By Kimberly Miller
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Fed up with the foreclosure chaos, the New Jersey courts demanded that banks prove the integrity of their home repossession systems or face shutdown.
To demonstrate the need for the Dec. 20 order, New Jersey cited flaws in six Florida foreclosure cases, including three in Palm Beach County, as examples.
In Nevada and Arizona, attorneys general last month sued Bank of America for a dual-track foreclosure system that offers homeowners hope with a loan modification, while at the same time taking away the home in court. Called deceptive and labeled consumer fraud in the lawsuits, the practice is also prevalent in the Sunshine State.
And on Friday, the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued a bombshell ruling against banks’ ability to foreclose on homes – a decision could reverberate nationwide.
The moves by other states to address the foreclosure morass has Florida homeowner advocates and defense attorneys asking why more isn’t being done here.
The Florida Attorney General’s Office is investigating four so-called “foreclosure mill” law firms and is part of a 50-state coalition trying to work out solutions with the banks. Also, the Florida Supreme Court assembled a foreclosure task force in 2009 and requires mediation in all homesteaded foreclosures – a program that has logged minimal success in the year since it became mandatory.
But as hundreds of homes continue to sell at auction each day and the variations of alleged malpractice mount, critics charge that Florida is burying its head in its sandy beaches, waiting for an ocean breeze to blow the whole thing over.
“This collective turning of our backs and shutting of our eyes is not working,” said St. Petersburg defense attorney Matt Weidner. “I think there is widespread delusional behavior to pretend nothing is wrong.”
And it appears clear something is wrong.
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