Foreclosure Mill Mocks Homeowners

Check out this recent article from the New York Times. The law firm of Steven J. Baum, P.C. is one of the largest foreclosure firms in New York. During its Halloween party in 2010, many employees dressed up as people complaining about losing their homes to foreclosure. They laughed about the fact that the firm had successfully evicted so many people from their homes. When contacted about the story, a Steven J. Baum spokesman denied that any employees had mocked those who had lost their homes. But Mr. Baum himself apologized the next day.

While I do not believe such behavior is common in the foreclosure world, the story did not shock me. I have heard of debt collectors calling consumers names, threatening them, and otherwise harassing people who cannot pay their debts. (What really gets me is when the debt collectors then call me to discuss, “a mutual client.” I have no mutual clients with debt collectors. Their clients are creditors, mine are debtors.) Is it really surprising that these people would also make fun of their victims at an office party?

Although most debt collection agencies probably do not display this kind of contempt for debtors, I doubt that attitudes like this are rare. If you live in southwest Wisconsin and have either been harassed by a debt collector or served with foreclosure papers, give me a call. I may be able to help you save your home. At the very least, I can usually help stop the harassment. If you’re already struggling with overwhelming debt, you shouldn’t also have to deal with disrespectful behavior from debt collectors.

(Oh, and debt collection script writers? Please delete that “mutual client” bit from your next version. As we don’t have any mutual clients, there’s no need for you to start off our conversation with a lie. Thanks.)

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  1. When did we stop helping those in need and start blaming or making fun of them? I expect these types of behaviors out of middle schoolers but adult bullies are beyond pathetic.

    • I agree. And it looks like this behavior was encouraged by the attorney(s). However, karma can be a witch, and it looks like the firm has shut down.

  2. We have a family in our congregation that is facing foreclosure. I saw a line in your blog that says you can help people save their homes. How does a person go about this? I don’t know where to direct this family.


    • Depending on how much is owed on the mortgage, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help. In a Chapter 13, the homeowners would pay the arrearage (the amount they are behind on their mortgage) over 3-5 years while also making the regular mortgage payments directly to the lender. If the house is worth less than is owed, it may make financial sense to let the bank take the house. If the homeowners have a valid defense to a wrongful foreclosure, defending against the foreclosure in state court may be a viable option.

      I recommend your friends call a local bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. The longer they wait, the fewer options they will have. If a drive to Platteville is convenient, I’d be glad to meet with them. Just have them give me a call at 608-348-4466.

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