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Puerto Rico families fight, flee a surge in foreclosures

Elvis Guzman opened the letter, saw it was in English and took it to his lawyer for translation.

The 59-year-old who sells recycled metal for a living figured it was another letter from the bank warning his family that they were behind on their mortgage payments. But the news from the attorney shocked him.

“He told me I was losing my home. When he told me that, I burst into tears,” Guzman recalled. “You have no idea the depression I’m going through. I am going to fight tooth and nail for this house.”

An average of 14 families lose homes every day to foreclosure in Puerto Rico, more than double the rate a decade ago as the island faces a real-estate crash worse than the one that sparked the Great Recession on the U.S. mainland. Families across Puerto Rico are moving in with relatives, becoming homeless or simply fleeing to the U.S. mainland with destroyed credit records as the island’s government struggles to restructure a portion of its $73 billion public debt and help the economy emerge from a decade-long recession.

“It’s the crisis no one is talking about,” said Ricardo Ramos, a professor at the Legal Assistance Clinic of the University of Puerto Rico. “This has so, so many consequences.”

In this U.S. territory of 3.4 million people, local courts oversaw foreclosures on nearly 33,000 homes from 2009 to 2016, according to government statistics. A record 5,424 homes were foreclosed last year, up 130 percent from nearly a decade ago, when the government first began tracking those numbers.

However, the actual number of foreclosures is much higher because the statistics do not include an estimated 20,000 loans in default or close to default that local banks have sold to companies outside Puerto Rico since 2009, Ramos said. Those cases are largely handled in federal court and no one compiles statistics.

Looking ahead, more than 17,000 homes are now in the process of foreclosure in local courts, including the one Guzman bought more than a decade ago in a working class suburb in the capital of San Juan that he shares with his wife, who works as a maid, and two young daughters.

He was paying $1,114 a month on their home when the prices for copper, iron and other metals dropped. His business shrank and he filed for bankruptcy. He then fell behind on his mortgage payments and recently got denied a payment plan despite insisting he can afford to pay $700 a month.

“My attorney told me, ‘You have to prepare yourself for a Plan B,’” Guzman said. “I’m not doing that … I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m not leaving my house.”

Nonprofit organizations struggling with dwindling budgets amid the island’s economic slump say the jump in foreclosures has led to a surge of Puerto Ricans seeking help amid a deep economic crisis.

“The great majority are professionals,” said Leslie Ortiz, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army in Puerto Rico. “It’s people who have studied, who have worked and have lost everything and don’t know where to go to find help because they’ve never needed it.”

Of the 35 people recently staying at the Salvation Army’s shelter for men in Puerto Rico, nearly half were there because they lost their homes and have no substance abuse or other issues, she said.

The group also is providing financial help to people like Sandra Maldonado, a 40-year-old divorced mother of two boys who is in danger of losing her home.

Maldonado and her ex-husband bought the three-bedroom home for $70,000 with the help of federal and local incentives more than a decade ago. She is now behind on her mortgage because she recently had to choose whether to pay for her son’s medical care and make a house payment. She has borrowed money from family and friends on occasion as letters from the bank accumulate.

“You get scared because you think, ‘My God, I have two children and I’m going to be left without a roof over my head,’” she said.

The number of people in Puerto Rico who have become homeless because of job loss or eviction has increased in recent years, with a total of more than 4,400 homeless people reported last year, a nearly 10 percent increase from 2009, according to U.S. Housing and Urban Development. More than half the homeless people interviewed for a 2015 Puerto Rico government survey held every two years said they were homeless for the first time.

“The foreclosure problem that Puerto Rico has experienced over the past few years is actually worse than what we saw during the height of the foreclosure crisis nationwide,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with Attom Data solutions, a U.S. housing data provider.

The problem in Puerto Rico also has been more persistent, with foreclosure rates above the 1 percent benchmark level for nearly seven years. In comparison, hard-hit U.S. states like Nevada were above that level for only five years, Blomquist said.

And unlike the U.S. mainland, where the housing crisis was set off by the collapse of a price bubble, experts say the high level of foreclosures in Puerto Rico comes mostly from the island’s long economic slump, which has produced an unemployment rate of 12 percent.

“The difference with Puerto Rico is that it’s not just risky bad loans that are driving foreclosures. It’s the underlying weak economy,” Blomquist said. “That’s a harder problem to solve than it is to solve bad loans.”

About 60 percent of foreclosed homes in Puerto Rico have been abandoned, said Silvio Lopez, president of Puerto Rico’s Mortgage Bankers Association. By comparison, only 30 percent of foreclosed homes were abandoned in the U.S., mostly in areas hardest hit by the recession.

To stay afloat, banks in Puerto Rico have sold more than 70 percent of their mortgage portfolio on the secondary market, said Zoime Alvarez Rubio, executive vice president of Puerto Rico’s Association of Banks.

“Banks cannot carry this risk. … It’s too much to bear,” she said in explaining why troubled loans are sold off. “The economic impact and risk is monumental.”

Blomquist said that is an extremely high number, adding that banks on the U.S. mainland discovered that strategy late in the housing crisis.

As of last year, Puerto Rico’s six commercial banks still had more than 3,800 repossessed homes on their books worth $338 million, Alvarez said. To avoid even more foreclosures, local banks since 2009 have implemented more than 176,000 alternatives to foreclosure worth $19 billion, including restructurings and refinancing.

Alvarez and other banking officials say the number of foreclosures is decreasing because the record number reported last year reflected what happened in previous years. Government statistics show the mortgage delinquency rate has dropped to nearly 13 percent from a high of nearly 18 percent in September 2012. For comparison, that rate is roughly 5 percent on the U.S. mainland.

“It’s still an absolute crisis,” said Ramos, the professor at the University of Puerto Rico. “This island is falling apart.”

———

Follow Danica Coto on Twitter: www.twitter.com/danicacoto

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/puerto-rico-families-fight-flee-surge-foreclosures-48173662

Rivers property facing foreclosure

Grosse Pointe Woods — Wayne County has begun foreclosure action against The Rivers, the 14-acre senior living development on Cook Road.

In a June 19 letter to Woods City Administrator Bruce Smith, Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree cited three years of unpaid property taxes as reason for the action.

“Review of the property found that no payments have been received by our office since the initial 2014 tax transfer on March 1, 2015,” Sabree wrote in the letter. “Tax years 2014 and 2015 are now in a ‘forfeited’ status and the Wayne County treasurer has filed a foreclosure action against the property in the Circuit Court on June 15, 2017.”

However, according to Richard Levin who owns The Rivers through his company DRSN Real Estate GP LLC in Bingham Farms, the tax issue is the result of his appealing assessments of the property by Grosse Pointe Woods.

Levin and the city have been embroiled in a battle over the city’s assessment of the property for several years, with the case being settled December 2016 by the Michigan State Tax Tribunal. Levin challenged the city’s initial assessment of $18 million, an amount lowered to $12 million, which Levin continues to challenge.

Levin purchased the property at 900 Cook Road, the former Children’s Home of Detroit, in 2012 from Starr Commonwealth for $2,385,209.

The action from Wayne County does not involve the separate condominium development that is part of the 14-acre complex.

Of specific concern to city officials is Wayne County notified the city that funds forwarded to them by Wayne County under the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund must now be repaid. Under the DTRF, Wayne County advances money to municipalities in anticipation of taxes being paid. County officials now have determined the taxes due from The Rivers are “likely uncollectable.”

What this means to the Woods’ tax coffers is DTRF money typically forwarded to them by Wayne County will be reduced by $741,451. According to Woods records, taxes owed by DRSN to all entities, including the Grosse Pointe Public School System, are $882,665, for 2014; $1,310,813 for 2015 and $1,416,715 for 2016.

According to Woods Treasurer Cathrene Behrens, Wayne County has been in negotiations with Levin.

“Wayne County has made a settlement offer, but it was rejected by Levin,” she told the city council, meeting as a committee of the whole Monday, June 19.

Sabree confirmed that in his letter to Smith.

“Wayne County Corporation Counsel has sent a proposed payment plan to avoid foreclosure via email on May 25, 2017,” Sabree wrote. “To date there has been no response from the taxpayer or their representative regarding the proposed payment plan.”

Levin disputed that claim.

“We are in discussion with Wayne County and it is our intention to pay our taxes in full,” he said.

The Rivers is a continuing care retirement community consisting of privately owned condominiums, independent living apartments, assisted living facilities and a skilled nursing facility.

Article source: http://www.grossepointenews.com/Articles-News-i-2017-06-22-264617.114135-Rivers-property-facing-foreclosure.html

Puerto Rico Grapples With Foreclosure Crisis as Thousands Lose Homes

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Elvis Guzman opened the letter, saw it was in English and took it to his lawyer for translation.

The 59-year-old who sells recycled metal for a living figured it was another letter from the bank warning his family that they were behind on their mortgage payments. But the news from the attorney shocked him.

“He told me I was losing my home. When he told me that, I burst into tears,” Guzman recalled. “You have no idea the depression I’m going through. I am going to fight tooth and nail for this house.”

An average of 14 families lose homes every day to foreclosure in Puerto Rico, more than double the rate a decade ago as the island faces a real-estate crash worse than the one that sparked the Great Recession on the U.S. mainland. Families across Puerto Rico are moving in with relatives, becoming homeless or simply fleeing to the U.S. mainland with destroyed credit records as the island’s government struggles to restructure a portion of its $73 billion public debt and help the economy emerge from a decade-long recession.

RELATED: What’s Next in the Fight for Puerto Rico Statehood?

“It’s the crisis no one is talking about,” said Ricardo Ramos, a professor at the Legal Assistance Clinic of the University of Puerto Rico. “This has so, so many consequences.”

In this U.S. territory of 3.4 million people, local courts oversaw foreclosures on nearly 33,000 homes from 2009 to 2016, according to government statistics. A record 5,424 homes were foreclosed last year, up 130 percent from nearly a decade ago, when the government first began tracking those numbers.

However, the actual number of foreclosures is much higher because the statistics do not include an estimated 20,000 loans in default or close to default that local banks have sold to companies outside Puerto Rico since 2009, Ramos said. Those cases are largely handled in federal court and no one compiles statistics.

Looking ahead, more than 17,000 homes are now in the process of foreclosure in local courts, including the one Guzman bought more than a decade ago in a working class suburb in the capital of San Juan that he shares with his wife, who works as a maid, and two young daughters.

He was paying $1,114 a month on their home when the prices for copper, iron and other metals dropped. His business shrank and he filed for bankruptcy. He then fell behind on his mortgage payments and recently got denied a payment plan despite insisting he can afford to pay $700 a month.

“My attorney told me, ‘You have to prepare yourself for a Plan B,’” Guzman said. “I’m not doing that … I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m not leaving my house.”



Nonprofit organizations struggling with dwindling budgets amid the island’s economic slump say the jump in foreclosures has led to a surge of Puerto Ricans seeking help amid a deep economic crisis.

“The great majority are professionals,” said Leslie Ortiz, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army in Puerto Rico. “It’s people who have studied, who have worked and have lost everything and don’t know where to go to find help because they’ve never needed it.”

Of the 35 people recently staying at the Salvation Army’s shelter for men in Puerto Rico, nearly half were there because they lost their homes and have no substance abuse or other issues, she said.

The group also is providing financial help to people like Sandra Maldonado, a 40-year-old divorced mother of two boys who is in danger of losing her home.

Maldonado and her ex-husband bought the three-bedroom home for $70,000 with the help of federal and local incentives more than a decade ago. She is now behind on her mortgage because she recently had to choose whether to pay for her son’s medical care and make a house payment. She has borrowed money from family and friends on occasion as letters from the bank accumulate.

“You get scared because you think, ‘My God, I have two children and I’m going to be left without a roof over my head,’” she said.

The number of people in Puerto Rico who have become homeless because of job loss or eviction has increased in recent years, with a total of more than 4,400 homeless people reported last year, a nearly 10 percent increase from 2009, according to U.S. Housing and Urban Development. More than half the homeless people interviewed for a 2015 Puerto Rico government survey held every two years said they were homeless for the first time.

RELATED: Puerto Rico Fights Debtholders’ Lawsuits with Bankruptcy Protection Filing

“The foreclosure problem that Puerto Rico has experienced over the past few years is actually worse than what we saw during the height of the foreclosure crisis nationwide,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with Attom Data solutions, a U.S. housing data provider.

The problem in Puerto Rico also has been more persistent, with foreclosure rates above the 1 percent benchmark level for nearly seven years. In comparison, hard-hit U.S. states like Nevada were above that level for only five years, Blomquist said.



And unlike the U.S. mainland, where the housing crisis was set off by the collapse of a price bubble, experts say the high level of foreclosures in Puerto Rico comes mostly from the island’s long economic slump, which has produced an unemployment rate of 12 percent.

“The difference with Puerto Rico is that it’s not just risky bad loans that are driving foreclosures. It’s the underlying weak economy,” Blomquist said. “That’s a harder problem to solve than it is to solve bad loans.”

About 60 percent of foreclosed homes in Puerto Rico have been abandoned, said Silvio Lopez, president of Puerto Rico’s Mortgage Bankers Association. By comparison, only 30 percent of foreclosed homes were abandoned in the U.S., mostly in areas hardest hit by the recession.

To stay afloat, banks in Puerto Rico have sold more than 70 percent of their mortgage portfolio on the secondary market, said Zoime Alvarez Rubio, executive vice president of Puerto Rico’s Association of Banks.

“Banks cannot carry this risk. … It’s too much to bear,” she said in explaining why troubled loans are sold off. “The economic impact and risk is monumental.”

Blomquist said that is an extremely high number, adding that banks on the U.S. mainland discovered that strategy late in the housing crisis.

As of last year, Puerto Rico’s six commercial banks still had more than 3,800 repossessed homes on their books worth $338 million, Alvarez said. To avoid even more foreclosures, local banks since 2009 have implemented more than 176,000 alternatives to foreclosure worth $19 billion, including restructurings and refinancing.

Alvarez and other banking officials say the number of foreclosures is decreasing because the record number reported last year reflected what happened in previous years. Government statistics show the mortgage delinquency rate has dropped to nearly 13 percent from a high of nearly 18 percent in September 2012. For comparison, that rate is roughly 5 percent on the U.S. mainland.

“It’s still an absolute crisis,” said Ramos, the professor at the University of Puerto Rico. “This island is falling apart.”

Follow NBC News Latino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Article source: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/puerto-rico-grapples-foreclosure-crisis-thousands-lose-homes-n775021

NOTICE OF FORECLOSURE SALE: Robert P. Schnaar

NOTICE OF
ASSOCIATION LIEN
FORECLOSURE SALE
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that default has occurred in the terms and conditions of the Declaration for Oakwoode Lustre Town Home Association (“Declaration”) which governs the following described real property
situated in the County of Washington and State of Minnesota, to-wit:
Lot 7, Block 1, Oakwoode Lustre 3rd Addition, CIC No. 142
according to the plat thereof on file or of record in the Office of the County Recorder in and for Washington County, Minnesota.
PROPERTY ADDRESS: 6676 Gretchen Lane N, Oakdale, MN 55128
Pursuant to said Declaration, there is claimed to be due and owing as of the date of this Notice by Robert P. Schnaar, as Unit Owner, to Oakwoode Lustre Town Home Association, the principal amount of Four Thousand Two Hundred Eighty and 00/100 ($4,280.00) for association assessments; and that any action being now pending at law or otherwise to recover said debt or any part thereof has been discontinued, or that an execution upon any judgment rendered therein has been returned unsatisfied, in whole or in part.
Pursuant to said Declaration and
Minnesota Statutes Chapter 515B, said debt creates a lien upon said premises in favor of Oakwoode Lustre Town Home Association, as evidenced by that Notice of Lien dated July 8, 2016, and recorded July 21, 2016, as Document No. 4075673 in the office of the County Recorder in and for Washington County, Minnesota, and by virtue of the power of sale created by statute, said lien will be foreclosed by the sale of said premises, which said sale will be made by the Sheriff of Washington County, at public auction to the highest bidder, for cash, to pay the amount then due for said association assessments, together with the costs of foreclosure, including attorney’s fees as allowed by law, as follows:
DATE AND TIME OF SALE: August 9, 2017 at 10:00 AM
PLACE OF SALE: Law Enforcement Center, 15015 62nd St. N, Stillwater, MN
The time allowed by law for redemption by the Unit owner, their personal representatives or assigns, is six (6) months from the date of said sale. If no reinstatement or redemption occurs, the property must be vacated by 11:59 PM on February 9, 2018.
Dated: May 23, 2017
By ______/s/__________
David J. Raymond, #221818
Attorney for Oakwoode Lustre Town Home Association
Raymond Law Offices, PA
5838 Blackshire Path, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076
651-455-3100
File 216105
THIS COMMUNICATION IS FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR
6/21-7/26/2017

Article source: http://www.swcbulletin.com/legals/4285934-notice-foreclosure-sale-robert-p-schnaar

County board approves tax foreclosure sale

CHEBOYGAN COUNTY- More than $106,000 was transferred into the Cheboygan County general fund from the treasurer’s office from the sales of tax foreclosures in the county.

Cheboygan County Treasurer Buffy Jo Weldon presented her annual sales proceeds report to the Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners at its most recent meeting, which showed all the revenues and expenditures from the tax sales.

“The difference is a surplus of $106,235.48,” said Weldon. “In addition to the surplus, there’s still no cost to the general fund for a full-time employee.”

Money from the fund has been used to fund a full-time employee in the treasurer’s office for several years. Properties are able to be sold at tax auction two years after they have been foreclosed on. As part of that process, there are additional fees added onto the delinquent taxes by the state of $15 in the first year and $235 in the second year. These fees are to help cover the cost of recording fees, mailing notices, title searches, publications and all other expenses. The sales proceeds from the tax sales and these fees have covered the expenses of administering the program up to and including the funding for the full-time position.

Weldon requested the board instruct her to move the $106,235.48 into the county’s general fund, which the county board voted unanimously to do. The county currently had around $129,000 from the sales proceeds several years ago that had been earmarked for capital projects. The board voted to designate the money transferred into the general fund to also be marked for use for improvements to the county building.

The board was also presented with a list of 18 parcels currently being foreclosed on in the county which are up for the tax sale.

Before selling these parcels at auction, they must first be presented to the Department of Natural Resources, who can purchase any and all of the properties at fair market value. Any of the properties that remain after that are then offered to the local municipalities who can purchase them and use them for public use before they are offered to the county, who must use them for the same if purchased.

Weldon did suggest two parcels to the State of Michigan for purchase due to there being adjoining state property to both.

“In my opinion, none of these parcels would benefit the county to own,” said Weldon. “Any properties sold at the auction will be put back on the tax rolls, so my request is to have this waiver signed.”

The county board voted unanimously to sign the waiver for the first right of refusal, allowing the 18 parcels to be put up for auction at the annual tax foreclosure sale.

Also at the meeting, the board approved the applications for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant and the Michigan Drug Court grant.

“They did change the process this year, where the state court’s administrator’s office is requiring that all drug courts become certified courts,” said Cheboygan County Finance Director Kari Kortz. “And then that makes the grant application funding process a little easier. You apply just one time for all of the grants that are available for those types of programs.”

The application was due June 2, but Kortz was able to submit the application administratively and bring it to the board for approval and ratification after the fact. She had gotten the application for review a couple days prior to the deadline and was able to make any changes she felt necessary.

The board voted unanimously to submit the application for the grant funding in the amount of $110,042.63.

The current year’s award was $105,000. The application submitted was for a little over $5,000 additional, which will be used for personnel and wages and fringe benefits.

“Which were budgeted changes based on our three year plan,” said Kortz.

There were also changes made to the amount allocated to the Salvation Army for monitoring the county’s transitional housing. Once the grant is approved, the county will be told how much it will be awarded, and the budget for the grant may need to be amended and brought back before the board or Kortz for approval.

Article source: http://www.cheboygannews.com/news/20170621/county-board-approves-tax-foreclosure-sale

Puerto Rico families fight, flee a surge in foreclosures

Elvis Guzman opened the letter, saw it was in English and took it to his lawyer for translation.

The 59-year-old who sells recycled metal for a living figured it was another letter from the bank warning his family that they were behind on their mortgage payments. But the news from the attorney shocked him.

“He told me I was losing my home. When he told me that, I burst into tears,” Guzman recalled. “You have no idea the depression I’m going through. I am going to fight tooth and nail for this house.”

An average of 14 families lose homes every day to foreclosure in Puerto Rico, more than double the rate a decade ago as the island faces a real-estate crash worse than the one that sparked the Great Recession on the U.S. mainland. Families across Puerto Rico are moving in with relatives, becoming homeless or simply fleeing to the U.S. mainland with destroyed credit records as the island’s government struggles to restructure a portion of its $73 billion public debt and help the economy emerge from a decade-long recession.

“It’s the crisis no one is talking about,” said Ricardo Ramos, a professor at the Legal Assistance Clinic of the University of Puerto Rico. “This has so, so many consequences.”

In this U.S. territory of 3.4 million people, local courts oversaw foreclosures on nearly 33,000 homes from 2009 to 2016, according to government statistics. A record 5,424 homes were foreclosed last year, up 130 percent from nearly a decade ago, when the government first began tracking those numbers.

However, the actual number of foreclosures is much higher because the statistics do not include an estimated 20,000 loans in default or close to default that local banks have sold to companies outside Puerto Rico since 2009, Ramos said. Those cases are largely handled in federal court and no one compiles statistics.

Looking ahead, more than 17,000 homes are now in the process of foreclosure in local courts, including the one Guzman bought more than a decade ago in a working class suburb in the capital of San Juan that he shares with his wife, who works as a maid, and two young daughters.

He was paying $1,114 a month on their home when the prices for copper, iron and other metals dropped. His business shrank and he filed for bankruptcy. He then fell behind on his mortgage payments and recently got denied a payment plan despite insisting he can afford to pay $700 a month.

“My attorney told me, ‘You have to prepare yourself for a Plan B,’” Guzman said. “I’m not doing that … I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m not leaving my house.”

Nonprofit organizations struggling with dwindling budgets amid the island’s economic slump say the jump in foreclosures has led to a surge of Puerto Ricans seeking help amid a deep economic crisis.

“The great majority are professionals,” said Leslie Ortiz, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army in Puerto Rico. “It’s people who have studied, who have worked and have lost everything and don’t know where to go to find help because they’ve never needed it.”

Of the 35 people recently staying at the Salvation Army’s shelter for men in Puerto Rico, nearly half were there because they lost their homes and have no substance abuse or other issues, she said.

The group also is providing financial help to people like Sandra Maldonado, a 40-year-old divorced mother of two boys who is in danger of losing her home.

Maldonado and her ex-husband bought the three-bedroom home for $70,000 with the help of federal and local incentives more than a decade ago. She is now behind on her mortgage because she recently had to choose whether to pay for her son’s medical care and make a house payment. She has borrowed money from family and friends on occasion as letters from the bank accumulate.

“You get scared because you think, ‘My God, I have two children and I’m going to be left without a roof over my head,’” she said.

The number of people in Puerto Rico who have become homeless because of job loss or eviction has increased in recent years, with a total of more than 4,400 homeless people reported last year, a nearly 10 percent increase from 2009, according to U.S. Housing and Urban Development. More than half the homeless people interviewed for a 2015 Puerto Rico government survey held every two years said they were homeless for the first time.

“The foreclosure problem that Puerto Rico has experienced over the past few years is actually worse than what we saw during the height of the foreclosure crisis nationwide,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with Attom Data solutions, a U.S. housing data provider.

The problem in Puerto Rico also has been more persistent, with foreclosure rates above the 1 percent benchmark level for nearly seven years. In comparison, hard-hit U.S. states like Nevada were above that level for only five years, Blomquist said.

And unlike the U.S. mainland, where the housing crisis was set off by the collapse of a price bubble, experts say the high level of foreclosures in Puerto Rico comes mostly from the island’s long economic slump, which has produced an unemployment rate of 12 percent.

“The difference with Puerto Rico is that it’s not just risky bad loans that are driving foreclosures. It’s the underlying weak economy,” Blomquist said. “That’s a harder problem to solve than it is to solve bad loans.”

About 60 percent of foreclosed homes in Puerto Rico have been abandoned, said Silvio Lopez, president of Puerto Rico’s Mortgage Bankers Association. By comparison, only 30 percent of foreclosed homes were abandoned in the U.S., mostly in areas hardest hit by the recession.

To stay afloat, banks in Puerto Rico have sold more than 70 percent of their mortgage portfolio on the secondary market, said Zoime Alvarez Rubio, executive vice president of Puerto Rico’s Association of Banks.

“Banks cannot carry this risk. … It’s too much to bear,” she said in explaining why troubled loans are sold off. “The economic impact and risk is monumental.”

Blomquist said that is an extremely high number, adding that banks on the U.S. mainland discovered that strategy late in the housing crisis.

As of last year, Puerto Rico’s six commercial banks still had more than 3,800 repossessed homes on their books worth $338 million, Alvarez said. To avoid even more foreclosures, local banks since 2009 have implemented more than 176,000 alternatives to foreclosure worth $19 billion, including restructurings and refinancing.

Alvarez and other banking officials say the number of foreclosures is decreasing because the record number reported last year reflected what happened in previous years. Government statistics show the mortgage delinquency rate has dropped to nearly 13 percent from a high of nearly 18 percent in September 2012. For comparison, that rate is roughly 5 percent on the U.S. mainland.

“It’s still an absolute crisis,” said Ramos, the professor at the University of Puerto Rico. “This island is falling apart.”

___

Follow Danica Coto on Twitter: www.twitter.com/danicacoto

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/06/21/puerto-rico-families-fight-flee-surge-in-foreclosures.html

Wayne County tax foreclosure crisis: “If you can save art, you can save people’s homes”

Jerry Paffendorf​, CEO of Loveland Technologies based in Detroit and the San Francisco Bay Area, thinks Wayne County’s heavy reliance on late tax payments to balance its once-out-of-whack budget is creating a push to foreclose on homes, rather than do all it can to keep people in their homes.

“To put it very succinctly,” he said, “Wayne County makes more money when people don’t pay their taxes on time than when they do.”

He said one in three properties in Detroit has been tax foreclosed and then auctioned off to strangers in the last 15 years.

Paffendorf has another idea. His startup works with governments, developers, neighborhood groups and more, all to gather and present information about property.

In Detroit, that has meant battling what it calls a “plague” of tax foreclosures, and trying to keep people in their homes to help battle neighborhood blight.

Listen above.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or with this RSS link)

Article source: http://michiganradio.org/post/wayne-county-tax-foreclosure-crisis-if-you-can-save-art-you-can-save-people-s-homes

Feds indict "mastermind" of foreclosure scam that bilked $7 million …

A California man stands accused of leading a foreclosure-avoidance scam that preyed on struggling borrowers to the tune of $7 million in ill-gotten gains.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Michael “Mickey” Henschel was arrested last week and charged with 11 counts related to the foreclosure scam.

Per the details of his indictment, Henschel owned a Van Nuys-based company that operated under several names, including Valueline. But the company didn’t operate by legitimate means, the indictment alleges. Instead, Henschel is the alleged “mastermind” of a foreclosure scam.

Through that business, Henschel and several co-conspirators allegedly marketed illegal foreclosure- and eviction-delay services to homeowners in default on their mortgages and renters who were facing eviction.

As part of the scheme, Henschel and his co-conspirators allegedly convinced homeowners to sign fake grant deeds that supposedly showed that the homeowners conveyed an interest in their properties to fictional third parties.

Henschel and his co-conspirators then allegedly filed bankruptcies in the names of fake people to trigger the automatic stay provision of the Bankruptcy Code, which halted the foreclosure sales.

Henschel also allegedly used a similar method to delay evictions, filing fraudulent documents in state eviction actions and sending similar documents to sheriff’s offices.

For his “services,” Henschel allegedly charged some homeowners large fees before agreeing to clear the title to their properties, in addition to the monthly fees paid for the illegal services.

All in all, during the course of the scheme, which ran from October 2010 through July 2013, Henschel and his co-conspirators allegedly collected more than $7 million for the illegal actions.

Henschel stands charged with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of bankruptcy fraud and two counts of wire fraud.

If convicted of the charges, Henschel would face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for each of the conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud counts, while the two wire fraud counts carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years.

At his arraignment, Henschel entered a plea of not guilty. His trial is scheduled for Aug. 8, 2017.

Article source: https://www.housingwire.com/articles/40468-feds-indict-mastermind-of-foreclosure-scam-that-bilked-7-million-from-struggling-borrowers

Dunn grapples with foreclosure – NewsTimes


BROOKFIELD — First Selectman Steve Dunn is in court mediation over the foreclosure of his home.

Dunn, his wife and her late uncle took out a $513,500 mortgage on a Lydenwood Drive home in 2005. According to the foreclosure filing, Dunn owes nearly $480,000 in principal, interest and other payments dating to October 2015 to the U.S. National Bank Association.

“I had a number of bills that I didn’t realize were coming in and the mortgage company has not been easy,” Dunn said.

The case has been in mediation since April. Dunn said he expects to have paid everything he owes within the next two weeks.

The Dunns received a letter from Hunt Leibert, a debt collection firm, in March 2016 warning them they were delinquent or in default on their payments but were eligible for the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. Under this program, eligible homeowners pay a fixed rate lower than their current mortgage and mortgage companies cannot foreclose on their property.

The letter said the Dunns had 60 days to request a meeting with their mortgage company and help from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, but they did not do so, according to court records. The bank filed to foreclose on the home in late 2016.

The home is valued at $580,000, according to an appraisal given to the court in March.

Taxes on the property are up to date, according to records in the Brookfield tax collector’s office.

Article source: http://www.newstimes.com/local/article/Dunn-grapples-with-foreclosure-11231048.php

$15 million foreclosure process on Aspen area home winds down

Renowned developer Gregory “Skippy” Gozzo built and once owned a home on the outskirts of Aspen that enjoyed a wealth of publicity when it was up for sale.

VH1 featured it on “Celebrity Real Estate Splurges” and other real-estate media gushed over the fact that the 13,477-square-foot, eight-bedroom home sat on a 5-acre lot in the middle of an elk migration corridor.

In July 2013, the palatial estate, once listed for $58 million, was put up for auction. But no suitors placed the minimum bid of $17.5 million, according to an Aspen Times article.

“We had a lot of good years in that house,” Gozzo said last week from Florida, where he lives and runs his development firm.

Gozzo no longer lives in or owns the house, which he built in 2000 and turned over to a Houston-based concern called Neugebauer 1998 Children’s Trust on June 1, 2016. The transaction was part of a deed in lieu of foreclosure, because Gozzo defaulted on a $15 million loan he took from the trust May 28, 2014, according to the Pitkin County Treasurer’s Office. After interest, the debt stood at $18.1 million, records show.

Gozzo said he had used the property, located at 170 Clay Road off in the East Owl Creek area, as collateral for the loan, which was taken out for reasons not associated with the home.

Over the past few months multiple public notices have been published in the Aspen Times Weekly as well as posted on courtroom bulletin boards that a foreclosure auction for the property is set for June 28.

But it’s not the typical foreclosure auction where potential buyers will gather in front of the courthouse steps to place their bids to the county treasurer. In this instance, it’s a process in which the Neugebauer trust will be able to claim a clean title to the property, said Chris LaCroix of the Aspen law firm Garfield Hecht PC in an email to The Aspen Times last week.

“The lender acquired the property over a year ago pursuant to a deed in lieu of foreclosure, and the purpose of the foreclosure is to clean up title to property that the lender already owns, which is common after a lender acquires title pursuant to a deed in lieu of foreclosure,” he wrote.

Sydney Tofany, the county’s chief deputy public trustee, also explained that the process means the property owner will clear a second mortgage on the property.

Gozzo said the deal ended up working out fine for him. While he had to surrender the property to the lender, he’s no longer on the hook for eight-figure loan.

“(The lender) had the right to buy it back,” he said. “We didn’t admit any guilt and we sold the property. We admitted nothing and it’s an even swap.”

Even though the Pitkin County property market is returning to levels that produced $2 billion in total sales in 2015, LaCroix said the Neugebauer trust isn’t anxious to sell for the time being.

“The owner does not plan to immediately begin marketing the property for sale, but could change its mind and decide to sell at any time,” LaCroix said.

The home, which includes a swimming pool with a waterfall and an indoor gym and steam room, among other features, currently is being advertised for rent at for $90,000 a month.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

Article source: http://www.aspentimes.com/news/15-million-foreclosure-process-on-aspen-area-home-winds-down/