L.A. City Attorney Calls US Bank ‘Slumlord’
“This case concerns defendant U.S. Bank National Association, a national bank that has become one of the largest slumlords in the City of Los Angeles.” So begins a lawsuit brought by the L.A. city attorney’s office.
The complaint alleges that U.S. Bank, through foreclosures, has become since 2008 the owner of “thousands of residential properties” in L.A. “which it has completely failed to maintain.” The result, it says, is that hundreds of these homes have fallen into disrepair, “causing blight and destabilizing communities.”
A city press release says the bank’s potential liability is in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Tom Joyce, director of corporate public relations for Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (U.S. Bank), says in an email statement to ABC News that the bank, no less than the city attorney, is troubled that properties are not properly maintained and have a corrosive impact on neighborhoods.
He says, however, that the city attorney has chosen the wrong party to sue: U.S. Bank is not the owner of the properties, “nor are we responsible for the servicing” of them.
The homes, says the bank’s statement, are owned by trusts and by investors in those trusts. Only the companies to whom homeowners send their mortgage payments are responsible for the homes’ upkeep. Says the bank’s email: “It is clear from the complaint that the city does not understand our role.”
Copy of the complaint below…