Full Deposition of Northwest Trustee Services JEFF STENMAN 9/13/2013 - Admit they work for the banks and consult with bank lawyers

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Full Deposition of Northwest Trustee Services JEFF STENMAN 9/13/2013 – Admit they work for the banks and consult with bank lawyers

Full Deposition of Northwest Trustee Services JEFF STENMAN 9/13/2013 – Admit they work for the banks and consult with bank lawyers

EXCERPTS:

Q. And now we’re talking about legal decision?
5 A. Well, if it’s a legal decision, then I may also
6 consult counsel, outside counsel.
7 Q. And which counsel would you consult?
8 A. Well, I’d either consult inside counsel or I would
9 consult outside counsel. If it’s outside counsel, it would
10 be probably Routh Crabtree Olsen.
11 Q. And your inside counsel, who is that?
12 A. Steve Hicklin and Chuck Katz, and they’re staff
13 attorneys.
14 Q. And do they also work for Routh Crabtree Olsen?
15 A. No. They’re employees of Northwest Trustee
16 Services.
17 Q. And so far as you know, they have no relationship
18 with Northwest’s — or RCO?
19 A. They’re employees of Northwest Trustee.
20 Q. Well, the reason I asked you is I’m involved in
21 another case involving a group called McCarthy Holthus and
22 Quality Loan Servicing.
23 Are you familiar with that?
24 MR. SAKAI: I’m going to object. These questions
25 are outside the scope of your 30(b)(6) notice.
MR. STAFNE: Actually, it says the person who can
2 best testify about Northwest Trustee’s fact-finding and
3 legal decision-making processes for determining proof of
4 ownership of the note.
5 MR. SAKAI: What does that have to do with the
6 case against McCarthy and Holthus?
7 MR. STAFNE: Well, they have attorneys that they
8 have working in-house at Quality Loan Servicing and they
9 come from McCarthy Holthus, which also owns them, and in
10 this case, as you know, RCO actually owns, or at least its
11 owners own Northwest Trustee.
12 BY MR. STAFNE:
13 Q. So I’m just trying to determine if you know
14 whether these counsel that act as inside counsel also have
15 any relationship to RCO?
16 MR. SAKAI: I just want to note our objection.
17 I’m not here to engage you in argument. I believe you’re
18 incorrect, but I just want to note the objection.
19 Jeff, all I’m saying is I believe the question is
20 outside the scope of your notice. I want you to answer as
21 you can based on personal knowledge.
22 THE WITNESS: So which question am I answering?
23 Do I know about the McCarthy and Holthus —
24 BY MR. STAFNE:
25 Q. No. That was just an example to kind of help you
out.
2 A. Okay.
3 Q. Do you know either way whether the two in-house
4 counsel, Northwest Trustee Services, have any relationship
5 with RCO?
6 A. I’m not sure I understand what you mean by
7 “relationship.” They’re employees of Northwest Trustee.
8 Could they talk to RCO? Yes, they could talk to RCO. Do I
9 know that they do? Do I know whether they consult? They
10 may occasionally consult.
11 Q. And why do you say that?
12 A. I don’t know. I think the reason I say that is
13 because, like any attorney, they may consult with another
14 attorney. I’m not saying that it may be on a specific case,
15 but it’s — if you knew another attorney in town and you
16 decided that you would talk to them about something because
17 they may have knowledge about it, then maybe that’s
18 something that you would do.
19 I don’t know that you’ve explained what you mean
20 by “relationship.” So it’s a hard question to answer.
21 Q. Well, I think you’ve done a very good job. Thank
22 you.

[…]

Q. If I were to tell you that the notice of
3 foreclosure identifies SPS as Northwest Trustee Services’
4 client and Mr. Lemelson is the borrower, would you dispute
5 that? And I will get that document for you, but….
6 A. I think what you’re doing is you’re asking me to
7 step outside of 61.24. If you want to call SPS who referred
8 the loan to me for the foreclosure as my client outside of
9 61.24, yes, I would agree with that.
10 Q. Okay. So they’re your client?
11 A. They’re my client, but I rep — I also represent
12 HSBC Bank because they’re the beneficiary in the rest of
13 that.
14 Q. And you use, if you’ve got a problem, RCO as your
15 outside counsel?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So let me ask you this: Doesn’t it appear to you
18 that you’ve got RCO, Northwest Trustee Services, SPS, and
19 HSBC all working together against the borrower,
20 Mr. Lemelson?
21 MR. SAKAI: I’m going to make an objection that’s
22 outside the scope of the 30(b)(6) notice.
23 MR. STAFNE: Okay. Thank you.
24 BY MR. STAFNE:
25 Q. Go ahead and answer, sir.
A. I don’t agree with the term “working against.”
2 Q. And what don’t you agree with the term “working
3 against”?
4 A. Well, under the statute I have to be impartial to
5 both parties. I have to work on the benefit of both
6 parties, the beneficiary and the grantors.
7 Q. But your client is, you say, not only SPS, the
8 servicer, but also the beneficiary. So is Mr. Lemelson in
9 the same position as your client?
10 A. Well, he deserves a fair process. He deserves
11 that I do the process correctly.
12 Q. And the way you view the process is you get this
13 document from these people who are your clients and you go
14 ahead and do the nonjudicial foreclosure, correct, under —
15 A. Yes. That’s what the statute tells me to do, yes.
16 Q. Let’s get back to that statute.
17 You know, unfortunately I had someone who was new
18 prepare these things and so I’m not as familiar with the
19 exhibits as I like to be, but why don’t we go back to
20 Exhibit 1, which has the statute.
Do you remember Exhibit 1?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Would you read Subsection B of RCW 61.24.030(7)?
24 A. Unless the trustee has violated — is that the
25 part?
Q. Mm-hmm.
2 A. “Unless the trustee has violated his or her duty
3 under RCW 61.24.010(4), the trustee is entitled to rely on
4 the beneficiary’s declaration as evidence of proof required
5 under this subsection.”
6 Q. Now, what’s your understanding of the meaning of
7 that?
8 A. Well, if I read 61.24.010(4), the trustee or
9 successor trustee has a duty of good faith to the borrower
10 or beneficiary and grantors.
11 Q. So do you read it as saying that you cannot rely
12 on the declaration if you violate any duty of good faith
13 toward Mr. Lemelson?
14 MR. SAKAI: Objection to the form of the question.
15 Calls for a legal conclusion.
16 THE WITNESS: The basic reading of it would
17 suggest that.
18 BY MR. STAFNE:
19 Q. And do you have any — is that what you do? I
20 mean, you say you follow the statute. That’s your procedure
21 when you say a basic reading of the statute suggests that,
22 it doesn’t give me much indication that that’s what you do.
23 Is that what you do when you’re acting as a trustee for
24 Northwest Trustee Services?
25 A. Yes.

[…]

Q. And that’s not a department in Northwest Trustee
12 Services?
13 A. It is now, yes.
14 Q. And when did it become a department?
15 A. I think we took it over less than 30 days ago.
16 Q. And when you say you took it over, where was it
17 before?
18 A. RCO.
19 Q. And why was it at RCO?
20 A. Because we didn’t have in-house counsel for
21 Northwest Trustee to refer those matters to.
22 Q. So RCO was deciding issues raised by borrowers
23 when they were disputing?
24 A. Yes.
services company for RCO, if you know?
2 A. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that statement
3 before.
4 Q. Do you know what —
5 A. Legal services company? I don’t think so.
6 Q. Do you know what a legal services company is?
7 A. Not really.
8 MR. STAFNE: You’re lucky, I can’t read any of my
9 notes. Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

[…]

Q. Just one.
6 When you say your business decision, what do you
7 mean by that?
8 A. Well, I’m a trustee. I’m a business. I’m an L —
9 I’m an Inc.
10 Q. Okay. And you work for —
11 A. I guess that’s all I meant by that.
12 Q. No, it’s important because when I look at your Web
13 site, you advertise that you represent mortgage lenders?
14 A. As a trustee, correct.

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