Documenting for dollars - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Documenting for dollars

Local man insists county is missing out on revenue source

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Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:00 am

A Coeur d'Alene resident believes the county is not documenting all related parties during foreclosures as required by state law, and insists the county is missing out on revenue as a result.

"This is just money for the county," said Vermont Trotter, director of the National Homeowners' cooperative. "I'd love to see the county have extra money so it doesn't have to lay off police officers and so it can keep having a fire department."

Trotter pointed out that under title 45, chapter 15 of Idaho statute, to foreclose on a trust deed, a trustee must record with the county any changes in the beneficiary ownership of a loan, like when banks or other corporate entities financial invest in a loan and earn interest off it.

There is a recording fee to document the beneficiaries of a loan, he pointed out.

But not all of those are being recorded at each foreclosure, he contends.

That's what Trotter discovered while looking into the foreclosure of his own property in Kootenai County, he said, over which there is a multi-year lawsuit still running.

He can point to other lawsuits across the country like Hooker v. Northwest Trustee Services, heard by the U.S. District Court of Oregon, where it was discovered that all beneficiaries were not recorded.

"They're not complying with law," Trotter said. "That's the issue."

This means the county is missing out on a whole lot of recording fees, he added.

"Say we've had 5,000 foreclosures since 2002," he said, estimating that maybe several beneficiaries could be documented per foreclosure. "That's how much money they're not looking at."

County Clerk Cliff Hayes, who also acts as recorder, said there is a high likelihood that all the beneficiaries are not being recorded at every foreclosure.

His office just records the documents that are brought in, he said.

"If there's a foreclosure going on, nobody has to notify me," Hayes pointed out. "How would I be checking to see if it was recorded or not?"

There are many states across the country that are analyzing the matter, he said, adding that he is waiting for a green light from the prosecuting attorney to look further into it.

Recording all beneficiaries would bring in some revenue, Hayes said. The fee is $10 for the first page of the document, he said, and $3 for each ensuing page.

"I don't know if you could say a lot," Hayes said. "But yes, it's potentially got some revenue to it."

Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh acknowledged that if all the appropriate documents haven't been filed, that does leave an opening for a property owner to block a foreclosure.

"A foreclosure can be stopped, for lack of appropriate chain of interest," McHugh said.

A possible solution, which he might take to the Legislature, is changing state law to require changes in beneficial ownership be recorded when they occur, not just when a foreclosure is initiated.

But McHugh doesn't know if the matter is pressing enough to warrant lobbying, he said.

"I agree that it creates confusion," he said. "Whether that is cause enough to change the statute, I haven't reached a final conclusion yet."

Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, said the issue has never been raised at the Legislature, to his knowledge.

Although he's not close enough to the issue to have a personal opinion, he said, he would be willing to discuss what McHugh has suggested.

"I'm certainly aware that foreclosures are becoming a much greater issue over the last couple of years than before in Kootenai County," Goedde said. "If there's a problem that needs a fix, I'd be willing to take a look at what that fix might be."

Trotter said he would still prefer the county demand that all the proper recording occur before any foreclosures. Also, he wants McHugh to go back over the past several years to charge any entities that were not recorded properly.

"We just want to get our records straight," Trotter said.

McHugh said he sees this as an issue only the state has the power to address.

"A change would have to be considered by the Legislature," he said. "They determine what needs to be recorded and what doesn't need to be recorded."

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  • Vermont posted at 10:17 pm on Wed, Oct 19, 2011.

    Vermont Posts: 1

    DeNiles sez: "As I recall recording a document with the county for private parties is more of an accommodation than a requirement"

    Shallow thinking on a deep subject.

    Recording a document is not an accommodation. It is the core of private property ownership which is the core of what this country is about. Without a clear chain of title all the way back to the original owner of the land, no one knows who owns what. Break that chain and the world goes crazy. It’s called clear title.

    MERS, by its very nature destroys the chain of title. What that means is if you have MERS in your title history, and some 70MM Americans do, then you are buying nothing. Your mortgage payment goes down a rat hole to feed some coke crazed monger on Wall Street who plays god with YOUR MONEY.

    So, how is your 401K doing? Is it a 201K yet or is it all the way down to a 101K? What's that? A 001K?

    Don't think it affects you? Then consider this:

    When your neighbor's house sells on the courthouse steps for $200K when just three days ago it was worth $330K, guess what? You just lost $130K in equity because you now have a comp next door to you which sold for less than it should have. Why? Because MERS is in the title history of that house ... and most probably yours too.

    The Banks have stolen the very ground upon which you walk. If you have MERS in your title history, you will NEVER own your largest investment. Your house.

    My name is Vermont Trotter. Many call me V. I proudly own these words.

    You may not like the fact that I fight for my rights, but what you do not realize is I am fighting for yours as well. My rights, my children’s rights, you and your children’s rights. I fight for a country which has been stolen from us while we wallow in the Circuses. You may not like my messages, but I speak Truth. Show me I am wrong and I shall scream as loudly I am wrong as I now scream I am right.

    To all of those who hide behind aliases, for those who defend the utterly corrupt status quo, I say this. Man up. Come out from behind your curtain. Meet me on the field of honest discussion and let us discuss.

    Are you so vapid that all you can do is try to kill the messenger? I expect better from the opposition. You disappoint me.

  • aayupp posted at 10:35 am on Tue, Oct 18, 2011.

    aayupp Posts: 316

    and everyone is driving around in 40K cars and suvs-who are these people- makes you wonder a little. sombodies are doing pretty good in this "bad" economy. its not the wage earners, thats for sure. i heard this morning on the news about the cell phone companies charging 100's and even thousands of dollars for fees for using their stinkin phone unbeliveable. i know this has very little to do with this story above. well- slow news day.

  • DeNiles posted at 7:30 am on Tue, Oct 18, 2011.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    ....... I might add that this may not be the case for some condo developments because they have common ownership covenants. Those covenants may legally require lenders to keep the recorded title status current.

  • DeNiles posted at 7:26 am on Tue, Oct 18, 2011.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    As I recall recording a document with the county for private parties is more of an accommodation than a requirement. A private party can extend a loan on real property and not record the lien. Business entities may contractually require recording of documents and legal judgments do require them. But when one business shifts ownership of debt obligation and/or servicing for that transaction that is between 2 businesses. Even though it impacts the borrower it may not require recording any documentation. The chain of title will follow in the courts if foreclosure processing requires. But the borrower need only understand that the mtg payment is due on whatever date and don't be late. The servicing agency will certainly make sure that they have the most recent address where to send that payment.

    On the other hand, as much as banks nickel and dime consumers to death maybe it should be required. Of course they'll only pass those fees through to the customer and inflate them 400% for handling services.

  • rio lobo posted at 7:01 am on Tue, Oct 18, 2011.

    rio lobo Posts: 155

    How refreshing that readers see this for exactly what it is, a last ditch effort by Mr. Trotter to stay in the home that he hasn't paid for, and dressing it up like he just wants to do right by the county and its employees.

  • Skeeter posted at 5:16 am on Tue, Oct 18, 2011.

    Skeeter Posts: 39

    toughluck, I agree just another way from some people to get out paying their bills. We moved from Idaho due to my husbands work. We have a home in Post Falls (paid, by years of hard work and cutting back), we had to jump through hoops here to get a home loan, #1 we were new to the state and less then one year in our jobs and #2 because of all the people that have lost homes and dont make payments. We are paying an extra $100.00 a month for insurance just incase we dont make our payments and the this insurance is for the bank but we have to pay for it. Yes our credit is very good, we pay our bills on time, that was never a point and the bank would tell us we have very good credit. Thank you Mr. Trotter from making it harder for the rest of us that do pay our bills.

  • squirrel nutkin posted at 5:08 am on Tue, Oct 18, 2011.

    squirrel nutkin Posts: 231

    Yes, indeed. The entire process of bankruptcy should also be addressed. It makes absolutely no sense that a business owner can go belly up today, change the name, then reopen debt free the next day. Kids who borrow to go to college can not erase their debt ever but Joe's Biscuit Shoppe can stiff all his suppliers without a backward glance.

  • toughluck posted at 3:33 am on Tue, Oct 18, 2011.

    toughluck Posts: 167

    So what you are really trying to say is that you have found a loophole so that you do not have to pay your mortgage. Granted the banks have failed to document the chain of custody for billions in loans but ultimately you are still responsible though you may get by living in a property for years while the case is litigated. I hope the state lawmakers move ahead and get some money from the banks for their robo-signing and lack of recording changes of lienholders. Such a settlement plan is in the works to be presented to all 50 states and I imagine the amount paid to the state will far exceed the cost of recording such documents. Meanwhile, I hope taxpayers will not have to pay anymore for these homeowners that refuse to acknowledge their debt. Idaho should become a state that allows creditors to follow their debtors even after foreclosure.

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