Archive for category Mark Shurtleff

Another Bank Bailout – Middle Class Victimized Again

ForeclosureThe robo-signing scandal (aka foreclosure fraud, aka lying, cheating and stealing) is being swept under the proverbial rug. The deal, brokered by the Obama administration, prevents the states from enforcing their own laws against fraud and gives banks and mortgage servicers a get-out-of-jail-free card without even having to admit wrongdoing.. The Department of Justice has already decided not to prosecute banks on the federal level. For a while we hoped that some state attorneys general would muster the clout to prevent this from happening. FDL has it covered:

David Dayen:

Forty-nine states, every one but Oklahoma, as well as federal regulators will participate in a foreclosure fraud settlement that will release the five biggest banks (Wells Fargo, Citi, Ally/GMAC, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America) and their mortgage servicing units from liability for robo-signing and other forms of servicer abuse, in exchange for $25 billion in funding for legal aid, refinancing, short sales, restitution for wrongful foreclosures and principal reduction for underwater borrowers. The announcement will be made on Thursday.

This settlement arises from multiple abuses found in the servicing of loans and the foreclosure process over the past several years. At the height of the housing bubble, banks sliced and diced mortgages and traded them with little regard for the rules following land recording or securitization to such a sloppy extent that they lost track of the true owner on potentially millions of homes. To cover up for this massive failure, banks and their servicing units have been found to have routinely forged, back-dated and fabricated documents at county recorder offices and state courts across the country. Furthermore, they employed “robo-signers,” who signed hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of documents and affidavits without any knowledge of the underlying mortgages. In addition, investigations uncovered massive servicing abuses, including illegal fees charged to borrowers, putting borrowers into foreclosure at the same time as they were working out loan modifications, failing to honor previous settlements where promises were made on modifications, and countless other errors that maximized servicer profits and gouged homeowners. There are also cases of wrongful foreclosures where homeowners have been turned out of their homes without just cause, and servicer-driven foreclosures, where servicers illegally added late fees and applied payments inaccurately, pushing the homeowner into foreclosure. This is but a smattering of the examples of foreclosure fraud and servicer abuse found in a series of interlocking investigations, court depositions, reviews of documents in registers of deeds offices, and homeowner testimonials.

…Oklahoma stayed out of the deal because the state’s Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, did not believe that the banks should face any penalty.

Cynthia Kouril:

[I]t’s over folks. The housing market is not going to recover any time soon and the court system will be permanently corrupted by forged and perjurious documents.

This settlement is an incredible breach of the social contract between the government and the governed.

Kouril suggests calling your state’s Attorney General – Mark Shurtleff, for Utah. Assuming your powers of persuasion are really good, there may be time to stop him from signing on to this rotten deal that lets banks and mortgage servicers off the hook for massive fraud. If he does go along with this betrayal of average Americans, then please remember not to vote for him in November.

This is Bank Bailout 2.0. Instead of going to jail for fraud, the banksters are going to be able to foreclose on homes without proof that they hold the loan, going to court with fake documents. Americans who lose their homes to fraud can still get their own lawyer and sue, taking their chances in a legal system that heavily favors financial institutions over consumers.

More info:
Robo-Signing Bank Settlement Is a Criminal Sell Out
The Foreclosure Fraud Settlement, By The Numbers
The Five Things You Need To Know About Today’s Foreclosure Settlement

UPDATE: Yves Smith: The Top Twelve Reasons Why You Should Hate The Mortgage Settlement

We’ve now set a price for forgeries and fabricating documents. It’s $2000 per loan. This is a rounding error compared to the chain of title problem these systematic practices were designed to circumvent. The cost is also trivial in comparison to the average loan, which is roughly $180k, so the settlement represents about 1% of loan balances. It is less than the price of the title insurance that banks failed to get when they transferred the loans to the trust. It is a fraction of the cost of the legal expenses when foreclosures are challenged. It’s a great deal for the banks because no one is at any of the servicers going to jail for forgery and the banks have set the upper bound of the cost of riding roughshod over 300 years of real estate law.

…As we’ve said before, this settlement is yet another raw demonstration of who wields power in America, and it isn’t you and me. It’s bad enough to see these negotiations come to their predictable, sorry outcome. It adds insult to injury to see some try to depict it as a win for long suffering, still abused homeowners.

UPDATE: David Dayen: Analysis: Regulators Want to “Build Second Table” for Financial Fraud Claims

UPDATE: David Dayen: The $2,000 Insult in the Foreclosure Fraud Settlement


Daryl Gates is dead; long live something else!

Something else which doesn’t unnecessarily imprison innocent, non-violent people.

Americans are tired of people being imprisoned for non-violent crimes.

Utah should be too.


Tea Parties Can Be Fun!

"just vote them out" tea party event
As fate would have it, I was scheduled off work today. Since I love a good protest and have wanted to pick the brains of people involved in the “tea party movement”, I couldn’t resist driving up to the State Capitol to find out what was going on.

As you can see, the crowd was probably not big enough to allow Mark Shurtleff reenter the Senate race against Bob Bennett; according to Rod Decker, the only local people allowed to speak there were opposed to Bob. I know Mark was there, but I don’t know if he spoke because I was too busy talking to people in the crowd.

The question I opened every conversation with was: “where were you guys when Bush was dismantling the constitution?” I’m not exaggerating when I say that every single person to a fault answered, “I don’t know.” Every person I talked to about the Patriot Act hated it. Every person I talked to about the voting machines was skeptical of them or cut me off, which puzzles me, because the theme of this tour was, “just vote them out.”

Most of the coverage of these people from the liberal sites makes them look like idiots, but I found all of them to be genuinely nice and to have a lot in common with me. They ALL disdain Bush and agree that he harmed the country. Where we disagree is that Obama is no different, or worse. Everybody was livid about the health care bill, but for the exact opposite reason I hate it. I want health care for everybody and they only seem to want it for themselves.

I didn’t get much enthusiasm when I tried to point out that the tea party movement was partially financed by wealthy people. I doubt a true grass roots movement would want their money spent on buses that sport beautiful, baked on, graphics, especially since they have repainted the buses since the last tour with the new theme. Interesting that another bus which is following them around the country is the, also beautifully painted, CNN bus. I thought CNN was supposed to be the “Clinton News Network.”

As a professional, free lance protester, I found humor in the fact that it was extremely windy today. Anybody who carries a protest sign knows wind is your worst enemy. Overall, I liked the people in the crowd and hated the people who came in on the bus, trying to use Utahn’s for their own purposes. What I caught of the entertainment was absolutely dreadful!

Note: The photo is of maximum crowd.


Back in the Sagebrush Again

Take Back Utah protest
Protesters trying to “take back” Utah– to the 19th Century

At today’s “Take Back Utah” protest at the State Capitol, I was reminded of what Talleyrand said about the Bourbons. Utah’s sagebrush rebels have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.

I once lived in Monticello, Price and Moab, which means I understand where these folks are coming from. First, southern Utah is a great place to live. Second, despite the fact rural economies are heavily subsidized by the federal and state governments, making a living has historically been tough for the average person. They have always believed themselves to be victimized and abandoned to picture-postcard penury amid one of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth.

And, for as long as I’ve been involved in public land issues, the complaints have been the same. “The politicians are ignoring us, and the wilderness advocates are trying to destroy us.” Never mind that rural Utahns wield political power disproportionate to their numbers, or that designating wilderness areas always helps boost local economies. This debate was never about the facts.

Take Back Utah protest
Even the slogans haven’t changed

Tom Wharton’s story in the Salt Lake Tribune is well worth reading. He picked up on some of the same things I did– and he’s a much better writer. Also, he quoted Swenson saying “gun-clinging,” not “gun-slinging,” and a re-check of the video I shot proves Wharton’s hearing is better than mine. Correction made below. Of course, “gun-clinging” is a snide reference to a remark President Obama made during last year’s campaign.

Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: AG Shurtleff Inadvertently Announces Candidacy on Twitter

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff inadvertently confirmed on Twitter this afternoon that he’s running against Senator Bob Bennett in 2010.

Apparently thinking that he was sending a private text message, Shurtleff posted that he would be making an official announcement soon, and that he could raise significant amounts of money in Utah, California, New York, Arizona and Texas.

He added, “time to rock and roll!”

The postings were later removed, but here’s a screen capture of what his page looked like before.



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AG Shurtleff, another ethically-challenged Utah official?

From January 2008 regarding perks Utah’s top cop received from Ameriquest and payday lenders (more about those debacles at the end of this post):

“In order for me to buy into this, the whole nature of your investigation, I have to accept your proposition that campaign contributions buy things for people. And until you can show me the case where that’s happened with me, we’re done talking.”

A few years ago Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff admitted to using his official stationery and the state seal for political purposes. “My bad,” he said at the time, and promised to be more careful in the future.

Oops, he did it again. Adding to the spate of questionable activities among Utah officials this year, Shurtleff used his official stationery and the state seal for a letter to attorneys general all across the U.S. praising Orem-based DigitalBridge’s digital technology for crime data sharing. The letter was coincidentally timed within days of receiving a $10,000 campaign contribution from DigitalBridge.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

“It’s not an endorsement , not an advertisement. It’s far from that,” Shurtleff said Thursday. “So it does not violate the code.”

“When a company comes up with technology that will save lives or help solve an identity theft problem, I let my fellow attorney generals know about it,” said Shurtleff.

The letter to attorneys general around the country was dated Sept. 29, within days of his receipt of a $10,000 campaign contribution from the company. Shurtleff and DigitalBridge say the timing was a simple coincidence and that the attorney general had offered to write the letter nearly a year ago. [emphasis mine]

Not an endorsement? You be the judge. Here are a couple of excerpts from the letter (which was still up on the web site as of this posting).

In light of the enormity of the information sharing problem and the lack of genuine solutions, I would encourage your attention to the technology presented at CWAG by Digital Bridge. In fundamental ways, Digital Bridge has conceived an approach to protected information sharing that, in my experience, is truly extraordinary. [snip]

Digital Bridge has developed a truly groundbreaking technology called Digital Packet Technology which enables sharing of processes, policies and information across organizational boundaries while maintaining context, security, privacy and control of the information as it is shared. For the first time, you can maintain control of your information as you share it with others in the justice and homeland security ecosystems.

Rather than try to describe the technology in any detail here, I would recommend that you see for yourselves its capabilities. . .[all emphasis mine]

When I was in marketing, we called this a testimonial letter—a highly desirable endorsement by one of your customers’ peers. And we particularly liked letters that actually included a sales pitch and a call to action.

Not quite a year ago I blogged on RedStateBlues about other, shall we say, lapses of judgment on the part of Utah’s top cop as reported on

in 2005 Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff accepted Rolling Stones concert tickets from Ameriquest — a company that was being sued by states all over the country “accused of deceiving customers, inadequate loan disclosures, and inflated appraisals.” But Shurtleff said it was okay since he and his daughter left the concert after the third song because his daughter didn’t “like” it. He joined the litigation against Ameriquest a month later.

Shurtleff also took a trip to the Bahamas, wherein “a national association representing payday lending companies paid for his plane ticket. Shurtleff accepted an invitation to give a speech at the group’s conference at a luxury resort in the Bahamas.” Shurtleff justified the trip by saying that he ended up taking his whole family on the trip and it cost him a lot of money.

At the time state records showed that Utahns had filed 120 complaints against payday lenders in the previous three years, but that Shurtleff said, ‘There have never been any criminal complaints or allegations filed against a group like that — and why not let them pay my trip?'”

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Save The Utah Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for Loving Mormon Families

It would be a good political move too.

The ACLU, along with others, filed a lawsuit in the California Supreme Court that will crush Prop. 8 and once and for all shut down the hateful social engineering that has so embarrassed loving Mormons.  (complaint here)

The press release reminds everyone that California Attorney General Jerry Brown honor the marriages of same-sex couples and insure it is SHUT DOWN.

Brown’s position is significant because his office will represent the state in lawsuits over Prop. 8’s validity and meaning…

If only our own Attorney Jr. had such a backbone.

If the Utah Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is really about Jesus, LOVE, and salvation, there is another book which guarantees salvation.

Good Utah Mormons should take to the streets and the approximately 10% (higher in Utah) of the temple worthy should deposit their temple recommends at the gate of Temple Square until Monson can revisit this issue with God.

The difference between civil unions and marriage.
Wikipedia entry on the Court challenge to Nazi proposition 8

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Dukes of Utah – Funny (Watch Mark Shurtleff on his motorcycle)

This is video just snuck its way into my e-mail. Its pretty funny. I’ve been pleasantly surprised on occasion by Utah AG Mark Shurtleff. He can be compassionate when its under the radar, but the he keeps tripping on his ambition and gets himself on the wrong wrong wrong side of issues.

Here’s Mr. Shurtleff in the flesh bragging about suing the richest man in the world and promising USANA he won’t sue them.

Shurtleff clearly has other bigger ambitions. Lets send him on his way and elect a good woman instead.

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