So Why Is The Foreclosure Activist Movement Responding With Such Hysteria?
Steve Dibert, MFI-Miami
On Friday night, Kimberly Miller posted a piece on the Palm Beach Post’s website about how Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was officially closing the AG’s investigation of deceptive practices committed by Florida foreclosure mills. An investigation started by her predecessor, Bill McCollum as a campaign gimmick in his attempt to secure the Republican nomination for Governor in 2010.
The death of these investigations really shouldn’t come as big surprise to those of us who have been following these investigations. These investigations had been in jeopardy since the Florida 4th District Court of Appeals ruled in mid-2011 that the Florida Attorney General had no legal authority to investigate individual lawyers for acts of robo-signing or other allegations of document fraud when foreclosing on Florida homeowners. The court ruled only the Florida Bar had the authority under the Florida Constitution to investigate and discipline the actions of attorneys.
Death officially came to these investigations in February after Bondi’s request to the 4th DCA to allow the Florida Supreme Court to hear the case was denied.
So Friday’s announcement of the official closing of these investigations is really no surprise. Besides, why should Bondi leave open an investigation she has no legal authority to investigate and that has been sitting on someone’s desk for the past 7 months collecting dust?
After the announcement was made, the foreclosure activist community in Florida starting posting their usual histrionic posts of moral indignation.
So why all the anger? If anything, the Florida foreclosure activists should be ecstatic and want to hug Pam Bondi and throw rose pedals at her feet because she just gave their dying movement a second chance at life.
Think about it. As long as banks and lenders are foreclosing on homeowners, then activists have something to protest. If more people are staying in their homes because their lenders are working with them, then there is no need for foreclosure activists to protest or constantly register their disgust with whole world on the internet. They would have to go back to selling used cars, stick chemotherapy patients with needles or go back to actually practicing law.
Listening to this bombardment of bitching about Pam Bondi from Florida activists shows the activist community knows as much about the law as they do about mortgage compliance and politics.
Listen, I don’t like Pam Bondi. I think she’s a GOP flake who was put in office by special interest groups to do their bidding and her campaign was helped by a disorganized Florida Democratic Party that hasn’t been able to run a decent statewide political organization since Lawton Chiles beat Jeb Bush in 1994.
Let’s be realistic. Any one who thought this investigation was actually going to bring change or put lawyers in prison was living in a make-believe world of sunshine and lollipops. This investigation was a failed “Hail Mary” PR gimmick for for Attorney General Bill McCollum when his gubernatorial campaign went into panic mode in 2010.
The demise of these investigations was not entirely the fault of Pam Bondi. Matter of fact, Bondi, regardless of whatever her motivation was, tried to have the 4th DCA’s ruling overturned and was shot down.
Bondi did fire two very talented attorneys who were investigating document fraud by the likes of David Stern and she rightly deserves criticism for firing them. However, in the end their termination had nothing to do with the 4th DCA ruling.
Contrary to what serial kvetch and pal of convicted mortgage fraudster Carol Asbury, Lisa Epstein told the Palm Beach Post, “In the end, government and law enforcement on all levels has implemented a policy to bail out the banks while the people, the rule of law, the authenticity of the nation’s property records, and the integrity of our judiciary go to hell.” The rule of law did prevail in this case. The 4th DCA did exactly what the activists have been hounding the judiciary to do for three years, uphold the rule of law. Florida law says only the Florida Bar has jurisdiction to discipline attorneys for misconduct and this includes law firms. So they upheld the law.
All this whining and complaining does is show how ignorant this group is when it comes to Florida politics and the mechanics of Florida government.
The Florida Bar now has the blessing of the courts to discipline lawyers. So let’s take this a step further which no one in Florida ever seems to want to do and ask who in the Florida government has jurisdiction over the Florida Bar? Stopa? Weidner? Anyone?Anyone?
The Florida Supreme Court. Yes, the same Florida Supreme Court who’s members are appointed by the governor and then have to run for re-election every six years or as the Florida Constitution calls it, “a merit retention”
Guess what? The three Democrats appointed by Lawton Chiles, Justices Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente, and Peggy Quinceare are up for retention in November and they desperately need the help of activists because right wing nut jobs want to throw them off the bench and replace them Rick Scott cronies.
Anyone who understands Politics 101 knows this is where “I scratch your back, you scratch my back” comes into play. Instead of pissing and moaning and calling everyone in Florida government a bunch of fascists. Activists need to go to the people running the campaigns of these Justices and say, “Hey, we are an activist community of over 2,500 people and we would like to keep you on the Florida Supreme Court but in return we want you to pressure the Florida Bar to crack down on lawyers like David Stern. If not, hope you like the unemployment.”
It’s a strategy that works and it works well especially on down ballot races like judicial races.
But I guess that would be too hard for a bunch of people who would rather sit in front of their computer and whine, whimper and complain to the whole world on the internet.