Freddie Mac Didn’t Set Out to Profit from Homeowners Trapped in High-Rate Mortgages by Cora Currier for ProPublica Mortgage giant Freddie Mac did not keep homeowners trapped in high-interest loans in order to boost profits on billions of dollars’ worth [...]
“The CPSC or the lawyers involved, the experts that they’ve hired as part of this massive litigation, still have not figured out what exactly is in the drywall that’s causing it to offgas, which is a big problem because that means we don’t necessarily know that we can prevent this from happening again in the future.”
Lowe’s, the nation’s No. 2 home improvement chain, is offering as much as $100,000 in cash to customers who can prove they bought drywall from the retailer and also prove that it caused at least $4,500 in damages. The contaminated drywall releases high amounts of sulfur gas, which can corrode copper wiring and cause air conditioners and other electrical appliances to fail. Some homeowners have also complained that the drywall has affected their health by triggering respiratory problems, bloody noses and headaches.
Though the tax-lien industry has long been controversial, the Baltimore lawyer’s sworn declaration appears to be the first to mention a bank, or a tax-lien portfolio manager, in connection with allegations of criminal conduct in the bidding process...Reiff stated that a firm formed with his law partners acted to “suppress competition for tax liens by refraining from full competitive bidding.” Reiff and his two partners cooperated with the government and were not charged.
Yet the Obama administration bet the success of its foreclosure prevention program on the ability and willingness of that same troubled industry to help homeowners -- and lost. The program, overseen by the Treasury Department, has been characterized largely by lax enforcement and deference to banks.
“At some point, Treasury needs to ask itself what value there is in a program under which not only participation, but also compliance with the rules, is voluntary,” says the new report, from the special inspector general for the TARP. “Treasury needs to recognize the failings of [the program] and be willing to risk offending servicers.