreclosure and non-judicial foreclosure by power of sale.  In U.S. Bank v. Pinkney, the Supreme Court held that judicial foreclosure is an ordinary civil action subject to the liberal standard of notice pleading of North Carolina’s Rules of Civil Procedure.  The ruling benefits creditors because it means if they bring a judicial foreclosure action, they need not prove their case in their initial complaint.  They merely must allege a debt secured by a deed of trust, a default, and their right to enforce the deed of trust.  The ruling is especially helpful for creditors who acquired loans through transfer and assignment, and who may have indorsement or other issues in their documentation raising questions about whether they may enforce the loans.

Civil Actions and Judicial Foreclosure

To understand the decision, it helps to know the difference between civil actions and special proceedings, and the difference between judicial and non-judicial foreclosure.  A civil action is an ordinary lawsuit before a trial judge.  A plaintiff files a complaint against a defendant, the defendant answers, and the case proceeds.  The complaint must contain sufficient allegations that, if proven, entitle a party to relief, but a plaintiff need not prove its entire case.  Under the liberal standard of notice pleading, the court must accept allegations as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.  A court should not dismiss a complaint unless the plaintiff could prove no set of facts entitling him to relief under some legal theory.  In a civil action, the parties can engage in discovery, present and defend evidence, and make legal arguments by motion.  If the parties do not resolve the case through settlement or dispositive motion, it culminates in a trial.

A judicial foreclosure is a civil action.  The lender files a complaint in the county where the property is located asking that it be sold under judicial process and the proceeds applied to the mortgage debt.  The complaint must allege, at minimum, a debt, default on the debt, a deed of trust securing the debt, and the plaintiff’s (lender’s) right to enforce the deed of trust.  If the lender prevails, the court enters a judgment on the debt and orders a judicial sale of the mortgaged property.

Special Proceedings and Non-Judicial Foreclosure Under Chapter 45

Special proceedings are resolved by the clerk of court.  They are not lawsuits.  When a creditor forecloses under the power of sale provision in a deed of trust, it engages in a non-judicial foreclosure.  Chapter 45 of the North Carolina General Statutes governs non-judicial foreclosures and requires the clerk to authorize a foreclosure sale if the lender establishes the existence of (1) a valid debt, (2) default, (3) the creditor’s right to foreclose (including that creditor is the “holder” of the loan documents), (4) notice, (5) “home loan” classification and applicable pre-foreclosure notice, and (6) that the sale is not barred by the debtor’s military status.  Most foreclosures in North Carolina are of this non-judicial variety.  At a foreclosure hearing, the creditor files an affidavit to prove these elements.

The Pinkney Case

In 1997, the Pinkneys borrowed money from Ford Consumer Finance Company to purchase real property.  The Pinkneys signed a promissory note and a deed of trust encumbering the property.  U.S. Bank acquired the loan through a series of transfers and assignments.  In 2014, after the Pinkneys defaulted, U.S. Bank filed a complaint seeking judicial foreclosure of the deed of trust.  The complaint alleged that the Pinkneys owed a valid debt to U.S. Bank, that they had defaulted, and that they had refused to pay the debt after written notice of default.  As to U.S. Bank’s right to enforce the Ford Consumer Finance Company loan documents, the complaint alleged a series of transfers and attached various assignments and allonges as exhibits.

The borrowers moved to dismiss the complaint.  The trial court found the exhibits failed to include a required indorsement and dismissed the action with prejudice. The North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that U.S. Bank failed to establish affirmatively all elements under Chapter 45.  Specifically, the Court of Appeals found that the complaint failed to establish that U.S. Bank was the holder of the note secured by the deed of trust.  In reaching their decisions, the trial court and Court of Appeals looked at U.S. Bank’s complaint as if it were the affidavit filed in a non-judicial foreclosure proceeding. 

The North Carolina Supreme Court’s Decision

The North Carolina Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals.  The Supreme Court began by reminding the courts that North Carolina’s Rules of Civil Procedure contain a liberal standard of notice pleading. Under that standard, a complaint sufficiently alleges a claim if it contains enough detail to place the court and the parties on notice of the essential facts to be proved at trial.  The Court held that—just like any other civil action—a creditor seeking judicial foreclosure does not have to prove its entire case at the initial pleading stage.   Trial courts may not evaluate judicial foreclosure complaints by considering if they prove all elements of a Chapter 45 non-judicial foreclosure by power of sale.

Here, because U.S. Bank alleged a debt, default, a deed of trust securing the debt, and that—through the chain of transfers—it was the holder of the promissory note (with the right to enforce the deed of trust), the Court determined that its complaint met this standard. 

Conclusion

The North Carolina Supreme Court’s ruling addresses the minimum requirements for bringing a judicial foreclosure action.  A complaint sufficient to survive dismissal under North Carolina law is not the same as a judgment on the debt and a judicial sale of the mortgaged property.  Creditors still must prove their right to foreclose and be able to defend evidentiary and other objections by the borrower.  But this case is a victory for creditors.  If nothing else, it provides leverage to creditors.  Borrowers can no longer dismiss a case at inception and will be forced to submit to discovery, motions, and the specter of a full-blown trial to avoid foreclosure.

Article source: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/north-carolina-supreme-court-holds-that-96917/

Attorney General giving Spa City new way to analyze vacant …



SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. The NY Attorney General recently announced Saratoga Springs as one of 18 cities to receive a subscription to a data platform designed to integrate and analyze data over the next two years to address and transform problem homes and buildings.

The city has 90 vacant properties.

“What we do have is a larger number of vacant properties than you might think in Saratoga Springs. That being the case it affects a lot of things. It affects property values, it affects character of neighborhoods,” said John Daly, who interned for the city monitoring buildings. “We are a tourist destination and that’s a very important factor to consider as well, so the goal here was to figure out a way to mitigate the level of vacant properties but also keep in their homes, at-risk homeowners.”

Launched in April, AG Eric T. Schneiderman announced the winners of the first phase of the Cities for Responsible Investment and Strategic Enforcement (Cities RISE) earlier this week.

“Too many New Yorkers are still struggling in the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis. That’s why my office is investing the dollars we secured from the banks, to provide the tools necessary to rebuild and strengthen our neighborhoods,” said Schneiderman in a statement. “Cities RISE presents a 21st century approach to overcoming this crisis and revitalizing New York’s communities.”

The Attorney General has obtained settlements with financial institutions in 2016 to address misconduct that contributed to the collapse of the housing market—bringing more than $95 billion to communities across the country and over $5.5 billion to New York State alone. With those funds, the Office of the Attorney General has established several consumer programs, from the Homeowners Protection Program (HOPP) to the Land Bank Community Revitalization Initiative, all with the goal of helping New Yorkers become homeowners, avoid foreclosure and improve blight in their communities.

“He’s a great leader and he has designed this program to help local communities in New York, and Saratoga Springs is very grateful for his leadership on this,” said Mayor Joanne Yepsen. “I just love this program.”

Daly said the city came up with a two-prong approach. The first was an outreach program for those at-risk properties and the second dealt with adding resources to improve enforcement.

“The goal being to get those properties back on the tax rolls and hopefully get somebody in them,” said Daly.

The two-year program will be an additional resource to improve coding enforcement.

The national community development nonprofits Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), who manage the platform, selected the 18 cities.

“Enterprise recognizes the value of data to local governments and strongly believes that code enforcement can be a powerful tool to strengthen our communities,” said Judi Kende, Vice President and Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners in a statement.

The investment totals more than $10 million of the two-year period.

The platform will allow Saratoga Springs to analyze code enforcement records, tax liens and fire and police data.

Cities RISE partnered with Tolemi, formerly known as OpportunitySpace, a social enterprise that created BuildingBlocks, a platform designed to integrate housing and code enforcement related data, and was selected for this program following significant research and consultation with numerous industry experts.

Article source: http://www.saratogian.com/general-news/20170613/attorney-general-giving-spa-city-new-way-to-analyze-vacant-properties

Wells Fargo Is Accused of Making Improper Changes to Mortgages

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/business/wells-fargo-loan-mortgage.html