Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2014

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State Government:

Nevada panel OKs hotline, counselors to help struggling homeowners

Distressed homeowners will have access to a new hotline and additional housing counselors as part of a plan approved today by a legislative committee.

Despite sharp question from Republican lawmakers, the $11.7 million proposal presented by Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, passed unanimously.

The program will be funded by a $57 million payment from five of the nation’s largest banks to Nevada, as part of the national foreclosure settlement.

Federal programs exist to help homeowners, and banks have committed to offer $25 billion in principal reduction, relocation expenses and short sales as part of the settlement agreement, Cortez Masto said.

The call center, promoted with a nearly $1 million public relations campaign, will help Nevadans access those programs, she added. That hotline will be established by the end of September.

Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, said he wanted to see more money used to directly help homeowners.

“Isn’t the real goal to distribute money to people in need?” he said.

But Cortez Masto said the program will help Nevadans access the programs offered by banks, many of which are on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Short of giving (homeowners) cash payments, I’m not sure what you mean,” Cortez Masto said.

Assemblyman Tom Grady, R-Yerington, complained about a lack of services for people facing foreclosure in his district.

“There are people helping in the south, people in Washoe County,” Grady said. “There’s nothing in the rurals.”

Michele Johnson, president and CEO of the Financial Guidance Center, which will be spearheading the consortium of nonprofits, said there are services available for people in rural Nevada.

One of the groups funded through the attorney general’s program is Nevada Partners, a nonprofit where Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford sits as an unpaid board member. Horsford disclosed his position at the start of the discussion.

Other money will be used for Nevada Legal Services and the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

Republicans worried that it would lead to more litigation and said they would review the program again during the 2013 Legislature.

Cortez Masto said Wednesday that she expected 30,000 homeowners to receive help through the program in the first year.

This story has been updated to correct Horsford’s position on Nevada Partners. He has not run the nonprofit since 2007 and sits on the board in an unpaid capacity.

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  1. "Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, said he wanted to see more money used to directly help homeowners. "Isn't the real goal to distribute money to people in need?" he said.

    "But Cortez Masto said the program will help Nevadans access the programs offered by banks, many of which are on a first-come, first-served basis. "Short of giving (homeowners) cash payments, I'm not sure what you mean," Cortez Masto said."

    Schwartz -- another good report from you. This one smokes out some of the real players in the controversy and their intentions.

    It's very troubling points to see despite the settlement's obvious purpose to compensate Nevada victims of these banks' fraudulent foreclosure practices, or at least helping them get justice -- like assisting them to get their homes back -- it's becoming clear none of it is even on the list. And all our AG can seem to suggest, and those clueless legislators approve, is to use that first $11.7 million for herding homeowners right back to funneling their hard-earned cash to the same banks who defrauded them in the first place?!! Not a word about enforcing homeowners' rights our Supreme Court last year described as "to know the identity of the entity that is entitled to enforce the mortgage note under [NRS 104] Article 3" and to not make payments to "a stranger in the case."

    In other words, despite $57 million pledged to right their wrongs, Nevada's wronged homeowners are screwed and still on their own. Nice going, Nevada!

    Last points -- 1) I see several state non-profits with their hands out for some of this cash, so what exactly will they be doing to give evicted homeowners justice? and 2) who's going to train the "new hotline and additional housing counselors" and for what? The usual loan mods and short sale band-aids??

    Google "las vegas foreclsoure defense" -- it's dominated by attorneys and their parasites. Did I miss any local real homeowners' foreclosure defense groups?

    "If you're going to take my house away from me, you better own the note." -- Joe Lents (who hasn't made a payment on his $1.5 million mortgage since 2002) in Bloomberg's 2/22/08 "Banks Lose to Deadbeat Homeowners as Loans Sold in Bonds Vanish"

  2. Once again Nevada career politicians have stepped up and will personally benefit while robbing the same unfortunate victims of the housing foreclosure debacle with the money that clearly is marked to help homeowners.

    It appears the only winner thus far in this whole mess is Nevada Attorney General's office and handpicked political cronies (not even one Nevada family/homeowner has been helped yet) adding staff to the states payroll before it has been decided where "The rest of the money will be used for yet-to-be-determined housing programs"...

    $955,000 for public relations and advertising contract to do what...provide a phone number to say you are SOL?

    Sorry NV foreclosed homeowners, there will be no money available after Nevada's political administrative spending spree, and here is a phone number with your recorded placebo prescription-better luck next time".

  3. NV state needs to be sued by non profit lawyers so that victims will be able to recover some of their losses that Nevada's AG recovered. Did NV not sue and recover Millions on behalf of homeowners or was it recovered for the purpose of expanding NV government?

  4. "It appears the only winner thus far in this whole mess is Nevada Attorney General's office..."

    "NV state needs to be sued by non profit lawyers so that victims will be able to recover some of their losses that Nevada's AG recovered."

    PaulRupp -- good post! I plan to contact my Assemblyman and Senator today about this. Hope you do too

    "The regulators got bailed out, the middle class lose their jobs and their houses. All this desire to trust in the government to make sure that big corporations won't hurt them actually is a backfire on them." -- Rep. Ron Paul to Jon Stewart 9/26/11, citing the example of the real estate crash as example of government regulation gone bad

  5. I see from yesterday's article @ http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/aug... one of the banks paying in the settlement is "Chase." Chase vigorously forecloses everywhere claiming it owns the WaMu notes.

    Turns out one of its officers hired from WaMu testified under oath in a recent deposition any schedule of loans purchased from WaMu does not exist, there are no assignments of mortgage (required by Nevada law), and there are no allonges or any evidence of transferring ownership of loans from WaMu to Chase. Read 'em and weep @ http://foreclosuredefensenationwide.com/...

    "Why don't the banks want us to see the paperwork on all these mortgages? Because the documents represent a death sentence for them..... in America, it's far more shameful to owe money than it is to steal it." -- Matt Taibbi "Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners," found in the November 25, 2010, issue of Rolling Stone

  6. And the homeowners who lied and put fraudulent and illegal information on the loan applications using "stated income" are going to be held accountable when?

  7. "And the homeowners who lied and put fraudulent and illegal information on the loan applications using "stated income" are going to be held accountable when?"

    Noindex -- do you see it mentioned in this article? Your proof any of these homeowners "lied," etc., would be what beyond your suspicion?

    "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from your government and I'm here to help.'" -- the late President Ronald Reagan

  8. Wow.. how many counselors do you need to call?

    http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/page...

    "Get free advice from a housing expert. HUD-approved housing counselors work with you and your mortgage company on your behalf, and their expertise is available for free. Call 888-995-HOPE (4673) to speak with an expert about your individual situation."

    There are already Numerous resources that homeowners can call for help.

  9. "Petition Congress to protect homeowners AND create jobs!"

    HOA_CONNED0 -- wrong. ALL property law, except that affecting federally-owned, is state law. That means your Assemblyman and Senator, the ones you send to Carson City.

    "Wow.. how many counselors do you need to call? ... There are already Numerous resources that homeowners can call for help."

    lasvegasrealestate411 -- all of which will do just what our AG said "help Nevadans access the programs offered by banks." The banks are the problem, not the solution. That's abundantly clear from the $$ pledged from that settlement. So again, as I posted earlier, according to Nevada's leaders screwed homeowners are on their own against the banks. Again.

    "The paper bubble is then burst. This is what you and I, and every reasoning man, seduced by no obliquity of mind or interest, have long foreseen; yet its disastrous effects are not the less for having been foreseen. We were laboring under a dropsical fulness of circulating medium. Nearly all of it is now called in by the banks, who have the regulation of the safety-valves of our fortunes, and who condense and explode them at their will. Lands in this State cannot now be sold for a year's rent; and unless our Legislature have wisdom enough to effect a remedy by a gradual diminution only of the medium, there will be a general revolution of property in this state." -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, 1819, from "The Works of Thomas Jefferson" Vol. 12