Hasn’t this law firm learned their lesson…time and time again??
Post staff for NYPOST
Last Updated: 4:42 AM, July 5, 2010
Posted: 12:44 AM, July 5, 2010
Brooklyn’s battling Judge Arthur M. Schack has struck again, giving a Brooklyn homeowner an Independence Day gift — freedom from foreclosure.
The judge, who has steadfastly pressed banks in foreclosure cases to prove they own the troubled mortgage and has tossed cases when banks have failed to do so, has again dismissed a foreclosure case — this time because the lawyer on the case, Steven J. Baum, represented the mortgage broker, the bank that bought the loan and the industry registration service serving as the nominee of the loan.
But Baum’s conflict of interest wasn’t the case’s only problem.
Judge Schack, in his decision, also found that the bank, US Bank, never should have filed the foreclosure action because of an “ineffective assignment of the subject mortgage and note to it.” In other words, it sold the mortgage, and the mortgage was securitized, leaving the company simply as the servicer — but it decided to try and take back the Crown Heights home anyway.
The Post has reported that the actions of the Baum firm in foreclosure cases has caught the eye of the US Trustee, the arm of the Justice Department responsible for monitoring the Bankruptcy Court.
Baum, a Buffalo-based foreclosure mill that filed 12,551 foreclosure actions in New York last year, has been scolded by judges for bringing foreclosure cases without proper documentation.
In this case, a Baum lawyer, Elpiniki Bechakas, signed papers claiming to be an executive of Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, which was given certain rights to the mortgages by the broker, Fremont Investment and Loan, while simultaneously representing Fremont and US Bank, which filed the foreclosure in July 2009.
“The Court is concerned that the concurrent representation by [the Baum firm] of both assignor MERS, as nominee for Fremont, and assignee plaintiff US Bank is a conflict of interest,” Schack wrote.
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