Vail Daily Editor and Publisher Don Rogers: David takes on a goliath bank
Ryan Summerlin December 27, 2012
I can’t say whether a prosecutor someday will declare a crime has been committed, but this sure seems wrong.
A lady who used to live here had her home foreclosed upon after she sold it and paid off all her mortgage.
Several years later, she still can’t get a credit card as a result. Her record is shot through no fault of her own.
Jamie Dimon’s too-big-to-fail bank, JP Morgan Chase, also appears to be too big to do the right thing.
Since 2000, JP Morgan Chase has paid out several billion dollars in fines and refunds from basically ill-gotten gains in conducting business. That’s chicken feed for the largest bank in America, of course, but hardly the hallmark of people you can trust.
The payouts include legal settlements from its role in financing Enron, and overcharging several thousands of military families for their mortgages.
So foreclosing on this Eagle County homeowner after she sold her house in a dispute over $16,000 is pretty small potatoes.
Unless you are the homeowner, of course.
Her husband, an attorney, pointed out to everyone who would listen, and plenty who clearly did not, that the debts owed on the multi-million dollar home were paid off in full – other than a not-yet-due tax payment that Chase made without the homeowner knowing about it.
Chase collected nearly $10,000 in costs, fees and interest that it still holds, according to the homeowner’s husband. They refused to take back a foreclosure notice in the paper for a house already sold before they filed foreclosure proceedings because of a tax payment that wasn’t due. And they kept a $2.5 million payoff for more than a month, collecting interest on the money, before returning it while working on the foreclosure case.
The homeowner has two complaints filed with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which set up an “independent” means of reviewing foreclosure complaints. Each is pending.
I asked why the homeowner hasn’t filed a lawsuit yet. Apparently, she can’t find an attorney willing to take it on, and the rules make this route difficult.
The couple has taken their case to the FBI and Justice Department. They are taking stories from others who believe they have been harmed by banks in mortgage transactions to send them their story with evidence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their cause might be quixotic, but there are too many cases like theirs not to thank them for taking it on.
Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at email@example.com or 970-748-2920.