This past week, David Dayen wrote a tremendous piece for the New Republic titled, “Michigan’s ‘Foreclosure King’ Is Trying to Win a Seat in Congress”. It’s a remarkable piece particularly because he takes what is an incredibly complex and inscrutable process – home foreclosures – and does a Clintonesque explainer on it. In the process, he details just how unethical, greedy, and conniving David Trott is. It’s important for voters to know this before November 4th because this is absolutely NOT the sort of person we want representing Michigan’s 11th Congressional District in Washington, D.C.
One particularly egregious practice employed by Trott was the process of “dual tracking”:
“He built the machine that was made to feed off of human misery,” said Curtis Hertel Jr., register of deeds for Ingham County, Michigan, who tangled with Trott’s law firm on a number of cases. “I’ve had kids crying in my office. I’ve seen terrible human tragedy, and frankly they didn’t care.” […]
Anti-foreclosure activists like Steve Dibert accuse Trott & Trott of “dual tracking,” simultaneously negotiating a loan modification and pursuing foreclosure. This practice has been subsequently banned by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The company allegedly violated Michigan law by dual tracking Jeff Reed, an ex-Green Beret, without posting the required foreclosure notices or honoring the loan modification Reed negotiated with JPMorgan Chase. The bank eventually fired Trott’s law firm from the case. Trott & Trott attorneys Ellen Coon and Kenneth Kurel also “robo-signed” fraudulent mortgage documents, often with forged signatures, and filed them with county recording offices.
Trott’s firm also successfully lobbied the Michigan legislature for changes that make it easier to foreclose, which would boost the company’s profits. In 2009, the state narrowed the appeal process for homeowners; in 2013, the legislature passed a “fast-track foreclosure” law, which could allow a lender to evict within 30 days if the property can be deemed abandoned. Under the law, subjective findings of superficial damage or trash in the yard, or even if the homeowner refuses to consent to allow an interior inspection, can trigger the fast-track process. “It’s built on the premise that homeowners are staying there and damaging property,” said Lorray Brown of the Michigan Poverty Law Program. “Actually they’re trying to desperately keep their house.” The Michigan statute, implemented in January, was deemed so problematic that Governor Rick Snyder added a signing statement recommending changes. But the legislature ignored the request.
Here’s Dayen on All In With Chris Hayes on Friday night:
CHRIS HAYES: What money is there to be made the process of [foreclosure]?
DAVID DAYEN: There’s not a whole lot of money to be made if you’re just doing the legal work. But Trott & Trott had a unique business strategy where they bought up practically every company down the line that gets a little bit of money out of the foreclosure process. There’s a requirement in Michigan that you have to put legal notices out in the newspaper. They bought the newspaper that did that. There’s a requirement that you have to do a title search. They bought the company that does the title searches and they get money off of that. They bought a real estate agency that then sells the houses after they go into foreclosure. So they kind of made money at every step down line and once you add that up, it’s lucrative.
HAYES: Yeah, they created, it’s sort of a “turnkey” foreclosure operation for the banks where they’re, basically, at every step in the line, they own it.
If you’re in the 11th District, be sure that everyone you know in that area is aware of Trott’s outrageous behavior. Trott is a man who lacks compassion and any interest in improving the lives of others. Rather, his primary motivation is to increase his own wealth and the wealth of those who can help him achieve his goals.
Thankfully, 11th District voters have a excellent option: Democrat Bobby McKenzie. Stop by Eclectablog tomorrow to read my interview with McKenzie.