Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Loathing Big Banks and Big Corporations

In the Spring of 2004 there was a special day in which I had a spring in my step.  It was the day that I paid off the mortgage on my little mountain sanctuary in Silverthorne, Colorado.  It was the first piece of property that I had managed to pay off the mortgage.  Just being able to pay off the mortgage that day gave me special sense of freedom that I really owned something in this world.

In the eight years that have passed since that day, my condo has remained a private refuge that allows me to retreat from the world and forget the stress and strain of my daily life.  I have held this place sacred and have sought to keep it free of the intrusions of daily life.  One of the things that I never have considered doing with my condo is using it as an investment or financial instrument.  The mere thought of taking a line of credit against it or using it as leverage for a loan is beyond anything I would consider.

So you can imagine the horror I felt when I found a foreclosure notice nailed to the front door when we arrived for Father's Day weekend back in June.  My anger and frustration was incalculable as I read the notice and realized that it was meant for another unit in my condo complex.  I resolved to handle the issue first thing Monday morning so that this mistake would be resolved.

The Monday following Father's Day I immediately placed a call to the lawyer listed on the notice.  We talked for all of 3 minutes and he admitted that it was a mistake.  His explanation was that the team that worked foreclosures and evictions for his firm had simply placed the notice on the wrong door.  I was satisfied with his response and I thought the issue was totally resolved.

Determined to figure out how this mistake occurred I poured over the foreclosure document that had been nailed to my door.  The foreclosure was listed against 409 Salt Lick Gulch Building 4, Unit 5.  My address according to my deed is listed as 409 Salt Lick Gulch Building 4, Unit 3.  Given that mail is not delivered to any of the homes in Silverthorne there are no definitive street addresses in use.  (If you want to receive mail in Silverthorne you need to have a post office box.)  As a result, when my building was constructed in 1978,  numbers for the individual units were assigned in whatever manner the developer wanted.  As luck would have it my unit is numbered 409 according to the numbering system assigned by the developer back in 1978.  What I figured was the people placing the eviction notice saw the number 409 on my condo and instead of verifying with the Summit County Assessor what was the foreclosed unit, they just stuck the foreclosure notice on my door.

Unfortunately for me I assumed when I talked to the lawyer for the bank all my issues were resolved.  That was a very stupid assumption on my part.

Fast forward a month and a half to this past Saturday morning.  Given my very early work hours and that I was up late on Friday night I was still in bed when my phone rang at 10AM.  It was a number I didn't recognize and I was tempted to let it ring over to voice mail.  Luckily I decided to answer it.  On the other end of the phone was my upstairs neighbor with very unsettling news.  The Summit County Sheriff's Department had come with an eviction team to serve an eviction notice upon my unit.  Not only had they come to serve an eviction notice they had bored out both the deadbolt and handset lock so that I would no longer have access to my unit.

Thankfully my neighbor was aware of the situation and after the eviction team had left spent a bunch of time talking to the sheriff's deputy who accompanied the team.  He was able to prove to the deputy that they had the wrong unit and had the officer place the eviction notice on the proper unit.  But the damage was already done to my unit.  As anyone can imagine I was furious.  For several hours on Saturday I was on the phone calling anyone and everyone involved in this cluster fuck.  I called the Summit County Sheriff.  I called the bank's lawyer.  I called the management company for my condo association.  I pretty much called everyone.

Nothing happened on Saturday as no one returned my phone calls.  Things started to happen in quick order on Sunday afternoon around 2:00PM when I received the first call from my condo's management company.  They promised quick action to get my access to my condo restored.  Then it was the turn of the bank's lawyer to call.  He was very apologetic and sent off an e-mail to his foreclosure team.  After a flurry of other calls, I was assured that things had been resolved and there were keys waiting for me at the management company's office.

Thankfully I am a very laid back person and I didn't get too utterly upset about the situation.  Regardless of this fact, I am seriously considering legal action against the bank.  All of this pain and suffering on my part and those involved in the situation could have been avoided if the bank's team worked with the Summit County Assessor's office to verify the actual property that was under foreclosure.  Given that the bank didn't take this step a lot of hassle and problems were caused for many people.  It is unconscionable that steps weren't taken to verify the proper unit under foreclosure.  Had I not been notified by my upstairs neighbor I won't have found out about this issue until we went to the condo this coming weekend.  By that point my furniture may well have been carted out of my unit and been sitting in the parking lot.

This situation is a great example of the "foreclosure" crisis that is talked about in the American press.  Had a well meaning neighbor not gotten involved this whole situation could have turned out much worse for me.  It is just mind boggling that when you don't even have a mortgage a bank can still intervene and try and take away your property.  It truly seems to violate all my rights as a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen of this country.  The absolute hubris displayed by the bank in this actions is truly incomprehensible.  And to add further injury to the situation - the fact that our local government aids and abets these corporations in their evil, vile work is pretty unbelievable.

There is a lesson to be learned from all of this.  The lesson is that the power of corporations combined with the quiet acquiescence of government have essentially robbed us, the citizens of our fundamental rights.  The Constitution of the United States established the rights of all citizens but our rights are steadily but surely being eroded by corporations.  It is an amazing and unbelievable situation as there is no mention of corporations having rights in our constitution.  Yet the rights of corporations now seem to outweigh the rights of individual citizens.  Why is this?  Because the notion of democracy has been overridden by the power of the wealthy, famous and well connected.

I truly hate to sound so pessimistic, however it seems as though corporations are gaining ascendency over individuals throughout the entire world.  Not only is this the situation here in the United States, but you see it in just about every country.  It is a horrible fact of the world that we live in today and it does not bode well for the future of our children.

Well - that was my exasperating event for the past week.  Thankfully, I think everything is now resolved but only time will tell.  Zack and I will be heading to the mountains this weekend to spend some time there and do some hiking.  This will most likely be our last big activity of the summer as work is having a distinct say in my life right now.  Besides working pretty crazy hours I will be making a trip to India starting on August 10th.  It will be a relatively short trip in the grand scheme of things as I will only be gone for a week.  However I will be seeing a lot more of India than normal as I will be visiting Gurgaon, a city outside of Delhi and Pune which is a city to the south of Mumbai.  It will be a busy whirlwind of a trip but it must be done to fulfill my expanded work responsibilities.  (Yet again a corporation is having a say over my life.  However at least in this case I am being compensated for it!)

That's about it for a Monday.  I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Have a great week and remember to get out side and enjoy the summer because school for the kids is rapidly approaching!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.


Anonymous said...

You are an accomplished bullshit artist.

Jerry Kromer said...

I am amazed at the people who trawl blogs and leave comments like this. What the heck does this mean. But in accordance with my policy of publishing all the comments that I get (including the anonymous ones) I felt I had to publish. My feeling - if you don't like what I am writing then don't read it.