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Foreclosure mill that mocked foreclosure victims shutting down, blames NYT

Photos from the NYTimes by a former employee of the law firm of Steven J. Baum: Two Steven J. Baum employees mocking homeowners who have been foreclosed on.

Photos from the NYTimes by a former employee of the law firm of Steven J. Baum: Two Steven J. Baum employees mocking homeowners who have been foreclosed on.

Foreclosure mill shutting doors

Last month, a former employee at the Baum law firm (a New York foreclosure mill) shared photos from the company’s 2010 Halloween party wherein they dressed up as homeless people and mocked foreclosure victims, and after the photos were leaked to the New York Times’ Joe Nocera, the firm apologized and attempted to undo their public relations mess.

Now, the foreclosure mill is shutting their doors for good. In an interesting twist, rather than quietly pack up their offices and move on to their next careers, the firm is blaming the NYT journalist, writing directly to him, ““Mr. Nocera — You have destroyed everything and everyone related to Steven J. Baum PC. It took 40 years to build this firm and three weeks to tear down.”

Really?

Nocara gently notes that in response to his column featuring the Halloween photos, “Representative Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, wrote the firm a letter demanding documents and records. In New York, the attorney general’s office ratcheted up its investigation of the firm; I heard that investigators were looking for more photographs of Baum Halloween parties. Occupy Buffalo protesters picketed Baum’s offices in nearby Amherst, N.Y. And, not least, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own or guarantee half the country’s mortgages, issued new rules forbidding servicers of their mortgages from using Steven J. Baum.”

Additionally, in response to the national robo-signing debacle, a new rule was passed down that required all servicers to sign a document that “affirms” the validity and accuracy of a foreclosure which led to an immediate and dramatic drop in the number of foreclosures in New York where the mega foreclosure mill operates.

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Buffalo Business First reports that the $2 million settlement over its business practices could be the culprit in their closing their doors or that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently severed ties with the foreclosure mill.

Never mind all that, blame the journalist

Never mind that they aren’t fed by Fannie and Freddie anymore or that they were just ordered $2 million in a settlement, or that their pipeline closed as they were forbidden from servicing a foreclosure without legally affirming the validity of the foreclosure, or that they are under investigation at the New York attorney general’s office or that Occupy Buffalo protesters are at their offices.

Never mind all that, the firm’s owner blames Nocero. Rather than become angered privately, he wrote to the journalist, “There is blood on your hands for this one, Joe… I will never, ever forgive you for this.” Nocera’s response is simple, “I think that’s what they call shooting the messenger.”

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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