June 1 at the Auctions

On June 1, 2012, an auctioneer must have lied to the protestors and went ahead with the sale of a multi-unit apartment building in San Francisco (none went to investors and 311 Lincoln Way went to the bank), instead of just auctioning off the commercial property we had agreed not to protest.

Video in English (thanks to Peter Menchini):

A large number of folks turned out to stop the auction of the home of Bernal neighbor Alberto del Rio and his family. Fortunately, his family managed to file bankruptcy in time to postpone the auction of his home until July 6, 2012.

The protestors unfurled large banners and many people driving by on Van Ness Ave. honked their horns in support. In addition, the protestors yelled “Shame” and held up mirrors with messages such as “Evicting People From Their Homes is Not Just a Job” toward the investors and auctioneers.

Many Foreclosure and Eviction Fighters (FEFs) spoke on the people’s mic and told their stories to the large crowd assembled in front of City Hall, who demanded an end to residential foreclosures and passage of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights. Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle of Occupy Bernal presented Good Neighbor Awards to FEFs such as Archbishop Franzo King.

Thanks to everyone who helped out!

Video en espanol: Indignados protestan frente alcaldía para impedir embargo de vecino

Videos in English (thanks to Carol Harvey):

More videos in English:

Thanks to Peg Hunter for the before-the-next-to-last 54 photos, to Peter Menchini for the nexc-to-last 25 photos, to Grace Martinez of ACCE for the last 5 photos.

Auction Crier Pledge to Stop Residential Foreclosure Auctions

Links: Sign Pledge    Pledge Signers

I pledge to no longer be a crier for any residential foreclosure auctions until passage of a Homeowner Bill of Rights that implements:

  • Basic standards of fairness in the mortgage process, including an end to dual tracking foreclosures
  • Transparency in the mortgage process, including a single point of contact for homeowners
  • Community tools to prevent blight after banks foreclose upon homes
  • Tenant protections after foreclosures
  • Enhanced law enforcement to defend homeowner rights – paid for by fees imposed on banks
  • A special grand jury to investigate financial and foreclosure crime

as well as instituting a mortgage principal reduction or deferral program to keep our neighbors in their homes.

I join the California State Attorney General, the entire San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and the Mayor of San Francisco in urging mortgage loan originators and servicers to stop predatory foreclosures and related auctions and evictions immediately.
 

* indicates required field

 

Pledge Signers

from_name
city
Hamden
Lowell

May 7 at the Auctions

On May 7, 2012, one auctioneer, Terry Redmon, and three investors went ahead with the sale of one of our San Francisco neighbors’ homes (150-156 Lombard St #39) despite blowing whistles, yelling, and holding wanted signs all around them. We didn’t protest the auction of a commercial property, but no other auctioneers were able to proceed with home auctions that day. Thanks to everyone who helped out!

Foreclosure Auction Criers (Auctioneers)

These people are the Foreclosure Auction Criers (or auctioneers) who run the foreclosure auctions in San Francisco. The criers themselves provided the names and company names listed, so it is not certain that they are all accurate. The auctioneers are listed in alphabetical order by auction company (if provided), then last name (if provided), then first name (if provided).

We are asking all foreclosure auction criers to sign a pledge to stop residential foreclosure auctions until passage of a Homeowner Bill of Rights.

Mug Shot Auction Crier Auction Company
sf-auctioneer.mark-gellman Mark Gellman Auction.com
J.J. Auction.com
Steve Neil Cal Agent Services
Randy Cal Agent Services
Andrew Zheng Cal Agent Services
Alejandro Cal Western Reconveyance
Chris Colachis Cal Western Reconveyance
Darius FEI Services
Nick Probably FEI Services
Raymond Lender Processing Services / Agency Sales and Posting (LPS/ASAP)
Terry Redmon Apparently quit Lender Processing Services / Agency Sales and Posting (LPS/ASAP) due to low pay rate.
Stephanie Lender Processing Services / Agency Sales and Posting (LPS/ASAP)
Thomas Lender Processing Services / Agency Sales and Posting (LPS/ASAP)
Unknown Lender Processing Services / Agency Sales and Posting (LPS/ASAP)
Unknown Unknown

Links: Add Auction Criers to List (coming soon…)

Another Day at the Auctions

We got word that Wells Fargo had postponed the auction of Ted Harvey’s home until May 30, which is good news since they are dual tracking him by accepting trial loan modification payments at the same time as listing his home for auction. Now, we have a month more to help Ted get the bank to give him a fair deal, rather than the outrageous ARM loan they muscled him into accepting to remain in his home.

City Hall Building Manager Robert Reiter attended the auction today, along with his boss City Hall Real Estate Director John Updike and they both agreed that the foreclosure auctioneers and protestors should stay off City Hall steps. So, the only auction activity today took place on the sidewalk in front of City Hall. Protestors agreed not to protest the auctioneers announcements of postponements and cancellations, as well as one auction where the prior owner of an empty lot was present and didn’t object to the auction. Some other auctions probably didn’t happen due to the whistle-blowing (literally) of the protestors.

Protestors also raised questions with the police and City Hall officials about what business registration, permits, and licenses the city requires for foreclosure auction activities and everyone involved is investigating further.

According to statements of the auctioneers, the three auction companies with auctioneers usually present at City Hall are:

  • Lender Processing Services (auctioneer Terry Redmon, for which SF Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector has no DBA business registration)
  • Cal Agent Services (auctioneer Andrew Zheng, haven’t checked for DBA registration yet)
  • FEI Services (auctioneer Darius, haven’t checked for DBA registration yet)

Thanks to Becca Gourevich for snapping many of the photos below.

City Hall Tells Foreclosure Auctioneers No More Auctions on City Hall Steps

The Occupy the Auction Dance Party at San Francisco City Hall steps went fabulously well at first today, April 27, 2012, with two auctioneers leaving once they realized protestors would react loudly whenever they tried to sell off another home for the banks.

We organized to follow up on the Foreclosure Moratorium Resolution passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and on the Mayor’s request for the banks to “pause” on foreclosures until the California legislature passes the State Homeowner Bill of Rights.

We danced and made lots of noise and had fun stopping some auctions.

However, one crafty auctioneer named Terry Redmon pretended to drive off, then returned later to auction off one property on Moraga to investors for $700K+ with another property sold to the bank. She falsely told Sheriff’s deputies that protestors were assaulting her, so the deputies prevented protestors from participating in the “public” auction.

One surprise came when City Hall Building Manager Robert Reiter told auctioneer Terry Redmon that she and other foreclosure auctioneers are no longer welcome on City Hall steps. They have to take their business elsewhere. See her reaction in the last picture posted below.

Thanks to all the amazing folks from Occupy SF Housing, ACCE, SF Tenant’s Union, Occupy Bernal, Occupy SF and other groups who helped plan the action and showed up today… we sent another message the banks will hear loud and clear!


Thanks also to Peter Menchini for the great video of the Occupy the Auctions Dance Party action below:

Link: Coverage from KCBS Radio

Thanks to Becca Gourevich of the San Francisco Tenant’s Union for snapping a lot of the photos below:

California Law on Auctioneers, Auction Companies, and Defaults

“Every auctioneer and auction company shall maintain a bond issued by a surety company admitted to do business in this state. The principal sum of the bond shall be twenty thousand dollars ($20,000). A copy of the bond shall be filed with the Secretary of State,” from California Law on Auctioneers and Auction Companies.

Does this mean that any auctions performed by any auctioneer not bonded for $20,000 with the Secretary of State of California is not a legal auction?

Thanks to Hydrogene for bringing this to our attention.

Also, there is California Law on Defaults.

A Day at the Auctions

by Stardust

After sitting in months of meetings with housing activists, housing counselors, and elected officials who couldn’t answer some of my questions about how foreclosure auctions work, I decided to take a more direct approach and visit the foreclosure auctions in San Francisco to learn for myself.


San Francisco Foreclosure Auction Taking Place on City Hall Steps (February 6, 2012)

When and Where

The foreclosure auctions in San Francisco take place on weekdays on the steps of City Hall, 400 Van Ness Ave, except in case of really bad weather when they apparently move to the Green Room in the San Francisco War Memorial Building (I didn’t experience the bad weather move). The timing of the auction is almost always 2:00pm.

I arrived early on March 6, 2012, hoping to chat with an auctioneer before the auction began.

Participation Requirements

Instead, I ran into one of the investors who purchases properties at the foreclosure auctions. I asked him whether I needed to sign up to participate in the auctions and he explained that I don’t have to sign up, but if I want to bid on an auction, I have to show identification and have a cashier’s check ready for the amount of at least the opening bid the auctioneer mentions for that property. I wasn’t clear if you have to have a cashier’s check for the entire amount of your bid… I suspect that is handled in some kind of settlement process afterwards, but that’s getting ahead of the story.

Postponements and Cancellations

This investor told me that, of the dozens of auctions usually scheduled for each day, about 95% get postponed or canceled for various reasons, such as bankruptcy. In fact, one of the foreclosure databases listed 20 properties scheduled for auction that day and the auctioneers ended up auctioning off four of them, two of which reverted to the banks because no one was willing to match the opening bid, but I’m getting ahead of the story again.

Auction Listings

I asked where I could find out which properties the auctioneers will auction and he replied that there are various services that list foreclosure auctions for San Francisco, including possibly also the office of the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder. I have to check on that.

Auctioneers and Investors

While we were talking, three auctioneers and a total of eight people who appeared to be investors, including the one with whom I was chatting, showed up for the auction. Only three or four of the people attending the auction actually bid on any of the properties, but that’s getting ahead of the story again.

By the way, some of the people who seemed to be investors expressed support for the Occupy movement and for preventing the banks from evicting some people from their homes. Some of them just thought some people didn’t deserve to stay in their homes.

Trustee Companies and Auctioneer Employers

One of the auctioneers explained to me that she works for LPS, which another person there told me stands for Lender Processing Services, which he said is owned by a large corporation called Fidelity National Title, which he said processes titles on all or almost all homes. (I later investigated further Lender Processing Services and Fidelity National Title.) The auctioneer said that title companies hire LPS to handle auctions for them.

The Auction

To the uninitiated, the auction process is a little bit confusing because the auctioneers read off a lot of information to which no one seems to really pay attention. But then, they get to the core of the matter with the actual bidding on and sale of the property.

The first auctioneer told those in attendance that he had only postponements to read and he went off a little bit a way on the steps to read the postponements, which no one found very interesting.


Second auctioneer (name unknown), picture from February 6, 2012, foreclosure auction

The second auctioneer read off some postponements, then started the auction for a property at 162 Randall Street. He started the bidding at $693,200. He qualified one bidder who showed him identification and a cashier’s check, probably for the amount of the opening bid. I believe that only that one investor named Jim bid “plus 1 cent” above the opening bid. The auctioneer asked for other bids and seeing none said “accepting no further bids” which is auctioneer lingo for the property is sold to the last bidder.


Jim, the investor who purchased 162 Randall Street

The third auctioneer identified herself as Terry Redmon. She’s the one who said earlier that she works for LPS. She also read off some postponements, then eventually auctioned off three properties.


Foreclosure Auctioneer Terry Redmon

The first property she put up for auction was 2 Garnett Terrace. None of the investors tried to qualify to bid for that property and the auction returned the property to the bank.

The next property the auctioneer put up for auction was 363 Wilde Avenue, which generated the most investor interest of the day. Three investors, that guy Jim, Victor Kwong (not sure of spelling), and Lydia Liu Fong qualified by showing identification and a cashier’s check in at least the amount of the opening bid, which was $287,724. After dozens of bids, mostly in increments of $100, Lydia Liu Fong ended up with the top bid at $307,000 and purchase the property at auction.


Investor Lydia Liu Fong (on the left) purchased 363 Wilde Avenue

The final property the auctioneer put up for auction that day was 708-710 8th Avenue with an opening bid of $742,861. None of the investors tried to qualify to bid for that property and the auction returned the property to the bank.

Unconscionable Advantage and the Law

One of the other people there, who appeared to also be an investor although he didn’t make any bids on any properties that day, told me that those who engage in real estate transactions are required to follow regulations of the Department of Real Estate which he said have “the force and effect of law”. He mentioned the concept of unconscionable advantage, which I’d like to investigate further.

When I asked him which laws cover the foreclosure auctions, he said it was law originating from hundreds of years ago. I asked if there are state or federal laws on the books and he couldn’t answer, so there is another research project.

The Aftermath

I later found out that the first property sold that day at 162 Randall St. is a two-unit building built in 1904 in Glen Park only about eight blocks from where I live in Bernal Heights. The trustee for the foreclosure of the property was Cal-Western Reconveyance Corp. The opening bid of $693,200 was well above the estimated value listed in the foreclosure database of $542,254; however, that same database listed an estimated total loan balance of $1,015,500 with Wells Fargo, an estimated bid of $1,185,848, and no opening bid. I think that means that the property was “under water” with the current value of the home quite a bit less than the amount owned on the loan.

The second property at 2 Garnett Terrace is a condominium in Bayview. The trustee for the foreclosure of the property was Quality Loan Service Corp. The opening bid of $287,034 was well below the estimated value listed in the foreclosure database of $694,395; however, that same database listed an estimated total loan balance of $350,000 with BAC Home Loans Servicing, an estimated bid of $371,673, and no opening bid. I’m not sure if the winning bidder on an auction has to pay the purchase price they bid plus the amount due on the loan or just the purchase price. If just the purchase price, then it would seem that the investors passed up what would seem to be a good bargain on this property, so it’s unclear to me what is really happening with this one.

The third property at 363 Wilde Avenue is a single-family home in Visitacion Valley. The trustee for the foreclosure of the property was California Reconveyance Co. The opening bid of $287,725 was well below the estimated valued listed in the foreclosure database of $439,408; however, that same database listed an estimated total loan balance of $636,800 with JP Morgan Chase, an estimated bid of $628,498, and no opening bid. The winning bid of $307,000 would seem to be a good deal for the purchaser.

The fourth property at 708-710 8th Avenue is a two-unit building built in 1900 in the Inner Richmond. The trustee for the foreclosure of the property was Regional Service Corp. The opening bid of $742,861 was well below the estimated valued listed in the foreclosure database of $850,684; however, that same database listed an estimated total loan balance of $685,500 with Wachovia (Wells Fargo), an estimated bid of $734,373, and no opening bid.

For each of these properties, I will try to contact the people who live(d) there to hear and report their stories about the situation.

Photos and Video

The first seven photos I took of the March 6, 2012, foreclosure auction and Peter M. took the remaining 11 photos of the February 6, 2012, foreclosure auction:

You can view a video of part of the San Francisco foreclosure auction on February 6, 2012. Two of the same auctioneers and several of the same people who seemed to be investors were present at that foreclosure auction. The auctioneer named Terry provides her account of the Occupy Bernal protest that halted the foreclosure auctions on January 20, 2012, as part of the Occupy Wall St West actions that took place that day.