Last month we noted the deplorable behavior of a New York “foreclosure mill” firm that was being criticized for photos the New York Times published from the company’s 2010 Halloween party in which employees dressed to look homeless and decorated the office to resemble a row of foreclosed homes. On November 21, 2011, the Associated Press reported that a spokesman confirmed that Steven J. Baum P.C. will close.
According to the AP, the firm which employs 67 full- and part-time employees in suburban Buffalo and 22 on Long Island, handled nearly 40 percent of the 46,572 foreclosure actions brought in New York courts. In October, Baum agreed to pay $2 million and change its practices after admitting to errors in legal filings that it blamed on the high volume of mortgage defaults and foreclosures it handles. The federal and state scrutiny led to Fannie Mae joining Freddie Mac in barring the firm from receiving new referrals from the federally backed mortgage giants, the AP reported.
U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland said pictures from the party “demonstrate a culture of disdain for families suffering foreclosure and a disregard for the rule of law.” One would certainly hope that Baum’s closing makes other firms think twice before mocking those who need foreclosure help. Whether families are dealing with foreclosure or a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, these homeowners deserve to be treated with far more empathy.
Law Firm of Kevin D. Judd – Maryland bankruptcy lawyer