Saturday, April 21, 2012

Steven J. Baum Settles With Eric Schneiderman In Probe Of Forclosure Scandal

Baum’s rush

Last Updated:8:21 AM, March 23, 2012
Posted:11:50 PM, March 22, 2012

LINK
Steven J. Baum, New York’s disgraced former foreclosure king, yesterday got his reputation bloodied — again.
The Buffalo, NY, lawyer, who filed more than 100,000 foreclosure lawsuits in the three years ended in 2010, many of which were faulty, agreed to pay $4 million to settle a yearlong probe by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
In a judicially tasty turn, half the fine will go to help victims of Baum’s beastly legal work, which helped trigger a nationwide “robo-signing” scandal.
Baum and his partner in grime, Brian Kumiega, also will be barred for two years from representing mortgage lenders or servicers in new foreclosure cases.
Schneiderman said the lawyers at Steven J. Baum PC prepared complaints “in an assembly-line fashion,” often by non-attorney employees “with inadequate attorney supervision.” Lawyers verified complaints without reading them and “routinely” notarized documents without proper oversight — a process known as robo-signing, he said.
Baum did this shoddy work while representing banks like Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, HSBC and Citibank.
The settlement also includes Pillar Processing, a document procurement firm founded by Baum to make his foreclosure fiasco even more profitable.
Baum’s law firm is “relieved to bring this matter to a conclusion,” said its lawyer, Elkan Abramowitz, who said it’s “unfair to criticize the firm for relying on the representations of its clients because a century of legal precedent states that an attorney is entitled to do just that.”
In October, Baum’s firm reached a $2 million settlement with the Manhattan US Attorney tied to his firm’s irregular foreclosure practices. A month later, the firm announced it was shutting its doors after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac banned mortgage servicers from using him.
Michael Fakhoury, a lawyer who has locked horns in court with Baum, said the corner-cutting counsel should have been banned for life. “You’re not selling hot dogs here. You’re actually affecting people’s livelihoods.”
The foreclosure mill was some kind of lucrative gig for Baum, who owns several properties, including a home in Buffalo and a posh apartment on Central Park West that he bought for more than $2 million in 2009.

Baum’s rush
By KAJA WHITEHOUSE
Last Updated: 8:21 AM, March 23, 2012
Posted: 11:50 PM, March 22, 2012
http://www.voy.com/194846/23920.html
Steven J. Baum, New York’s disgraced former foreclosure king, yesterday got his reputation bloodied — again.
The Buffalo, NY, lawyer, who filed more than 100,000 foreclosure lawsuits in the three years ended in 2010, many of which were faulty, agreed to pay $4 million to settle a yearlong probe by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

In a judicially tasty turn, half the fine will go to help victims of Baum’s beastly legal work, which helped trigger a nationwide “robo-signing” scandal.

Baum and his partner in grime, Brian Kumiega, also will be barred for two years from representing mortgage lenders or servicers in new foreclosure cases.


Introducing: Lawyers for Bruno

While the “Lawyers for Bruno” committee has just been formed, several local attorneys have already pledged their support of Joe Bruno by joining the committee, including Michael D. Assaf, Jack Casey, Jim Crane, Harry Dagostino, Patricia DeAngelis, Marc Ehrlich, Andrew Martin and James Towne.

A number of the committee members of Lawyers for Bruno have ties to Bruno and his family:

Michael Assaf represented his son, Ken.

Jack Casey is the Rensselaer County GOP chairman.

Patricia DeAngelis is the former RensCo DA who was handed the job after Ken Bruno resigned in 2003.

E. Stewart Jones has represented Bruno’s close friend Jared Abbruzzese and his wife over the course of the long federal probe.

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/12166/introducing-lawyers-for-bruno/

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This blew up because the Ulster County and Albany County GOP bosses would not agree on Hummel, easily the most electable of the three GOP candidates. This, despite Joe Bruno's support of Hummel.

http://troypolitics.blogspot.com/2005/09/supreme-court-race.html

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"Fingerprint packets were never received from the following individuals: Becky Thomas and Jeffrey Tucker of Empire Racing; Stephen Wynn of Excelsior; and Richard Santulli, David Smuckler, and Georgette Mosbacher of the New York Racing Association" . . . .

"While the FBI extended an unusual courtesy to the Office of the Inspector General in expediting these reviews, approximately 23 were still outstanding as of the writing of this report due to delays in returning the fingerprint cards to DCJS. . . . . . "

The monitor had also noted that previously, NYRA’s relationship with the State Attorney General was seen as being defined by the State Attorney General’s June 2003 report which concluded that “crime was part of the culture at NYRA” and characterized NYRA as “an insular, opaque, and unaccountable organization.” . . . . . . .

A May 2005 New York Daily News article reported that Joseph Cornacchia, Jr. co-owned a race horse with Salvatore Piazza, a reputed mob associate who won state approval to own and run horses in the late 1990’s. Mr. Cornacchia told the newspaper that he was a “passive investor” and was “unaware of Piazza’s stake in the horse.”

Cornacchia owned a number of horses with Edward Swyer, who was one of New York State Senator Joseph Bruno’s appointees on the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing, a panel reviewing bids for the New York State racing franchise, according to the Times Union. . . . . . . .

According to a January 2007 The New York Times article, Timothy McGinn’s company, McGinn, Smith and Company, is cooperating with an FBI inquiry and received a grand jury subpoena concerning an investigation into State Senator Joseph Bruno’s consulting business. 

According to the article, in 2001, two of Bruno’s campaign committees made loans of $200,000 to Capital Center Credit Corporation, where McGinn served as chairman. The loans were repaid at interest rates of nine to ten percent and were paid in full in 2004. 

An article from the website The Albany Project said that the high interest rate loan appeared to have allowed McGinn’s company to make campaign contributions greater than New York State campaign finance law allowed. The New York Times said that the investments “though legal, were unusual even for New York.” . . . . . . . .

Empire Racing Associates, LLC is a limited liability company incorporated in New York State in February 2006 for the express purpose of operating New York racetracks and related gaming businesses pursuant to the anticipated award of the New York racing franchise. Jeffrey Perlee is the Company’s Chief Executive Officer; Dennis Brida is Executive Vice President of Racing Operations and Industry Relations; and Justin McDonald is Vice President. Jeffrey Tucker is Chairman of the Board of Managers. . . . . . .

In late November 2005, Senator Bruno held a meeting in his Albany office to discuss NYRA’s status. Hayward and other NYRA officials attended, including NYRA Trustee Wayne Barr, who happened to be Abbruzzese’s business partner. Also present were Senator Bruno and three top aides, Ken Riddett, Mike Avela and Heather Mowatt, and a veterinarian named Jerry Belinski. Joseph Toranni (“Toranni”), Senator Bruno’s appointee to a NYRA Oversight Committee, participated by phone.xxxiv . . . . . . . . .

Most recently, Excelsior reported that its Advisory Board consists of the following individuals: Jerry Bailey, Dr. Jerry Bilinski, Gary Contessa, R. Wayne Diesel, Rev. Floyd Flake, Amaziah “Bill” Howell and Marion Trieste. Excelsior’s original proposal designated as “teammates” the following: William Mulrow; Citigroup Global Capital Markets; Goldman Sachs; Latham and Watkins, LLP; and Boies, Schiller and Flexner, LLP. Excelsior’s Proposal Addendum changed this list of teammates to include Citigroup and SafirRosetti. . . . . .
Furthermore, others involved with Excelsior are identified as Persons of Interest; they include Jerry Bailey; Gerald “Jerry” Bilinski, D.V.M.; Gary Contessa; R. Wayne Diesel; Reverend Floyd H. Flake; Amaziah “Bill” Howell; Philip C. Parenti; and Marion Trieste. . . . . . .

Numerous articles were identified on-line for Gerald “Jerry” Bilinski, regarding his relationship with New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and his resignation as chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board due to ethics violations. 

According to a December 2006 The New York Times article, Jerry Bilinski, reportedly a close friend and co-owner of horses with Senator Bruno, was a recipient of a federal grand jury subpoena issued in an ongoing FBI probe of Senator Bruno. 

Furthermore, the article mentions that in November 1996, “after receiving two anonymous tips,” the State Inspector General reportedly found that Bilinski “improperly used state money” for trips to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and to Louisville, Kentucky, the details of which are discussed in detail above.

Media reports also described a 1996 New York State Ethics Commission investigation into whether Bilinski, as Chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, “violated the Public Officers Law with respect to activities in which he engaged related to the ownership and breeding of thoroughbred racehorses.” 

A Notice of Reasonable Cause was issued, alleging that Bilinski, on 14 occasions, violated ethics laws by selling breeding rights to licensees of the Board, and, on 16 occasions, violated ethics laws by creating and maintaining partnerships to own horses with a licensee of the Racing and Wagering Board. Bilinski reportedly resigned as chairman of the Racing and Wagering Board after “refusing to comply with a State Ethics Commission order to divest his horse ownership interests.” 

Those interests, the Ethics Commission said, conflicted with his stewardship.

In his interview, Bilinski stated that in 1995, Senator Joseph Bruno, a friend and veterinary client, asked Bilinski to become Chairman of the Racing and Wagering Board, and he accepted. He stated that the Ethics Commission found him guilty of two violations while he was Chairman of the Board. One violation related to a result of a breeding and boarding operation Bilinski operated, Waldorf Farms, at the same time he was the Racing and Wagering Board Chairman. In December 1995, a former Waldorf Farm employee, then working at the Racing and Wagering Board, gave his Racing and Wagering phone number to a person at Blood Horse Magazine. The phone number appeared as the contact number for a Waldorf Farms advertisement in the magazine. 

The Ethics Commission investigated and told Bilinski he had to divest himself of his breeding operation or resign from the Board. He said that he resigned because he could not afford to divest. He said he informed the state of his business dealings in his application, and felt any conflicts should have been noticed then. . . . 

http://www.ig.state.ny.us/pdfs/Report%20to%20the%20Governor%20on%20the%20Integrity%20of%20Those%20Seeking%20to%20Operate%20the%20Racetracks%20at%20Aqueduct,%20Belmont%20Park%20and%20Saratoga.pdf

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We boasted a crowd of close to five hundred enthusiastic and supportive patrons. Our guests included U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson and his wife Mary Jo, New York State Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin, Columbia County Judge Jonathan Nichols, Columbia County District Attorney Beth Cozzolino, former Columbia County Judge Paul Czajka, Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, and Columbia County Sheriff’s Captain John Davi.

We rocked and we rolled to the talented and tight band of David Cassidy, who certainly gives his all to aid us in our mission to help homeless animals. He is a consummate performer, and a most generous individual. The magnificent Waldorf Thoroughbred Farm of Dr. Jerry and Darlene Bilinski was the perfect backdrop for our summer event. 

http://registerstar.com/articles/2011/09/01/columnists/soft_paws/doc4e4e9676b6385005996381.txt

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What this TU article actually does point out is that a change in prosecutorial venue may, in fact, be leading to a break-up in the logjam that has kept the case in limbo over such a long period of time. As per:

Bruno's announcement that he would not seek re-election comes as federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York have visited Albany in connection with the nearly three-year-old criminal probe of Bruno's public and private business dealings, according to sources who spoke to the Times Union on condition they not be identified.
Several months ago, FBI agents from Albany met with prosecutors from the Southern District regarding the Bruno investigation, a person with knowledge of the meeting said.

The agents made an informal overture to the Manhattan-based federal prosecutors at a time when the FBI and prosecutors in New York's Northern District, under U.S. Attorney Glenn T. Suddaby, have been at odds about the handling of the Bruno investigation, which sources believe has been dogged by unnecessary delay.

http://www.thealbanyproject.com/diary/3532/

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Several months ago, FBI agents from Albany met with prosecutors from the Southern District regarding the Bruno investigation, a person with knowledge of the meeting said.
The agents made an informal overture to the Manhattan-based federal prosecutors at a time when the FBI and prosecutors in New York's Northern District, under U.S. Attorney Glenn T. Suddaby, have been at odds about the handling of the Bruno investigation, which sources believe has been dogged by unnecessary delay.

Suddaby is awaiting confirmation by the U.S. Senate to a position as a federal judge in upstate New York. He has declined to comment on the Bruno investigation.
In recent days, Boyd M. Johnson III, who leads the public corruption unit of the United States attorney's office for the Southern District, visited Albany around the time that boxes of records from the state Senate were turned over to federal authorities.

Sources close to the case said that the files had been requested by federal authorities months ago, but that the Senate delayed responding to the request.


Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Retirement-won-t-end-FBI-probe-583667.php#ixzz1qXPT18YR

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Alleged: 

2004 - Bilinski of Waldorf Farms Donates to Paul Czajka;
US Judge Lawrence Kahn's Brother Donates to Czajka; 

Czajka withholds Record of Major Donation in violation of Election Law and files alleged false report; 

2004-2005 Hummel handles Erhlich, Kumiega, Steve Baum, Wells Fargo case beginning with Paul Czajka; 

2005; Kahn handles Steve Baum, Kumiega, Erlich, Wells Fargo case; 

2005 on : US Judge Lawrence Kahn handles cases involving Judges Czajka, Hummel and others

4 comments:

  1. The new firm that has taken over for Baum in foreclosure mass fraud. Is Fein, Such & crane. Same thing being done..new address. Notary is not a notary just a common fraudster. Mortgages are fraudulent & so is the foreclosure paperwork.
    Suffolk County NY. Filed a dozen mortgages on my house.Changing the name format & the Dist. sec. blk & lot. Making new items. I know this because I have a lot of the original documents. My estranged husband. Mike Figat is working behind the scene helping Suffolk procur fraudulent mortgages. Judges, Cops etc.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It seems Deutche Bank was the trustee for thousands of mortgages issued by bankrupt comapnies,They refused to bargain in good faith even on mortgages where the builders and realters comitted overtly fraudulent acts.The reason being is the they had credit default swaps( default insurence) and execution would not have been triggered if they accepted anything less than 100%
    but they had "no insurable risk".So why is this not putting them in jail.

    ReplyDelete
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