Alleged Illegal Foreclosure Against Vet Could Destroy Dimon’s Chances At Becoming Treasury Secretary
Steve Dibert, MFI-Miami
“You don’t seem to want to accept the fact you’re dealing with an expert in guerrilla warfare, with a man who’s the best, with guns, with knives, with his bare hands. A man who’s been trained to ignore pain, ignore weather, to live off the land, to eat things that would make a billy goat puke. His job was to dispose of enemy personnel. To kill! Period! Win by attrition.” -Colonel Samuel Trautman, First Blood
After a decade of countless covert incursions behind enemy lines and serving in Operation Desert Storm as a Green Beret, Jeff Reed and his wife decided to settle down far away from military life, the chaos of the big cities and the bayous of his home state of Louisiana. Instead, they choose a quiet 20 acre piece of land on the Leelanau Peninsula in picturesque Northern Michigan where they could raise and care for their autistic son who is legally blind.
Unfortunately, the one thing the Reeds could not escape was the financial crisis. In 2010, Jeff lost his job but being proactive, they approached Chase Home Finance, who they thought was their lender and negotiated the following modification.
On November 1, 2010, the Reeds began making their new payments of $481.99. After celebrating the holidays, they began to breath a a sigh of relief by thinking the worst was behind them. Little did they know that in the next few weeks their sense of relief would turn into a nightmare far worse and than anything the battlefield could throw at Jeff Reed thanks to JPMorgan Chase.
In mid-January, 2011 after making their third modification payment, the Reeds received a letter from Chase indicating their modification had been denied with no explanation and a refund fund check totaling $1,445.97.
Jeff Reed immediately called Chase and was told not to worry it was only a technicality. What Chase didn’t tell Jeff Reed was that they had hired the law firm of Trott & Trott to begin foreclosure proceedings (REMIC rules dictate the servicer hires the foreclosure mill). David Trott, the firm’s founder and managing partner is a major contributor to the Republican Party and served as a Finance Chair for Mitt Romney’s failed presidential campaign.
This ploy, usually using the foreclosure mill as a co-conspirator, is quite common in the modification process. Matter of fact, Chase isn’t the only one who employs this strategy, all the major mortgage servers do it. It’s referred to as “Dual Tracking” and it’s essentially a bait and switch tactic.
Unbeknownst to the Reeds and against Michigan law, which requires a notice of foreclosure and sheriff’s sale be tacked to the door, Chase instructed Trott & Trott to foreclose on the Reed’s home while telling Jeff Reed it was a mistake and he had nothing to worry about.
Then in October of this year, while in Louisiana burying his late mother and wrapping up her estate, Jeff Reed received a court notice instructing him to appear in Michigan’s 86th District Court on October 12th for an eviction hearing brought by Fannie Mae. Jeff Reed immediately called Trott & Trott and informed them that he would be back in Michigan in two weeks and asked the Trott & Trott attorney for an adjournment. The attorney for Trott & Trott refused claiming Chase who was not the owner of the mortgage but was only acting as the servicer for Fannie Mae would not allow it. This admission creates serious issues for both JPMorgan Chase and Fannie Mae because it would indicate JPMorgan Chase did not have proper authority to foreclose under Michigan law.
Michigan law requires that if the originating lender is not foreclosing there must be a complete chain of title of ownership of the mortgage recorded on the public record in order to foreclose. In Jeff Reed’s case, the ownership of the mortgage note was sold to Fannie Mae off the books immediately after the loan closed in 2006 and then some time prior to the Sheriff’s Sale, Fannie Mae sold the mortgage note back to JPMorgan Chase off the books as per Fannie Mae Guidelines. This was done so that JPMorgan Chase could foreclose as an owner of both the mortgage and the note without there being any issues of mortgage and the not being separated at the time of the foreclosure. However, doing it according to Fannie Mae guidelines would violate Michigan law because Michigan law requires all assignments of ownership be recorded on the public record before executing a foreclosure.
At the Sheriff’s Sale on September 23, 2011, JPMorgan Chase through Trott & Trott made it appear the ownership of the mortgage reverted back to them and a Trott & Trott attorney signed an affidavit stating this:
On March 1st, 2012 about half way through Jeff Reed’s 12 month redemption period, the property was Quit Claim Deeded from JPMorgan Chase to Fannie Mae:
This Quit Claim Deed is invalid for a number of reasons but it’s important to remember Fannie Mae doesn’t just “buy” properties on whim or travel the country buying them at Sheriff’s Sales as the foreclosure mills would lead us to believe. Matter of fact, they don’t buy anything at all because they already have an ownership interest.
The Quit Claim Deed indicates that Fannie Mae is purchasing this property for the sum of $1.00 and this was done for one of two reasons, Fannie Mae already owned it and/or JPMorgan Chase through Trott & Trott is dodging the Michigan Real Estate Transfer Tax. Either way, I would argue that the Deed would be invalid.
JPMorgan Chase Is Playing With Fire By Messing With America’s Best
Let’s face it, it’s just not cool to jerk around combat veterans especially Green Berets or Navy SEALs. Aside from it just being bad karma, it makes you look like an ingrate since these guys dodged bullets and in some cases took a bullet for the rest of us who didn’t have the cojones to sign up.
JPMorgan Chase faces many consequences for jerking around Jeff Reed and they range from hundreds if not thousands of letters to executives at JPMorgan Chase from members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, boycotts of JPMorgan Chase by the VFW and other veterans groups or a worst case scenario, a Ruby Ridge style situation. After all, Green Berets and Navy SEALs are trained to improvise, adapt and overcome any situation. They’re also taught to win by attrition as Colonel Trautman points out.
Now don’t get me wrong, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy have done a tremendous amount of work helping our men who fight in Special Forces units to deal with PTSD and other issues from their combat experiences since the end of the Vietnam War. Like most veterans who served in the Special Forces after Vietnam, Jeff Reed is a pretty level headed and down to earth guy who goes out of his way to be helpful to his neighbors and nice to the people in his community. So it’s highly unlikely that Chase could trigger the switch in Jeff Reed’s head that could turn him into John Rambo from the movie, First Blood but with the way they were treating him it’s as if they want to flip that switch. It’s bad public relations for JPMorgan Chase to be jerking around a guy who wore the uniform and dodged bullets so the rest of us didn’t have to. If Jeff Reed’s foreclosure battle does escalate even into a Michigan courtroom, JPMorgan Chase’s Chairman, Jamie Dimon can kiss any shot of becoming the next U.S. Treasury Secretary good bye.