Sometimes you just need a nurse...
First a little background, courtesy of a Housing Wire which broke last night:
Lisa Epstein, who's running for clerk of court in Palm Beach County, was once an oncology nurse. For most of her career she saw her patients strike deals with their banks when they ran into debt problems, particularly with mortgage payments, once they became ill.This is the Lisa Epstein Campaign's first diary; we're thrilled to join the community and we hope to become a regular contributor! If you are able to show your support by recommending our diary, passing along our links (particularly if you have friends or family in Palm Beach County) and perhaps utilizing or forwarding our donation link, we'll be forever grateful....
But when the housing crisis struck and foreclosures mounted, that changed. Banks and mortgage servicers overloaded with delinquent loans struggled with the paperwork and the complexity of linking struggling borrowers with decision-makers. To speed up the foreclosure process, reams of documentation was mishandled, signed improperly and filed at county courthouses.
In 2007, Epstein noticed her patients were no longer being helped. They were being rushed through the foreclosure system.
"That was my first hint that there was something very different," Epstein said during a HousingWire interview.
So began her advocacy work in Florida fighting against banks and third-party firms handling the foreclosure process. In June, she was placed on the ballot for clerk of court of Palm Beach County, the third largest clerk office in the state.
Meet some of Lisa's supporter's below the elaborate orange symbol , perhaps you've heard the names Grayson, Stiglitz, Dayen, Stoller and Barofsky.....
"We desperately need agents of change like Lisa Epstein in public office. Lisa has already proven that she is a dedicated champion of families, homeowners, and taxpayers and has demonstrated her willingness to stand up to those in power to fight for what is right. As a former Palm Beach county resident myself, I can think of no greater candidate for county clerk than Lisa Epstein."
Thank You Neil Barofsky
“I’m very happy to see real progressives running at any position on the ballot, top, middle or bottom,” Grayson, who is running again for Congress, told HuffPost. “And Lisa is absolutely right to observe that officials of all kinds have been rubber-stamping papers that deprive thousands of families of their homes. When foreclosure fraud is rampant, then a county clerk can’t afford to be a yes-man. Lisa understands that."
Matt Stoller, a former Grayson aide and an influential online progressive organizer, is advising her on her campaign. “Lisa Epstein is one of the nation’s leading forensic investigators of foreclosure fraud and the real estate property records system,” he said.
Thank You Alan Grayson and Matt Stoller
"Lisa Epstein is running for Palm Beach County Clerk of Court. Let me share with you a staggering fact that she found buried deep in public reports:
'My own county, Palm Beach, Florida has a 1.45 billion dollar investment fund (as of end of FY ’10-’11 on Sept 30, 2011). Of that, 45.5% is invested in Fannie and securities and 15.1% is in Freddie securities. That’s 55.6% of our county’s entire investment portfolio.'
I encourage everyone to think about the implications of the trustee of the government’s purse being wrapped up so tightly with what’s happening in foreclosure courtrooms. (And think about this for your own counties.)"
Thank You Matt Weidner
"Lisa Epstein, founder of ForeclosureHamlet.org, is part of a small group of Floridians who continue to research and expose the foreclosure fraud scandal. A former nurse committed to social and economic justice for the millions of families across America, her belief is that only through education and community activism will we change a system that is so damaging to all but the financial institutions that continue to be unjustly enriched."
Thanks Anya Stiglitz
"A small band of foreclosure fraud fighters in Florida, ground zero for the housing crisis, decided to get involved in public service at one of the most basic levels possible. These activists want to become the public official who tracks the transfer of mortgages in their respective counties. Sometimes this is called a register of deeds, or recorder of deeds, or a clerk of court. It’s traditionally a backwater for legacy types who, if they’re lucky, never get their name in the papers. But since the foreclosure fraud crisis, a few of these registers of deeds have shown real leadership in exposing criminal fraud in the mortgage document process. Inspired by their efforts, one of the leading foreclosure fraud activists in the nation, Lisa Epstein, is running for office."
Thank You David Dayen
We are truly appreciative of the support of those mentioned above, as well as the thousands of well-wishers and supporters who have been motivated by Lisa's work and by her entry into the world of politics. That entry has not been warmly received by some local Democrats who prefer to let the incumbent win another four year term.
Another amazing article was published in the last few hours in Miami's New Times, recounting the efforts of a pair of investigators for the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's office in exposing the LPS fraudulent behavior including robosigning by its employees, only to be fired midstream by Bondi for their ambitious investigation. The pair, June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards, had left private practice to work for the state investigation, hoping to help the little guys. Lisa Epstein and her fellow Palm Beach County colleague Lynn Szymoniak play an integral part in the ongoing saga. You must read the entire article, here's a portion of the article describing the beginning of Lisa Epstein's role in the investigation:
One Saturday afternoon in May 2010, Clarkson was manning the attorney general's table at a mortgage-fraud seminar at Florida International University in Miami. Much of the discussion was about two-bit scams, like companies offering too-good-to-be-true loan modifications. A woman came up to the table. "I've been trying to get in touch with you," said Lisa Epstein, a sharp-eyed brunet in her 40s.Bottom line here is that Lisa Epstein's candidacy has already accomplished getting the issues out in the open in South Florida and beyond, far more than was accomplished by the "50 State" AG settlement which is looking more and more like piecemeal bandages. In Palm Beach County a tourniquet is required, and who better to apply one than a nurse turned fraud fighter. We are hoping to inspire other citizen candidates to heed the call to run for office and fight the status quo that continues to harm our cities, towns and families.
Epstein, a registered nurse, was going through a divorce and had started to worry about money. She asked her lender, Chase Bank, to help work out a solution that would lower her monthly payments. "I had excellent credit and had never paid a bill late," she says. That inquiry led to two surprises: First, Chase told her that another bank, Wells Fargo, was involved and would not allow any sort of loan modification. Second, after weeks of persistence, Chase suggested that no modification would ever happen unless she stopped paying her mortgage for three months.
Epstein was aghast at losing her pristine credit score, but she complied and stopped paying. After 90 days, she heard nothing. Around day 117 or so, by her count, she got a knock on the door and was served with foreclosure papers. Epstein was confused when she examined the documents and saw that the company attempting to seize her home was not Chase or Wells Fargo but U.S. Bank.
From Housing Wire:
"We have to solve a fraudulent process that is hurting our property value taxes, hurting our ability to do a short sale, hurting our ability to work with lenders," she said. "It's hurting the faith that there would be some protection. It's damaging our court systems and yet our court systems are allowing this go on and on."Its way past time to stop the bleeding and help the families and this community recover. Lisa Epstein has taken the leap out of her comfort zone and entered unfamiliar territory, please help if you can.
Lisa's website is http://www.lisaforclerk.com/ ~ if you are able to help us with a $5.00 donation, or $25 or $50 or more, here's the link:
And if you're as excited as we are, just remember that $500 is the limit for any one donor.
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Lisa Epstein, Democrat, for Palm Beach County Clerk of Circuit Court