All I know about Florida lawyer David J. Stern, the "Florida Foreclosure King," is what I read about him in the lame-stream media and the trade newspapers. I read about how his firm was canned as Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's main foreclosure counsel in Florida because of alleged robo-signing and other suspect practices. The robo-signing mess has mushroomed into potential class action status, as anti-foreclosure attorneys look to pound away at sloppy loan servicer practices in an effort to save their non-paying clients from having their homes taken away from them simply because they stopped making payments on their home loans (a horribly unjust result, as any fair-minded observer would have to agree). I also read about how a related business in which Mr. Stern was involved laid off 700 employees because of the loss of foreclosure business and how four former employees have launched a class action law suit against Stern and some of his businesses based upon alleged violations of the WARN Act. All-in-all, you'd have to say that David J. Stern has had a bad 2010, and that the start of 2011 doesn't appear to be shaping up as a time of his life that will go into his mental scrapbook of fond memories. Nevertheless, Mr. Stern might take some small measure of solace from the fact that one of his firm's most recent FUBARs puts him the same class as some of the nation's other premier foreclosure SNAFU artists. That's right, we're talking about selling the same home twice, and not even to the same buyer. It's the kind of foreclosure faux pas that would bring a tear to the eye of the grand master of mess-ups, Bank of America, a favorite of this blog. A buyer of a foreclosed house at a foreclosure auction, Marjorie Oster, didn't know that the lender had already approved a short-sale to another buyer. How did the lender allow the property to go through a subsequent foreclosure sale to Ms. Oster? All fingers pointed to Mr. Stern's law firm. "So we both own the same house and I'm frustrated as hell," said Oster. "Someone screwed up."' New attorneys representing CitiMortgage say that "someone" was David Stern's beleagured law office, which originally represented the lender. Citi ultimately pulled the case from Stern's offices and gave it to Shapiro and Fishman, another large South Florida foreclosure firm that represents banks and loan servicers. […] In the situation with the Cutler Bay house, attorney Leora B. Freire, with Shapiro and Fishman, said Stern's office didn't notify the courts to take the house out of the foreclosure auction after the short sale had been processed. When the dust settled, the short-sale buyer got to keep the house and the lender paid off Ms. Oster. Both buyers went away irritated but ultimately resigned to the fact that, while breaking up is hard to do, foreclosure appears to be downright impossible to do correctly, at least for some of the nation's largest loan servicers. Thus, all's well that ends badly. At least nobody stole anybody's parrot this time around. For that, the SPCA and the Audubon Society are thankful.
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