Email to WA State Legislators

Posted June 24th, 2008 by Joe Kaiser

The law is so misguided and inartfully drafted that agents have little choice but to discriminate against the very people the law was intended to help.

Dear Rob,

You’ve probably heard by now I sent an email to all current WA State Legislators, giving them my view of your office’s HB 2791 fiasco.

Here’s the email . . .


The email . . .

Greetings,

Although we’ve probably never met or been formally introduced, you’ve likely heard of me . . . and even more likely, you’ve heard of my exploits.

For the record, I’m the fellow the Office of the Washington State Attorney General has sued for “foreclosure rescue scams,” and am said to be the reason, at least in part, for the need for HB 2791, the distressed properties conveyance act.

My purpose in writing you today?

I think you’ve been hoodwinked, but that’s just my opinion and matters not. In the end, you can decide for yourself (or not – it’s totally your call) if the facts merit that unenviable characterization.

Fair enough?

So, I’ll give it to you straight up so you know the real story, and it goes like this . . .

The Attorney Generals office (1) created the foreclosure rescue scam epidemic out of whole cloth (it’s little more than a hoax) (2) bamboozled members of the legislature into believing a law to protect people in foreclosure was desperately needed, (3) assigned its drafting to attorneys with zero real estate experience, (4) modeled existing law in other states already proven to be disasters, and (5) is now running away from it and its consequences by pretending anyone other than the AG’s office is to blame for the fiasco.

Yes, I realize this scenario is more than a bit unsavory, to be sure, but it is the indisputable truth. The supporting facts are as follows:

(1) The foreclosure rescue scam hoax: There is no foreclosure rescue scam epidemic in our state, and never has been. My formal public records request to the office of the AG confirmed they’ve received a grand total of four complaints in the last five years. Does that surprise you? Were you mislead to believe otherwise? In contrast, in 2007 there were 314 travel related complaints, and it came in 20th on the list of the top twenty categories of complaints. Four foreclosure scam complaints, in five years, is statistically insignificant.

(2) As a member of the Legislature, you were led to believe a law to protect homeowners in foreclosure was desperately needed. It wasn’t (see item 1). The current system was working just fine and had a long-term record of success. Anyone scammed could simply hire an attorney and sue, and it worked wonderfully. The question becomes, did we really need to upend our state’s entire real estate industry over just four complaints? I suggest we did not.

(3) The creators of the new law had little to no real estate experience, as best as I can tell. They are first and foremost consumer protection attorneys who simply do not value the things we in this country hold dear, like property rights, the ability to freely contract, and acceptable risk-reward returns. These sacred and fundamental concepts are largely ignored, replaced by over-zealous, out-of-control consumer protectionism that in the end hurts rather than helps people in foreclosure. Any law that restricts a homeowner’s right to freely contract is, at its core, a bad law.

As an aside, at least one member of the foreclosure think tank that helped draft the new law has produced a CLE program containing the following proviso:

“The author acknowledges here the probable superiority of the view, most closely associated with the Muslim faith, that the making of any financial gain in return for the advancement of funds is inherently, “unjust.” Yet the balance of this discussion presumes that Western laws will continue to lag behind their Islamic counterparts in this regard.”

I ask you, is this really the sort of mentality we need influencing the drafters of critically important laws for this state? I suggest it is not, and further suggest we should be outraged to learn of this attorney’s participation in the creation process.

(4) Modeled after other state laws. Did you know that HB 2791 is modeled after the Minnesota foreclosure laws of 2004? And, did you also know those laws have proven to be a disaster? One would think we’d be smart enough to first check to see if an earlier law was actually working before deciding to adopt it as our own. The Minnesota law is universally acknowledged to be an unmitigated disaster, and yet it’s the very law we chose to emulate. This makes no sense whatsoever. It seems the goal was to get a working law in place, rather than getting a law that actually worked in place.

(5) The full impact of HB 2791 and the law now in effect is yet to be felt, but the initial response is overwhelmingly negative, and rightly so. It, for instance, was so poorly conceived that it’s now necessitated the rewriting of some 70,000 current listing agreements and has virtually upended the entire real estate industry in our state.

Today, real estate agents are running from people in foreclosure, refusing to list or even show their houses for fear of creating untold liability for both themselves and their clients.

The law is so misguided and inartfully drafted that agents have little choice but to discriminate against the very people the law was intended to help.

With its passage, people in foreclosure in our state have little chance to save their homes. With investors unable to participate due to the out-of-control consumer protection provisions of the law, and agents unwilling to participate for much the same reason, people in foreclosure today are quite literally abandoned. Prior to June 12, 2008, investors or agents might have been willing to make an offer. Today, not a chance.

And here’s where it turns ugly . . .

When it became obvious the unintended consequences of HB 2791 were overwhelmingly bad and the law itself a major debacle, the AG’s office went to work, desperately assigning blame to members of the state senate. I completely disagree with this conclusion.

The blame, if there is any to be assigned, falls squarely on the office of the AG. Again, this was a law that was never needed in the first place. The notion that foreclosure rescue scams were rampant was an outright hoax, and putting consumer protection attorneys in charge of drafting critical and highly sensitive real estate law showed extremely poor judgment that has culminated in what is now a disaster.

As someone who’s seen this thing develop from day one, it’s clear the entire operation was nothing but a politically motivated scheme concocted to make Rob McKenna look good in this, an election year . . . and little else.

That’s my story.

Make of it what you will, or not. In any case, I’m hopeful I haven’t offended you (apologies if so). My intention was simply to put the facts on the table so you can judge them for yourself.

And, to encourage you to visit my blog at:

www.pushedtoshove.com

There are many more details you may find of interest on the blog, as well as actual hard evidence documenting my claims.

As I final note, I ask that in the future you think carefully about enacting any new laws that infringe on the rights of property ownership. Stripping those rights, even if doing so with the best of intentions, can only be a bad idea. Frankly, the cost of doing so isn’t worth the very limited potential gains.

Did I mention just four actual complaints?

Or the 70,000 listing agreements now having to be redrafted at an estimated cost in the millions of dollars?

Again, I believe you’ve been hoodwinked. I’ll let you decide for yourself if that seems like a good word to describe it. Or not.

Comments, questions, concerns? I’m happy to address them all. Just give me shout.

Joe Kaiser
(253) 459-2937

joekaiser@mac.com

P.S. And oh, btw, the degree to which the creation of this law was mishandled is only exceeded by the degree to which the case against me was (and is being) mishandled. I am not and have never been a foreclosure rescue scam artist, no matter what the Office of the Washington State Attorney General has led you to believe. And, if need be, I’m happy to discuss that with you as well.


100%

Admittedly, it was a late-night thing that could have used a little finer editing, but I got it out there just the same . . . and I stand by it 100%.

In the arena,

Joe Kaiser


6 Responses to: “Email to WA State Legislators”

  1. anemonehead responds:
    Posted: June 24th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Kudos Joe on fighting back and letting the peoples representatives know what a terrible law this is. It will be interesting to see what, if any responses you get.

  2. Drew Hitt responds:
    Posted: June 24th, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    I see the AG in Illinois is going after Countrywide for unfair and deceptive practices. Let’s focus on the subprime mess, not the people in background keeping people in their homes. Isn’t that ass backwards? Shouldn’t the point be to keep homeowners in their homes instead of wanting them out? I’m confused, where is the consumer protection from the AG. It looks like Joe’s out there doing it instead. Stay in your home for years at a cost? Or live on the streets and another empty bank owned home…huh, no brainer to me.

  3. Loya responds:
    Posted: June 24th, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Yep, we needed this well thought out law……….And we need this well thought out Muslim based lawsuit against Joe…..NOT!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. DaveD responds:
    Posted: June 25th, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Queue the crickets, please! I’m thinking the silence will be deafening. Like, they are going to admit to being hoodwinked?

    An excellent email, still.

  5. Jason responds:
    Posted: June 25th, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    One thing that has bothered me about Eric Dunn and The NWJustice Project and their inclusion in the Think Tank for solving this so called problem is the fact that they bennefit directly at both the Federal and State levels by providing services to poor people in WA.

    My question and concern is:

    How does it help someone from becoming poor by kicking them out of their home? My concern is the NWJP and its inclusion helped convince people that it is better to lose their home without disclosing how they bennefit financially by providing legal services to the states poor.

    This is the info I am ref:
    ***********************************************
    Public Monies for Civil Legal AidFederal Funds: Congress provides federal funding through the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to non-profit organizations providing civil legal aid to low income people. LSC distributes funds nationwide based on the number of people living in poverty in each state. The Northwest Justice Project (NJP) is the sole recipient of the federal funds in Washington. LSC funding is heavily regulated and subject to certain requirements for client eligibility and types of legal work.State Funds: The Washington State Legislature appropriates general funds for civil legal aid to the Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA), which in turn contracts with a qualified legal aid provider. State appropriations have similar criteria for client eligibility and service provision as federal monies; OCLA also contracts with the Northwest Justice Project to provide legal aid services throughout Washington. State funds are also used to support some pro bono programs and other legal aid providers. In recent years, the Legislature has appropriated increasing funds for civil legal aid.
    ****************************************
    Source Link: (Click Here)

    (approx. 3/4 of the way down )

  6. Drew Hitt responds:
    Posted: June 27th, 2008 at 6:57 am

    Wow Jason, nice findings. The Smoking Gun revealed! The more people this new law makes poor, the more clients for NWJP, that can’t be good. And to think they just wanted to help, instead they want to help themselves because of the free legal help. It’s amazing how much money those non-profits pay their directors…and can still be considered non-profit…


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