Who Are These People? Foreclosure Firm Staff Mock Homeless People At Halloween Party

These pictures sent to columnist Joe Nocera from a Halloween party last year show affluent people mocking homeless people with signs like this reading “3rd Party Squatter. I Lost My Home & Was Never Served!!” Under any circumstances in a devastating recession, such costumes would show callous and tasteless senses of humor. However, this was a party of lawyer with the law firm of Steven J. Baum, a “foreclosure mill” representing banks and mortgage servicers.

For attorneys or their staff to mock suffering people leaves a stain not just on that firm but on the bar. It is bad enough to see lawyers running these mill operations. However, to profiteer on such mills while mocking those put on the street is truly grotesque. It will be interesting to know what the firms clients — Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo — say about counsel who love to dress up as homeless, poor people.

The Amherst, N.Y. law firm is accused of not just mocking poor people but maintaining a “really cavalier attitude” on foreclosures and the interests of the displaced families and individuals. While first attacking the pictures and calling them a smear job, Steven J. Baum later apologized for “poor taste.”

The question is whether such offensive costumes represent bar violations. I think they are protected speech. However, that does not mean that we should not condemn such practices or raise the question of whether these companies should put such sensitive cases in the hands of such insensitive people.

Source: NY Times

33 thoughts on “Who Are These People? Foreclosure Firm Staff Mock Homeless People At Halloween Party”

  1. “An attorney was frequently referred to as, ‘That a– hole lawyer.’ If he represented the wife, your client was a profligate; if he represented the husband, your client was a whore.”

    A drunk stumbles into a bar and shouts, “All lawyers are @$$holes.”

    A guy seated at the bar yells back, “I resent that!”

    The drunk says, “Oh, sorry, are you a lawyer?”

    “No, I’m an @$$hole!”

  2. Elaine,

    Yes, I remember but thanks for the reminder. His retirement was a real loss.

    OT _– Those oilfields in his state are going great guns and Harold Hamm is quite the character.

  3. Blouise,

    I’ve heard her interviewed on TV a few times.

    Remember Byron Dorgan? He warned Congress about the passage of the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLB)–aka Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999.

    Byron Dorgan’s Crystal Ball

  4. Elaine,

    Matt Taibbi and a few others have been warning us of the depth of this situation for years..

    Here is a video of a CNN report done back in Jan. 2009 of Ohio Rep Marcy Kaptur (D – Toledo) telling her constituents to stay put (be squatters) until they can obtain legal representation … she knows Ohio property law


    If you have a few minutes, go to Wikipedia and read about this woman … I like her a lot … always have.

  5. ANY TIME people do wildly wrong and obviously obnoxious stuff and get away with it, that whole system expands and there’s more and more of it. That’s how we landed here, I think.

  6. (I think I wrote this anecdote elsewhere about my experience with fee dispute in Pa. The lawyer used my work as Pro Se to get an appeal from a case that was nonsuited. He won the appeal (I proved perjury by defendant). My lawyer did no work, interrogatories, witness prep, etc and forced me to settle case (there was no way they were ready to go to court.) Fee dispute, 3 attorneys of course, found in my favor, they awarded me a very low 5 figure sum but, wait, they did not find in my favor. I got some fee money back but wait I really did not win, they wrote in decision they found in lawyers favor so nice clean record for him. These lawyers in article know they will never get sanctioned and obviously are bereft of values, morals, empathy, and integrity

  7. News blog

    From the guardian:

    “1.50pm: Here’s more from Ryan Devereaux in New York, watching the march of servicemen and women in support of Occupy Wall Street.

    Led by Scott Olsen’s friend, Navy veteran Josh Shepherd, service men and women marched in two-by-two columns along sidewalks through Lower Manhattan.

    As the march made its way into the financial district, a police barricade was moved aside and the veterans were allowed to move onto Broad Street. For what seems to be the first time since the demonstrations in New York City began six weeks ago, Occupy Wall Street protesters were allowed onto Wall Street itself.

    With six New York City Police Department officers on horseback looking on, the procession paused in front of the New York Stock Exchange. There, Shepherd read a brief statement reiterating the oath members of the armed forces take to defend the US constitution. He then added: “We are here to support the Occupy Wall Street movement.”

    At the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street, the veterans stopped and observed a moment of silence for Scott Olsen, before passing the financial district’s iconic bull statue.

    Turning in the direction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Liberty Square, the cadence of “Left, left, left, right, left,” was paused by a call-back chant of, “Hold your heads and hold them high, the 99 percent is passing by.”

    The veterans arrived to the plaza amid cheers and applause. One young man described the passing troops as his “heroes.”

  8. Like all those with aspirations towards becoming, or having become the “Feudal Elite”, they had this party because they could. What good is rising to the top of society, without being able to mock those “beneath” you. This firm feeds off of the pain of others and so those doing the feeding must find justification for their predatory behavior by de-humanizing and demeaning their victims. Otherwise their barely existent consciences might cause them to lose a few minutes of sleep.

  9. I know the NY Bar doesn’t discipline anybody. How’s this one: an attorney is hired to represent a client and she puts in a motion asking for what the client wants her to ask for and then secretly signs a stipulated dismissal of the client’s claims, giving up the client’s right to have a hearing! Grieved to the NY Bar they come up with the idea that it could have happened ANYWAY so — you know — no prob. I asked, “so wrongful death suits are no prob, becaue you know, a truck could hit a person at any moment and they could get killed; no wrongful death suit would survive using that analysis. But really, all of these bar grievance committees are just the wolves policing themselves. Every now and then they’ll come down like a ton of bricks, usually on some sole practitioner who took the client’s trust fund, but other than that, they’re window dressing. Confidential window dressing at that.

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