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Law Firm’s Halloween Party Mocks Foreclosure Victims

Law Firm’s Halloween Party Mocks Foreclosure Victims

One of the largest law firms in New York was recently exposed for hosting a Halloween party at which employees openly ridiculed victims of the housing crisis.

Located near Buffalo, the law firm of Steven J. Baum is what the industry calls a “foreclosure mill,” a firm that works on behalf of big banks and mortgage servicers who want to foreclose on and evict homeowners. A former employee recently sent  New York Times reporter Joe Nocera a series of photos from Baum’s 2010 Halloween party that exposes the contempt in which Baum’s employees hold the unfortunate homeowners they helped to make homeless.

In an e-mail, she said that she wanted me to see them because they showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners — invariably poor and down on their luck — that the Baum firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against.

When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set. “There is this really cavalier attitude,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose.

In the images, employees can be seen dressed in ragged clothes with filthy faces, holding liquor bottles and cardboard signs that mock the attempts of foreclosure victims to save their homes. Another image shows a cardboard coffin erected inside the office and taped to the front is a picture of Susan Chana Lask, with the words “Rest in Peace. Crazy Susie.” written next to it. Lask is a lawyer who posted a YouTube video denouncing the firm’s foreclosure practices.

The Steven J. Baum law firm is currently under investigation by the State of New York and until recently, was also the target of a Department of Justice investigation which alleged the firm had “filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage assignments in the state and federal courts in New York.” Baum settled the case for $2 million and denied the charges.

When Nocera contacted the firm about the photographs, a press spokesman stated: “It has been suggested that some employees dress in … attire that mocks or attempts to belittle the plight of those who have lost their homes,” the statement read. “Nothing could be further from the truth.” The firm described Nocera’s column as “another attempt by The New York Times to attack our firm and our work.”

Sorry Baum, but as anyone in the legal profession will tell you, a picture is worth a thousand words.

View all images of the foreclosure Halloween party on the New York Times website.

Related Reading:

Foreclosure Firms Rewarded For Forging Documents

Fannie Mae Knew Of Foreclosure Fraud In 2003

Countrywide Pays $108 Million To Settle Mortgage Fraud Claims

Image Credit: Flickr – moresheth

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193 comments

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6:03PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Disgraceful. This is one firm I would never do business with. The law of karma...sweet!

3:04PM PST on Nov 16, 2011

What do you call a thousand lawyers chained, in the bottom of the sea?

A good start.

... What disgusting excuses of human beings, I'm glad they are not people I know or are related to me, because I'd feel too embarassed by their horrible attitude.

7:11PM PST on Nov 14, 2011

Pomposity and callousness, as shown by this law firm and these employees, is hard to swallow. I don't understand people who make fun of others (I've been told I don't have a sense of humor). Hope the investigation into them is damning, in the extreme, and that they may close their doors and R.I.P. forevermore.

10:13AM PST on Nov 9, 2011

Wow, I hope they all end up dirt poor with no one to help them- Karma!

10:22AM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

Dave G. - you beat me to it! ;)

6:04AM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

Lawyers are corrupted and liars. As a matter of fact I am suing a corrupted lawyer and I am representing myself. I am looking forward to my case and the verdict from the judge.

8:14PM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

What else would you expect from the only profession in America that panders to corruption.first as lawyers then as judges or polititians. I have more respect for prostitutes then I do lawyers at least they perform a service with a lawyer you get screwed and get no satisfaction and pay dearly for it to.

8:12PM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

What else would you expect from the only profession in America that panders to corruption.first as lawyers then as judges or polititians. I have more respect for prostitutes then I do lawyers at least they perform a service with a lawyer you get screwed and get no satisfaction and pay dearly for it to.

11:13AM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

Shakespeare had it right: "KILL ALL THE LAWYERS"! ;-)

6:31AM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

Needless to guess that over 90% of this inhumane group belongs to the Republican party, especially its obnoxious Tea Party segment.

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