WASHINGTON, October 11, 2014 – The Congressional race for Michigan’s 11th district is critically important for the future of the state. Much of the attention focuses on Republican David Trott, called Michigan’s “Foreclosure King” for his preeminent role in overseeing the foreclosure process, making money every step of the way, following the state’s housing bust.
Trott is a lawyer from Birmingham, Mich., who earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan before attending Duke University School of Law. He announced his candidacy on Sept. 4 of last year to challenge incumbent freshman and fellow Republican Kerry Bentivolio.
Ironically, Bentivolio won after former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter was caught in some nasty 2012 election fraud that has since turned into a bonafide election fraud case.
Trott’s bio doesn’t tell the whole story. The bio doesn’t say “Dave” Trott kicks 101-year-old grandmothers to the curb in the middle of a cold winter’s night for a $60 unpaid tax bill (103 Year Old Victim Of Foreclosure Mill Operator David Trott’s Greed Passes Away).
Nor does it mention the thousands of families that have been evicted by questionable means under Trott’s stewardship.
Congressional candidate and Birmingham resident Trott owns, runs and influences an entire foreclosure “racket” in Michigan with his posh Farmington Hills-based Trott & Trott law firm, representing banks in foreclosure proceedings.
But that’s not the half of it.
Trott owns the foreclosure industry, including a foreclosure paperwork processing company, at least six process title companies and a newspaper that is geared towards churning out rarely seen “legal” foreclosure notices.
Now with his bid to Congress, Trott has literally opened himself up by making his finances public.
This recent transparency will allow wrongfully foreclosed-upon homeowners to finally discover whether Trott was behind their foreclosure.
Although neither Trott nor any of his lawyer employees have been convicted of any wrongdoing, it is widely known in Michigan’s finance and “foreclosure” circles that Trott and company uses the following laundry list of illegal – yet rarely held accountable – processes for foreclosing on perfectly capable and viable Americans:
- Robosigning documents (forging signatures and creating dates out of the air)
- Forging mortgage assignments
- Fual tracking (when the servicer offers a modification to a homeowner during which foreclosure proceedings should be halted)
- Not proceeding with mediation before the foreclosure can take place, a violation of state alws.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of foreclosure victims in Michigan over the years have suspected the existence of Trott’s involvement in their foreclosure. Researchers from Columbia Business School recently investigated just one major financial institution involved in the subprime mortgage debacle and found more than nine percent of these document contained “misrepresentations.”
While investigating Trott for one of Michigan’s foreclosure victims, Occupy.com writer and “fraudclosure” victim Senka Huskic says she was shocked to discover all the illegalities behind the Trott law firm foreclosure monopoly.
“I contacted Michigan’s Ingham County Register of Deeds, Curtis Hertel, Jr., who told me in the bluntest language possible that ‘David Trott is the foreclosure king of Michigan who has built a machine that feeds off of human misery.’”
Hertel, who is running as a Democrat in Michigan’s 23rd Senate district, confirmed these quotes with this journalist. He also confirmed why he is speaking out about Trott and other such just-this-side-of-criminal “real estate law” firms like Michigan’s No. 2 foreclosure firm, Troy’s Orlans & Associates.
WHEREAS, foreclosures deprive Michigan families their largest and most important asset, produce neighborhood blight and reduce property values in our neighborhoods; and
WHEREAS, excessive foreclosures and evictions undermine banks and other financial institutions, cast doubt on the assets underpinning our financial system, and were one of the prime causes of the Great Recession at the end of the last decade; and
WHEREAS, in March 2009 President Obama created the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), a program designed to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure by enabling mortgage lenders to negotiate with borrowers on the principal and interest rate of their mortgage – but it remains a VOLUNTARY program for bank and lenders, comparatively few homeowners have been able to take advantage of the program; and
WHEREAS, in 2013 foreclosure and eviction attorney Dave Trott, a heavy donor to the Michigan Republican Party including many members of the Michigan House and Senate, lobbied hard for legislation to reduce the “redemption period” after a foreclosed home’s title is sold at auction from six months (180 months) to two months (60 days) – bills that would greatly benefit his privately-owned companies dedicated to advertising, processing and implementing foreclosures, and evicting Michigan families; and
WHEREAS, in July 2013 Governor Snyder signed a series of bills that, while retaining the 180-day redemption period in most cases, added a loophole that again directly benefited “foreclosure king” Dave Trott – allowing his companies, as agents of the foreclosure sale purchaser, to inspect premises inside and out without notice, and to “immediately commence summary proceedings” for eviction based on a broad range of supposed rationales, or simply because foreclosees refused to allow inspectors to invade their homes and violate their privacy; and
WHEREAS, Governor Snyder, acknowledging the concerns raised by Democrats and many other groups about these broad new inspection rights, and how they can supersede negotiations to redeem the home through short sale or negotiated settlement under programs like HARP, sent a letter to the Legislature urging follow-up legislation to specify the terms to better protect forecloses – but the Republican dominated Legislature ignored this request from a Republican Governor and has not acted:
WHEREAS, many media reports have documented the practice of “robosigners” of critical documents, and detailed mortgage industry practices that violate the rights of homeowners; and
WHEREAS, major mortgage lenders (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and others) have settled cases of massive mortgage fraud with the U.S. Department of Justice for nearly $100 billion in total, demonstrating that many of the foreclosures and evictions processed in Michigan by trial lawyer Dave Trott’s firms were based on misleading documentation or outright fraudulent activities, and that many of these documents came from Trott-owned companies acting on behalf of lenders:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party strongly opposes the use of “robo” foreclosures and other unethical tools used by mortgage lenders and their agents (such as Trott & Trott, P.C. and other firms wholly-owned by trial lawyer Dave Trott and his family) to process thousands of foreclosures on Michigan homeowners; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party strongly encourages mortgage lenders and homeowners to work together, using the HARP program or other similar tools, to modify troubled mortgages before initiating foreclosure actions – reaching agreements to cut the loan principal when the property value has fallen below the mortgage amount, or to reduce the subprime interest rate to a more reasonable level; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party demands that the Michigan Legislature immediately take action to amend Public Act 104 of 2013 to repeal Dave Trott’s new rules for “no notice” home inspections and ill-defined standards to initiate immediate evictions, or to at least define and clarify home inspection rules during the foreclosure redemption period, in accordance with the letter sent by Governor Snyder and to reflect concerns raised by affordable housing advocates and other community leaders; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party strongly endorses enforcement of existing Michigan law that requires a court proceeding before a foreclosure, and condemns the practice of using “trash-out squads” to remove any portion of a home or property prior to said court proceeding as a vile practice in violation of the law.
Senka Huskic says Hertel also told her Trott “has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying the legislature to assure there is no due process for our citizens in the foreclosure process.
According to Huskic, Hertel told her Trott’s firm:
“…has filed fraudulent documents in my office and used them to take families’ homes. His claim that he is a conservative Republican should be highly skeptical because of the amount of federal bailout dollars his firm received through the major banks and Freddie and Fannie.”
Remember, says Huskic, mortgage fraud is not only about illegalities in the mortgage documents, but also about these mortgages being sold as part of an “investment vehicle” or mortgage-backed securities (MBS).
“The most intriguing fact is that the pension funds for many judges have also heavily invested in MBS while these are the same judges who are deciding the outcomes of America’s foreclosure cases,” muses Huskic.
The Department of Justice under AG Eric Holder has been reticent to prosecute mortgage fraud classes. When Michigan cases question the banks, judges are siding with the banks.
Michigan families got caught up in Trott’s foreclosure mill with judges ruling for their own pocketbooks rather than the victims of the financial, housing, and moral crisis. Already stressed out homeowners collapsed between not understanding their legal rights and their inability to afford decent legal help.
In many cases, local authorities did not help, and neither did federal authorities such as the FBI, because of their unwillingness to press criminal charges against the banks and associates.
Eric Holder’s Department of Justice hasn’t help curb fraudclosure crime enough either as prosecutions from its 2012 National Mortgage Settlement were found to be grossly exaggerated. Plus, the DOJ and its “settlement” has not stopped bank and foreclosure mill abuses. (Monitoring the National Mortgage Settlement)
If homeowners cannot turn to the courts, judges or the FBI, then what do they do? In most cases there is only one authority figure left for many of these hopeless, literally homeless victims: Their state representative.
For many whose homes were lost, foreclosed on by Trott’s firm, imagine having a call or meeting with Congressman Dave Trott and trying to explain the litany of irregulatirites that cost you your home.
How can Trott as your state representative respond to that if, as alleged, his firm was behind the foreclosure to begin with?
Financial experts in the mortgage industry are already predicting another foreclosure-hungry housing disaster by 2016. The continuing corruption after the 2008 crisis made the fraud perfectly clear, but nothing has been put in place to stop it from happening again.
A “Foreclosure King” in Michigan’s state house will certainly not try to repair this most obviously broken and flagrantly criminal system. Trott in the Statehoue would find it even easier for him and other foreclosure monopolies to be less accountable and create opportunities via legislation that will enhance their already profitable businesses?
The real question seems to be this: With Congressional candidate Trott’s finances now transparent, will Michigan elect Trott or investigate him?
Occupy.com writer Senka Huskic contributed to this story.