Followup: Mayor tells police to stand down in post-foreclosure West Seattle eviction case of Byron and Jean Barton

July 21, 2014 at 8:51 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle politics | 79 Comments

(Friday photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand: Above, deputies carrying Byron Barton from his home)
New development today in a West Seattle family’s quest to stay in their foreclosed-on-and-auctioned-off home. On Friday, we chronicled a day of tumultuous activity at the 41st/Holly home of disabled veteran Byron Barton and wife Jean Barton, a day that started with King County Sheriff’s Office reps removing them from the house, which they then defiantly re-entered, continuing to keep vigil with local activists. That evening, Seattle Police and the local City Attorney’s Office precinct liaison arrived, but ultimately left after concluding nothing would be done that night.

(Friday evening WSB photo)
This morning, the activists went to City Hall to ask the mayor and council to tell SPD to stand down – several also spoke during open-comment time at this afternoon’s City Council meeting – and this evening, Mayor Murray sent this statement:

We are attempting to understand all options that may exist in this situation and I have asked Chief O’Toole and the Seattle Police Department to stand by while the latest court proceedings unwind.

An interdepartmental team has been working on the issue of foreclosure and how the City of Seattle can proactively connect residents to resources early in the process. I’ve pledged the City of Seattle’s participation in the Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness in 2015, and will launch a separate process to address homelessness and increase housing affordability in the months ahead, one of my visions toward making Seattle an affordable city.

“In Washington State, we’ve seen recent victories such as the 2011 Washington State Foreclosure Fairness Act, which I worked on closely, designed to help homeowners and their lenders explore alternatives to foreclosure and reach a resolution when possible. I’m committed to working with all stakeholders, using this and other alternatives in the work Seattle does on housing affordability.”

The City of Seattle and Washington State have resources to help homeowners avoid default and work out repayment plans in order to stay in their homes, or gain enough time to sell their homes on their own terms: http://www.seattle.gov/housing/buying/ForeclosurePrevention.htm and commerce.wa.gov/Programs/housing/Foreclosure/Pages/default.aspx

The Bartons have a lawsuit pending, alleging the foreclosure – which had been in the works at least since 2012, according to court documents we have found so far – was illegal. The development company that bought their house in an April auction has sued for “unlawful detainer” – seeking to have the Bartons removed. The situation that led to foreclosure is complicated; while the house has been in Byron Barton’s family for more than 60 years, changes in the family put it back under a mortgage. P.S. How long this will take to play out in the courts is unknown – the civil system doesn’t always move quickly, and the current trial date for the Bartons’ lawsuit (filed in May) isn’t until June of next year.

TUESDAY MORNING, 9:22 AM: A commenter asked about the Sheriff’s Office role/responsibility at this point. We asked KCSO spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates, who replied:

The eviction was completed and our involvement in serving that eviction order is over.

The legal owners of the house are always able to return to court and get another civil order which would compel our department to act. I’m unaware of any filings or movement on that topic.

Our departments stand is the eviction was completed, anyone reoccupying that house is committing a crime. At least trespass, if not burglary.

It is now up to the local police agency to enforce those crimes.

79 Comments

  1. Very disappointed in this outcome.

    I am sorry for this family, but they are not above the laws and rules we as a society agree to work and live within.

    The mayor getting involved in this issue where it is none of his or his office’s business is also disappointing as there are many other issues that are a better and more direct use of his time.

    Comment by Ray — 8:57 pm July 21, 2014 #

  2. So, Ray, if Quality Loan Service has indeed participated deceptive and/or illegal practices, are they above the law?

    .

    http://www.atg.wa.gov/pressrelease.aspx?id=32004

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 9:14 pm July 21, 2014 #

  3. Well, that does it. I’m not paying my rent next month and just call the Mayor when my landlord raises hell. Maybe I won’t pay my City Light bill either.

    Comment by bradley — 9:30 pm July 21, 2014 #

  4. WSB- since it was KC Sheriffs that served the eviction- what does Sheriff Urquhart have to say? The Chief of Police of Seattle serves at the pleasure of the Mayor – the KC Sheriff is elected he answers to us. Does this mean that if a KC Detective goes to serve a legal eviction notice SPD won’t back him up?
    I think the Mayor needs to”stand down”.

    Comment by Gene — 9:30 pm July 21, 2014 #

  5. Gene – I will be following up with KCSO tomorrow. Mayor Murray’s statement came at the end of the day.

    Comment by WSB — 9:35 pm July 21, 2014 #

  6. Ray, none of us knows the full extent of this entire story yet. You’re already siding with a proven scam artist who’s been taken to court multiple times and LOST already. They, Quality Loan Services, is currently under close watch for not obeying the law in the past.
    .
    The fact that they’re pushing to move so quickly and bypass a trial date which is pushed to NEXT YEAR for this family is insane.
    .
    Could this family be totally in the wrong, yes. Could this foreclosure be found illegal after this house is sold to the developer, knocked down and replaced with two new buildings…yes. Guess who wins, the developer and QLS. It’s in the developer and QLS and banks favor, even if this foreclosure is found to be illegal!

    Comment by Mike — 9:37 pm July 21, 2014 #

  7. ok…Ray, and others who object to this decision…what’s in this for you? Why do you object to trying to help this guy? Quoting “rules and laws” aside..what’s the problem? It’s no skin off your nose if they stay a little longer , and get some help to maybe stay in their home. And if they used the delightful Quality Loan Service, they deserve more time. Maybe I just have a little more compassion that you do, I suppose.

    Comment by JanS — 9:37 pm July 21, 2014 #

  8. There are two sides to every story, and The Truth is often somewhere in the middle, but I’ve got a pretty good sense of smell, and I smell someone is trying to ‘game the system’ here.

    Just sayin…

    Comment by Citizen Sane — 10:01 pm July 21, 2014 #

  9. Get off your high horse Jan. I work hard to pay my bills. It’s time for these ppl to go. The mayor should not be involved. Seattle is so screwed up.

    Comment by A — 10:03 pm July 21, 2014 #

  10. Jan what this does is set precedents for many things none good. I think Murray stepped over his legal powers on this one and his actions should be looked into. If the new property owner has an agreement with the Barton’s that’s one thing but if not and they want their house they paid for then Barton’s should be removed. Take their six figure check and move on.

    Comment by wetone — 10:13 pm July 21, 2014 #

  11. The allegations against QLS are that they moved their office and didn’t properly notify homeowners of their new address & phone number. Problematic, yes. But not exactly what comes to mind when I think of “deceptive and illegal practices.”
    .
    None of this is “skin off my nose”, but I guess I feel like not only are they playing the system, but they’re also playing public sympathy.
    .
    If I came on here and said “I can’t afford the $500K mortgage on my $700K house” I don’t think I’d get a ton of sympathy. I think I’d get “sell the house, take your $200K, buy something more affordable, and quit your whining” That was their best option. They didn’t take it.

    Comment by ummm — 10:22 pm July 21, 2014 #

  12. If I understand the above correctly, the Mayor is making this about affordable housing when in fact that’s not the issue. It sounds like the family owned this house free and clear and put themselves into debt, because they couldn’t afford their free house??? This specific story isn’t about affordable housing, Mr. Mayor.

    On another note, what happened to the first sheriff who refused to execute the eviction? In other words, he refused to do his job.

    Mike, who says the developer is going to knock down the house? They (Wendy) already said they aren’t.

    Comment by HC — 10:24 pm July 21, 2014 #

  13. HC- That is my exact issue with this. I think the mayor and city council do need to focus on affordable housing, and this has nothing to do with housing being a human right or working towards affordable housing.
    Taking out a loan against your house when it’s already paid off is not a right. Loaning out half a million is not about “affordable housing”. The mayor and council member Shawant should look into the facts before instantly backing something that “looks bad” in headlines. They aren’t helping themselves or anybody else here.

    Comment by BooneLee — 11:11 pm July 21, 2014 #

  14. This thing is out of control and the group that is helping this family is doing nothing but trying to get a name for themselves. I have met several of them in the past and they are a bunch of loud mouths with good heart but bad facts. I work in finance and have worked on a ton of loan mods. This couple had positive equity and should have sold and moved. The moment you take money out of a house that you had previously paid off this is what can happen. You made a pact to the lender that you put your house up as collateral and they give you x amount of dollars, if you don’t pay you lose your house. I know this man has had medical issues but did he lose a job? is he not getting disability? has he been seeking help through social services? those are how you go about charity and safety net, not defaulting on a private party loan and then refusing to give up your collateral. I feel for him as a person and hope he gets a nice place with his 100k plus all the money he didn’t pay over the last year but staying they is setting a bad standards for others to copy. The mayor needs to back off and stay out of the mix here. He is not in a judicial branch of government.

    Comment by The truth — 11:25 pm July 21, 2014 #

  15. Funny how some people seem upset that the Barton’s are “getting away with something”. Remember the 2008 crash that was caused by illegal and unethical behavior by people in the banking industry? Well those bankers not only did not go to jail, they got bailed out by us, the taxpayers, and are making record profits, bonuses and so on. The Barton’s are but one of the thousands of families in Seattle who have lost or are in danger of losing their home because of the banks and the unwillingness of our Federal gov’t to stand up to them. It damages our entire community. The Barton’s are one of the few who are standing up to this, at the risk of being shamed by others, as some comments on this blog show. Most people slink away after being railroaded by the banks with their deep pockets to run over people. The Barton’s have nothing to be ashamed of and I am thankful our local gov’t is doing what the Feds should have done a long time ago.

    Comment by zorazane — 11:27 pm July 21, 2014 #

  16. ummmmmm they are not allegations
    .
    http://www.atg.wa.gov/pressrelease.aspx?id=32004#.U84FTpRX-uZ
    .
    http://www.azdfi.gov/Consumers/PublicRecords/Forms/Consent/QUALITY_LOAN_SERVICE_CORP_Consent.pdf
    .
    http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=27506906
    .
    still, we don’t know the full picture. The fact is that the developer, QLS and the bank win unless they are stopped from evicting these people right now. The fact that there’s a court date next year for this case and it’s being sold to another buyer is mind blowing. What happens if it’s found to be an illegal foreclosure…the prior owner is out their house with medical bills racked up while paying to live in another place.
    .
    If QLS, the developer and bank were acting in good faith they’d move to have the owner sell the home at market value, pay off debts and move on. Instead they’re being forced out while the bank and QLS make a hefty sum (probably more than $250k) in profit by evicting these people now.

    Comment by Mike — 11:36 pm July 21, 2014 #

  17. I can not believe the mayor got involved. Oh wait, yes I can. This is Seattle. You know how many people get evicted everyday in Washington and the mayor isn’t helping them. Yes this man is a vet but do you know how many homeless vets I pass on the way to work each day? Where’s the mayor for them. And yes this man is disabled but not because of the war. He had a stroke. Lots of disabled people need the mayors help. I’m just saying what makes these people so special?!?!?!?!

    Comment by Alki Girl — 11:48 pm July 21, 2014 #

  18. Alki Girl:
    Really, what makes them special? Third generation homeowners thrown to the curb with no provisions? Would your community stand up for you if you needed a helping hand? What kind of world do you want to live in? Enjoy living in the shadow of yet another giant apartment box full of strangers.

    Comment by Cynthia Fields — 12:33 am July 22, 2014 #

  19. “Project Utopia” Now filming in Seattle City Council chambers, the Mayor’s office and Kshama Sawant’s Unicorn pasture.
    SMH (again Seattle managers)

    Comment by 935 — 6:15 am July 22, 2014 #

  20. Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins. Many of us are one heart attack or stroke away from being in this situation.

    Comment by Toni — 6:19 am July 22, 2014 #

  21. after the city let tent city squat illegal for over 2 years in Highland Park I am not surprised to see the Mayor get involved in this. the only public official we have not seen is the king county executive….whoever said they were tearing the house down to make room for 2 houses….the supposed new owner – which WSB verified -posted the other day saying they were going to restore the house, not tear it down. …..how long of a generation owner this person is makes no difference in the matter. it’s a nice tidbit of history but means nothing when it’s time to pay the mortgage. if this is a third generation owner then perhaps the house would have been paid for long ago?

    Comment by joel — 6:37 am July 22, 2014 #

  22. I am guessing Chief O’Toole is getting a pretty fast education on what she signed on for.

    Comment by KT — 8:31 am July 22, 2014 #

  23. So everyone in Seattle can stop paying their bills now and the mayor will take care of it. Good to know.

    Comment by Gotb — 8:58 am July 22, 2014 #

  24. To the question of KCSO’s role – I just got that clarified with spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates and am adding the full reply to the end of the story above. In short, they did their job – until and unless the home’s current legal owner seeks another court order. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:21 am July 22, 2014 #

  25. Zorazane – thanks for bringing some right perspective to the comments from people who seem to think that the Bartons are looking for a handout or getting away with something. The issue is this: Chase Bank (the mortgage holder) was bailed out with OUR tax dollars in 2008. As a requirement for the bailout, Chase is supposed to do loan workouts for struggling homeowners hit by income loss due to the recession, which the Bartons clearly qualify for. The Bartons wanted to do a loan workout. Chase evidently couldn’t figure how to keep a disabled vet in his home. As to the comment them having equity: yes they do. Does that mean they shouldn’t get a loan modification, especially if I am reading the coverage correctly is probably a predatory loan with an interest rate that ballooned up dramatically (most like in the 11-12 percent range)? Those loans were marketed as shorter term loans which could be refinanced before the higher interest rate kicked in, but thanks to the banks many people could not refinance after 2008 and were stuck with an unafforable payment. Chase Bank got bailed out. Let’s make Chase Bank do what they were supposed to do to as part of the terms of the bailout: help keep struggling homeowners in their homes. I am rather conservative politically and fiscally but this case just illustrates the failure of the banks to help struggling homeowners,(well documented in the news over the past several years). Plus, as an aside, in my opinion the NPV calculators the banks use to determine whether they will offer a loan workout or not are biased against our seniors and disabled citizens. Please, can we have some compassion for the Bartons? I can’t imagine the stress level they must be going through living in their home right now. These are our neighbors; can’t we have compassion? All they’re asking is to be allowed to live in their home until the legal suit plays out in court; is that too much to ask?

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 9:51 am July 22, 2014 #

  26. If you have never known someone who has had difficult financial times and who was forced to work with a bank to figure out 1) how to keep the home and then 2) how to sell/short sale/foreclose the home you have absolutely no ground to have an opinion about the convoluted, lying, work around the law, drag their feet, missing paperwork (for the 10th time), new contacts to speak with (for the 20th time), oooops you can’t do that even though we told you to do it, and no mailing address to send your extra payment we requested of you, system the banks are using to this day. The homeowners are getting away with nothing! The banks are STILL gaining everything. I have had two friends, and two family members go through this in the last 10 years and it’s a literal nightmare to deal with the financial system and almost ALL of them gave up trying to work with the banks because it became a Kafkaesque situation.

    Comment by Al — 10:28 am July 22, 2014 #

  27. I am pleased to see so many West Seattle residents willing to put a Disabled Veteran and his wife on the street in support of the LAW.
    I just wonder if these same people feel the same way about supporting the Immigration Law in reference to ILLEGAL ALIENS and lack of deportation?
    Two weeks ago Obama requested $3.8 BILLION for aid to the ILLEGALS invading, and not a word was said. Yet we have Vets (and US Citizens) who are homeless and going hungry. Vets that are receiving substandard care from the VA
    My feeling…These same people who are saying the the Bartons should be kicked out for failure to pay and are breaking the law by remaining there, are screaming that we aren’t doing enough to aid and assist the ILLEGAL ALIEN flood that is going on right now. They, like Obama and his Administration, want to “pick and choose” what laws to enforce and which ones to ignore.

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 10:39 am July 22, 2014 #

  28. I agree with ZoraZane and Gatewood Neighbor. This story is really about mortgage holders (mostly banks) sidestepping the terms of their public bailout. The dramatics of a family in need got attention. But really this is a very important and highly disturbing legal issue. The right to own property…and not have it taken away via predatory lending, age, gender, health, ethnicity…the right to have your grievances heard by a jury of law (your peers) in a timely manner… very important legal rights.

    Comment by heather — 10:43 am July 22, 2014 #

  29. Gatewood Neighbor: I am all for due process however, I think as a sign of good faith in that process on the part of the Barton’s that they should have/be continuing to pay their financial obligation as that process works itself out, either to their mortgage holder or in rent to the new owners. If the courts work the way they should (laughable of course) then they will be credited for those payments to whichever party they made them but the “system” and good faith should work in both directions.

    Comment by jissy — 11:59 am July 22, 2014 #

  30. Al and Heather – amen to your comments. Thanks for posting. Maybe your comments will help enlighten some of the others here.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 12:05 pm July 22, 2014 #

  31. Dear Freeloaders,
    Come buy a house in Seattle. Or better yet, remortgage the home you own outright so you take some cash out to cover those pesky living expenses. Then you can bail on your obligations and the mayor and citizens will band together to keep your lending from making you pay. it’s AWESOME here!

    Yours Truly,
    Seattle

    Comment by Mark — 12:06 pm July 22, 2014 #

  32. Ex Westwood Resident. I highly doubt the same people who are saying the Barron´s should be kicked out have a soft spot for the illegal immigrants coming into the country.

    Comment by Eric — 12:10 pm July 22, 2014 #

  33. So even though KCSO says “Our departments stand is the eviction was completed, anyone reoccupying that house is committing a crime. At least Trespass, if not Burglary.”

    What legal grounds does Mayor Murray have for what he’s doing ? by not having the SPD get these people off someone else’s property ?

    Sure looks to me the new owners have very strong legal grounds to file suit against the Mayor and city. I also find it interesting how the news coverage is making this story sound. With little info except these people are being thrown out on the street with nothing. No mention of the money they were to receive over $100k along with how many months they had to move prior to all this. Maybe all the people so pro on this should open their doors for anyone to walk in and occupy your homes. Report back in a year let us know how it’s going.

    Comment by wetone — 12:51 pm July 22, 2014 #

  34. So, government is stepping in to head this off but are the very ones who tax people out of their homes, can you say hypocrites?

    Comment by sittingbird — 12:52 pm July 22, 2014 #

  35. What a moral indignation! A severely disabled veteran who spent ’70-’74 in Vietnam being allowed to stay in his home of 61 years? Poor poor poor Triangle Properties. Has anyone thought of the profits they could make from tearing his home down, putting him into an over-burdened VA system, and making his wife homeless?

    THINK OF THE PROFITS!

    Comment by BookEmDano — 12:52 pm July 22, 2014 #

  36. Since I do not have all of the facts, I will not offer an opinion one way or another. But I will offer advice. UNLESS you are in the financial industry, DO NOT take out a loan without hiring a lawyer to explain to you what exactly the terms of the mortgage are. That $500 + or – will be the best investment decision you will make.

    Comment by WestofJunction — 12:53 pm July 22, 2014 #

  37. Being discussed on Dori Monson 97.3 right now…call in segment.

    Comment by 935 — 12:53 pm July 22, 2014 #

  38. Quality Loan Service is owned by McCarthy and Hulthus, LLP
    McCarthy and Hulthus, LLP are a law firm, they represent lenders against home owners in bankruptcies and foreclosures.

    Quality Loan Services have been found guilty in a court of law for:
    Falsifying documents
    Intentionally and illegally moving their office to avoid client contact
    Selling an 83 year old demented woman’s home for $1 over her mortgage balance, while they had a signed contract in hand 11 days prior selling the home for FMV ($151,000 more) – they are simply criminals.

    So all you folks big on “fair play” and “I pay my bills” rhetoric – these guys, Quality Loan Service, are literally convicted criminals – you’re defending them – they’re convicted criminals. Are you intentionally standing up for the “big guy”? Do you own stock in QLS or Mc&M or something? Just a truly bizarre stance to take here – yay banks, lawyers and predatory forclosure chop shops? I – I dunno – it’s a very weird position to take, especially with such passion.

    “This notice of sale was one of apparently many foreclosure documents that
    were falsely notarized by Quality and its employees around that time. There was
    considerable evidence that falsifying notarizations was a common practice, and one
    that Quality employees had been trained to do.” – Klem vs Wamu and Quality Loan Service

    THEY LOST THIS CASE AND HAD TO PAY $153,000 FOR FALSIFYING DOCUMENTS TO STEAL AN 83 YEAR OLD WOMAN’S HOME!!!!!

    Sorry to yell, but it’s not sinking in for some.
    They lost, were found guilty in a court of law, of falsifying documents!

    Comment by zark — 12:58 pm July 22, 2014 #

  39. People tend to do the best they can with what they have. For those of you who are criticizing the Bartons, I’m guessing you have never lived with the stress of not having enough. Ever heard of the working homeless?

    To say that Mr. Barton’s ailments are not at all related to his veteran status is asinine. Google long term healthcare issues for vets.

    Being poor, especially in an affluent community such as Seattle, is brutal. Until you’ve been there, don’t judge. If you haven’t been there, it’s at least partially due to privilege and grace. So, seriously, get off your high horse(s). Have some compassion. Caring for someone who is disabled is ridiculously hard. You just don’t get it. Really, what it boils down to is this: the bank is responsible to set up a workable plan with these people to ensure that Mr. Barton is not moved. He should not be moved in his condition. They are not trying to get away with anything. They are trying to take care of Mr. Barton.

    Comment by i'mcoveredinbees — 12:59 pm July 22, 2014 #

  40. Ummm, BoonLee & HC – I agree with you.

    To everyone who keeps pointing out that QLS are scam artists – you’re right, they engaged in some shady practices BUT it was the Barton’s own actions or in-actions that brought QLS into their lives:
    -1 pulling the equity out of their home
    - 2 not paying the loan on that equity (whatever the reason)

    None of us know how loan workout negotiations (if any) went between the Barton’s & Chase, but think about the math: If your earning are reduced to the point that 1/3 of your monthly income could not pay off your loan with modified interest within 30 years, but you still have enough equity in the home to pay off the loan upon sale, then there’s not much to work out.

    Let’s use $400,000 as an example: if the Barton’s pulled out $400,000 @ 5% interest pre bubble burst June of 2006 when the home was valued at $700,000, their P&I would be $2,814/mo -they would need to be earning $8,442/mo for this to be affordable.

    Then June of 2008, post bubble burst, the Barton’s home value drops to $500,000 (basing on the % of equity I “lost” after the bubble burst) – the Barton’s owe $387,364 on their $400,000 loan – they still have more than 20% equity & now interest rates have dropped to 3% so they refinance the $387k and their new P&I = $1,633… Now they only need $4,899/mo for this to be affordable.

    But then in June of 2010 their personal financial disaster hits and their income drops to $3,000/mo. They owe $370,237 on that refinanced loan, on the home now valued at $600,000. If they refinance again at 3% (unrealisticly good rate for someone in financial distress because “interest” factors in both time value of money & risk of loss) this time at 40 years (the longest mortgage available that I’m aware of) that only reduces their monthly payment to $1,325; with only $3,000 gross income a month this is not affordable, yet the home has $299,763 in equity- even the most compassionate lender in the world would see there’s only one solution- sell the home, there’s no way to re-work the loan at that point.

    Finally to all that keep crying “but he’s a Vet!” – my brother is a Iraq Vet and possibly the worst credit risk in history. He was always crappy with money & bad about dealing with the details, and serving in Iraq had no effect on this aspect of his personality- does that mean the banks owe him a 700th chance? I think no.

    Comment by Ms. Sparkles — 2:41 pm July 22, 2014 #

  41. Jissy – good comment. I believe the Bartons tried to do so. You might want to contact their attorney to find out for certain.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 3:24 pm July 22, 2014 #

  42. Ms Sparkles – the Bartons took out loans based on their pre-2008 income. Don’t blame them for taking out a loan that made economic sense before the banks brought on the financial crisis and tanked not only the Barton’s business but our economy. Your numbers are based on traditional loans, not on either HAMP or in house loan modification programs that are required as part of the terms of the bank bailout. Banks can indeed make principal reductions on mortgages, sharing a percentage of the home’s appreciation, balloon payments, etc. to make them affordable AND still make money, and could have here. Chase has one of the worst records for loan workouts, and Al is right – what banks put struggling homeowners through to try to get a modification is horrible. The NPVs banks use are skewed against senior citizens and disabled, and need to be reworked – in your scenario, it is “unafforable” for the family to have a mortgage of $1300 – but the reality is that they are going to be paying more in rent. Sorry your brother is so credit poor but don’t project his issues on the Bartons.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 4:17 pm July 22, 2014 #

  43. @ Ms. Sparkles
    Good math, bad assumptions, and completely incorrect assessment of the criminality of Quality Loan Services.

    QLS did this: “falsify a beneficiary declaration” Which means they said “that’s our property” when it wasn’t.
    When they did it, it was perjury, now because of them, it’s a Felony – SB 6199 passed in March this year.
    Seriously people, this isn’t rocket science, these guys are complete crooks – not just “gaming the system” they are felons for all intents and purposes.

    Quality Loan Services have been found guilty, in a court of law, for falsifying documents to foreclose on a property illegally. They lost badly.

    Our state Attorney General sued them for moving their office in an attempt to hide from people trying to modify loans so QLS could still foreclose – illegally; they changed the dates on auction documents illegally so that a signed offer for $235,000 was ignored and instead they sold the property to a developer attached to the parent firm McC&H LLC for $83,000; their own employees stated, on the record, that they were trained, TRAINED, to falsify foreclosure documents.

    THEY ARE CRIMINALS and they are lawyers able to obfuscate their illegal practices.

    How can you not get that this could be you?

    When QLS files illegal, fraudulent, foreclosure papers on your home, we’ll prob still be here defending you – not pulling up the ladder – shocked at the number of libertarians in WSea – “I got mine, to hell with everyone else”.

    Comment by zark — 4:21 pm July 22, 2014 #

  44. The injustice is really the fault of the Legislature. Under mortgage industry pressure they folded in about 2009 and amended out the fraud claim as a way to retain possession of foreclosed real estate. They amended RCW 61.24.127. Basically, the only thing a homeowner can do is petition the Court to Restrain the Sale based on a fraud claim. If that is not done, then the Homeowner is limited to money damages. If anybody wants to read the applicable part of the statute, here it is:

    “* * * (2) The nonwaived claims listed under subsection (1) of this section are subject to the following limitations:

    (a) The claim must be asserted or brought within two years from the date of the foreclosure sale or within the applicable statute of limitations for such claim, whichever expires earlier;

    (b) The claim may not seek any remedy at law or in equity other than monetary damages;

    (c) The claim may not affect in any way the validity or finality of the foreclosure sale or a subsequent transfer of the property;

    (d) A borrower or grantor who files such a claim is prohibited from recording a lis pendens or any other document purporting to create a similar effect, related to the real property foreclosed upon;

    (e) The claim may not operate in any way to encumber or cloud the title to the property that was subject to the foreclosure sale, except to the extent that a judgment on the claim in favor of the borrower or grantor may, consistent with RCW 4.56.190, become a judgment lien on real property then owned by the judgment debtor; and

    (f) The relief that may be granted for judgment upon the claim is limited to actual damages. However, if the borrower or grantor brings in the same civil action a claim for violation of chapter 19.86 RCW, arising out of the same alleged facts, relief under chapter 19.86 RCW is limited to actual damages, treble damages as provided for in RCW 19.86.090, and the costs of suit, including a reasonable attorney’s fee. * * *”

    Comment by Thomas M — 4:24 pm July 22, 2014 #

  45. This circus has also been a topic on the Stranger Blog/Slog with some detailed public record sleuthing from a commenter on what transpired in the years leading up to last Friday:

    http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/07/18/anti-foreclosure-protesters-block-sheriffs-eviction-of-disabled-veteran-in-west-seattle&view=comments#20145061

    This couple made bad decisions and fell on hard times. They took a lot of money out the house through refinances and couldn’t afford the monthly payments.

    There are a lot of agendas going on here between the Barton’s, the mortgage lenders, the activists, and the politicians that inflame passions and create distractions. The fact remains that the Barton’s couldn’t afford the house and will eventually have to leave. As a community we should show compassion to our neighbors while still ensuring that laws and contracts are honored. It’s a sad story.

    Comment by MatthewTaylor — 4:46 pm July 22, 2014 #

  46. The terms under mortgage modification differ from a refinance so that the creditor has a greater range of possibilities in working with a distressed borrower, Mr. Sparkles. And it seems that many people are unaware that in order to qualify for a modification under HAMP or HARP you must be (suggested 3 months) behind in your mortgage. These are federally allocated funds. To have access to this reserve, creditors enforce this. Once accepted for consideration of a modification, the bank will no longer accept mortgage payments from the borrower. Ridiculous but true. If you send a payment to them, it is not applied to your mortgage. It is held as “uncategorized funds” until the modification is finalized – and not applied, per payment date, retroactively. In essence, the lender will not accept mortgage payments during the modification period. Putting a borrower at further risk of foreclosure if the modification is denied. It’s not as simple as “they’re living there for free… take some responsibility… you should have been paying your bills”, etc. (To be clear, I’m just a WS resident and have no involvement in this situation.)

    Comment by Heather — 5:25 pm July 22, 2014 #

  47. The fact is that the economic crisis of 2008 caused by the banks caused the Bartons not to be able to afford the mortgage payment. The fact is that the banks were bailed out by the taxpayers and as part of the bailout are required to do loan workouts with struggling homeowners, including those with loss of income because of the bank induced crisis such as the Bartons. If we’re going to enforce laws and contracts to the letter (which I do agree with), let’s make Chase Bank do what they were supposed to do as a part of their bailout – do a loan workout with struggling homeowners such as the Bartons. That would be just and to the letter of the law and terms of their TARP bailout. IF we had followed the letter of the law in 2008, Chase would have been out of business because they couldn’t make it without government help. A loan workout with the Bartons is doable, but evidently Chase decided it would make more money (including charging the Bartons for the costs of foreclosing on their house) by foreclosing than doing a loan workout. Shame on Chase.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 5:36 pm July 22, 2014 #

  48. Heather – thank you SO much for explaining this so clearly. Hopefully it will help some people understand the situation better.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 5:40 pm July 22, 2014 #

  49. I’m confused. I won’t read all this long winded drivel so help me understand. Where they foreclosed on illegally? or just late on their payments? Make it simple please. What are the facts?

    Comment by siitngbird — 6:09 pm July 22, 2014 #

  50. The foreclosure machine rolls on. I wish they would throw more state attorney generals in jail for turning the blind eye to the fraud.
    ReconTrust and BofA are big players in that foreclosure market.

    Comment by usedkarguy — 6:33 pm July 22, 2014 #

  51. Sittingbird – I would suggest you read the excellent coverage of this by the West Seattle Blog like the rest of us. The facts are there. I don’t know if you mean the West Seattle Blog’s coverage is long winded drivel or the comments by readers, but either way I don’t think using insulting terms is going to make someone want to spend the time to help you understand what is well and succinctly covered by the West Seattle Blog’s staff.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 7:30 pm July 22, 2014 #

  52. The basic facts that we have verified/covered:
    .
    The house was foreclosed on, then sold at auction. The family has filed suit claiming the foreclosure was illegal, while the firm that bought the house at auction has filed an “unlawful detainer” complaint seeking eviction. That brought the King County Sheriff’s Office, which serves eviction orders, to the house last Friday. Local advocates were already there keeping vigil and tried to block the eviction. KCSO carried it out. The family then went back in the house. Seattle Police, who at that point had grounds to arrest them (or anyone else) for trespassing, declined to. Family and activists stayed. Monday, activists went to City Hall to ask mayor and council not to boot the family. Mayor issued statement that led this story, saying he has told SPD to “stand by.”
    .
    Was the foreclosure illegal? Right now, that is up to a judge to decide. Trial date currently set for next June. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 7:40 pm July 22, 2014 #

  53. Also a modification and the foreclosure process occur simultaneously, in parallel. So although a borrower may be negotiating a modification, if it’s denied the foreclosure process has already advanced significantly. If the borrower if unable to pay all past due amounts including accrued fees, late charges, principal, etc within 30 days they’re foreclosed on. I believe within that same 30 day period. Please correct me if I have misstated information.

    Comment by Heather — 8:45 pm July 22, 2014 #

  54. Quality Loan Services is such an upstanding operation *cough* For anyone wanting to read that actual legal docs with their fraud practices…sorry, business practices:
    .
    http://www.courts.wa.gov/content/Briefs/A08/871051%20%20Respondent%20Cross%20Appellant%20Dianne%20Klem's%20brief.pdf
    .
    I think it’s time for the Fed to step in and throw somebody in a nice cement house with iron bars.

    Comment by Mike — 10:25 pm July 22, 2014 #

  55. Haters be hate in…

    Comment by Elle Nell — 11:14 pm July 22, 2014 #

  56. To Zark,
    I just read your comments “QLS did this: “falsify a beneficiary declaration” Which means they said “that’s our property” when it wasn’t.
    When they did it, it was perjury, now because of them, it’s a Felony – SB 6199 passed in March this year.” That is not correct.

    I should know. I was the volunteer homeowner lobbyist who was on the front lines in the 2012 Legislative session where: 1) got SB 6199 successfully written; 2) negotiated with Senator Roach to sponsor the bill; 3) convinced Senator Kline to co-sponsor it (can you imagine the most conservative Senator actually working together with the most liberal Senator? That in itself was a feat!) 4) got the bill to the Judiciary Committee; 5) successfully got enough homeowners to come and testify during public hearing; 6) successfully got SB 6199 out of Judiciary Committee with a UNANIMOUS vote! 7) successfully got the bill out of Rules and onto the floor of the Senate…..ONLY to learn that the Bankers were killing the bill because they could. The homeowners don’t matter in the face of the Banker’s monetary “donations” to campaign coffers.

    And I successfully re-introduced a duplicate bill this last session as HB 2658, sponsored by Rep Hudgins. The House Judiciary would not even provide this bill with a public hearing even though many homeowners wrote and called their committee and their legislative representative.

    So, to make a long story short, the penalty for stealing a CAR is more strict than stealing a HOME in the State of Washington.

    I might also add: not one of the non-profits that claim they wish to halt foreclosures have ever assisted this legislation passage. Someone needs to start asking some of the non-profits why???

    Furthermore, many homeowners have also not called their state representatives. Many times I needed more involvement from concerned citizens and was unable to get interest. I sure am glad interest is sparked. Maybe now the WSBlog and the Stranger will provide me a way to convey these bills are up for votes. It appears the public may now be open to assisting.

    http://www.HomeownersSuperPAC.com
    @HomeownersSuperPac – Twitter

    Contact me.

    Comment by Karen Pooley — 12:57 am July 23, 2014 #

  57. That’s http://twitter.com/hosuperpac – I just followed. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 1:02 am July 23, 2014 #

  58. I am not speaking to the specifics of this case, but there was a lot of foolishness going around. Banks may have been greedy, but during the height of the last housing boom, there were lots of people who refinanced to pull $ out of their homes without thinking of the possible consequences to purchase boats, cars, vacations, pay off credit cards, etc. Then when they ran their credit cards up again, they re-financed again, until there was little or no equity left. When prices went down, lots of these people just walked away from their debt, sometimes buying a similar home at the newly depressed price and walking away from the existing debt.

    He is a Vet. If he had gotten a VA loan, the VA goes out of its way to keep the Vet in their home if at all possible. But even the VA will foreclose after options are exhausted.

    Comment by WestofJunction — 7:50 am July 23, 2014 #

  59. You lost all credibility with me when you identified yourself as a lobbyist.

    Comment by Rick — 9:07 am July 23, 2014 #

  60. Jumpers keep off me. I do not consider any of this fair at all. It is just Simon Legree the Mortgagee at work.

    There is no confusion. The homeowners failed to restrain the sale based on claims of fraud. This means as a matter of law that their remedies are limited to money damages. RCW 61.24.127(2)(c). Their interests were terminated by the foreclosure sale. They were lawfully evicted. They re-entered the premises from which they were evicted which is a crime. The Mayor ordering the cops to not re-eject them as trespassers strikes me as both unauthorized and an abuse of power. The Sheriff’s office will ultimately be called upon, as the enforcement arm of the Superior Courts, to re-evict these people.

    The upshot of RCW 61.24.127(2)(C) is “move it or lose it”. I did check King County Court records and downloaded a 90 page complaint filed by the unrepresented homeowners. It is rambling, and cites California law, and generally fails to state a claim for restraint of the sale.

    If you run a Washington Courts “search for case by name” for Byron L Barton you find he was party to 15 different court actions. A frequent flyer should know to hire a lawyer for a complex matter involving real estate.

    For anyone else out there facing foreclosure: Get legal help, and I do NOT mean the dot com ripoffs. Columbia Legal Services, Northwest Justice Project, and King County Housing Justice Project are agencies can help free or cheap. DO demand foreclosure fairness mediation, DO petition to restrain the sale at least 10 days prior to the sale.

    If you are a tenant, DO start packing and demand Cash for Keys when the purchaser contacts you. Time is money. Less time is more money. Be organized and get your share.

    Comment by Thomas M. — 10:10 am July 23, 2014 #

  61. Make that “Barton”. The look up is easy and free.

    Comment by Thomas M. — 10:12 am July 23, 2014 #

  62. Thank you Mayor Murray. This is one reason why most of Seattle voted to elect you. As far as the ridiculous sarcasm and analogies posted I feel sorry for those who can’t use their words properly to express a point of view. Those well thought out posts, no matter what point of view, are more credible than the thoughtless biting comments.

    Comment by WS since '66 — 10:17 am July 23, 2014 #

  63. What? Chase didn’t contribute to the mayors campaign?

    Comment by dsa — 12:41 pm July 23, 2014 #

  64. Thank you to Mayor Murray, Safe, and Seattle City Council member Sawant. How inspiring to see activists and elected officials protecting citizens from corporations. Empathy and compassion with solution based thinking can solve problems such as these. A local bank tried to keep my parents from selling their house to avoid foreclosure and it really made me think that the bank just wanted an asset. God bless our neighbors in need. Affordable housing for all.

    Comment by Angie — 1:03 pm July 23, 2014 #

  65. To Rick,
    I hope you re-read my post. I identified myself as a VOLUNTEER lobbyist. What that means: I paid for everything out of my own unemployed pocket. That means: parking, gas, flyers, etc. All paid by ME.

    Perhaps you don’t realize, as I didn’t either, that there can be citizen lobbyists. That means no one is backing you via PAY to be there. You see a need and you tackle it.

    Please let me know why that would lose any credibility.

    Why I formed a Super PAC? Because I see that without MONEY the legislators will not listen. The bankers have so much money that unless the homeowners get on equal footing, we are totally screwed.

    I hope you change your mind and begin dialog. We need people to come together. We need to stare down this evil grip the corporations have over our elected officials and win.

    Comment by Karen Pooley — 9:01 pm July 23, 2014 #

  66. Bookmarked your site Karen, third try at this process will be a charm.

    Comment by dsa — 10:15 pm July 23, 2014 #

  67. To Thomas M:
    I take offense when you mention the “dot com ripoffs.” You see, the “dot orgs” are getting paid by the banks: $250 per Notice of Default filed. Why do you think they don’t want to help me pass legislation that would end the unlawful foreclosures? It would be the end of their gravy train. They are making a lot of money through the foreclosures continuing.

    Why do people believe that if you run a “dot org” that means you are automatically altruistic? “Dot orgs” make money! Their money they make just secures a higher wage for their corporate officers.

    That’s not to say that some don’t do good work, but please don’t categorize all “dot coms” as rip-off artists. I’ve certainly put in thousands of my own money even when I’ve been unemployed for the benefit of others.

    Our HomeownersSuperPAC.com has formed with the help of Ex-Governor Waihee of Hawaii and Attorney Gary Dubin also from Hawaii. Attorney Dubin has worked very hard to stop the unlawful foreclosures in Hawaii and California.

    It takes money to fight this fight. And frankly, every one with a mortgage should be concerned. The forgeries and counterfeit documents litter the land records. Even though Attorney General McKenna sued to obtain monetary damages, the fraudulent documents remain littered on the land records. Why isn’t anyone talking about this? Those fraudulent documents affect each and every land owner in this state!

    Comment by Karen Pooley — 10:17 pm July 23, 2014 #

  68. Thanks for the follow, WSB.

    Thanks for book-marking the website, “dsa”, we should go live soon.

    I hope that both of you share the website and also encourage others to donate. We will be sharing Homeowner legislation that we will be promoting to legislatures across this country. It is called “Mortgage Integrity Act.” And it will stop all the land record corruption (which affects people who have not stopped paying their mortgage!) and it will circumvent the ability of the bankers to confiscate homes they don’t own!

    Comment by Karen Pooley — 9:47 am July 24, 2014 #

  69. Heather (or anyone who may know)

    I’m under the impression that you have to have some ability to pay the loan (in addition to being at least 3 months behind) to get a change in terms, and you actually have to be underwater (owe more than the home’s current value) to get a principal reduction; am I wrong?

    I don’t understand how the Barton’s could qualify for a principal reduction when there’s still equity in the home- that wouldn’t make any sense, because there’s no reason for “forgiveness of debt” when the asset securing the debt is valued higher than the debt.

    So that would leave modification of the terms (interest rate/ length of loan)- but if there just isn’t enough income comming in to cover the loan under any terms, then how is sale/ foreclosure not the only possible outcome?

    They pulled out $663,500 in equity between 2005 – 2007 (per 2007 refi docs showing a 1st mortgage for $456,000 and a 2nd for $207,500, we know the home has been in the family for 3 generations, so at some point it was owned free and clear) and then couldn’t pay it back; essentially pre-selling their home.

    Finally to Zark – am I wrong that they had to miss payments before QLS became involved? Isn’t QLS the trustee who is supposed to (but clearly did not) act as a neutral party between the bank -Chase – and the Bartons? Are you saying that QLS is falseifying documents to the point where they’re claiming the Barton’s missed payments when they did not? That QLS is comming in uninvited by Chase to do a fast forclosure?

    Comment by Ms. Sparkles — 2:22 pm July 24, 2014 #

  70. I am not in the business of sorting the good from the bad. My reference to the dot com ripoff artists comes from reviewing the files of people who have paid thousands to out-of-state “foreclosure stopper” businesses who proceeded to provide no service or useless service. Some of these are out of state law offices, many of which have been shut down by their respective state bars. I am aware of the dot org phenomenon. I suggested people get their guidance from pro bono and low bono organizations dedicated solely to helping those who are at risk of loss of their housing, and who make absolutely nothing on the deal. There is no better credibility than that.

    Comment by Thomas M. — 3:16 pm July 24, 2014 #

  71. To Thomas M:
    Frankly, the fact that there is still “scammers” out there trying to help homeowners stop the sale is the direct fault of the people who are sitting in elected offices in Olympia! Not one of them has attempted other than passing glances at stopping this crime spree of stolen houses in our state and in our nation. This will go down in history as one of the biggest bipartisan failures in our nation’s history.

    Frankly, I intend on voting out incumbents. PERIOD. I don’t care about political candidates anymore. Their supposed political leanings make no difference. We all say that “Congress isn’t working” and yet we vote for the same people currently in office! It makes no sense. I will vote out incumbents until something changes. Democrats….Republicans….it makes no difference. They both are in bed with corporate interests!

    Comment by Karen Pooley — 4:36 pm July 24, 2014 #

  72. Ms. Sparkles – Heather is very knowledgeable about the loan modification process and is doing a service by providing her knowledge; as she stated she has no interest or bias in this situation. In terms of modification, I am going to tell you tell this: yes, you are wrong. One does NOT need to be underwater to get principal reduction; one can still have equity and qualify, even for a HAMP modification, let alone an in house modification, where there is even more leeway. Quality Loan Service is NOT an impartial party; they are hired by Chase to conduct the foreclosure in Washington State and in no way represents the interest of the homeowner. And if you click on any of the links Zark or others have provided on Quality Loan Service, you will find that earlier this year the state Attorney General fined Quality $250,000 paid to each homeowner for every home they foreclosed on during this time. This does not include other sanctions related to violation of the consumer protection act. Also, I have to ask how you were able to get the Bartons refi docs with dollar amounts; these are not readily available to the public online. What business are you in that you can access this information? And why are you sharing information that even the King County Records Department does not make available online on this forum?

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 11:02 pm July 24, 2014 #

  73. GN, mortgage documents with dollar amounts are generally available publicly via King County Online Records. Even easier to access than court documents via ECR Online (which shuts down at 11 each night, while the general county online records usually don’t; also, KC Online Records doesn’t charge for document-viewing, nor does it require a log-in, both of which ECR requires). I’m looking right now at a 2011 document mentioning the $456K. Anyway, if you have a mortgage, or a refi, chances are that many of the documents are fully viewable to anyone who cares to look.

    Comment by WSB — 11:28 pm July 24, 2014 #

  74. To WSB:
    Correct.
    And speaking of ECR Online, I downloaded the Barton Complaint and read it. It’s really too bad that they filed pro se (although now reports say they found an attorney) because their Complaint will be lost unless that attorney can amend it immediately.

    It was rambling, included items that were not relevant. While there is so much they could have added, they failed to include. God help them in a court of law.

    And God knows this group, SAFE, while they are attempting to do good work, probably will believe the courts failed when the courts rule against the Bartons in court.

    Instead, the failure lands on their lack of knowledge of the Deed of Trust Act and Washington case law. With so much good case law that has come down from the Washington Supreme Court, just sad that the Bartons didn’t know better.

    Comment by LucyGoosey — 7:30 am July 25, 2014 #

  75. WSB – thanks for the clarification. When I go to King County Records search, Deeds of Trust are restricted documents not available online.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 8:32 am July 25, 2014 #

  76. WSB – I did check King County Records online and found the 2011 document you mentioned. It does indeed include part of the Deed of Trust,which mentions the mortgage dollar amounts. According to King County Records “Some records, including deeds of trust, are not available online to prevent misuse of any personal information they might contain.” The 2007 refi documents mentioned earlier (a first and a second) are listed but are not available online.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 8:58 am July 25, 2014 #

  77. Gatewood Neighbor – I work downtown; what is not available on line is still “public record” and can be viewed for free at the county building.

    Am I the only one who doesn’t understand why a principal reduction makes no sense? If you borrow money and the asset you use to secure that loan remains more valuable than the amount you borrowed, why should any lender ever reduce the principal amount you have pay back?

    Comment by Ms. Sparkles — 1:30 pm July 25, 2014 #

  78. Ms. Sparkles – Yes, what is not available online is still public record and can be viewed other than online. WSB was wrong to say that dollar amounts are readily available online; the information is typically in the deeds of trust which are no longer available online. They were several years ago but are not now. One might stumble across some figures but the are not readily available online to the public. I had hoped by posting comments here that there might be some additional understanding about loan modifications, not to say some compassion for people who have had hard times like Bartons. I thank all the people who commented positively but I am very discouraged about the the lack of compassion I have seen. If one makes the barometer whether a bank can make more money by foreclosing than by doing a loan modification you are probably right. But if we look at it from the vantage that the banks such as Chase – who should have gone under in 2008 except for our taxpayer bailout – have a legal and fiscal responsibility to make loan modifications – without a loss to their bottom line – then modifications for people such as the Bartons make sense. I am sorry if I came across as attacking in anyway-I did not mean to do so. I simple believe from a personal and financial perspective that the people we don’t keep in their homes when there is even the smallest case of a bank making money by keeping them in their homes saves so much money in the long run, let alone the human/social factor of handling displaced persons, is so much greater in my opinion. The NPV for modifications is biased against older people (even those not seniors yet) and the disabled.

    Comment by Gatewood Neighbor — 4:41 pm July 25, 2014 #

  79. Throw this veterans and his family onto the streets and it will cost taxpayers over $200,000 to put them through the horrible homeless system….

    Comment by August — 7:02 pm July 26, 2014 #

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