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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

St. Paul vows to battle banks over vacant homes

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27 Comments:

Blogger Bob said...

*
By Jennifer Bjorhus
jbjorhus@pioneerpress.com
Article Last Updated: 04/09/2008 02:29:50 PM CDT


The City of St. Paul is taking on a group of national lenders that own many of the city's 1,700 registered vacant properties, saying its fed up with playing property manager.

"We want to be clear. If they don't come to the table we're going to go after them," St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman told reporters at a press conference today.

While stopping short of saying they planned to sue the lenders as other cities have done, Coleman announced a new plan of attack to address the foreclosure crisis, including giving the lenders 30 days to respond to letters asking the lenders to fix up and find owners for homes they've let sit vacant.

The letters, dated April 8, were mailed to Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo & Co., U.S. Bancorp, HSBC Bank USA, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the electronic mortgage registry system owned by the industry known as MERS.

The city said today that it has hired Mark Ireland, staff attorney for the St. Paul-based Foreclosure Relief Law Project, to provide legal advice on dealing with the lenders. In January, Ireland's group helped a north Minneapolis neighborhood sue mortgage giant CitiMortgage over a vacant house that become a community eyesore.

"Stay tuned," said City Attorney John Choi.

The city is also creating a stand-alone Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention division, with at least four additional foreclosure prevention counselors, Coleman said. It's also directing $17 million of state funding to address neighborhood issues related to foreclosures.

Jennifer Bjorhus can be reached at 651-228-2146.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Harold S. said...

30 days or what ?
Slap them on the wrist ?
Do they cite em with code violations and force them to get an administrative appeal ?
St.Paul, your to late, you ran the lanlords out now you want somebody to take the blame ?
You will never prosecute these lenders like you did the landlords.
Coleman,your blowing smoke and smoking some weed at the same time.
When I see bank employees cutting grass and shoveling snow, not to mention fixing up THIER properties,
I just might start to think your for real.
For now, your just pretend.




Harold S

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the biggest joke I've heard in years. It must be Kathy Lantry's idea. LOL!!!!!! Stay tuned for what? The city already picked a fight with wrong bunch of landlords and they can't even beat them in court. Now they think they are going to take on the biggest banks in the country? These banks will mop the floor with Lantry and Coleman.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$17,000,000.00 to the neighborhoods? That's non profit money folks. Know where Repke will be tonight? I think I just saw someone looking like him pitching a tent at the door to City Hall so he can be the first one at the troff tomorrow morning.

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one thing the city's doing with this one is outsourcing its legal council.Something they should have done instead of putting this incompetant gal named Seeba on the case of these slumlords.Its talk aroung the town Louise your going to loose it for us.



City Employee

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Harold S. said...

Look, city employee is crumbling !





Harold S.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well so nice to have you back city employee. It must be hard to take time out of your day grinding up taxpayers like hamburger, but if I remember right, it wasn't too long ago you were saying that the ricomen had no case. Your side had supreme immunity. Now you're saying the city is going to lose. What gives? Getting a little nervous are we?

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The $17 million is being targeted towards where the fly-by-night, make money fast, just watched an infomercial and so I should make a million in real estate guys have done their most damage which is in Payne/Phalen, Dayton's Bluff and Frogtown.

There are 1700 vacant buildings in Saint Paul and few if any of them that became vacant by council action. The bulk of them are give backs to the banks from guys who created LLC or "investment groups" to buy properties while the market was hot and got caught holding them when the market went bad.

Saint Paul has it no better or worse than anywhere else. The twin cities are not even in the top twenty five markets for numbers of foreclosers. But, it sucks and the Mayor is trying to move on it as best one can with limited resources.

The issue at the moment of course is that you have properties on the market that are listed between 50K-100K whose only value now is as a vacant lot once the trashed shell with no plumbing/heating or wiring is removed. The banks don't want to discount them because it damages their bottom line and no one wants to buy them.

The area of Saint Paul that the organization that I work for does not have it as bad as some others so we are not the focus of the "Invest Saint Paul" monies. I do from time to time assist on the acquisition of properties for other areas and can tell you that the banks are not easy to deal with.

Most of the bigger banks do have property management groups who do maintenence once they finally have control of the property. The worse time is during redemption, when the owner is out and the bank is not yet in.

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

8:10 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

St. Paul looks hard at fallout of foreclosure
The city announced strategies to get owners of foreclosed and vacant properties to take responsibility for them.

By CHRIS HAVENS, Star Tribune

Last update: April 9, 2008 - 11:00 PM

Maintaining and securing foreclosed and vacant buildings is straining city staff and wasting taxpayer money, St. Paul officials said Wednesday. It's time, they said, for the owners of those properties to take responsibility.

"We are not going to stand by and let the quality of life in our neighborhoods deteriorate any further," St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said.

Like other cities confronted by the fallout of the foreclosure crisis, St. Paul plans to use legal action, foreclosure prevention counseling, code enforcement and other tools to fight blight and revitalize neighborhoods.

In one effort, the city has issued letters to six firms that it says own or control more than 440 vacant properties in St. Paul.

"The vast majority of these vacant properties are deteriorating, failing to comply with city ordinances and codes, undermining community efforts to stabilize and create healthy neighborhoods, and creating a public safety hazard," the letters state.

U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo received letters, but representatives said that just because the companies are listed in foreclosure documents doesn't mean they're responsible for the buildings.

In many cases, they said, the companies simply administer pools of mortgages.

"We didn't originate the loan; we don't service the loan, and we're not the entity that foreclosed on the loan," said Steve Dale, spokesman for U.S. Bancorp. As a trustee, he said, U.S. Bancorp has no responsibility for a property.

That doesn't mean the banks aren't concerned at the proliferation of abandoned properties, however.

"Wells Fargo shares the city of St. Paul's concerns. We've been at the table discussing this issue," said Susan Davis, executive vice president for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. "That's why I'm a little surprised at the letter."

Mark Ireland, an attorney with the Housing Preservation Project who has been retained by the city to work on vacant property issues, said that even a trustee is responsible for helping to manage its properties.

The city's letter offers to work with businesses on plans for eliminating vacant properties but warns that if not satisfied with the progress, the city will pursue legal action.

Davis, who said she had not seen the letter Wednesday, said her company intends to work with the city.

Bryan Calder, corporate trust executive vice president for U.S. Bancorp, said his company also will meet with the city to help clarify its position.

The city has spent more than $2 million per year over the past couple of years to inspect, secure and maintain vacant buildings, said Steve Magner, head of the vacant building monitoring department. That doesn't include police or fire services, he added.

"Nuisance properties are coming faster than we can handle" he said.

His department budget jumped from $338,000 in 2005 to more than $600,000 this year. A record $100,000 went to boarding up houses in 2007.

There were 1,706 vacant buildings in the city as of April 8. About one-third of the 1,819 foreclosed buildings in 2007 were registered as vacant.

City Council researchers predict that the number of foreclosures this year could exceed 2,300.

The city has created a new mortgage foreclosure prevention division. Four people have been hired and a $250,000 grant will go toward hiring two more employees and buying equipment. Stepped-up outreach programs are planned, including putting counselors at neighborhood libraries and staffing a hot line.

Chris Havens • 651-298-1542

9:00 AM  
Blogger Swiftee said...

You know, I spend a considerable amount of time in Mexico on business. Love the place.

In fact, I've considered retiring there on more than one occasion.

But then every election cycle the Communists crawl out of the woodwork and while the country teeters on the brink of disaster my consideration of retiring there goes over the edge.

See, there is no way I'd ever consider investing my hard earned savings in a place ruled by Communists, Socialists (Communists with training wheels) or any of their ilk.

I feel the same way about Minneapolis and St. Paul.

When Bucky Thune was re-elected, I saw what was coming and packed up and moved...just in time to watch the city follow that debacle up with a bigger one by electing the most incompetent candidate the Democrat Party has endorsed in years as mayor.

I won't deny that I haven't relished watching the taxapolooza that has ensued from the safety of the other side of the city limits, nor have I found the sudden evacuation of investors, businessmen and entrepreneurs surprising in the least.

I wouldn't invest one thin dime in Saint Paul until after it has racked up a decade of political stability. And I firmly believe that others with the wherewithal to invest in rehabilitating all of these abandoned properties would agree with me.

So the city can lawyer up and threaten investment banks till doomsday; they can hire a legion of new socialist bureaucrats; they can condemn and take every house in Frogtown and the East side; they can bleed their taxbase dry; they can stamp their little feet and howl at the moon.

Nothing good is going to come to St. Paul while it remains in the clammy clutches of the moonbat wing of the DFL; nothing.

I just hope that the city does not have to become the Detroit of the north before people come to their senses.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Sharon 4Anderson said...

Do a google on Mark Ireland, he is from the www.ag.state.mn.us office,
John Choi with 42 city attorneys, making $100,000.00 yrly plus benefits, to hire outside counsel
on vacant bldgs,mortgage violations, the jurisdiction is State and or Federal, to sue Banks,
the Ramsey County Attorney has wilfully failed o do her job, to allw these subprime mortgages to be recorded,

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck has been officially diagnosed as a complete idiot.Chuck plese quit typing you sound dumb.



Linda

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

St Paul has double the number of vacant houses than Minneapolis and its half the size. Maybe St Paulo shouldn't have had such an outrageous position against landlords. At least they'd have some of these vacant houses being maintained and occupied. Now they think they can legislate and sue theri way out the mess they helped create. Lots of luck!

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Harold S. said...

Maybe the mayor should run an ad in the paper " Houses for rent, first month free, we promise no code enforcement for 3 months " !!


Harold S.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let them go ahead and do what they want and see what happens. You think it's bad now, wait till next year at this time.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like some pretty cheap real estate coming down the road. Get ready for an migration of slumlords coming to town buying property like they've never seen before.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard that there are actually 'Truth in Smell' laws, and that the City Council has ordered several dozzen 'corpse flowers' for city offices.

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the city holds landlords accountable for their tenants actions why shouldn't we hold the city accountable for their actions on dealing with their criminal citizens?



Chuck lets take a look at how the city prosecutes criminals in St.Paul.I have a buddy thats a cop.He states that he doesn't arrest sometimes because its frusterating to see them walking on the streets the next day.Hes over worked and under payed.


Chuck whats Bucky Thune doing on that issue?Because maybe and I mean maybe there wouldn't be as much behavior problems in landlords property if we did the right thing with criminals.



Robert

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah your right Robert because the criminals would be locked up where they couldn't terrorize the neighborhood. But then the city doesn't want to pay the cost for that do they when they can go after landlords and make money?

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bucky Thune only cares about one thing, HIMSELF.

If Bucky was serious about crime he would have supported more cops.

If Bucky Thune were serious about code enforcement, he would clean up his home.

If Bucky Thune were concerned with code enforcement he woul dnot abuse the system and be given special treatment by Fire and DSI. Bucky would say, "DSI and Fire treat me like everyone else I don't want any favors."

Tom Swift is correct in his last post.

The blight on our city is not going to end until we have a radical change in our governmental leaders and I do not see that happening anytime soon.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Linda -

Chuck hits the problem squarely on the head. The only person that sounds dumb is you by your ignorant responses without anything to back up the statement.

He states "The worse time is during redemption, when the owner is out and the bank is not yet in." Included in this must be the time the owner has been letting the home fall apart because they have no money to maintain the houses. By the time the bank gets there, the rehab cost are so high the only real alternative, in a cost effective way, is tear down the house. The east side is going to be losing over 1000 good homes because of this situation.

J

12:16 PM  
Blogger Swiftee said...

"By the time the bank gets there, the rehab cost are so high the only real alternative, in a cost effective way, is tear down the house. The east side is going to be losing over 1000 good homes because of this situation."

As long as the city of Saint Paul puts programs and policies into effect that attract uneducated, non-productive, public service reliant people while at the same time encouraging high earning, high tax paying, low overhead population to head for parts unknown you better get used to trash strewn, empty lots where houses used to stand.

After a couple of years under the current city administration Bucky's decrepit house will be a standard of excellence.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Citys Agenda appears to Ratify Assessments Bi Monthly $300,000.00
Cash Cow from DSI to extort Fees,
We're talking Million to demolish vacant buildings, Steal Cars, Personal Property, Ciy Employees double dipping charging $240.00 for excssive consumption, plus their regular salary.

MAGNER MUST BE INDICTED
Bruce.engelbrekt is the Supervisor in City Public Works-Real Estate
Check your Tax Statements for this major FRAUD. drag and drop the url for proof city agenda 9Apr08
Click here: http://stpaul.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=37&clip_id=768&meta_id=38012

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I agree with Swiftee. What's going to happen is there are going to be massive demolitions and thus vacant lots for the citys favorite builders. After these neighborhoods have been transformed into many new houses with wealthy owners, the targets are going to be the people complaining about the landlords properties now. The landlords will be long gone and it will be the new owners complaining about the "blight" these self rightous homes are reaping on the neighborhood. They're going to get for themsleves what they wanted for the landlords, it's just going to take a while.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Chuck has been officially diagnosed as a complete idiot.Chuck plese quit typing you sound dumb."

Are these the statements you refer to J as being the ignorant responses that make Linda sound dumb? All you have to do is read some of Chucks logic, and trust me , you don't have to read too long to figure out he's an idiot.

Do you know how to read J?

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Frank J. Steinhauser, III, et al., Civil No. 04-2632
JNE/SRN
Plaintiffs,
v. NOTICE OF MOTION
City of St. Paul, et al., FOR SANCTIONS
Defendants.
Sandra Harrilal, et al., Civil No. 05-461
JNE/SRN
Plaintiffs,
v.
Steve Magner, et al.,
Defendants.
Thomas J. Gallagher, et al., Civil No. 05-1348
JNE/SRN
Plaintiffs,
v.
Steve Magner, et al.,
Defendants.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE, that on Monday, the 14th day of April, 2008, at 1:30 p.m., or as soon thereafter as counsel can be heard, in courtroom 8E, United States Courthouse, 300 South 4th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55104, a renewed motion for sanctions made by Plaintiffs

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how to read much better than you shithead. Ignorant people only get out of things what they want not what really is written.

J

12:38 PM  

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