Behind the Humble Blue Pickup Scott Brown Has Been Working for Banks with Ties to Home-Stealing Forgers
Remember when Scott Brown used his old GMC pickup to promise he’d change business as usual in Washington?
In a bid to force Elizabeth Warren to reveal her clients going back decades, Brown made this admission.
“I am also a real estate attorney with a very small general practice. I don’t have any corporate clients, where I get paid tens of thousands of dollars.”
Mostly, he said, his local legal work involved property closings and real estate transactions. He said he has worked for Wrentham Cooperative Bank, Hyde Park Cooperative Bank and Middlesex Savings Bank.
“I was a title agent for first American and Fidelity National Title and I represented a couple of small mortgage companies that are probably out of business now,” Mr. Brown said. [my emphasis]
As Adam Levitin and DDay translate, by working for Fidelity National, Brown worked for the parent company of one of the most corrupt players among the rogues gallery of mortgage fraudsters.
Fidelity National is the former parent company of LPS, one of the worst offenders in the foreclosure fraud industry. Fidelity National split with LPS very quickly once their worst abuses came to light.
As I’m sure you can gather from my reports here, LPS was a middleman in this game, providing faulty documents – often off a prescribed menu, where you pay $100 for a mortgage assignment, or $150 for a full loan file – through its subsidiary DocX. This company facilitated forgeries and mass false documents, which we know through Lynn Szymoniak’s work. The Linda Green phenomenon came right out of LPS and DocX. This is where robo-signing lived.
And while we don’t know what Brown did–or still does!–for Fidelity National, it does place him in the front seat of the housing bubble.
It’s not clear exactly what Brown was doing for these clients–title work sounds innocent and boring enough, and Brown certainly isn’t responsible for all of his clients’ misdeeds. But at the very least, Brown’s association raises a host of questions. Who were those “mortgage companies” that he worked for? It’s nice that Brown named a bunch of local banks, but I wonder what lies under the “mortgage company” label? What did Scott Brown understand about the mortgage market he was facilitating? Did he recognize that there was a bubble? (He was a town property assessor at one point, so one would think he’d notice this sort of thing.) If not, what does that say? And if so, what does thatsay? How many predatory loans did Scott Brown facilitate? How many of the loans where he handled the closing resulted in foreclosure? What would he say to those families that lost their homes to predatory loans?
Since Brown first raised these nice homely local banks with ties to document forgers in a bid to force Warren to explain more about how she helped people get asbestos settlements and other things, I’m sure he’ll have no problem answering Levitin’s questions about precisely what he did and knew about the mortgage industry. Ha! And, as DDay notes, he should also answer for the conflicts of interest that led him to hold up some financial reform.
He held out in the [financial reform] bill, getting a bank fee removed that would have paid for much of the regulatory measures, and weakening the Volcker rule to allow more proprietary trading among big financial institutions. So Brown was a cog in the great finance wheel when doing these closings and “title work,” and also when a US Senator trying to enable as much profit-earning risk in the big financial institutions as possible. A useful cog.
Before Scott Brown digs up work Warren did years ago, he probably ought to elaborate on this nice homey mortgage work, and let us know whether he was ignorant to the corruption around him, or just facilitating it. After all, he’s the guy insisting on transparency .
Go, Elizabeth Warren!
Scott Brown is a dick.
He lost the first debate and is running an “ad hominem” attack on
Elizabeth Warren, whom he calls the “Professor”
Ah, the old “idiot-or-crook” dilemma.
Given DDay’s description of his work on the financial reform bill, I’ll go with “Crook.”
First American and Fidelity National Title are companies that provide title insurance. You know, those policies that are required in any residential mortgage transaction… And that provide insurance against and pay off if ‘chain of title’ is found to be corrupted.
Certainly the questions are fair game, however this may be akin to accusing a GM dealer contributing to the implosion of the housing market (recalling that GM’s credit division, GMAC, did mortgages too… But now called Ally).
Anyway, all I am seeing here is that Brown was selling title insurance provided by national syndicators to local baks… And since title insurance needs to be parto of most transacfions, there are many agents who offer it… And sell it.
It’s possible. But Brown hasn’t been very forthcoming about this kind of thing, and we know he lies about other stuff.
@Citizen92: You took the words right out of my mouth. I have been an agent for First American and Fidelity myself, and the work involves writing title insurance policies when I do a real estate closing. I have never had anything to do with DocX.
I would also add that I have actually had dealings with Scott Brown as a title examiner; he has done conveyancing work for a client of mine. I was pretty angry about his apparent indifference to a serious title problem I found in one of my exams; he didn’t even bother to call me to ask about it, much less fix it. None of this, however, suggests to me that he was corrupt, just that he was more interested in closing loans than in doing a really good job. In that, he has plenty of company. He also has never been considered the sharpest knife in the drawer by those of us who have had the dubious pleasure of seeing him prance around the registries of deeds.
So, while I agree that his stance on financial reform is clearly relevant, I’d lay off his conveyancing work, unless you really want to indict all of us for things we have little or no control over.