Category Archives: Foreclosures

Named to Florida Trend’s 2016 Legal Elite for Business Litigation

Aaron Resnick, Esq. (AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell) has been named to Florida Trend’s 2016 Legal Elite™ for Business Litigation. The state’s top lawyers are recognized in the 2016 edition of Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite™. The list of 1,144 honorees includes attorneys in private practice as well as top government and non-profit attorneys. In the entire state of Florida, there were less than 200 honorees in Business Litigation.

To compile the list, Florida Trend invited all actively practicing Florida lawyers to name the attorneys that they hold in highest regard – lawyers with whom they have personally worked and would recommend to others. The winner list represents fewer than 2% of the 66,000 active Florida Bar members who practice in Florida.

“For the past 13 years, our 250,000 readers have turned to Florida Legal Elite as a guide to help select a trusted legal partner to handle many crucial corporate assignments,” says Publisher Andrew Corty. “This July issue provides a valuable resource for these readers, and the website offers another pathway to access this key information."

Florida Bar President William J. Schifino, Jr. notes, “For the public and our profession, Florida Legal Elite offers a guide to outstanding attorneys recommended by their peers.”

The entire Legal Elite roster, including Hall of Fame inductees and top Up and Comers, can be viewed at

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Foreclosure king ‘created chaos on the courts’ and should be disbarred, referee says

A Florida lawyer once dubbed the “foreclosure king” should be disbarred for failing to supervise law firm personnel who mishandled foreclosures and filed improperly notarized paperwork, a disciplinary referee has concluded.

The lawyer, David Stern, closed his firm in 2011 amid lost work caused by robosigning allegations, notifying judges by letter that he wouldn’t be able to do further work on some 100,000 pending foreclosures, according to prior news coverage.

“This case aptly illustrates the manner in which one attorney, David Stern, either in his capacity as the sole managing partner of his firm or in his individual capacity, created chaos on the courts of Florida, prejudicing the whole system,” referee Nancy Perez wrote in her report. The Daily Business Review covered her recommendation.

The “root cause” of the problems, Perez wrote, was the excessive volume of files taken in by Stern’s firm. At the apex in 2008, attorneys in the firm each handled an average of more than 1,600 case files. Most of the associates were newly admitted lawyers who would have been unable to handle the “tsunami of work” even if they had received proper training, Perez said.

Stern’s goal, Perez said, was to increase business and firm income, aiding the sale of his back-office document-processing operations, which netted him $58 million. He told one employee that the sale was partly contingent on the volume of files processed by the firm, Perez said. He did not properly supervise lawyers and nonlawyers, she said, who in some cases filed forged and false affidavits that were improperly notarized by firm personnel.

Stern’s “failure to exercise care resulted in massive injury to the system,” Perez wrote. “The incidents were not isolated, but rather a representation of the culture of the firm, as to the low level of competence and ethics. He is the lawyer. It was his firm. Mr. Stern is responsible.”

Perez also criticized Stern for maintaining his firm did not have the financial ability to properly withdraw from the 100,000 pending cases. His net worth revealed his own financial resources were sufficient. “David Stern and the firm are one entity,” she wrote. “His statement was a misrepresentation.”

Perez said Stern had not shown remorse for his actions and blamed others for the problems. “He has taken no responsibility,” she said. “The mistake or difficulties are the actions of others.”


Is the Sky Falling? BrickellHouse Holdings in Foreclosure (First Post-Recession New Construction Foreclosure Filed)

Yesterday, we reported that 2201 Collins Fee, LLC a/k/a the W South Beach faced a foreclosure suit over a $378 million mortgage. Data provided by Condo Vultures, a real estate consultancy and brokerage, shows condo sales at the W basically stopped in January, with prices hovering around $1,800 a square foot.

If you believed the hype, one would have thought that all new construction in South Florida was safe, secure and that consumers had nothing to fear from putting down 50% deposits on real estate.

That may be true, but BrickellHouse is the first post-recession project to deal with foreclosure. JBG Development filed a foreclosure lawsuit on Oct. 4 against BrickellHouse Holdings, which broke ground in December on the 374-unit, 46-story project at 1300 Brickell Bay Drive.

BrickellHouse paid $25.8 million to Kenneth Baboun-led JBG Development for the property in August 2012. JBG Development provided $15.8 million in financing. Court records show the loan document required BrickellHouse to obtain a construction loan between $20 million to $45 million, while keeping JBG’s loan as the first mortgage, and the construction contract price wouldn’t exceed $80 million. JBG would have approval power over both the construction loan and the construction contract, according to the mortgage document.

According to a reading of the complaint by The Miami Herald, BrickellHouse asked JBG to make its loan subordinate to a pending construction loan but JBG refused to weaken its position in the collateral.

Whether or not the claims have merit will be for a Court to decide, but the concept that real estate is safe, secure and fool proof as presented by many on the sales side of these transactions should not be accepted as fact. The truth is that the same mantra was espoused in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 when people lined up and essentially begged to buy. Hopefully, people have learned something since then.



Another One? 2201 Collins Fee, LLC a/k/a W South Beach in Foreclosure

The South Florida Business Journal is reporting that 2201 Collins Fee, LLC a/ka/ The W South Beach, is in foreclosure.

You can read the entire article here.

Hypo Real Estate Capital Corp., an affiliate of a German lender, filed a foreclosure lawsuit Oct. 11 against 2201 Collins Fee LLC, which is managed by New York-based TriStar Capital and RFR Realty. It targets the 216 unsold condo-hotel units and the common areas in the 408-unit, 20-story hotel at 2201 Collins Ave.

According to the article, the Hypo Real Estate loan to 2201 Collins Fee was modified at $378.4 million in June 2010 after getting an $8.4 million increase. The loan is divided into three tranches.

According to research by Miami-based Condo Vultures LLC, which is cited to in the article, the developer of the W South Beach sold 207 units for $310.2 million, or $1,832 a square foot. It also states that the most recent sale was in January 2013.


Paulina Rubio is facing foreclosure on her home in Miami, Florida

Paulina Rubio is facing foreclosure on her home in Miami, Florida.

The ‘X Factor’ USA judge’s neighbors accused her of failing to pay the required maintenance fees on condo for the past 18 months and the homeowners association has filed a foreclosure action against her.

The building manager Didi Ashe told GossipExtra: “We’re using all collection tools at our disposal. But I cannot comment further as the matter is in litigation.”

The Latin star allegedly owes $30,000 in fees, interest and penalties for her 18th floor property.

Court records, obtained by gossip website, show the homeowners association filed a lien against the 42-year-old star in April but she didn’t acknowledge it.

Florida’s foreclosure courts have 299,055 cases pending as of the end of August, the first time in five years that fewer than 300,000 cases were backlogged.

According to a new report from the Office of the State Courts Administrator, judges cleared 41,547 cases statewide in July and August, including 2,793 in Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach’s backlog now stands at 25,697, down 22 percent from July 1, 2012.

Florida’s courts have been hustling to clear foreclosures from their dockets since getting an infusion of money from the legislature to hire additional senior judges and case managers to process files.

But it may not be how fast the courts are moving as much as the drastic drop in new filings from lenders since the state’s new foreclosure law went into effect July 1.



National Foreclosure Settlement Rules Tweaked Amid Complaints

The $25 billion national mortgage foreclosure settlement is getting tweaked, to address numerous complaints that mortgage servicers are falling short in their dealings with struggling borrowers.

When it was announced in February 2012, the settlement sought to compensate borrowers for wrongs they experienced in the foreclosure process. Equally important was the development of new mortgage servicing standards that applied to the nation’s five largest servicers, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Ally/GMAC.

But homeowners, housing counselors and state attorneys general have complained that the banks are not complying with many of the 304 standards they agreed to as part of the pact with the Justice Department, state attorneys general and the five companies.

The changes announced Tuesday night by the committee, many of which were agreed to only by Bank of America and Wells Fargo, seek to correct those issues.

Under the new procedures announced Tuesday night, all five banks will give homeowners 60 days, instead of 30, to submit additional documents that might help them secure a loan modification before the home goes into foreclosure or moves toward a foreclosure-related sale. The banks also have promised to do a better job of overseeing employees who work with borrowers.

Two servicers, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, also agreed to adopt other policies, such as being more specific about what missing information they need from homeowners. Currently, if a borrower sends in a document but forgets to sign it, the servicer may send a letter saying the document is missing, rather than just telling the homeowner that they forgot to sign it.

Those two companies also agreed to escalate loan modification applications when a customer is being asked repeatedly for more documents. And they will use an online portal to submit documents and create a direct contact for the housing counseling agencies working with struggling homeowners.

The committee continues to discuss additional service improvements with the three other banks.

In his June report on the settlement’s progress, independent monitor Joseph A. Smith Jr., said four of the five banks were failing to comply with the servicing aspects of the settlement. At the time, Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development said the “deep and pervasive problems” in mortgage servicing were unacceptable.


Who Said There Are Not Good Foreclosure Deals Still – R Kelly’s Former Mansion Sold for $587,100.00

We all know that the luxury foreclosure market in South Florida is basically non-existent these days. The rise in property values has left many who were in foreclosures with homes that are no longer underwater (whether people will try to reinstate or sell is another story).

There are clearly great deals still in the rest of the United States. R. Kelly’s former suburban Chicago mansion has finally found a buyer.

Crain’s reports the Olympia Fields home that the singer lost to foreclosure six months ago, is under contract and expected to close Oct. 14.

The five-bedroom, 14,525-square-foot home was purchased for close to the asking price of $587,100, although it needs around half a million dollars in repairs, according to Crain’s.

Kelly had reportedly failed to make mortgage payments on the property at 2945 Maros Ln. since June 2010. Attempts to short sale the property for $1.595 million in 2011 failed.

The home was a victim of the struggling housing market, with its appraised value dropping from an estimated $5.2 million to $3.8 million in the span of a year.

The home, which was built in 1997, includes 11 bathrooms, an indoor pool and a theatre room on six acres of private wooded land with a private lake, according to real estate listings.


Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi tells foreclosure courts to mind bank agreement in rulings

Having experience here, it is clear that the the majority of Florida Courts (especially in South Florida, are fast tracking foreclosures at the expense of the State’s citizens. This is being done even though the laws and the recent Nationwide settlement should protect homeowners. For whatever reason, the Courts have decided to disregard these rights.

For once, Attorney General Pam Bondi has done something and she sent a letter this month to the Florida Supreme Court and chief judges statewide reminding them that in the push to move foreclosure cases forward, they must also consider the nationwide settlement reached last year with five major lenders. The letter, sent Sept. 3 to Chief Justice Ricky Polston, comes at a time when foreclosure defense attorneys complain the settlement is being violated by a judiciary that often refuses to cancel foreclosure sales or delay judgments when a mortgage modification is under consideration.

According to the settlement, which requires specific customer service standards, banks must ask the court to delay the case if a modification or other solution is pending. “These standards may impact cases in our trial courts and therefore I want to bring to your attention some general information about them and their potential overlap with foreclosure litigation,” Bondi wrote. Bondi attached a fact sheet about the servicing standards that could impact foreclosure court rulings.

All across Florida we are seeing these abuses. They need to stop. Hopefully, the Courts listen to the Attorney General of the State.


Nation of Islam’s Miami regional HQ faces foreclosure

According to the South Florida Business Journal the Nation of Islam’s regional headquarters building for Miami, the Caribbean and Latin America has been targeted for foreclosure.

Read the article here:

Apparently, Katline Realty Corp. filed the foreclosure lawsuit on Aug. 30 against Muhammad Mosque No. 29, which owns the 8,140-square-foot religious complex at 5600 N.W. 7th Ave. The lawsuit concerns a mortgage made for $271,000 in 2007. The 30-year loan carried an interest rate of 14 percent, which was high even for that year. It required payments of $3,211 per month.

If anyone want to buy the note and advise that they were the ones to throw the Nation of Islam out of South Florida, let us know.