Sunday, July 22, 2012

U.S. Bank A Major Slumlord Conducting Illegal Foreclosure Evictions, Says City Of Los Angeles In Lawsuit

In Los Angeles, California, the Los Angeles Times reports:

  • For Mary Sanchez, the vacant, foreclosed home across from hers on Abner Street in El Sereno was an assault on the senses and her piece of mind.

    Gang members and squatters used it as a stash house. The place stank of dead animals. Mice made constant incursions from across the way onto her property, prompting her to get cats to head them off. Weeds in the yard reached as high as her chest.

    "It was embarrassing," she said. "When people would come over I would say 'look for the ugly house with all the stuff in the lawn. I live next to that.' "

    On Monday, Los Angeles officials accused US Bank of illegally allowing the Abner Street home and many others to deteriorate into slums. The civil allegations found problems in the way US Bank handled 1,500 home foreclosures and cited more than 150 homes that had fallen into disrepair. The city is demanding that the bank clean up vacant properties and improve conditions for families living in others.

    The lawsuit marks the second time the city has accused a major bank of being a slumlord, part of an aggressive attempt to deal with the urban decay caused by the housing crash.
  • The lawsuit follows an 18-month investigation by the city and accuses US Bank of fostering poor conditions in some neighborhoods that contribute to crime and blight. The bank was also responsible for illegally evicting some tenants and forcing others to live in dangerous conditions, according to the complaint.

    The city is seeking an injunction and potentially millions of dollars in penalties and restitution from the Minneapolis-based financial institution, whose logo crowns the top of the West Coast's tallest building in downtown L.A.

    "U.S. Bank National Assn. disregarded virtually every one of its legal duties and responsibilities as owner, resulting in the creation and maintenance of an alarming number of vacant nuisance properties," the complaint alleges. It also said the bank was "repeatedly advised" over the course of years to fix the problems, but "made no efforts … to comply with the law."

    Last year's complaint targeted Deutsche Bank, the fourth largest bank in the world, for its actions related to more than 2,000 foreclosures in Los Angeles.
For more, see L.A. sues US Bank over blighted, abandoned homes (The city attorney accuses the bank of being a slumlord and demands that it clean up properties it foreclosed on).
For the Los Angeles City Attorney press release, see City Attorney's Office Files Law Enforcement Action Against U.S. Bank For Failure To Maintain Foreclosed Properties And For Illegal Evictions (National Bank Faces Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Potential Liability and Injunction to Clean Up Foreclosed Properties and Stop Illegal Evictions).

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