Archive for July, 2010

My letter of complaint against Aurora Loan services and Lehman, to the Office of Thrift supervision, which is the Federal oversight organization that investigates consumer claims against banks and lending institutions:

To whom it may concern,
I would like to meet with someone In the Office of Thrift Supervision to discuss my concerns as a US Citizen and California Homeowner who believes that he is being systematically defrauded by Aurora loan services.

14 months ago, after nine months of arduous negotiation, I received a permanent fixed loan modification from my loan servicer; Aurora loan services. I am one of an extraordinarily small percentage of people who can make this claim. I am part of an even smaller group of freelance individuals who were able to achieve this. In a recent discussion with a consumer advocate for people like myself, it was pointed out that in the two years that this individual has been advocating for home owners like myself I am, in fact, one of only two people that he had heard of who had achieved this and not only gotten the Mod, but successfully maintained the payments and loan obligation!

When I applied for my loan modification I was not in arrears or late in any way. I proactively sought a solution in order to prevent any kind of problem with my ability to pay or maintain my fiduciary obligation to my mortgage. To this day I have a 100% and on-time payment history for the last decade. I also had to take the extraordinary measure, when I first purchased the house, of putting down $270,000, almost 50% value of the house, in order to qualify as a freelance person, to purchase the house. With the ten year perfect payment history and my deposit I have invested almost half of a million dollars into this home over the last decade, with 20 years of labor, prior to purchase, invested into saving for this home, AND MY LOAN IS STILL $500,000!! So I have not been able to pay down any principal and in the end run will have paid double for my home.

In this moment I believe that Aurora loan services is attempting to use a property tax loophole in my loan agreement in order to balloon my payment in such a way as to place me in default so they can acquire my property.

On Friday, June 18th Aurora wrote a letter, which was mailed and postmarked on Saturday June 19th. It arrived at my home on Monday, June 21st, which I opened immediately. The exact language of the letter was an inquiry into the status of past-due property taxes that were approximately 16 months in arrears. I found the inquiry confusing because my financial particulars had been scrutinized with a microscope for over nine months. Nevertheless I immediately contacted Aurora to try and straighten things out. I called at noon on June 21st and explained to a supervisor that I was in contact with the state tax assessor and had received information and documentation stating that the state was not interested in coming after me for my delayed property taxes. I had in fact made arrangements to pay a portion of the 2008 delinquent taxes and explained to the assessor my financial limitations due to physical injury, high medical expenses, and unemployment. It was then explained to me that I would be paying 1 ½% interest on the past due taxes but that no action would be taken unless I was five years in arrears. I tried to explain this to the supervisor at Aurora. I was then shocked to hear the following; “Aurora had decided to ignore the letter that had been sent to me three days earlier, telling me I had 30 days to resolve this matter, and that they were paying my tax bill that day!” The language of the letter sent to me and my promissory note both state that Aurora has the right to do this but that it is a discretionary choice because the language is; “Aurora may choose…”.

I then explained to the representative that this discretionary choice was not only a violation of their fiduciary obligation to both myself but also to their client and the investors who hold my title. I explained that, since Aurora knows all of my financial particulars having just spent 9 months investigating every single detail of my financial life, and that choosing to pay this tax bill and ballooning my payment by establishing an escrow account would increase my monthly mortgage payment from $1677 to almost $3600. I explained that this would be impossible for me to pay and that it would in fact placed me in a position of a forced default. A position I would fight and would end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and tying up the issue in court for several years.

I was then told; “too bad, you should’ve known better, but if you can raise $11,000 by tomorrow morning, (which was less than 12 hours away), I could avoid this entire thing by beating their payment to the tax assessor”. I was then told I could file a complaint in writing, but that the process would take up to 60 days to review, which made no sense since the action being taken that places my home in jeopardy was going to occur in less then 12 hours!

Over the next seven days I repeatedly called seeking help and a viable solution. Every representative that I spoke to, (while obviously referring to their scripted responses), told me that this situation was what it was and could not be escalated, but I persisted and at the end of every single conversation the situation was in fact escalated. (I have recordings of every single conversation.)

Finally, after eight days of some of the most surreal conversations I’ve ever had in my life, I reached a senior supervisor in the executive division capable of actually addressing the situation. During the course of that particular recording I have a senior representative acknowledging that an error has been made and a violation of the inherent agreement presented to me in the initial letter dated June 18th. I was offered 30 days to show I was resolving the problem and denied that without notice. I believe that this is in violation of not only the Consumer Protection Act, but also several fair trade practices. I further believe that this attempt is motivated by several factors; 1) that I am in fact a successful loan modification candidate who is maintaining his credit and payment history with perfect payments, and 2) that they are not making any money because I’m doing that, and 3) that my house is not upside down and that they can acquire this house and what little equity I do have by initiating this discretionary move.

During the course of the conversation the supervisor agreed that I should be entitled to not 30 days but 60 days, and that she would arrange that, and that my credit would not be negatively impacted in any way if I maintained good faith and paid my payments, and that they were working best faith efforts to try and find a solution.

Unfortunately, as Aurora knows, I am still partially disabled and not eligible for unemployment and I am still unemployed. I am not eligible for disability, and my unemployment precludes me from obtaining an equity line or fair interest rate loan to bridge the new payment costs. They also know that every month, no matter what it takes, I somehow manage to pay my payment, every single month, on time, no matter what.

I do not, nor have I ever tried to deny that there is a property tax delinquency. My complaint is that Aurora chose to violate my rights as a valued client and homeowner by offering a 30 day window to solve, or show that I am solving, the tax issue problem, and initiated an action that was not only unnecessary but purely discretionary, and essentially places me in a position of forced default. Even if the tax assessor was going to take action they are required to notify the bank which then have the opportunity to pay the deficit. the only reason it was paid is so that they can balloon my payment and force me out.

I explained that I would fight this to the very end, to which point I am writing this letter to your organization to initiate an investigation into what I believe are extremely unfair and prejudicial business practices by Aurora. If one goes to Google and types in the phrase “suing Aurora Loan services” literally thousands of stories like mine appear. Where is accountability and transparency? Where is advocacy for the consumers and american homeowners who are being trampled by these cheats and liars?

In these uncertain times I am an exemplary model of fiduciary frugality. I have an absolutely perfect credit history and tier one credit with one exception; which is a short sale on the house that I lost at the beginning of the real estate and financial debacle we are now all facing. Aurora loan services knows absolutely everything about my financial predicament, and also knows that I proactively sought a solution and received a permanent and fixed loan modification that would allow me to keep my home.

By choosing to do this, by choosing to ignore the letter I was sent offering me 30 days, by initiating an action that was not necessary and that prevents me from obtaining a bridge loan, I believe that Aurora is trying to steal my home and I will fight this for as long as I humanly can. It is incredibly offensive to me to have to be dealing with this issue considering it took 20 years to save, ten years of perfect payments and 9 months of arduous negotiation to get the loan mod.

I’ve spent my entire adult life, from the age of 15, working incredibly hard and assiduously maintaining my credit history and profile. I have never been overleveraged or over indebted. When a situation arose that could potentially be a problem I have proactively sought and received and achieved solutions. I’ve successfully raise a child who is sober and sane, having graduated from public school with honors and attending college in the fall with an almost full scholarship.

I pay my taxes, and I’m a solid citizen of the United States. I deeply resent that Lehman and Aurora have received federal funding specifically designated to help individuals like myself who have been fiscally prudent and hard-working, and that they are systematically targeting and defrauding homeowners like myself.

The entire system is set up to not only prevent individuals from actually receiving help, but also so convoluted and bureaucratic in nature that when a problem does arise, the system is entirely designed to get a consumer to give up in frustration. I am not one of those people. I’ve worked too hard and too long to buy and keep my home and will not turn it over to a bunch of corporate thieves and bureaucrats who caused this problem in the first place.

I would like to initiate a full investigation into this sequence of events. I am in possession of all documentation and shall attach copies of the letters sent to me detailing the timeline and the fact that I had 30 days, which was ignored. I am also in possession of all conversations between myself and representatives of a Aurora loan services, as legal audio recordings.

I believe that I have the right to keep my home. I believe that the 20 years of labor that I spent saving up to buy my home has value. I believe that the 10 years of absolutely perfect payment history, even in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, has value. I believe that I put my obligations as a homeowner above almost everything except for my responsibilities as a parent to my child. I have made incredible sacrifices in order to maintain and pay my monthly mortgage payment. I recognize that this is my responsibility.

I do not recognize the right of Aurora loan services and Lehman to take my home on a technicality that was entirely avoidable and at their discretion. Again, I believe that this discretionary action is a significant violation of Aurora loan services fiduciary obligation to both the investor holding title and myself as the homeowner and I seek justice.

The solution that I’m seeking is to be able to keep my home that I’ve invested 30 years of my life building and investing in. But I believe that the only reason that the loan company is pursuing this matter is an attempt to acquire my home which is, at this point in time, not upside down, although most likely unsellable, due to the current economic climate.

The current status is that Aurora has made three suggestions that make no sense;

The first offer that was made to me was a suggestion to actually apply for a new loan modification. This absolutely made no sense to me! I just received a permanent loan modification 14 month ago, not a trial loan modification, but a permanent fixed loan modification, terms are 30 years at 4%. This was a modification that I received after nine months of arduous and debilitating negotiation to move from a negative A.R.M. loan that was accruing over $1000 a month in debt obligation prior to the modification. The first contradiction is obviously that Aurora of knows that I just received a permanent loan modification 14 months ago. They also know every single detail, down to the penny, about me and my financial particulars! They also know, 100%, that I am not eligible for loan modification under current guidelines. That I got a permanent loan modification at all is something close to a miracle. That I have maintained it assiduously puts me in an extremely small percentile. So it’s not really an offer of solution or resolution to suggest applying for a secondary loan modification, to pay off the $11,000 that they chose to pay and then penalize me for. As I have stated numerous times, I was working with estate tax assessor, there was no problem, and for whatever reason the decision was made in panic that has caused this problem. So again, to offer as a solution that I go through a process that almost got me hospitalized through stress the first time, and that I actually completed and maintained, is not a real offer resolution.

The second offer they presented was that I simply pay off the entire $11,000 payment in one shot. This again is a non-resolution as they know everything about my finances and now that I have no money, or at least not that kind of money, to be able to make an $11,000 payment. In point of fact, if I had that money in the first place I would’ve simply paid the state tax assessor.

The third offer makes the least sense, and that concerns me the most because of the implied dishonesty. I was told that they would be willing to spread the payments out over a five-year period at $267 a month. I asked if that would be including any kind of an escrow account that would also balloon my payments, which Ms. Farley, the exec in charge, could not answer. On the recording that I have she then goes on to state that they would not be charging me any interest for this five-year period. Here’s where it gets weird; $267 a month for five years equals $16,000. The amount in question that was paid on June 21 by Aurora is $11,000. So contradiction number one in this statement is that obviously they are in fact charging interest! Not only are they charging interest, but actually charging extremely high rate of interest where the debt, at the end, would actually be at 50% interest. If the amount financed is $11,000, and the amount is paid over five years and ends up being $16,000, then they are making a $5000 profit on this arrangement. So you can see why discussions and negotiations with this organization are almost impossible, because at every turn they are positioning themselves to either make money or steal my house.

The choice to pay this tax debt was discretionary! The problem that is happening right now is because Aurora preemptively chose to ignore the letter that they had sent me and pay a debt that was not necessary to be paid in that moment. I recognize there was a debt obligation to the tax assessor and that I was responsible to resolve that. The current and ongoing problem is entirely due to the panicked decision to preemptively pay this tax debt. As I pointed out to you there are thousands of examples of people being defrauded of their homes by this company in exactly this manner.

If they want to seek resolution they need to approach me with integrity and some sense of honesty and a desire to seek a mutually beneficial solution. I have 100% demonstrated over a ten-year period my absolute integrity and good faith. I am a valued client who is being treated very badly and who has to remain extraordinarily vigilant in order to protect myself from what is obviously unethical business practices.

I also wish to report this in an effort to dispute and refute the current claims by the GOP that we are all fiscally imprudent homeowners who are not eligible because we are utilizing our funds for entertainment and frivolous ventures. Quite the reverse; I don’t go out, no vacations, having bought a new piece of underwear in two years, extremely high medical expenses, a son headed to college, luckily on scholarship, and financial hardship due to both physical and medical issues, an financial hardship due to the current economic downturn and unemployment issues, not eligible for disability, nor am I eligible for any of the federal assistance programs as I don’t fall within the guidelines that are extremely unrealistic and unhelpful anyway.

Please help me resolve this matter in a timely manner and help me keep my home.
Thank you.

J. March

The right to vibrate!

My friend Richard astutely pointed out that I might consider personalizing my blog more. Speaking from my own experience and heart about things I am thinking about and observing, rather then just intellectual ranting. I started this blog to talk about large scale patterns and themes I see perpetuating in the social collective. I agree with my friend, and so…

A lot of what seems to be happening in the world right now, as a part of these incoherent and chaotic economic times, is really quite confusing to a lot of people, myself included. When I started this Blog I decided I wanted to look at the bigger picture, rather then the surface details, as that appears to me to be where we all get stuck. It feels to me like the world has so much access to immediate visceral information and no clear sense of what to do with it all. I also noticed a trend, an evolving pattern, where News gets posted and the invisible masses now have access to a forum of vituperative invective, through which they can voice their dissatisfaction or collective angst and confrontational opinion, but that not a lot of the language was geared towards change or solution.

So I decided to take a step back and look at what I choose do with my own life, where do I focus my passion and intention, to see what it is that I am actually doing and then assess those observations with the question in mind: “Why do we think that what we do with our lives is so important?”

Essentially I have devoted my soul and life journey to exploring and participating in learning about different ways to vibrate. I like things that vibrate. (Please keep your minds out of the gutter here…lol)…but in fact, I do happen to speak well the language of vibration, in certain dialects. I essentially speak in a certain form of math. Intuitively, without formulas and theorems, I speak the language of cumulative, non-language based vibration sequence. I tend to orient well within a 4 dimensional topography of interacting vibrational energetic states. I play guitar. I record and manipulate sound to be disseminated later. I have spent most of my life learning this language, learning this craft, not so much because I want to, but apparently some soul aspect of who I am needs to do this, in a way that is as essential to me as breathing or eating. I know a lot of folks who have devoted their lives to this exact same path. I also know some are committed because of the economic agenda and some like myself submit to the will of this harsh mistress like a religious calling or any other vocation that requires certain surrender to an unseen but definitely heard pull towards some ineffable outcome. I once described being a professional musician wanting a steady career and liveliehood being akin to consistently placing your hand on a hot stove and expecting a blowjob. You get burned but you keep putting your hand back on that stove thinking the next time, ahhh the next time…but seriously…

I went the other night to the Nokia Theater and watched Jeff Beck play guitar. As I often do in large gatherings, I disengaged from the experience to look around and observe people sharing the experience. I had an insight that they were all collectively sharing the language of the story being told, they were immersed in this vibrational unfolding of emotion and energy that was all math and skill, art and science. The physics involved, the amplified instruments, the vibrating strings and frequency range of the guitar and the bass, the symmetric distribution of the drums and subdivision of the 4th dimension into discreet groupings, the elegant colors and sonorities, expressed as decoded binary conversions, keyboards making sounds entirely constructed of imagined digital waveforms, the displacement of energy and increase in amplitude, the physics of the sympathetic vibrations and standing waves pulsing through me, the huge volumes of displaced air thrumming with low frequency oscillations, and the connected consciousness shared by the connection between Jeff beck and the audience. As I looked around I again paused and asked myself; “Why is this communal connection important? Why is this so compelling to so many of us?”

We, as musicians, explore a literal 4 dimensional topography and we, as a species have come to relate imagistic and emotional aspects and attributes to various sequences and formulae. It is really quite extraordinary that a frequency based vibrational relationship can evoke so much response. It seems logical that vibration can connect us to the ineffable pervasive universal mystery, as that is essentially what physical reality is. What fascinates me is this particular spectrum that music and audible sound and language inhabits.

I am part of a community of individuals who have ostensibly devoted their lives to pursue their internal connection with and through vibration. I inherently recognize this requirement, this calling, that, like a lover’s embrace, or a religious epiphany, that calls so many to a path that requires no less then the same pursuit, passion and fidelity. as any deep religious calling. Now, in these uncertain times I find myself fighting to survive, fighting for my right to vibrate. I find myself fighting for excellence and against mediocrity. So the answer to my question seems to be it is so important to so many because it connects us to something deeper and more meaningful then the surface agenda that our artificial construct of a social consensus has created, and connects us to the ineffable aspect of soul and life that is so missing from the global cultural imagination, or lack thereof. So I shall continue to support those who explore vibration in its many forms and will fight for the right to vibrate!

Any thoughts?