Christie Faces HUD Investigation As Second Mayor Claims Retaliation For Non-Endorsement

By: Tuesday January 14, 2014 7:21 am

Advertisements that were supposed to help promote tourism in New Jersey in the wake of devastation by Hurricane Sandy instead seemed to promote Governor Chris Christie’s re-election campaign and now the feds are investigating. The investigation stems from a letter sent to the Department of Housing and Urban Development by New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone and will have federal auditors focus on the use of $25 million in Sandy aid for a marketing campaign to promote tourism at the Jersey Shore.


Storm-Washing: The New Bank Ploy to Milk Foreclosure Relief PR In Storm-Wrecked Areas

By: Tuesday November 6, 2012 7:25 am

Ever since Superstorm Sandy, we’ve seen the phenomenon of storm-washing from our finance sector. That’s when banks decide to capitalize on the storm and generate some good PR by offering extended relief to homeowners in the storm’s path.

Sham Foreclosure Reviews Major Cash Cows for Foreclosure Reviewers

By: Saturday November 3, 2012 11:06 am

The sad thing here is that HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan actually highlighted the foreclosure reviews as a way for victims to get further compensation. If by “victims,” Donovan meant companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Promontory Financial Group, he was right.

We Don’t Know How Many Foreclosures Have Happened

By: Friday August 3, 2012 3:15 pm

Matt Stoller has a superlative article today in Salon picking up on a central frustration of everyone trying to decipher housing policy. The truth is that the data is truly terrible. We have a vague idea of the number of mortgages and foreclosures, and we can identify trends. But in reality, there is no central, comprehensive, reliable number on these metrics and that makes it impossible to create decent housing policy.

Treasury Confirms That HAMP Being Used for Settlement Relief

By: Monday June 11, 2012 11:00 am

One of the more annoying provisions of the mortgage fraud settlement is how servicers can get credit towards the settlement-required principal reductions via reductions under HAMP, for which they’re paid incentives. That implies tax payers are paying part of the penalties servicers are supposed to pay under the settlement. Recently, HUD confirmed this.

Romney Say, Romney Do

By: Monday April 16, 2012 1:10 pm

Wannabe your First Lady stepped away from your raising the family home cleaning duties to go shopping at her friend’s place, which was closed to everyone else, because shopping is hard work and we should respect that.

Romney Reveals Agenda Items to High-Dollar Donors

By: Monday April 16, 2012 8:20 am

If you want to know Mitt Romney’s real plans for a hypothetical Presidency, you either have to give him lots of money, or be lucky enough to stand on the street near the backyard where he talks to people who give him lots of money. The incompetence of allowing the press to listen in on Romney’s speech is a bit more newsworthy than the content itself, which is more standard-issue modern Republican fodder.

HUD Secretary Donovan Faces Questions on C-SPAN

By: Sunday April 8, 2012 12:00 pm

I read a rough transcript of this C-SPAN interview with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and there isn’t a whole lot there that’s all that different from the PR pronouncements he’s made in the past. So this won’t be extensive. I just have a few comments…

NYT Picks Up on Weaknesses of Foreclosure Fraud Settlement

By: Wednesday March 28, 2012 7:30 am

On March 13, I read the foreclosure fraud settlement documents and noticed that the banks would be eligible to get credit for their penalty for performing routine actions, like waiving deficiency judgments, bulldozing or donating homes. Two full weeks later, the New York Times got around to reading the documents and noticing the same thing.

Obstruction of Justice a Feature of Bank Interaction with Foreclosure Fraud Investigators

By: Wednesday March 14, 2012 8:10 am

When the HUD Inspector General tried to examine the major banks foreclosure records and practices, they uncovered many instances of potential legal violations, which they referred to the Justice Department. DoJ sat on this information while pushing for settlements. Meanwhile, the banks stonewaled the IG investigation, refusing to provide documents and preventing the IG from interviewing employees or others with direct knowledge.

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