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LESSONS LEARNED … INTER ALIA

(BREAKING NEWS — OP-ED) — The poster of this blog is not an attorney and thus, the items proffered on this post should be taken in context as court rulings and should be further interpreted by bar-licensed attorneys (past the point of your personal discretion).  The commentary posted here is not legal advice but is for your educational value only. 

The month of March certainly roared in like a lion when it comes to court cases.  There are 3 of them which are integral to learning about foreclosure defense as to the “what to do” and “what not to do”, or in the alternative, what to “take away” from the herein discussed cases versus “what is irrelevant” and unimportant in them.

FEDERAL CASE: FDCPA

The attached case is a precedent setter out of the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals:

Riccio et al v Sentry Credit Inc, 3rd App Cir No 18-1463 (Mar 30, 2020)_Precedential

If anything could work to your benefit, the Appellant’s attorney’s contact information is listed within the ruling.  This case involves abusive debt collection practices prohibited under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq.

This case appears to work to your advantage in the event some snarky foreclosure mill lawyer attempts to remove your case from state court to federal court, which allows you to amend your declaratory relief action to include “debt validation” because this case smacks in that direction, the requirements of a validation notice under the Act.  The questions in this case concerns whether “oral disputes” are also covered under the Act.

This is one of the key reasons I keep telling people, when it comes to debt collectors, you can’t take phone calls into court … or can you?

15 U.S.C. § 1692g(b) specifically demands that the debt collector needs to be notified “in writing” within the 30-day dispute period, demanding validation of the debt. This is the very issue that the Third Appellate Court appears to have considered.

This case clearly involves a third-party debt collector, whom we all hate, right?  Because the defendant (Sentry Credit, Inc.) (a.) was out of state; and (b.) involved a federal question (FDCPA), this case definitely belonged in federal district court (see my book FDCPA, Debt Collection and Foreclosures for further explanation).

The thing is … the defendant did indeed require a response from the Plaintiff in writing; however, it also provided her with “multiple options”, including calling them on the phone.  Debt collectors just love it when you call them because they can use their “power over” tactics on you to verbally beat you into submission and get you to pay.  This is why I’ve always said, “put it in writing”, no matter what.

Page 10 of this ruling clearly indicates the Court deemed that “intra-section variation strongly signals that § 1692g permits oral disputes.”   Page 11 also indicates that if you call up and dispute the validity of the debt, without putting it in writing, the debt collector can continue its collection efforts. Putting the dispute in writing (and sending it certified mail, return receipt requested) puts the debt collector on official notice and starts the clock ticking, wherein a response is due immediately.   Pages 12 and 13 bring to bear the “that dog won’t hunt” argument against overreaching in an interpretation of the law to get it to mean what you want it to mean.

Frankly, when debt collectors used to call me … I knew what my rights were and I pinned their ears back with FDCPA and challenged them on everything they said, telling them to “put it in writing” so I have something to take them to court on.  Arguing over the phone is like electricity, the path of least resistance, especially when it comes to enforcing your rights under the law.  There is no easy way out.  If you want debt collectors to do anything, maintaining your right to engage them on the phone is just as good as doing it in right because it saves you time and a stamp … well, now it appears you’re grasping at straws.

More importantly, the Third Circuit didn’t want to upstage Congressional intent when it wrote the language into the law by attempting to “correct a congressional error” and make its own law out of what Congress intended, thus “rescuing Congress from its drafting errors”.

Even more importantly, the Third Circuit also delineated the difference between a “panel ruling” and the effectiveness and superior trait of an “en banc” ruling (the entire appellate court).  It’s important to really get into those pages (18-21) and the discussion involving the differences in opinions (a real educational plus).  Stare decisis is also covered within this discussion, which, if nothing more, is good in of itself for educational enlightenment. Not only that, the Third Circuit overturned one of its previous decisions as to “oral disputes” based on the lack of FDCPA language!

In issuing the ruling, the Third Circuit clearly made it plain and simple that if you want the FDCPA to work in your favor with “no legal impediments” … then stop being lazy, quit arguing with the debt collector over the phone … and put your demands in writing so the law will firmly support you when you file an FDCPA suit!

INVESTOR WINS HOA FORECLOSURE SALE SUIT IN NEVADA!  

There’s no doubt that homeowners associations wield a lot of power.  In some states, like Nevada, after a period of time with no challenge, the parties purchasing HOA-foreclosed properties can wipe out a debt without it being considered “super priority” lien status.  Such was the case here:

Berberich v Bank of America et al, 136 Nev 10 (Mar 26, 2020)

I just love the way the Nevada Supreme Court writes its opinions … short and sweet and easy to understand.  Thus, I’m not going to be verbose here.  What this boils down to is why we have appellate and supreme courts … district court judges are always “looking out for the banks” and have a tendency to “err on the side of … ”  (I didn’t say “caution”).

What this all boils down to is chain of title.  The possessor of the property held it in title for nearly 6-1/2 years and sought declaratory relief to extinguish the deed of trust which secured a prior owner’s mortgage (if you need a full-blown course on cancellation and expungement actions, you can get it HERE!) loan.

The Plaintiff even sued MERS (which I wouldn’t have done … but) because it was a MERS-originated deed of trust.  Bank of America, N.A., which appears to have little regard for quiet title actions, especially when it comes to their alleged “skin in the game”, argued the Plaintiff’s complaint was untimely.  The Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment (meaning no triable issues of fact) and the District Court (looking out for the banks like these judges always do), ruled against the Plaintiff, who timely appealed.  Like the previous case I discussed here … again, relevance to prior case law comes up as to actions to quiet title and considering the statute’s “plain meaning”.  The importance of the plain language is clearly clarified in this ruling:

“Now taking a closer look at the statutes plain language, we clarify that the limitations period provided by NRS 11.080 only starts to run when the plaintiff has been deprived of ownership or possession of the property.

Thus, considering the statutory text as a whole, we conclude the limitations period in NRS 11.080 does not run against a plaintiff seeking to quiet title while still seized or possessed of the property.4 See Kerr, 74 Nev. at 272-73, 329 P.2d at 281 (indicating in dicta that NRS 11.080 did not apply where the plaintiff was in joint possession of the property “up to the very time when he commenced his action” to set aside a deed based on fraud and failure of consideration).

Consistent with this understanding of NRS 11.080, the limitations period is triggered when the plaintiff is ejected from the property or has had the validity or legality of his or her ownership orpossession of the property called into question. See, e.g., Salazar v. Thomas, 186 Cal. Rptr. 3d 689, 695 (Ct. App. 2015) (discussing the general rule in California, which has a statute almost identical to NRS 11.080, see Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 318, that “whether a statute of limitations bars an action to quiet title may turn on whether the plaintiff is in undisturbed possession of the lane (quoting Mayer v. L&B Real Estate, 185 P.3d 43, 46 (Cal. 2008))).

“[M] ere notice of an adverse claim is not enough to commence the owner’s statute of limitations.”

Thus, Nevada’s highest court found that the statute does not bar a property owner who is in possession of a piece of property from bringing a quiet title action; however, the statute of limitations begins to run once the owner has notice of disturbed possession.  Since that wasn’t established (as to disturbed possession), the en banc high court reversed and remanded the case back to the district court with instructions!

U.S. BANK SCREWS MAINE HOMEOWNER … BUT WERE ALL THE DUCKS IN A ROW?

The State of Maine’s Supreme Court has come out with some pretty damning case law against the banks, especially when MERS is involved.  I will cite the most important “take aways” from this case and also get into the real “red meat” that appeared to have been missed.  Read the case first:

US Bank NA v Gordon, 2020 ME 33 (Mar 17, 2020)

First, since a REMIC was involved, no one bothered to question whether the assignment was bogus. No one questioned as to whether the appellant-homeowner was really in default, as there is enough language out there (in the mortgage loan community) to indicate that on the 25th day (or so) of every month, the servicer makes advance payments to the investors through the Trustee.  So then, the question becomes, who was harmed?  The borrower didn’t have a contract with the servicer.

No one bothered to challenge the endorsement either. As always is a precursor in the First Circuit, most court cases discuss MERS “nominee” status in the recording of the mortgage (as if MERS has some glorious, all-powerful rights vested in it because it’s an “agent”).  It also appears that the servicer may have executed a phony “ratification of assignment”, which memorialized the previous 2009 assignment.  This of course, happened RIGHT BEFORE foreclosure proceedings were commenced.  The Borrower of course, challenged standing based on his claim that the ratification was “inadmissible hearsay” and that even if admissible, it was insufficient to prove U.S. Bank’s ownership interest in the mortgage.

Page 3 clearly explains the effects of a recorded document under subheading “A”.  Not once did I see (and you can fact check me if you want to) an attempt to do a C&E on either the assignment or the ratification that was used to give more “legal effect” to the first bogus act (in 2009).  Gordon had plenty of opportunity to challenge the validity of these documents under M.R.S. Title 17A, Ch. 29. Nor did Gordon attempt to destroy the validity of these documents by civilly putting forth a cause of action under the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act (Title 5 §§ 207 and 213). Maine has existing case law that allows for documents to be challenged, cancelled and expunged … Abbott v. Treat, 78 ME 121 (1886) … and that is an OLD, WELL-ESTABLISHED CASE!

Once these two documents were challenged, Greenleaf and Saunders, Maine’s two infamous anti-MERS cases, could have then come into play here.

In other words, you can’t create and record one phony document to give the first phony document more legal force and effect when the first phony document was full of false and misrepresentative statements (constituting perjury on the land record).

There was no discussion on the authority of the MERS (potential) “robosigner” on the first 2009 assignment of mortgage.  Despite all of the colorful “resolutions” that MERS puts out into the marketplace in an attempt to give its “agency” status some sort of God-complex-like authority, its “Certifying Officers” have to have a fidelity bond and an errors and omissions insurance policy, naming them as insured.  Lacking this, the signers lack authority to do anything, except to go into a closet and play with themselves.

It also further appears that Gordon had a “legal aid” attorney representing him, which is another reason the attorney probably wasn’t aware of document challenges, which this case appears to have been totally ripe for challenging.  This ruling came out on St. Patrick’s Day … definitely NOT the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

INTER ALIA … (the Latin term for “among other things”) …

There are other valuable lessons we’re learned through time and that is how the United States (and its individual states) respond to a crisis … like the crisis we’re currently facing.  Despite the fact that this coronavirus has not taken the toll of the Swine Flu, the Avian Flu or most certainly the Spanish Flu, it still shows us that our medical response-ability in this country is sorely lacking.

In Florida, 170 people are now dead as of the 6:00 p.m. count, with 1,334 admitted to hospitals (figure a 50% mortality rate) and 10,268 total cases opened of which 9,925 have tested positive for COVID-19 (figure a 30-40% mortality rate), so we’re looking at over 1,000 dead (just in Florida) before this is all over and we’ve not hit our “apex” yet.  There’s no flattening of any curve (and certainly not our tummies from all of the unhealthy junk food we’ll be consuming the next 30 days) any time soon.  This 30-40% of the cases reported at present (up to 3,200) are at risk of expiring on a ventilator, that they may not get to be put onto because we lack them too.  So now I’m projecting our death toll at well into the thousands before this ends.  The U.S. toll will be much worse, especially in areas of dense populations (Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago, Miami) because … well … that’s just the way things are among the “entitled”. 

The State of Florida goes into a “safer-at-home” mode statewide as of midnight tonight (the 2nd). That does not however mean, that Floridians are going to absolutely “heed” the warnings and stay put.  They’re too used to partying.  I mean, with many in the Sunshine State claiming “retired status”, what else is there to do besides having back yard parties, formal and informal get togethers, golf and boating outings, fishing excursions and hanging out in bars listening to live music, getting hammered on happy hour pricing … along with going out to eat  … Floridians’ favorite pastime and going shopping.

It was obvious we didn’t learn the meaning of social distancing, so the “nanny state” has to kick in and do its thing to remind us we need to be more responsible to each other if we’re going to continue to survive, even in the future as to further pandemics.  And I’ll concede here the Governor’s order was late in coming, but will it have any real impact if peoples’ attitudes remain the same (as if the order hadn’t come at all)?  I’m not faulting the Governor’s delayed reactions.  None of us were prepared for this eventuality and we should have been.

We still lack masks, gowns and respirators.  We still lack toilet paper (because someone out there is wiping their ass a 1,000 times a day) due to hoarding, as well as hand sanitizer (despite reports that it may not be that “sanitary” to use as a foolproof guard (like Lysol) for NOT killing the coronavirus.

I am going to go to the store and buy one bar of Castille Soap (x 4 for 4 bathrooms in my house) and no more, so that I am sure when I wash my hands, ALL of the germs are getting wiped out, as there are questions of whether the “antibacterial” soap, which is supposed to get rid of “bacteria”, which viruses are NOT, is as effective as “they” say.

Among other things, join R.J. Malloy and me on City Spotlight-Special Edition on WKDW-FM this coming Monday at 2 P.M. EDT … click HERE to get online and then click LISTEN NOW to join the broadcast (at 4 minutes past the hour).

Stay safe and stay healthy (I’m still doing the Allimax thing and I’m feeling great! allimax.us).

A BIT DISCONCERTING UPDATE … 

Stuff has been circulating about that is a bit inflammatory and disconcerting as to some folks’ deep-seated feelings about Americans (click the photo to enlarge it and click the back button to return to the article):

I can safely say that not all of the Chinese feel this way. There is a certain segment of any population that has deep-seated resentment for someone or some group of people. Take for instance, the polarization that has occurred within the two-party system in this country. Why does it occur?  Because the media and the political pundits have been successful in pushing peoples’ hot buttons. It has forced societal upheaval that will compound the issues surrounding this pandemic.

I have not heard the latest socio-economic data on the “end result” this pandemic could have on America, but if people do not become united in the effort to “stay at home” and slow down the spread of COVID-19, this pandemic will take more lives than the Civil War (1861-65) did.  For those feeling “entitled” … you are “entitled” to your opinion … and you are “entitled” to stay home and be safe as well.  Again, the larger the population center, the more likely the spread of the virus because people feel the need to be around other people.

“Gee, I just found out I have the coronavirus.  I think I’ll go visit Grandma and give it to her. Then I’ll go visit my sister and give it to her and her kids. Then I’ll go to the local shopping mall and cough all over the place and give it to as many people as I can, because I have little regard for anyone else’s life if I’m on my way out the door!”

The foregoing paragraph may sound sarcastic; however, history has shown us that there are people out there in society who behave this way.  Bottom line … if you treat the situation as that everyone you know has it … you are only safe at home.  Like Dorothy said when she clicked her heels together 3 times … “There’s no place like home.”

 

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UPTICK IN REPORTED U.S. COVID-19 CASES!

(BREAKING NEWS, OP-ED) — 2:50 p.m. EDT, March 27, 2020

3.3 Million new unemployment claims have been filed across America as the loss of jobs on a grand scale has forced Americans to go on assistance, despite the $2-trillion stimulus (pork) package.

The United States has now surpassed China in the number of reported coronavirus cases. The death toll in the U.S. is now over 1,000 people. 

New York has now become the epicenter of the coronavirus as the spread is accelerating. 

The Empire State is reporting (a new revised figure at the time of this post) 23,112 cases in New York City alone, accounting for 365 deaths there. The State of New York’s reported cases is greater than the sum of all 49 states’ reported cases! 

Worldwide, the number of coronavirus cases has exceeded a half million people. 

Tomorrow evening (March 27th), City Spotlight – Special Edition’s Dave Krieger (along with co-host R. J. Malloy) will be updating you on the latest statistics of what has happened in America and how communities are reacting.   The program airs shortly after 6:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on WKDW-FM, North Port, Florida. Tune in for more information … as well as our “take” on things. 

FLORIDA CASE REPORT

As of the time of this update, the number of Florida cases rose to 2,900, with 34 deaths and 456 people hospitalized.  Statistically, this represents about .012% of those infected; however, it does not tell us how many people are infected and don’t know it yet, which is why states are putting their citizens on lockdown and only allowing essential services to operate. Florida is not one of them yet.  Rather than implement a statewide lockdown, Governor Ron DeSantis is allowing the counties to decide whether the pandemic in their own region is worthy of containment to the point of telling residents to stay home. 

Meanwhile, those business in Florida who are in need of assistance due to business losses can contact R. J. Malloy at WKDW-FM Radio (an agent for the SBA for the small business loans) at (941) 564-8739 and he can help you apply for low-cost emergency funds.   Since all 67 counties have been declared a disaster area, emergency assistance from the SBA can now be applied for. 

FLORIDA’S GOVERNOR HAS ISSUED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER: DO NOT COME TO FLORIDA! 

Excessive travel is not recommended, especially people planning on coming to Florida.  The Governor has issued an Executive Order for residents outside of the State of Florida NOT TO ENTER the State at all, especially from areas like New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, where the virus has been tabulated in record numbers. The Executive Order appears to have been issued due to residents fleeing the New York Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT). The Order requires incoming “escapees” to undergo mandatory 14-day isolation and has made it a misdemeanor crime punishable by 60 days in jail and a $500 fine if not adhered to, with the costs of the isolation paid for by the airline passenger trying to “escape”. The Order says nothing about those from that area sneaking in by way of a vehicle. 

Many counties in the State have taken up the idea and several have implemented restrictive curfews and lockdowns.  South Florida (Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties) and Hillsborough County (Tampa) are the current “hot spots” in the State for the coronavirus.

I’m going to be belabor my previous points again here because most of you have already read much of what was contained on previous posts.  

UPDATED NEWS ON THE C&E —  There appears to be a glimmer of hope on the horizon: 

  1. An attorney threatened a servicer with a C&E action in Florida.  The servicer immediately lowered the sale price of a probate (reverse mortgage) property by $20,000 rather than risk a trial.
  2. Another attorney in Lee County, Florida pushed for discovery in another C&E action.  The law firm for the servicer called, wanting to settle the matter before trial. 
  3. Another investor filed two (2) criminal complaints on 2 separate properties in Las Vegas, Nevada with the Metro Police Department.  The Police Department forwarded both complaints to the Clark County District Attorney and the Nevada Attorney General’s office for further criminal investigation.  When the opposing side’s lawyer found out about the criminal complaints, she told the investor’s attorney, “We are taking these criminal complaints very seriously.”  Duh?  

These are just 3 examples of how powerful a C&E is!  You can get the entire DVD/book training kit online at CloudedTitles.com/Shop

I mean seriously … what are you doing for the next two weeks confined at home?  Why not get an education?  Knowledge is power! 

And for those of you in despair, there is some lightheartedness out there: Coronavirus Rhapsody

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UPDATE ON CORONAVIRUS … MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR!

( OP-ED, Some BREAKING NEWS) — The death toll in Italy has (at the point of this post) hit the 7,503 mark, with 683 deaths reported in the last 24 hours.  Those who break quarantine are still subject to arrest.   Johns Hopkins University’s data tracking systems are reporting a total of 392,780 confirmed cases worldwide in 169 countries with roughly 20,500 reported and confirmed deaths from coronavirus (as of this post). Germany has 114 deaths on the books since the pandemic began, with the highest number of infections in the 15-59 age group.  In Spain, an ice rink has been turned into a temporary morgue, with that country reporting a total of 74,386 infected people and 3,697 dying of coronavirus, the second worst “hit” in Europe. Ireland seems to have been spared the same attack rate as Spain, with only 1,564 infected cases and only 9 deaths which makes the percentage rate at .006, which is barely negligible.  A lot of countries are dealing with this crisis much differently that Italy and Spain.  Italy especially is more susceptible because of the number of elderly who live there; thus, its numbers are higher. 

Then there’s America.  Land of the fee and home of the slave.  New York is reporting (within the last 24 hours) 25,665 cases (15,597 of those in New York City alone and 218 deaths).  New York officials estimate that the “attack rate” of the virus 28% of all test results as opposed to 8% throughout the rest of the country. This logically would appear to mean that the bigger the area you live in, the more reason there is to shelter in place right now.  New Jersey has 2,844 cases reported and 27 deaths. Connecticut’s numbers are lower, with 415 cases reported and 10 deaths (less than Florida’s current mortality rate).  I know … it almost appears as if we’re keeping score here … but the statistics tell us something.

The virus has killed at least 704 persons across the country with 53,000+ cases reported as active.  So far, 333 have reportedly “recovered”, but there is no telling whether they could contract it again.  That is getting close to what I would consider a “pandemic”; however, even with the possibility that most of those infected could recover, until they have been tested and know they’re positive, they are still considered “vectors”, who are still out contaminating the countryside.  There is also the possibility that we’re not being told ALL of the numbers, for fear it would exacerbate the already-induced nationwide panic. 

This coming Friday (March 27th), City Spotlight – Special Edition’s Dave Krieger (along with co-host R. J. Malloy) will be updating you on the latest statistics of what has happened in America and how communities are reacting.   The program airs shortly after 6:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on WKDW-FM, North Port, Florida. Tune in for more information … as well as our “take” on things. 

Because of the panic created by the governments , both federal and state and the media, we’re going to bring you fallout commentary on what we think is really going on, albeit we’re going to try to stick to facts and avoid conspiracy theories (on the show’s website; click on the website, then click LISTEN NOW to join the program).  

FLORIDA CASE REPORT

As of the time of this post, the number of Florida cases rose by 378 overnight to 2,355, with 28 deaths.  Statistically, this represents about .012% of those infected; however, it does not tell us how many people are infected and don’t know it yet, which is why states are putting their citizens on lockdown and only allowing essential services to operate. Florida is not one of them yet.  To totally lock down Florida would literally kill its economy within 30 days and force businesses who were shut down to have to borrow to cover their losses, which, when restored, will likely be passed onto the consuming public. Currently, the Florida Department of Health is monitoring 1,655 more suspected cases, waiting for test results.  

Meanwhile, those business in Florida who are in need of assistance due to business losses can contact R. J. Malloy at WKDW-FM Radio (an agent for the SBA for the small business loans) at (941) 564-8739 and he can help you apply for low-cost emergency funds.

DO NOT COME TO FLORIDA! 

Excessive travel is not recommended, especially people planning on coming to Florida.  The Governor has issued an Executive Order for residents outside of the State of Florida NOT TO ENTER the State at all, especially from areas like New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, where the virus has been tabulated in record numbers. The Executive Order appears to have been issued due to residents fleeing the New York Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT). The Order requires incoming “escapees” to undergo mandatory 14-day isolation and has made it a misdemeanor crime punishable by 60 days in jail and a $500 fine if not adhered to, with the costs of the isolation paid for by the airline passenger trying to “escape”. The Order says nothing about those from that area sneaking in by way of a vehicle. 

 The U.S. Government does NOT have the authority to declare a national lockdown, despite what you may have heard.  This is media sensationalized bullshit and you’re going to hear a lot of  “fake news” and “garbage sensationalism” on social media, mainly generated by fear mongers with absolutely no fact-based information whatsoever, spreading rumors over social media and making it look as if the government generated their “opinion”.   As Americans, we must forget about our “party lines” and start “reading between the lines”.  We should fact check every bit of information and treat it as “Disinformation” until we are able to verify it.   The late president Ronald Reagan even made the statement, “Trust, but verify”.   Until you know for sure what has and has not been done, do not trust the information until you’ve fact checked it.

As for Florida, which you can apply to your own given circumstance, as this poster, I do not believe that the “State” will order an absolute lockdown unless it believes its entire population is in jeopardy of contracting the virus.  The “shelter in place” suggestion has been recommended by all governments. The counties within the State of Florida however may commit to “locking down” citizens to reduce travel and occupation of “tight spaces”, reserving travel to only essential services. Some Florida counties already have put their residents in lock down. The Governor has also told those over 65 to stay at home and isolate for at least the next 14 days. 

Here are some “suggestions”, “observations” and “maxims” I have observed over time in researching this so-called “pandemic”:

  1. Despite the fact that the number of folks who are infected make up the reported “numbers”, we do not know how many are asymptomatic (don’t know they have the virus) and could be out and about spreading it;
  2. The number of test kits to confirm infection is still limited, even though authorities have said they are procuring more of them;
  3. The number of medical supplies needed to treat the pandemic that has already manifested itself are virtually non-existent and are being manufactured at this time, with delivery date to all locations uncertain. Knowing this, this information should be enough to give you at least a modicum of sense to avoid contact with people outside your home, especially those who still continue to travel and “hang out” in public places despite being told not to; 
  4. In many instances, you may feel the need to “go somewhere” for personal essential needs. You should have already stocked up for 14 days worth of food supplies and most utilities are holding off demanding payment in an effort to “keep the lights on” and “the water flowing”;
  5. Many people still do not have internet.  They have either land line or cell phones though. There is nothing wrong with you doing the responsible thing and to call them and inform them of what is going on, and to help them with getting them information you become aware of that is “fact checked” for the purposes of survival, including but not limited to, phone numbers of people they can call for updated information;
  6. The sooner we all smarten up and stop all unnecessary travel … and weather this thing out … the sooner things can get back to normal;
  7. If we shelter in place for even just 2 weeks, those who are infected will either (a.) know they’re infected and do something appropriate about it; or (2) have gotten over it enough to be able to return to work. 
  8. You are “safe” as long as you are in your home.  Now is the time to deep clean your house. Clean out your closets of things you can donate. Do necessary yard work you’ve been putting off.  Hang out with your family, if you have a family.  Rest often.  There’s nothing like a decent nap to recharge your batteries.  Stress can wreak havoc on a body’s immune system, which is why I advocate resting whenever possible if you feel tired.  Continue to ingest things to help your body’s immune system;
  9. DO NOT TAKE IBUPROFEN (Advil).  This actually screws with fighting the virus and may actually do more harm than good.  Alleve has naproxen sodium and Tylenol has acetaminophen, both of which have not shown to have an adverse effect on the human system; and
  10. Understand that every door handle you touch should be treated as if it has coronavirus on it.  If you do not have wipes or hand sanitizer available to carry with you on your person, to disinfect yourself every time you touch a surface, you should not be going anywhere. 

State and local governments are demanding that residents “stay home” (shelter in place).  This does not mean that you cannot go to the grocery store or to make a quick run for necessities.  It does mean however, that you can’t live life the way you’re used to, galavanting around the countryside,  hanging out in bars, doing whatever.  Those days are temporarily over until this thing gets kicked.  Keep the 14-day “suggestion” in your head. This is NOT the end of the world, despite what you may read on social media.  Understand that social media it what it is, a marketplace of peoples’ opinions, many of them confounded in panic. (Remember the Biblical saying, “And the more part of them knew not why they were come together” … taken out of context from the Book of Acts for a little side humor.)

There are some people who think that the Florida Governor has not done enough.  Let me put it another way … maybe it is the residents of this state that didn’t do enough, when first warned. They continued to go out and hang out in public places, especially at the beaches (spring breakers) and now they’ve contaminated others with their saliva droplets (maybe that should be a felony assault charge, whadda think?) and maybe they should  all be jailed and held without bond for a minimum of 90 days and then charged with manslaughter.  Do you really want that?  Your tax dollars would be paying for that, remember?  Seems like I’m not the only one out there who thinks punishment should be meted out to the violators. All I have to do is go on Facebook and I can see the comments levied at Governor DeSantis, knowing that he has the power to issue Executive Orders in the extreme and get away with it because it is authorized by law, including shoot on sight orders!  Two words: Hurricane Katrina. One word: Blackwater. 

Maybe if Governor DeSantis really wanted to send a message, he’d impose martial law, mandatory curfews 24/7 with shoot on sight orders to anyone caught out of their homes during curfew.  Is that what you want?  You want a “nanny state”?  Because I sure don’t. 

In the past, you’ve been warned you that if you didn’t act responsibly, that the government was going to “do your thinking for you” and make you stay home.  Since then, curfews in many areas of the country have been imposed and more are to come because people aren’t listening and behaving appropriately. The only thing absent from those orders is “shoot on sight”. Maybe a few death by cops would scare you into staying in your homes, huh?  (I know that’s effing extremist but how much whining does it take to make people wake the f**k up?) 

If we’re going to contain this virus, the vectors carrying it have to be identified and isolated, forcibly if necessary.  I say, if it’s found they’re the cause of cases of coronavirus resulting in death, we put them in prison for life!  

We do not need martial law to be declared if we act responsibly and stay put for the short term required to beat this virus.  Why should us law-abiding citizens have to put up with these “free radicals” spreading disease all over the place because they think they’re entitled to go where they want, do what they want and act the fool any time they want?

The government has put the hammer down on unnecessary travel for a reason.  The government is paranoid.  I would be too if I were working in high positions in government, seeing that the entire country could revolt against the “capitol” (Hunger Games); civil unrest (rioting in the streets by the tens of thousands) could occur, resulting in an all-out Civil War II in America (think “Red Dawn”).  Obviously, we all want peace and the ability to get “back to normal”, so the quicker we start fact checking and making sense of things, the quicker we will recover.  Even if we had to self-isolate for 2 weeks, would that really be a bad thing?  

TAKE A BREATH … 

If you need further information , go online to your local health department and see what they’re recommendations are.  It is too late to get a flu shot, despite the fact local health departments are telling everyone out there to go get one if they haven’t yet.  Traveling to public places to get a flu shot only risks exposure to those who may be infected, which is why (IMHO) I think this is bad advice.  No one is around to treat you to that flu shot (typically) because most of the medical facilities seeing patients only want to see the ones that are mission critical and not the ones who “think” they have the coronavirus. If you were to even manage to find someone to give you a flu shot, don’t you think that person giving you the shot has risked exposure to someone who was infected?  Think about that before you let someone stick a needle in your arm.

My trusted friend, who has appeared twice on my radio show, who has a Master’s Degree in Holistic Nutrition, highly recommends a powerful antioxidant called Allimax.  It contains allicin.  You can get a 50% discount on all Allimax products by going to their website at allimax.us

If you order, type in the word FIFTY under the Promo Code space to get your discount.  I ordered this stuff myself and I don’t make any money by recommending it.  It’s an option … check it out.

The City of Tampa (Florida) has ordered residents in the city to stay home and not to leave unless it’s absolutely necessary.   This would appear to be common in most major “mission critical” areas, areas where there is a large population center (South Florida … Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach Counties), Fort Myers, Orlando, Jacksonville.  If you live in or near a large city, chances are there are more vectors within that population.  The more you travel out and about in these areas, the more likely you are to contract the virus. The City of San Antonio has already implemented lockdown orders to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus, at least through April 9th.  

If you want the latest information on your State, you can visit cdc.gov for more information. 

The construction business in Florida is plagued with laborers, many of who are unreliable.  They run when hurricanes (and anything like this) happen and most never return, so it is imperative we keep them busy because Florida has a housing shortage, especially for affordable homes.  I am doing my part to correct that as a consultant and developer, even though I have my hands in the foreclosure mess from time to time … and it’s not over. 

As to foreclosures … 

Despite the fact the court systems are closed, the media is still operating.  That means that non-judicial foreclosures can still be conducted on the courthouse steps by a lone substitute trustee, even if no one shows up.  The original “claimant” may buy your property through a credit bid, whether they’re entitled to or not. Filing lawsuits in non-judicial settings will fall on deaf ears now because the courts are closed.  Direct negotiating with the lender to “hold off” in the wake of quarantine may be the only resolution (if a mandatory quarantine has been imposed). 

In judicial states however, the courts are operating on a limited basis or most likely not at all, which means that foreclosures in those areas, which has to be done through a formal court filing, can be done electronically. However, it is highly unlikely that any judge will review any of the motions until the courts have reconvened.  Use your time wisely during this period and look for ways to implement a Plan B.  This lockdown may have bought you an extra 2 weeks where you are, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have a “more positive outcome” by ignoring your financial predicament and wait to see what happens once this lockdown has been lifted.  All good things happen to you if you use your head, reason out the issues and come to a conclusion wherein you can draw up a Plan B that you can actually and logically implement.

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Filed under BREAKING NEWS, OP-ED

RISK MANAGEMENT TAKES SO MANY FORMS

(OP-ED) — The author of this post is a consultant to attorneys on matters involving chain of title, foreclosure matters and matters involving in “the system of things”.  None of  what you’re reading here is anything but common sense, not legal or financial advice … and a matter of fact explanation about how one manages risk!

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY IN A LITIGIOUS SOCIETY

If “the system of things” teaches us anything, it would be what the legal costs would be for having to defend a professional negligence suit … anywhere from $66,000 to $250,000.  If you have to retain an expert witness to testify on your behalf, fees could run has high as $10,000 … all this over about a two-year period.  That’s two years of hell for anyone.

A lot of these attorneys representing the banks think just because their firm has E&O insurance, they have nothing to worry about.”   That’s what they think.

Again, we think of professional liability carriers and wonder what exactly is covered under such an event as described above.  Professional liability insurance places the law firm under a microscope.  Insurance companies are by nature risk averse and so they’d be reluctant to insure anyone with a propensity to commit statutory or ethical behavior on an ongoing basis for which the insurance carrier would have to pay a damage claim for harm caused by the attorney.

Remember in previous posts, I mentioned how insurance companies became so filthy, stinking rich?   They avoid paying claims on cases at all costs.  They invest in things that will bring them a maximum rate of return and shelter their profits inside of real estate and other wealth-building mechanisms.  But they will look to shave off dollars paid out in damage claims by settling for a lesser amount to keep more of what they make.  I don’t mean to irritate you with more “facts”, but that’s the nature of the beast.  This is why I wrote the ten-part series on “Gutting the Underbelly of the Beast”.   Professional liability insurance, of which errors and omissions falls under, is there to help manage risk.

IT’S TOO BAD HOMEOWNERS IN THE NEW MILLENNIA WEREN’T RISK AVERSE 

If homeowners (as borrowers) would have taken that to heart long ago, we wouldn’t be in such a mess nationally.  The rate of foreclosures wouldn’t have been so damned high.

It’s sad that we’ve been so conditioned to want everything “sooner than later” and “more of it than less of it”.  We’ve been programmed to have feelings of “entitlement” … to reward ourselves handsomely for a job well done.  Hell, even Presidents of the United States have gone on TV and told us that we deserve the American Dream at a time when credit was plentiful and anyone could virtually buy the home of their dreams.  With the Glass-Steagall Act being repealed, the banks became sponsor-sellers, the MERS® System took root and the end result was bad banking behavior which fueled the 2008 crash.   It fascinates me that Wall Street would assume so much risk without first figuring out how to manage it.  I’m talking about mortgage loans, student loans, car loans, payday loans, installment loans to buy appliances … and we’re not even touching credit card debt yet. Much of this debt has been securitized.

Student loan debt has now replaced mortgage debt as the number one crisis in America!   Student loan debt collectors have become more unscrupulous in dealing with consumers.  Baby boomers over 60 years of age are financially liable for $66.7-billion worth of student loan debt (whether co-signed or originally taken out to finance their own education).

I used to clean up people’s credit for a living.  My success rate was 85% in removing negative trade line items from people’s credit reports.  I decided to write a book about it: The Credit Restoration Primer.  It was the first of many books that explained how the credit system works and how credit bureaus are governed by law to make sure your credit reports are accurate.

WHAT WE LEARNED IN PRINCIPAL ISN’T PRACTICAL

Mom and Dad always told me that if you want something bad enough, you save up and pay cash for it.  Right?  Radio talk show host Dave Ramsey promotes debt-free living.

But wait!  The world won’t wait for me to save up for a house!  Right?

By the time I save up enough money to pay cash for a house, prices would be so inflated I couldn’t afford to pay cash.  Plus, I’ll be a retiring. (the afterthought)

Once health issues set in, it will be too late to take care of a home. It wouldn’t be advantageous to pay cash for a house in the future while I’m throwing away money on rent (paying someone else’s mortgage) while trying to save on my own terms just because mom and dad told me to avoid debt whenever possible. (just looking at semi-rational scenarios)

But wait!  Mom and Dad worked like slaves to put food on the table and seemed to be doing okay.  Or did they?   Look at their outcomes.  Work for the Company Man.  Get a gold watch. Get a kick in the ass (out the door, to old to work when we can find younger people to replace you at less cost) and then retire, get sick and die.   The “get sick” part is where the family again struggles to make ends meet while coping with huge medical bills because of lack of health insurance or high deductibles.

We’ve taken from what we’ve learned and decided that based on current data, we’d be better off in debt.  How crazy is that?  The banks and credit card companies would just love it if you got yourself in head over heels in debt.  They’re rich and you’re broke.  Yes, you may have “stuff”, but you’re broke!

BECOMING RISK AVERSE IN A SOCIETY THAT PROMOTES DEBT

Whether you like it or not, the Age of Entitlement is upon us.  We have nice things because we want them, no matter the risk in obtaining them.  We cannot become financially successful without a plan.  Then again, there are some that are just happy being able to make ends meet.  But it’s never enough, is it?  You always want what your parents had and then some.

The media is guilty of putting ideas in your head.  Ideas that promote debt. We allow it to permeate our thought processes because it expands our comfort zones and makes us feel better.  We have become programmed to make bad decisions because we “want it now, not later”.  Lacking legal and financial education seems to have been a deliberate thing, despite the fact the government keeps telling us it’s budgeted money to educate us in certain financial matters (like the money appropriated for “education” under the new Fair Credit Amendments Act in 2003). Where was that “education”?  I sure didn’t see any of it.

Why didn’t they teach “Checkbook 101”, “Mortgage 101” or “Student Loan 101” in high school?   I personally didn’t learn too much in civics class.   Maybe my teacher really didn’t give a shit whether I learned anything or not.  In high school, it’s all about the annual test scores and nothing else.

In the land of plenty, why are so many people starving?  Why are there still homeless people?  Have our principles simply been ignored?

Being homeless or without food presents a personal safety risk.  Thus, the government steps in and has the answer: Welfare, Section 8  housing, homeless shelters and food stamps!

But wait!  You have to fill out a form, giving Uncle Sam all of whatever personal information you can give, so the government can build a database with you in it.

The ideas that run through your head when it comes to food, water and shelter involve risk management (believe it or not).  If you can’t plan for a rainy day, why take the risk?  There’s always welfare.  Someone has to pay for it.  Let’s all have a pity party while we figure out who.

We have a government that writes checks its body can’t cash.  Our national debt is into the trillions.  Every time a new budget gets passed, a huge chunk of it is “pork”, so politicians will keep getting re-elected to keep the special interest groups that got the “pork” benefits happy.  This is the Congress that is bought and paid for by lobbyists, like those who work for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Our government has set such a wonderful example for us, hasn’t it?  Congress can’t balance its own budget, so why should we?

Spending makes us feel better. People get all emotional over colors, floor plans and styles, they forget practicality and price. To top that off, many buy over budget because they think they can afford it.  Prior to the 2008 crash, people took out risky loans, most of whom could never repay them. Many folks allowed the lenders to inflate their earnings so they could buy more home, which was a great disservice.  I’m not saying it’s all the homeowner’s fault.  The lenders played right into the game, offering predatory loans which were risky in an already unstable, credit-saturated market.  The teaser rate was merely a game played by unscrupulous lenders on uninformed borrowers who wanted their piece of the American Dream, only to find themselves on the street years later.  Our government promoted all of this and America bought into it.  Congress repealed Glass-Steagall through the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. It was a bipartisan effort.  No one but the banks knew how they were going to use securitization to “rig” the economy.  Notice how the government hasn’t put any of them in jail?  Our executive branch is supposed to enforce the laws that Congress makes.  Why did we forget that?  Why wasn’t that drummed into our heads in high school?

Do we chalk up our current system of behaviors due to lack of knowledge?  It’s no wonder insurance companies are rich.  They avoid risk.   Why aren’t we doing that?

CERTAIN WAYS TO AVOID RISK (MY PARTIAL LIST … TAKE IT FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH): 

(1) Research your planned purchases BEFORE you spend money!  See if you can get products that are either more durable or have a longer shelf life.  America has been so conditioned to mass produced products we’ve become a “throw away nation”.  We’re already seeing difficulty in America in disposing of trash.  Spending a little extra for something that has a longer warranty or shelf life is more prudent in the long run. If you have to use credit to buy that item, make sure it fits within your budget and have a time frame set in your mind (and on paper) on when you intend on paying it off.

(2) Investigate all insurance policies BEFORE you invest … and don’t over insure!  Compare policies.  The last policy I got didn’t cover that much in computer replacement in case of a lightning strike, so I upgraded my policy for $204 more to cover replacement of ALL my computers in my home.  Sometimes, not having ENOUGH insurance puts you at risk … and, in the alternative … sit down and total up all of your policies’ annual premiums.  If you’re paying more than 10% of your income on insurance, you’ve bought too much in policy benefits (or you bought a policy that doesn’t fit your current needs).  It’s like buying whole life insurance policy when pure term is cheaper and you can gage your financial position based on your age and what your current needs are and not get killed financially by changing face value amounts.  Having insurance is part of managing risk.  When homeowners default on their loans, hazard insurance is the first thing that gets cancelled for non-payment of premium.  This is why I pay annually.  It’s cheaper and you have a definitive date to plan for, so your risk is calculated.  General liability insurance on the average runs $350 a year!  If you’re going to protect yourself against high-risk situations, it’s a good thing to have.  I’m not a big fan of homeowners’ indemnity policies.  They essentially insure nothing and with MERS around, shit happens.  There’s nothing like buying a piece of real estate with a tainted MERS mortgage somewhere in the chain of title.  You never know what the future holds if your home’s fate is in the hands of some unknown REMIC.

(3) Avoid impulse spending!  I go shopping just to see how informed the clerks are.  I will rarely buy anything unless I absolutely need it.  This type of buying is especially true in grocery stores.  Why do you think they have food samples for you to try?  To get you to buy extra!  If you have a frustrating time buying groceries and stretching your family’s budget at the grocery store, you have no business going out to eat (because you’re frustrated with high grocery prices) and you’ve probably succumbed to the grocery chain’s slick marketing campaigns.  The stuff they WANT YOU to spend extra on is always in the middle of the aisle or on the end caps.  If you have to take your kids shopping with you, make them go into the check-out lane BEFORE YOU and make them watch the clerk load the cart to make sure nothing you bought was missed.  That way, you give them something responsible to do and they’re not basking at the candy racks at the checkout counter and bugging you with “I want! I want! I want!” overtures.  Hey!  They learned this conditioning on television.  It’s called cartoons (advertising targeted at children in between the cartoon segments).

(4) Plan your educational expenditures by properly planning your career move! Many folks went to college and majored in stuff that had no career future.  They went to school and took classes they liked and spent a fortune (in student loan money) over-educating themselves in foolish majors (like forestry or liberal arts, for example).  It’s one thing to double major in horticulture and business if you’re going to manage a food production facility (like a farm, poultry or egg production or similar skill set) or work for a Fortune 500 company with a guaranteed paycheck.  But wait!  There are risks there too!

First, there is no guarantee that you’re not replaceable!  The first time you make a sexist remark in the workplace, you’ll be labeled a target of some political movement that is responsible for polarizing America.  You’ll be shamed.  This is what you have to look forward to in the national workplace now.  Everyone’s got a political opinion. Everyone’s got Twitter.  Everyone’s got Facebook.  Everyone’s got Instagram. Ask Anthony Weiner (who’s getting out of jail soon) what the consequences are of putting sexually explicit pictures on your phone and sending them to someone.

Second, if you’re nearing retirement age, but have great experience factored into your work history, you can bet the company will be looking for someone younger with much less experience that they can pay less of a salary to.  This posits a risk in this day and age.

Third, there are unplanned illnesses.  You know your body better than your doctor does.  If you have health issues, get them fixed FIRST before embarking down the path to a new career.

(5) If you have to retrain to get out of being unemployed or underemployed just to stay afloat … research self-employment FIRST … then the skilled trades! 

Anything involving food, water, shelter and personal welfare (medicine, nursing assistant, dental assistant) are the BEST career moves NOW.  I know for a fact that my kids are not like me.  They do not have the discipline to be self-employed like I am. I always told my kids to work off the “trade side” and go to a short-term facility that offers grants more than student loans.  In the alternative, attempt to get a job in a trade that is willing to train you while you work (OJT).  True, it doesn’t pay much but the gains from improving your learning curve far outweigh the temporary disadvantages. If you’re going to have to take out a student loan, put a limit on what you’re willing to borrow.  The average student loan debt in America at present is $30,000!  That means, if you can stay at the lower end of that curve, say, $10-15,000, you’ll pay it off in less time.  But you’d better have a job lined up (or at least research enough to know there will be a job in that career path for you) when you graduate.   Paralegal certificates are easier to get these days and there are certain parts of the legal field where jobs are plentiful for lower-echelon workers.

Again, I like self-employment better.  I can work from home and be a consultant when I want.  I can do seminars when I want … or not.  I can work as much as I want or as little as I want.  Every day however, I’m up by 6 a.m. doing research for an hour or so!  Old habits die hard.

I had fun as a mobile DJ.  I made good money too and didn’t have to spend a fortune on equipment.  I rented someone else’s gear first.  When I got enough to buy my own gear, I continued to rent the gear for another DJ to use and over time, I was able to put 28 DJ’s to work and make damned near a six-figure income! That was in 1983.  Imagine what self-employment could do for you and research all of the possibilities.  In some trades or skills, you can rent what you need before you have to make a commitment to purchase stuff.

Avoid franchises!  I know … they look attractive, but there’s a hefty price tag and a huge commitment to follow their schools of thought, whether they work or not.  This is why they put ads in entrepreneurial magazines, to snag the ignorant who are attracted by their teasers.  If you don’t have a couple of million bucks lying around, you’re not going to be able to get into a McDonald’s franchise or a Hooters franchise or any other franchise you think is sexy or at best attractive.  A lot of people like to compete with Starbucks and open coffee shops or coffee carts.  Not a bad living.  Any kind of food cart is a cheap date, but you’ll face local licensing issues and potential consumer issues (conflicts on the street, hold-ups, shoplifters, etc.).

My mom had her own news stand inside the Rochester Gas & Electric building for a number of years before she passed.  It was a safe environment (there was a security guard in the lobby near where her stand was set up, inside a rented nook in the lobby) and she made a modest living and did well despite renting a studio apartment (unfortunately, she never had the opportunity to own a home).  She never got a college degree.  Back then, you just applied yourself.  But the work ethic has changed and so has the marketplace we live and work in. People seemingly care less about the end result (doing a good business) so long as they get a benefit from it (a paycheck with no commitments).

Self-employment is the “new shit”!  Set up an LLC or a full C-Corp. I don’t know if you knew this or not, but the IRS audits full corporations and LLCs less than self-employed sole proprietors.  LLC’s (I’m told by several credible CPAs) get up to 75 deductions a year, while sole proprietorships only get 35 deductions annually.  Full C-Corps get up to 350 deductions per year!  Put your personal property and your homestead into separate trusts as part of asset protection to guard your investments.  Being a consultant or an investor is NOT a bad thing, especially with the right training.  I spend a ton of time researching other people’s careers to determine their longevity.  I can look at a credit report and tell a lot about the consumer (how leveraged they are).  They may have a great cash flow and credit that sucks.  That tells a lot about how they manage risk (0r don’t).  When you can get to the point of investing in other people’s projects (with them doing all the work), then you’re really on top of your game!

(6) Learn to construct a financial statement!  There are FREE classes both online and offered by community colleges and libraries that will teach you how!  Once you know HOW to build a financial statement, you can then figure out what kind of a budget makes you more attractive to expand your horizons. It takes less than a day out of your schedule to learn how.

(7) Do NOT buy vacant land unless you intend on a pre-planned build job! There’s nothing worse than buying a vacant lot (and overpaying for it) only to find that you’re about to get hit with high sewer assessments or increased property taxes due to an unforeseen annexation.  Don’t buy land in flood plains!  I don’t care how glamorous the lot is.  If you’re going to buy, buy in secure areas with a home-building plan.   I actually acquired a 3/4-acre tract and put a used mobile home on it from a lot I bought through the Texas Veterans Land Board for $75 down and made payments on both until the timing was right to sell the 12-acre parcel.  I ended up with a $222 a month land payment and a paid off mobile home, which I fixed up and later made a $27,000 profit selling it.  In the process of selling the 12-acre lot, which was soon to be adjacent to a major toll road, I paid off $35,000 worth of debt!  Being mortgage free is wonderful.  I wish everyone in America could experience it.

Land purchases are great if you have a definite plan to build.  Getting suckered into development purchases is penny-wise and pound-foolish!  Avoid HOAs!  Research chain of title to make sure there’s no restrictions on the lot you’re going to buy and that the title is clean.  If you can buy 5+ acres, owner financed, even better.  You can put a used mobile home on it and build as you go.  A lot of people are doing that these days.  I would do it again if I had to (in a heartbeat)!  You can put in a garden, a well and eventually solar panels … and live off the grid.

AVOID buying second or vacation homes! I know this goes against the grain of you overachievers out there that think you deserve everything. Part of the problem is, second homes or vacation homes is nothing but an equity builder and equity is “fake” until realized.  Many people rent out their second homes but with this creativity comes more legal restrictions. I just don’t like tying up money you could use to really build wealth owning a business.  If you’re going to plan your career, look at self-employment and design your home purchase in an area as your principal residence that doesn’t have to support your business in order for it to survive.  Truck farming is another creative way to stay “under the radar”, eat well and have plenty of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables left over for bartering.  Farm organic (but don’t advertise it … it raises an FDA red flag and subjects you to scrutiny). I’ll write another book about “being invisible” at some point.

From the investor’s perspective, forget the idea of a second home or a vacation home.  Build a rental income portfolio by investing in distressed properties that you can rent out and make a decent return, while making the bank payments.  There are people with money that have crappy credit, so option payment financing puts instant cash in your pocket you can use to buy another property or fix up your own place or pay down debt!

I know a couple that started out with a mobile home on 8 acres. They originally purchased a mobile home.  They put up a garage and pens and she got her veterinary assistant’s certificate (short term skill training) and got a business license to open up a kennel.  They eventually managed to build their mortgage-free home from scratch.  Yes, it took time, but the rewards were realized in the profits they made from their home-based business!  Ah, the peace and quiet of country living along with the security of knowing you’ll have lots of barking dogs to warn you of unwanted intruders!  I know that a lot of you aren’t cut out for that kind of work, so I posit this as a creative example of “putting your mind to something” to have a working investment.  Credit card companies are throwing credit card applications at these folks because they have cash flow.  They are credit resistant though, because they’ve budgeted and saved for a rainy day, mixing old school principals in today’s modern times.

(8) Say “NO!” to MERS mortgages!  Getting a loan that you know is going to be securitized is crazy because with the digital age, you’re putting your whole future at risk.  Your chain of title is going to ride on someone else’s say-so! You don’t want an electronic database involved in your life any more than you’d want your mother-in-law calling every other minute to query where you’re spending your next dime!

(9) Bank with public banks and credit unions!  Only go with banks that portfolio their loans (meaning they hold the loan in their own vault) and don’t sell them to any entity outside of their own bank!  If the bank is a member/subscriber of MERS, go somewhere else.  You don’t need to support these mega corporations any longer!  Generally, the credit unions give you savings accounts and additional protections that the mega-banks take for granted (when they’re taking YOU for granted).  AND … DO keep cash on hand.  I recommend at least $500 for every person in your household.

(10) Consolidate and pay down on credit cards!   Close the ones you hardly use, have high interest rates or hit you with annual fees.  Unless there’s a real purpose for having a department store credit card … those cards should be the FIRST cards you get rid of!  All your other plastic will work in those stores.  I take issue with these low-dollar credit campaigns like Macy’s and JCPenney’s do as a means to get customers. It’s not worth the hassle of applying for a $300 credit limit just to get a deal on buying one item or saving money on your initial purchase.  You’ll have an inquiry on your credit report, which could bring down your overall credit score.  It’s too easy to forget paying on cards with really low balances, which could jack up your credit score when you least expect it. I find keeping a credit card available for travel or emergencies is the most prudent, don’t you?

TEN WAYS TO “CLOCK” YOUR OPPONENTS UP SIDE THE HEAD! 

Read the 10-part series on this blog: “Gutting the Underbelly of the Beast”!

That way, you’ll learn how “the other side” manages risk.

Listen to this author (Dave Krieger) on City Spotlight-Special Edition, every Friday night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on WKDW-FM!  Get the latest financial news and education!

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MERS HAS A NEW OWNER … THE SAME BUNCH THAT OWNS THE NYSE!

(BREAKING NEWS — OP-ED) — 

It’s official and still under investigation (by me) … but the reasons that the author of this blog post wrote the book Clouded Titles goes to the very core of an argument I made ages ago, siding with various law professors and legal minds in the world of foreclosure defense:  MERS cannot be trusted to be a reliable source for the truth!

Now it has been announced by multiple news pieces within the financial sector that Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (“ICE”) has announced that it has acquired ALL of MERSCORP Holdings, Inc.’s assets, namely, the MERS® System and everything that goes with it.

ICE also announced that it has moved all of the MERS® System’s operations to its data center in Mahwah, New Jersey.  ICE acquired the New York Stock Exchange in November of 2013.

You’re probably all wondering why this happened.  In one short statement, ICE claims that the addition of MERS will help ICE “serve its customers better as the U.S. mortgage industry is gradually shifting to more digital mortgages and electronic notes from a paper-based process.”

WARNING — There’s a signpost ahead.  It says you’re about to enter “The Twilight Zone”! 

There are some serious repercussions with this acquisition.  I spoke with California attorney Al West yesterday about this acquisition.  Here are some of the components to consider:

(1) There is a movement afoot to privatize the entire land record system and take it away from the state-sponsored, state-sanctioned, state-mandated public databases and archives! 

Since this country was founded, our Framers gave the States certain rights to govern their own affairs, one of which was to establish land recording systems.  The purpose of this was to establish who owned what parcels of land.  Each state legislature voted on setting up these archival databases, which in of themselves, have evolved into (at least many of them) digital centers of database retrieval.  While it is certainly convenient to go online and search out your chain of title, taking all of this and putting it into ledger technology that is decentralized (“blockchain”) is dangerous because ANY system (over time) can be hacked and tampered with.

(2) The fact that there was even a mention of moving towards “digital mortgage” means that the possibilities do exist that you can easily get a mortgage loan from your smartphone or your home computer, all with the push of a button that applies your “digital signature” through your IP address. How convenient for the mortgage banking industry and MERS! Isn’t that wonderful?  NOT! NOT! NOT!

Part of the problem that precipitated the 2008 financial collapse was easing up on credit restrictions.  Credit was available everywhere (as long as you “could fog up a mirror”). History repeats itself and those who are ignorant of it are doomed to repeat it.  For starters, even though taking out one of these “digital mortgage loans” may supply you with a copy of what you signed … (a.) digital signatures are NOT your actual signatures; (b.) the digital signature you picked will be present on the “copy” of the mortgage paperwork you received; (c.) in all likelihood, your IP address from your computer or digital technology relative to your smartphone will be stored for retrieval in case you default on your loan and then that technology will be used against you for sure; (d.) all of this technology will be registered within the MERS® System now that ICE owns it lock, stock and server.  You can bet the obfuscation towards consumers will be just as prevalent, if not greater, as it has been in the past; and (e.) because the increased use of MERS will be tolerated, you can bet more foolish investors will keep buying into the thought that securitization is a great way to make money.  As history has shown us, even with its lingering effects, a lot of investors lost money while the sponsor-sellers made off (Madoff) like bandits!

(3) With “digital” technology, there are no “originals”!  

That means no original “note”, no original “mortgage”, no original SQUAT!  And ICE will keep the disclaimers on the “MERS” website it now owns, making sure things are just as “fuzzy” for everyone but “investors” and actual subscribers of the MERS® System.  It is unknown at this time WHO will actually entertain the previously-referenced “executory contract” now that MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. appears to have sold off all interest in its patented process (or so we might think).   Verifiability will shrink making it harder to defend mortgage foreclosure actions.

(4) The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s role in determining MERS® System violations is undetermined!

Given what we know about lax prosecutions in the revolving door business known as the “SEC”, it is hard to ascertain at this time what we’re dealing with as to potential non-disclosure violations or other liabilities first assessed against the MERS business model.

(5) Even more serious … using any digital technology puts you at risk of identity theft!

Look … if hackers can get into the Equifax database … put your thinking cap on before you fill out an online mortgage loan application!

WARNING TO THE JUDICIARY! — You … as a judge … may play into “the system of things” in an adverse way! 

Because the same parent company to the NYSE owns MERSCORP’s “MERS® System”, all state and federal judges holding any NYSE-traded shares may have a conflict of interest!

It is seriously important to recognize, as Al West pointed out to me yesterday in our phone conversation, that any judge having any stock in the NYSE, now that MERS is a directly-linked, wholly-owned subsidiary, may represent a conflict of interest if that judge’s portfolio contains any NYSE-traded stock, which could be stock in any financial institution or any loan with MERS in it that is connected in any way to an NYSE stock, which could be cause to have the judge recused from your foreclosure case!

Further, my radio co-host (on WKDW-FM’s City Spotlight-Special Edition), R. J. Malloy, also intimated that in Florida, all of the senior judges presiding over foreclosure dockets could also be at risk of being recused based on similar conflicts of interest because their pension funds are vested in these types of stocks, bonds, securities, etc.  Not good!

If the judge is called upon to recuse himself from a case because he holds stock in the NYSE, which is connected to MERS, or has a pension vested with anything related to either, and fails to recuse himself, it could trigger an attack on the judges bond for a multitude of behaviors, including non-disclosure, which if played out to its distinct finality, could represent an ethical violation for which he could be permanently removed from the bench.  This would include federal judges (who, for the most part, have their finances laid bare at Judicial Watch!) who end up getting cases that have been removed by foreclosure mill attorneys who think they can get a 12(b)(6) out of the federal districts.

Besides clogging up the judicial system throughout the United States, all of the U. S. counties that employ judges that are even remotely “attached” to “the system of things” are at risk of having their treasuries plundered because most U.S. counties are self-insured.

For one minute, I do not believe that any of the people involved in the acquisition of the MERS® System even thought about the repercussions of having MERS connected to the NYSE!

If you thought that the idea of shredding documents was an option, with digital technology, there won’t be any originals to shred … and loan mods will probably be done online … reviewed online … and denied online.  Information gathering technologies will put all of your personal identifying information at risk, because ALL systems at some point, can be hacked. That furthers your risk for identity theft if you “play the digital game”!   Be forewarned!  Things are about to get dicey!

 

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