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HUD Releases J&A Pushing FSM Out Until End Of February

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) (J&A) Office of Single-Family Housing, Office of Asset Management has a need of unusual and compelling urgency to extend current Field Service Management (FSM) contract/services under FAR 6.3, Other than Full and Open Competition, to provide FSM services for one month. Each of the seventeen (17) contract areas’ current period of performance expires on January 31, 2023, and will be extended through February 28, 2023, to meet HUD’s requirements during the pendency of the corrective action on the post-award protests of the FSM 3.12 awards and any subsequent corrective action (if needed). Out of the 17 contract areas, 14 were awarded to Guardian Asset Management.

For years, Guardian has demonstrated the ability to properly perform the requirements, on behalf of HUD, that virtually all other providers have failed upon which has many questioning the wisdom of HUD attempting to find new personnel to operate the FSM contract. In fact, HUD states as much in many of their consolidations away from Guardian’s competition.

Here is the J&A issued yesterday,

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Verisk and Antitrust: Where Are The Boundaries With NAMFS?

It happens all the time. A firm supplying a product to a given industry envisions removing all the competition and controlling the space. Whether it is the most famous example in the Standard Oil case as applied under the Sherman Act of 1890 or how in 1999 a coalition of 19 states and the federal Justice Department sued Microsoft. They all have a large history primarily controlled by the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 which began a shift towards federal rather than state regulation of big business. It was followed by the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, the Clayton Antitrust Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936, and the Celler-Kefauver Act of 1950. Oft time, though, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) steps in when a large scale Merger and Acquisition (M&A) is proposed as happened in the failed Comcast – Time Warner Cable merger. The merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable was widely opposed due to concerns over its impact on the overall market. It was argued that the sheer size of the combined company would reduce competition, would give Comcast an unprecedented level of control over the United States’ internet and television industries.

The problem with M&A’s in the Mortgage Field Services Industry is that, first, it is completely unregulated. This is an Industry which moves hundreds of billions of dollars, involves many Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIB) as well as Systemically Important Financial Institution (SIFI) based in the United States, and has absolutely no oversight by anyone. In fact, other than pricing which used to be controlled by the Department of Housing and Urban Development‘s (HUD) Mortgagee Letter (ML) — I say used to be because it only establishes pricing for FHA insured properties which has not increased in 30+ years — there is no uniform ability for even the US government to intercede EVER! This problem was originally exposed by Foreclosurepedia in early 2014 and later through the Involuntary Bankruptcy of National Management & Preservation Services, LLC, d/b/a National Field Network (NFN).

NFN, as it turned out, was a Regional Order Mill — much like a puppy or pill mill — that obtained work from all manner of US government entities such as Reverse Mortgage Solutions (RMS), a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Awardee via HUD. In fact, only HECM loans — reverse mortgages — are insured by HUD in this space. They also performed services for other Regional and National Order Mills throughout the Industry and all generally members of the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS). This tidbit is important to remember. To that point, NAMFS members sent work from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both of which are government sponsored entities (GSE) and were and still are under conservatorship of the US government. In addition, NFN serviced millions upon millions of dollars upon FHA insured mortgages. At no time, whatsoever, did NFN pay a penny of income tax, although its owner Jack Jaffa is alleged to have paid taxes on his own personal returns. Dun and Bradstreet, a respected credit reporting agency for corporations, estimated the annual income of NFN, in 2017, the last year they were a Dun & Bradstreet Verified Member, at $16,075,755.00.

So, an unregulated firm in the Industry, whom was performing Sixteen Million Dollars a Year and servicing US government assets becomes entangled in a web of waste, fraud, and abuse. Only problem was that no one was monitoring. More telling, though, is that when those entities and US government agencies are forced to pay back millions of dollars in an Involuntary Bankruptcy, which has now spanned over five years — and could have been prevented years before had there been regulation — and powerful people began to take note. Problem was that those powerful people were the wrong type of people!

Verisk Analytics, Inc. is an American multinational data analytics and risk assessment firm based in Jersey City, New Jersey, with customers in insurance, natural resources, financial services, government, and risk management sectors and valuated in the billions of dollars as a publicly traded company. Some of its subsidiaries include: AIR Worldwide, Insurance Services Office, Maplecroft, and Xactware. Xactware, whom many in our Industry are familiar with, is a suite of software products that allow for the submission of bids throughout the disaster and real estate channels.

On 29 August 2019, Verisk announced the purchase of Property Preservation Wizard (PPW) which, at the time, was reported to have more than 90 percent of the property preservation work order business. In fact, its only competition was Pruvan, which had been struggling since its entry into the space to become accepted. Here is how Mike Fulton, President of Xactware, put the purchase,

Xactware and PPW have a long-standing history of successful collaboration, and we’re proud to build on that relationship,” said Xactware’s president, Mike Fulton. “PPW adds robust service and order management capabilities to our solutions that can help our clients realize tremendous savings in time and operating costs.”

While initially the Press Release was rather innocuous, the problem is that the US government, once again, did not have its eye on the ball. Within months, the $125 a month minimum fee was increased to the current $149 a month. Listen, though, to how Fulton drives home the point of complete control of the space,

Xactware’s property preservation estimating application, XactPRM®, currently integrates with PPW’s work order management solution. The integration between XactPRM and PPW empowers contractors, banks, inspectors, and field service providers to automate and manage work orders more efficiently and estimate preservation costs more rapidly.

So, Verisk now not only has the command and control over virtually all work orders which are processed to and from D-SIB and SIFI banks and providers, GSE’s such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and also US government agencies such as HUD, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). And it gets even better!

Not missing a beat, Verisk jumped back in the game again on 18 May 2022, after the Industry had completely cratered, to land a bottom dollar price on Pruvan. As you remember at the beginning of the story, Pruvan held a very minimal piece of the property preservation work order traffic. The reality, though, which is not secret on the Street, is that the purchase of Pruvan gave Verisk two things: 1) As PPW’s mobile technology was not much better than two tin cans connected by a string, Pruvan’s mobile app was light years ahead; and more importantly, 2) The purchase of Pruvan gave Verisk ONE HUNDRED PERCENT control of all property preservation work orders in the United States and its Territories.

The above reference to property preservation work orders does not include inspections. But that channel is locked down by only two providers: InspectorADE, owned by Scott Nerdin, and Yan Zang, whom owns EZInspections. We will build out on them in an article later this week including the foreign national influence.

In full disclosure, I have personally used both PPW and Pruvan. And if PPW was the Taj Mahal of the Industry, Pruvan was the lonely homeless shelter outside of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, whom couldn’t keep the Jesus Saves lights on anymore. In fairness, PPW is nothing more glamorous than an Excel spreadsheet built on the backbone of open source code — PHP. No two ways about it. Now, whether or not Verisk – PPW are properly pushing back the code of core modifications, under the PHP licensing agreement, is anyone’s guess, but is worthy of exploration.

The stranglehold that Verisk has put together should make any Senior Department of Justice official investigating Verisk, a publicly traded company, blush! I mean it reads like a Mafia blood oath of omertà! Here, let’s start by talking about what they are allowed to do with your data, who owns it, and who keeps it when you leave. This comes from the Verisk – PPW Terms of Omertà — sorry, I meant Terms of Service (ToS),

Xactware shall own all assignment, estimate, inspection, job and/or project data from the Services, from which the assignee, assignor, and non-public client-specific information has been removed, which were created and/or extracted using the Services.

Customer grants to Xactware, and respective service providers a perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licensable, and transferable right to use, display, copy, modify, disclose and create derivative works of such User Generated Content.

Now, if you want to export that kind of data, here is what Verisk – PPW has to say about your rights,

During the term of this Agreement, Customer may extract some of the data using the export and reporting features within the Service. Upon request and at Customer’s expense, where technologically feasible, Xactware will send Customer the requested data in a readily accessible format.

To the point of concern anyone has about keeping sensitive Publicly Identifiable Information (PII) or US government data secure, here is what Verisk – PPW has to say in their ToS,

Xactware DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, TITLE AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE SERVICE MAY BE INTERRUPTED OR CONTAIN AN ERROR. WHILE XACTWARE TAKES REASONABLE PHYSICAL, TECHNICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES TO SECURE THE SERVICE, XACTWARE DOES NOT GUARANTY THAT THE SERVICE CANNOT BE COMPROMISED.Bold and color added by Editor

Gets better though with Verisk at the helm. Curious what kind of damages they are responsible for should they jack up the code, lose your work or photos, or allow Russia to backdoor the software? Glad you asked. Here is what Verisk – PPW says in their ToS,

a). IN NO EVENT SHALL XACTWARE BE LIABLE FOR LOSS OF PROFIT, GOODWILL, OR ANY OTHER GENERAL, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, INDIRECT, CIRCUMSTANTIAL, OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES SUFFERED OR CLAIMED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FIRM, OR ENTITY AS A RESULT OF YOUR USE OF THE LICENSED PRODUCT, DOCUMENTATION, DATA, SERVICES, OR OTHER ITEMS PROVIDED HEREUNDER, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER SUCH LOSS OF PROFIT, GOODWILL, OR OTHER DAMAGES OF ANY NATURE WAS KNOWN OR COULD HAVE BEEN REASONABLY FORESEEN BY XACTWARE.

b). LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. XACTWARE’S LIABILITY FOR DIRECT DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO THIS AGREEMENT (WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE) DOES NOT EXCEED THE GREATER OF THE AMOUNT PAID BY CUSTOMER WITHIN THE PRECEDING MONTH UNDER THIS AGREEMENT OR $100. — Bold and Color added by Editor.

INDEMNITY. Customer indemnifies Xactware and hold Xactware harmless for all damages, losses and costs (including, but not limited to, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs) related to all third party claims, charges, and investigations, caused by (i) Customer’s failure to comply with this Agreement, including, without limitation, submission of Customer Data that is misleading or false, or violates third party rights or applicable laws, (ii) any Customer Data submitted to the Services, and (iii) any activity in which Customer engages in through the Service. For the avoidance of doubt, upon demand Customer must pay or reimburse Xactware for any costs or expenses incurred or suffered by Xactware in responding to any legal process (such as a subpoena or other court order) requests regarding Customer Data.

The PPW Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page adds even more fuel to the fire as you examine the litany of anti Labor and copyright violations scattered throughout the page. First, unless you specifically grant copyright of your photos to another, it remains the sole copyright of the photo taker. Safeguard Properties (SGP) attempted to do this, years ago, and it miserably failed. The US government is quite clear on this where the below is quoted from the Copyright.gov website,

[C]opyright protection exists from the moment an original work is “fixed” in a tangible medium. For photographers, for example, fixation occurs when you take a picture. You don’t need to do anything else at all for your work to be protected by copyright.

For years, photographs submitted by Labor have mysteriously appeared all over the place such as on Trulia, Zillow, PropStream, virtually each and every Realtor’s MLS in the United States, as well as in brochures utilized in a for profit setting by a multitude of US government agencies including HUD. HUD publishes them on their HUD Home Store, the auction arm of HUD. Here is a newsflash, NAMFS members are paid for the photos, that is a fact as it is in HUD’s Mortgagee Letter. Now, whether PPW, in its previous state sold them, whether Verisk – PPW sold them under the “Anonymous data” provision, or whether National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) members themselves repackaged and sold them, the elephant in the room is the copyright violation. There is one thing I can guarantee, those photos were not given, free of charge, to the aforementioned — and other — places where the photos appeared!

It is not simply that Verisk, a publicly traded company, has taken over 100 percent of the property preservation software in our Industry — which would trigger an antitrust investigation, at minimum, in any other industry — it is also that it has occurred under the watchful eye of the US government. Now, while Verisk parades the sale of PPW around as the wet dream of Whelan, the reality is that the current NAMFS President, Matt Zoldowski, was the co-owner of PPW according to a NAMFS Press Release streamed on PR Web and released on Insurance Newsnet on 09 October 2013. Here is what NAMFS had to say,

Matt Zoldowski is co-owner of Property Pres Wizard. Matt started in the field services industry covering Ohio and Michigan. He and his partners developed PPW to meet the needs of their growing business. As PPW grew, they had to make a decision. In January of 2011, they closed their contracting business so they could devote all their time and energy to PPW. Matt uses his knowledge gained from his own experiences, and the experiences of others, to help his clients run better, more profitable companies.

Zoldowski’s sale of PPW came with some specific perks, though. Zoldowski was retained by Verisk as an Account Executive. I want that to deeply sink in, for just a moment. Zoldowski sells PPW to Verisk. Verisk makes him an Account Executive at Verisk. Verisk then buys Pruvan which removes all competition from the market. All pricing increases across the board. And then, wait for it, Zoldowski becomes the President of NAMFS. This is important, not just because of the below, but because of what happens after that.

It should come as no surprise to the Foreclosurepedia Nation that the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) is back to their re-write of By Laws in order to suit their needs. Matt Zoldowski, the former owner-employee of Property Preservation Wizard (PPW), was elected as NAMFS President at the recent NAMFS #FraudFest 2019 in Ft Worth. The only problem appears to be that Zoldowski is ineligible for his latest ascension. NAMFS By Laws are pretty specific in whom may hold office. In the matter of Zoldowski, his public LinkedIn profile states that he no longer works at PPW. Not a surprise as Steve Whelan announced that PPW recently sold to Xactware. To that point, though, the sale culminated PRIOR to Zoldowski’s election. And as predicted, much of the predictions Foreclosurepedia made — just like in the prescient 2014 predictions of the Involuntary Bankruptcy of NFN — came to fruition.

Coming on the heels of Zoldowski’s appointment as NAMFS President, two things happened: First, NAMFS began to refuse presenting their IRS 990 nonprofit tax return which is required, by federal law, as they are an IRS 501(c)(6). For the previous handful of years, they presented it, when requested, but not since the appointment of Verisk Account Executive Matt Zoldowski, whom is now the NAMFS President. Second, in the most recent NAMFS Conference to be held on 23 May 2023, for all intents and purposes, they have removed the Keynote Speaker whom has appeared at each and every NAMFS conference over at least the past fifteen years. This is critically important, because virtually ALL of the time is dedicated to Verisk for the only full day of the conference as Foreclosurepedia discussed, at length, in our article last week! Virtually all sponsored sessions on the 23rd — hell, all that we can find as we documented — are paid for by Verisk!

A Senior HUD official, speaking on condition of anonymity, had this, in part, to say when asked whether or not the controlling of the property preservation work order space by Verisk, was an anti-trust issue,

Either way, it does certainly raise certain security concerns. I know that it’s at least on HUD’s radar, as it came up in an internal meeting I was in a couple weeks back where concerns were raised.

On the one hand, I commend HUD for paying the issue lip service and on the other, it is deeply concerning that a redneck, living in a county with one stoplight like myself, is capable of connecting the dots. For far too long, the ability of the folks at HUD’s SF Housing and the Management and Marketing (M&M) division have been capable of living two lives. One life presents this imaginary Chinese Wall that cannot be crossed between FHA and HUD. It is a wall behind which on FHA insured properties, financial institutions are capable of back billing Labor for hundreds of millions of dollars each year, violate federal law with respect to the Service Contract Act, Davis – Bacon, and employee misclassification. Forelcosurepedia is replete with thousands of examples in our over 2,300+ articles to date! In fact, when financial institutions illegally seize money from Labor, by and through NAMFS members, there is no meaningful appeals process, no legal right to lien — a crime in Tennessee by the way — and most importantly, as these payments are pass through, the money HAS NEVER been repatriated to the US government even though they are seized in the name of HUD itself! HUD is well aware of this and has been for over a decade.

On the other hand, we are told that as both as US taxpayers and members of the media, firms whom abysmally perform on the M&M have their records whitewashed and they will never see the light of day. Once again, Foreclosurepedia is jam packed with hundreds of examples such as Innotion Enterprises wherein overbilling, work not performed and other issues were identified by the HUD Office of Inspector General (OIG) only to have the OIG let firms write the final report themselves and simply get re-awarded multi-million dollar contracts in the next offering. Here is how HUD put it when they first hit Innotion Enterprises,

Innotion did not always perform property protection and preservation services according to contract requirements. Specifically, 38 of 96 (39.6 percent) of all properties selected materially failed our review because homes were not secured or properly maintained. As a result of Innotion not always following HUD’s and its own policies and procedures, compounded by its inadequate quality control, HUD did not have assurance that Innotion maintained REO homes at the high standard of care required in the performance work statement. HUD paid Innotion $11,210 for monthly services for 38 homes that did not reflect a high standard of care. If Innotion does not implement adequate controls and procedures to address property protection and preservation deficiencies, HUD will spend approximately $1 million for inadequate services over the next year.

Less than a month later, HUD OIG rolled out yet another report on Innotion, this time accusing them of overbilling HUD,

We found that HUD paid for unnecessary administrative costs of Innotion’s subcontractor under HUD’s field service manager contract. This occurred due to the unclear definitions of actual and administrative costs in HUD’s contract with Innotion. Although the contract stated that Innotion could pay only the amount billed and not add its own administrative costs, it did not specifically disallow the payment of administrative costs incurred by a subcontractor, such as One Stop, that subcontracted Innotion’s work to other termite inspection contractors. As a result, 30 percent ($4,914) of the termite inspection costs paid by HUD in our sample were for the administrative costs of Innotion’s subcontractor. If HUD does not revise its field service manager contracts, it may continue to pay for unnecessary administrative costs for termite inspections and other passthrough costs submitted by its field service manager contractors.

If you want to truly read what a scandal it was in how the mark ups in pricing happened up and down the pike, simply go here. I belabor the point, because first, HUD knew what they were doing when they decided to re-award the Contract to Innotion Enterprises, yet again in the most recent round of Awards pre-HUD M&M FSM 3.12 wherein, once again, Innotion did another spectacular belly flop. And while HUD OIG was almost forced to investigate these claims — while refusing to take testimony from others with respect to ex cons being paid and ongoing fraud at CWIS LLC, the reality is on the FHA side, there is zero recourse and it is the Mob’s wet dream when it comes to bilking the US government. Once again, none of this is a surprise to HUD.

In closing, on 27 January 2023, MarketWatch reported on Verisk underperforming when compared to their competitors. Here is what they had to say,

Verisk Analytics Inc. closed $41.96 short of its 52-week high ($222.11), which the company reached on April 6th.

The Biden Administration is in a tough spot as they now must come to terms with their Campaign promises of ridding the swamp of, well, the swamp monsters. The question that presents is whether or not HUD will continue churning out the dollars to protect firms like Verisk, whose pricing is embedded in each and every payment made on both pre and post conveyance assets.

NAMFS #FraudFest 2023 Makes One Last Ride

It’s like a sad traveling circus in a Breaking Bad Winnebago arriving in Southern Mississippi selling Black Lives Matter T Shirts. The little red engine that couldn’t has run out of Labor which used to finance the entire weekend, Big Ticket Guest Speaker #FraudFests — at least those conferences used to have value added meaning. Today, though, they are tragic blips on elderly radars of washed up old men whom still grovel and become giddy when the name Mickey Snow is mentioned. It is the #Epic Train Wreck that the Industry did to itself like a bad George Santos campaign ad nightmare with his campaign sign still in your yard. I mean, we all knew it was only a matter of time when National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) President Matt Zoldowski sold Property Preservation Wizard to Verisk. Unless you lived under a rock, were not actually performing physical labor, or were a NAMFS member; we all knew that the fix was in. The election was related to me like some re-run episode of the Wonder Years during the NAMFS Sims Conferences throughout COVID. With that said, NAMFS has become an association of product suppliers whose membership dues look eerily like lobbying fees or Super PAC donations in a post Citizens United era. I like to use the colloquial term of criminal enterprise — with a wink and a nod — in that I have been stonewalled from receiving the NAMFS IRS Form 990, which is federally required to be presented, upon request, by nonprofit organizations to members of the public. NAMFS has claimed to be an IRS 501(c)(6) business league and unless that has changed, if it smells like racketeering, well that could be what it is! The reality is that Eric Miller, NAMFS Executive Director, has been too fearful to answer questions, for several years now.

As the stellar rise of product suppliers swarmed NAMFS, so too did the alleged Industry requirements which all seemed to depend upon the deep pocketed product providers. And for those whom believe that this is far fetched, go no further than the removal of the storied history of Guest Speakers with an entire day packed only with Verisk, to put it bluntly. All bullshit aside, the two or three hug-a-thons that are listed are primarily backslapping pundits appearing on stage to stroke each other’s ego. Here is an excerpt from the January NAMFS Newsletter,

NAMFS and Co-Host Sponsor, Verisk, are excited to reconnect with all levels of the mortgage field service industry May 22-23, 2023 at the Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista South.

Verisk, the co-host? Sugar daddy is more like it. And make no mistake whatsoever that NAMFS President Zoldowski is milking their fat teat into the arid NAMFS coffers in a last ditch effort to stay afloat. Still thinking I am off the reservation? Get a calculator ready and start adding up all the NAMFS “opportunity” fees and it gets pretty close to the amount that Eric Miller needs for his salary. In fact, Verisk’s $10,000 payment traps all NAMFS #FraudFest members to an Infomercial nightmare, spanning both days of the #FraudFest, and is, quite frankly, pathetic even for Eric Miller, NAMFS Executive Director. More on that, in a moment. First, let’s look at the fees NAMFS is pushing out like some Putinesque dope dealer in Somalia. In typical NAMFS member chargeback fashion, these fees below are considered to be Opportunities,

General Session Room Sponsor w/Seat Covers: $10,000. Wow! I mean is there sponsorship for the toilets without seat covers?! Are we going to see condom and sanitary napkin machines in the bathroom, like some dingy truckstop bathroom in Skokie, Illinois, branded with a NAMFS two for one special?! Anyway, Opportunity Expo: $6,000. Jesus! What kind of opportunity I am almost afraid to ask! Welcome Reception: $5,000. I can picture it now: You and Verisk welcoming weary travelers with a thousand yard stare in their eyes profusely vomiting from the Verisk Infomercial droning out attempting to sidestep the dreaded clammy flesh handshake as they reel away like a fish out of water! Registration Desk: $5000. Does this shit end? You just hit me for $400 and forced me to make the #FraudFest pilgrimage on a Monday and you want HOW MUCH for me to join the hated ones at Reception having vulgar slurs hurled at them from the bar? Vacation Giveaway: $5000. We will get into the Pat Sajak and Vanna White Timeshare hosting in a bit. NAMFS Gives Back Volunteer Outing: $4,500. What in the fuck?! It is a Volunteer Outing for Christ’s sake! Hell, it’s cheaper to get plowed at the bar and pay for the DUI!

Next up, and we have two of these, is the Networking Lunch: $4,000. I sure as hell know that caviar is illegal to import from Russia and the kind of sushi that these veterans — yes, we are now considering this an active deployment zone — isn’t served by the pool. We have two, yes count them two opportunities at the General Session: $2,500. Building on that, like some Jewelry TV presentation at 308 am that turns on, blaring, as your homeless father-in-law blows up your toilet, we have four, that’s right I did not stutter, four opportunities for Raffle Prize: $1,500.

For the first time in history getting the gold is cheaper than fucking with NAMFS members: Gold Level Sponsor: $1,000. Silver Level Sponsor: $800. And if you want to pull a Russian doping scandal threefer, you can get the Bronze Level Sponsor: $600. Me? Personally, I related the Gold, Silver, and Bronze trifecta more like when one wakes up after a night of drinking to find vomit, piss and shit all over himself.

If the Trump Towers pricing hasn’t got you thinking about just sending the $400 for a ticket and calling in with the COVID tripledemic of COVID, Flu, and RSV, here is how you are going to be greeted after a horrible flight and some 6 year old whining about Barnie while kicking your seat from behind like a walk on NFL field goal kicker. Fresh off your flight, from 5pm to 6pm, Verisk pushes out their Take Advantage of Field Service Technologies. We do not know if this will be from a bullhorn or what, but will keep you in the loop. The reality is that most folks trudging in on a Monday afternoon — yet another display of the dark financial situation NAMFS is in as it is a weekday — simply want a stiff drink and a dark corner to get hammered while the horrible cover band blares out The Sultans of Swing. Verisk, though, will have no part of that. When they bought PPW, the reality is that they thought they were cornering the market in a lucrative business. The reality, though, is that this Industry has always been nothing but Blue Skying! And if you think Verisk isn’t going to give you an ear banging, like some psychotic Salvation Army captain at the homeless shelter before your free meal, you are sadly mistaken!

Tuesday, Verisk is back at it, hard and heavy, pushing out the agenda like a grotesque Timeshare host. The only problem here is that there is no weekend resort to drown one’s sorrows at. Here is the verbatim quote for the sessions after the earth shattering Industry Pricing Initiative Update which only a handful of people supported and went straight into the pockets of other lobbyists over at Gate House Strategies,

Verisk Sponsored Sessions:

  • Proper Scoping To Maximize Approvals: What is the best way to scope a bid and avoid receiving a return order or a denial.
  • Scope To Dollars: Create a complete and accurate bid to maximize your profit.
  • Investor/Insurer Panel: This panel will address why scoping and bidding is so important. Hear from the individual investors on what they want included in a scope and bid as well as why they want to see it.

If you still have not been admitted to the ER or passed out from a coma, the Verisk — err, NAMFS — Infomercial might have been just what the accountant ordered as they were tallying up your potential for Involuntary Bankruptcy. The reality is that a conference which honestly begins at 5pm on a Monday — because NAMFS could not afford a weekend event — to the sounds of white noise, in an echo chamber, only to be repeated the next day by more of the same is not dissimilar to Chinese Water Torture or perhaps chewing on aluminum foil with fillings. I believe that the 8th Amendment and the Geneva Convention outlaws events like these, but I am not completely sure. NAMFS, like the sad and forlorn clown of yesteryear’s travelling circus, is simply nothing more glamours than the Traveling Timeshare assholes whom couldn’t cut it as actors watching the paint dry in B rate thrillers. To that point, it is not at all ironic that they picked Florida to hustle your $400 — think timeshares here. The icing on the cake, just like the timeshare assholes, is the $4,000 vacation package offered at the end.

But wait! There’s more ways to part your money from your wallet! If you want to pay Eric Miller and his marauding band of merry huxters FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS you get to play Pat Sajak and Vanna White as you draw the vacation package winner! I mean you just cannot make this shit up!

It gets better, though. I am not sure what Miller and his pals at Verisk were smoking, but the #FraudFest hotel is not exactly the top of the line. If they weren’t getting high, they damn sure should have been! In fact, it strikes me more as end of the road. Look, I get it! Times are tough and NAMFS had to pull out all the stops on this last rodeo — lipstick on the pig and all. It kinda makes me sad, though, honestly. I used to wake up each day with a smile on my face and a quick in my step to get the NAMFS reporting day underway. Now, I feel like I am in a battle with Alzheimer patients at a hospice care center. And that really is not that far from the truth, what with all the NAMFS members whom have been dying or going bankrupt over the past several years. The reality is that there are not many NAMFS member firms whom have owners born after the turn of the century. Granted, they partied like it was 1999 — with Labor’s money as we saw in the Involuntary Bankruptcy of NFN — but the reality is the days of Robert Klein have been dead and gone for years — no pun intended!

Doctors know when to retire; band members know when its time to call it quits after the 11th farewell tour; and hell, even street walkers know when the lipstick isn’t going to work anymore. Apparently, NAMFS hasn’t gotten the Memo yet. Foreclosurepedia simply figured we would advise them. It’s been real, Eric Miller, but the time has come. The time has come to stop the crony capitalism; the time has come to allow open and honest elections by the NAMFS membership for the Executive Directorship; and the time has come to face your infamy. They say give the Devil His Due — and we all know that Klein called me the Great Satan — and when you make those deals, they come due. It was a war you could not win and no one is going to condemn you for your total and completely abysmal failure put forth attempting to destroy myself and Labor. I mean you and your bankrupt NAMFS Secretary Heather Berghorst both threatened litigation against myself and Foreclosurepedia and all you got was a PR nightmare like Victor Deutch — you remember him Eric, Nott’s homie! You bought the ticket and took the ride when you first put my name and that of Foreclosurepedia on your NAMFS Meeting Agenda over a decade ago. Sadly, you didn’t even get to ticket punch along the way. Take a bow, shake some hands and get the free, watered down drink you serve, to everyone else on the way out. Hell, who knows, on your way out, you might even pass maintenance on their way up to snake the shower drain!

Editor’s Note: A previous copy of this article contained references to a hotel by the same name, up the road from where the NAMFS 2023 Conference will be at. It has been removed due to no request from anyone. It simply had the same name, was located within minutes of the other one, and we felt it was better to be pro-active and remove it. We apologize if anyone would base their failure to attend the Conference on the hotel review as it is the least of your financial worries.

NFN Bankruptcy Trustee Clears The Air

The agonizing five year long and counting Involuntary Bankruptcy of NFN  has finally turned its focus on Shari Nott. Nott was the on again, off again — depending on jurisdiction — CEO of National Management and Preservation Services LLC d/b/a National Field Network. The original Involuntary Bankruptcy, filed in 2017, only tells half of the story, though. Foreclosurepedia began reporting on the defraudment of Labor all the way back in 2014, three years before any of the alarm bells were ringing throughout the Industry. It was during this time that the height of the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) member attacks on Labor, by and through financial terrorism, was peaking and fraud was prolifically being documented with a NAMFS board member going belly up for millions and its general membership doing much of the same. To that point, the Axis of Evil between Buczek Enterprises, NFN, and SEAS with spider linking nodes to virtually all other Top Ten NAMFS members of the time, was startling. And it wasn’t simply Foreclosurepedia making the statements and documenting the fraud, even Jack Jaffa was being legally challenged in a tit for tat flurry of litigation in Kings County, New York. It was ironic that the litigation being leveled against Jack Jaffa, Shari Nott, and NFN was by a gentleman claiming a seventeen percent (17%) ownership stake in the Company. A company, we might add, which never paid a penny in income tax.

In June of 2014, Sam Stern filed a lawsuit against Jack Jaffa (also known as Jack Y Jaffa and Yona Joffa) as well as Shari Nott claiming a seventeen percent ownership stake in National Management and Preservation Services LLC d/b/a National Field Network. Stern stated that from 2013 – 2014 NFN had made over $2,000,000 in profits, alone and that by 2014 the valuation of NFN was at least $5,000,000.

The private correspondence which flew back and forth between the lawyers was comical. A great quote from Madeline Greenblatt, Berg & David PLLC, whom represented Stern, to Jaffa’s lawyer, Jacob J. Schindelheim, Esq. (no bullshit all of them at his firm use Esquire) from Koss & Schoenfeld, LLP went like this and I quote,

Your rejection mischaracterizes the service rendered upon Mr. Stern and utterly misstates the statutory time frame regulating the filing of Mr. Stern’s Answer. Indeed your rejection highlights a complete ignorance of the relevant law. — Bold and color added by Editor.

And while Ms Greenblatt has moved on to Farrell Fritz PC, two things stood out to me about the Wrecking Crew over at Koss & Schoenfeld, LLP. 1) Their photo line up on their website here, looks like something out of the Great Depression; and 2) Google has listed their site as Not Secure and cautions, “Something is severely wrong with the privacy of this site’s connection. Someone might be able to review the information you send or get through this site.” I mean this is not the kind of image I would want to convey of confidence and trust to my Clients if I were an attorney. If it ended there, no party no foul. But, like a page out of a comedic Meyer Lansky novel, it gets more B Rate, by the moment. Here is a page on Jaffa’s lawyer’s website entitled Nullam Dictum. The problem, though, is not one, not two, not three, but SIX PAGES of their proverbial Beastie Boys Turned Lawyers website are amateur hour! Here is Temporbus Autem. Next comes, Quis Autem Vel. Building on that, it seems to be the Hazy Dayz of Law School’s Greatest Hits with Blanditiis Praesentium, Viverra Quis, Et Harum Quidem, Donec Pede Justo, Odio DignissimosNeque Quisquam, and Similique Sunt. There were more, I just simply felt bad for the Simchet Trio and stopped counting. I mean you just cannot make this shit up! And to be clear, as professionals whom are accustomed to performing due diligence, they should have known about this. To put this in layman’s terms, the Diligent Trio’s website is WordPress. Each of the aforementioned pages has what we call lorem ipsum. It is a placeholder for when the web developer is supposed to come back and either delete or replace code. Here is a better explanation from Wikipedia,

In publishing and graphic design, Lorem ipsum is a placeholder text commonly used to demonstrate the visual form of a document or a typeface without relying on meaningful content. Lorem ipsum may be used as a placeholder before final copy is available.

I digress. Of note in the allegations in the Kings County case against Jaffa and Nott was a common theme that seemed misplaced as I have followed the original docket in the NFN Involuntary Bankruptcy: 1) Jaffa refused to return calls or correspond with respect to requests for access to the accounts and bookkeeping; 2) Jaffa and Nott used every tool available which lawyers have in order to keep victims from getting their money; and 3) That Jaffa and Nott enriched themselves at other people’s expense. Look, the amount of profane legal gymnastics, which keeps the billing machine writing checks with victim’s money, is part and parcel the mechanics of the legal exploitation of Labor — that is part of the game. Five years, though, is five years too many! In fact, I have been hard pressed to find any bankruptcies of this size that have had multiple Trustees as well as extending this long!

Foreclosurepedia decided to reach out to the current Trustee — yes, more than one has been appointed as well as terminated — handling the bankruptcy. I have never made any bones about my contempt for the legal profession and especially after my Motion to Intervene was filed into this case. To that point, though, the end may be soon — and in more ways than one. Andrea Dobin is a Partner at McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC. She was next up to bat as the Trustee after Bunce Atkinson, the first and original Chapter 7 Trustee, was terminated back in 2020, according to the docket statement. Atkinson represented himself along with Dobin and Anthony Sodono, III of McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC  — all representing good ‘ol Bunce. Dobin is also accompanied by, yes, more Trustees. Lauren Bielskie hails as the US Trustee from the Department of Justice. And then the lawyers all representing each other such as Gianna M Casola, representing Ms Dobin; Michele M. Dudas representing Ms Dobin; and Ms Dobin representing herself. That final part is not a typo, by the way. You have David E. Shaver whom originally represented the Petitioning Creditors in the Involuntary Bankruptcy — now called unsecured creditors because, I guess they opened their mouths and filed suit. He did some ambulance chasing on a few other folks to bring them into the case, but the reality is that no one has heard from him in years according to one of the original Petitioners. You have — or had depending on how you read it — Brian L. Baker and Chad Brian Friedman of Ravin Greenberg, LLC whom represented or represents NFN, the Debtor. But wait, there are MORE! Shari Nott and Jack — multiple aka’s — Jaffa all had lawyers along with Crandell and whom knows how many more. All billable along with accountants, paralegals, clerks — hell, the deli guy could have gotten paid for all I know.

Look, there is no love lost between any of these lawyers and myself. Take a simple read through my Motion To Intervene and the subsequent filings when lawyers from all sides assailed my legal rights as a journalist — simply because they did not want transparency! I went toe-to-toe and those lawyers showed themselves to be precisely what they are. To that point, I would state that the Unsecured Creditor’s Committee — I guess this is what they call you when you lose millions as Labor while the white collar suits at NFN got paid — probably has even less love for the lawyers than myself.

Five years. I want that number to stick in your head. Five years and while the feeding frenzy of billing has gone on, unabated, not single dime to Labor. Candidly, if lawyers do not like what I say it is not a new or unique view. In fact, according to William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2. “Society has hated lawyers since the dawn of time.” With that said, though, Ms Dobin was kind enough to answer a few questions with certain demands — ah, the lawyers! And ironically, the below quote was placed specifically after I stated, “I thank you for your time and tireless effort in the process.” I bullshit you not!

Finally, if you are intending to repeat my answers on your website or anywhere else, please quote me in the entirety.

So, I am going to republish the email, verbatim, so as not to have any issues with the Trustee, using the color she chose of red and mine in original black.

FORECLOSUREPEDIA: I appreciate the reply. I was rather surprised that I had received a mailing and honestly found the Settlement with Deutch to be bittersweet. In all the interviews I had, he was probably the most hated by the victims. In fact, he threatened me for originally writing the article which led to the case at hand.

I think there are really only several questions which appear unanswered from my reading of the docket. And as we are coming up on the 5th year, it would seem appropriate to revisit the case from my point-of-view to give a better idea to those still remaining in the Industry, what the status of the case is. Many things have changed since this filing. We have had a global pandemic, a regional war, two new Presidents … I mean it really puts into perspective the length of time that NFN has been able to stretch this out.

I was going through my notes from several years ago, and it appeared to me that the one missing element in the entirety of the case was Shari Nott. Are you able to advise what the difficulties have been with respect to bringing her to Court and whether or not she will ever be compelled to make any sort of restitution? Unless I have missed it somewhere, 2020 was the last time any mention of her in the docket was made and that was via a Motion To Compel.

DOBIN:  We sued Jack Jaffa and Shari Nott (and Christopher Crandell) in the same complaint. If you look at the docket in Adversary No. 20-1648 you will get up to speed on what has been going on. The recent delay has been caused by her last-minute decision to get an expert and the expert’s need for more time. Trial is expected to be scheduled in the Spring.

FORECLOSUREPEDIA: In a notice that I received yesterday, it would appear that Mr Deutch is closing his practice. As he was Counsel to NFN, I am presuming that he held in trust funds which NFN had remaining. If correct, has an accurate accounting been made of how much money there was originally and now remaining, if any? Building on that, as the allegations of preferential and fraudulent transfers have been made, will Mr Deutch be referred to the NJ Bar for any type of Ethics hearing?

DOBIN: Neither fraudulent transfers nor preferences are per se ethically improper. Fraudulent transfers are not actually fraud necessarily – “constructive fraud” just means that the recipient got more money than they were entitled to receive. As I have said to folks in the past, “a gift is a fraudulent transfer and vice versa”. Furthermore if there IS fraud, the “fraud” is on the part of the giver, not the recipient. So if you want to paint someone with the title “fraud”, it would be NFN, not Deutch. I am not defending him by any means, but this is the way it works. In sum, there is no basis on which to make an ethics referral, particularly since the transfers were made to the law firm and not the individual.

We have finished reviewing the Deutch trust account. You can see the resolution of some of it at Docket Entry 317 in the main case. We also addressed what Deutch received as part of the complaint against him. We already won that part. Look at docket entry 36 in the Deutch adversary proceeding.

FORECLOSUREPEDIA: Five years is quite a long time for a bankruptcy. Ironically, the only person whom has been paid, thus far, is the owner of NFN, Jack Jaffa, unless I have misread the docket. I am curious when and how the lawyers are paid and whether or not there is any anticipation that any money will be remaining for the victims and if there is any ballpark idea when this proceeding will finally come to and end?

DOBIN: Also, it appears you may have misunderstood what happened with Jack Jaffa. He has paid $300,000 to the bankruptcy estate. See the summary of the settlement at docket 33 in Adv. No. 20-1648. And his request to be allowed and/or paid an administrative claim was denied. See docket no. 298 in the main case.

Finally, my law firm is paid from the money recovered after the fees are approved by the Bankruptcy Court. The last time I paid my law firm was in September, 2022. The fee order is docket no. 322 in the main case. I have recovered substantial money and still have substantial funds on deposit even after paying my law firm. I hope to add to that from Shari Nott and Victor Deutch. Only after I maximize my recovery from them will this case be ready for closure and creditors who filed timely proofs of claim will receive distribution from the funds available based on the priority scheme of the Bankruptcy Code.

FORECLOSUREPEDIA: I thank you for your time and tireless effort in the process.

DOBIN: Finally, if you are intending to repeat my answers on your website or anywhere else, please quote me in the entirety.

FORECLOSUREPEDIA: I had two follow up questions before I finish out my rough draft. Are Ms Nott’s lawyers and expert witnesses compensated from the funds that the company has, had or by any funds other than those other than her own personal funds?

DOBIN: I don’t know how or who is paying them, but I can assure you that they are not being paid from the funds in the bankruptcy estate.

FORECLOSUREPEDIA: And finally, when the dust settles, can you tell me whom gets money first? What I mean is that there have been several trustees, including yourself, accountants, other lawyers, etc. So, do the original 3 including Cole, et al., get funds first as they filed suit or what is the pecking order?

DOBIN: The bankruptcy code sets the order of priorities in section 726 and 507. First are professionals that provided service to the Chapter 7 estate (me and my professionals), then the professionals and trade creditors that provided service to the Chapter 11 debtor (NFN’s professionals are at this level). Then parties that have properly asserted “priority claims” (taxes, wages, etc.) as defined by 507. Then general unsecured creditors (the unsecured claims of the petitioning creditors are not given their own priority for simply having initiated the involuntary). It is all laid out in section 726 (which refers you back to 507). Trustees are paid a commission calculated based upon the funds disbursed. Since the prior trustee did not disburse any money to creditors of any type, I have taken the position that he is not entitled to a commission.

Always a Friend of Labor, Foreclosurepedia’s thoughts and prayers go out to the victims in this case, the innocent men, women, and children of Labor whom have suffered for five long and arduous years while Jaffa, Nott, Crandell, Deutch, and others thumbed their noses at both the Court and Labor and lived high on the hog!

HUD 3.12 To Award After 3 Long Years Of Punting

HUD General Headquarters

One of the most lucrative Housing and Urban Development‘s (HUD) contracts, the Management and Marketing (M&M) Field Service Manager (FSM) 3.12 is set to re-award out after three long years of perpetual squabbling. The legal gymnastics of these awards would have made even Olympian medalist Nadia Comăneci blush! To put it into perspective, the current award pool, without counting major extensions granted over the past year or so, total in upwards of $195.6 Million to Guardian Asset Management according to GovTribe. And there is no doubt whatsoever that Guardian has earned every penny of that. In fact, HUD itself stated, early on while removing other awardees such as Alpine, BLM REO, Innotion Enterprises, and PK Management performing as Strategic Alliance JV, via corrective actions and task orders, that there was no other firm capable of performing the services desired by HUD. In pertinent part, here is what was said,

DGG [Guardian Asset Management] was the only company considered for realignment of the entire requirement because it has a contract providing service to each of the HOCs (Atlanta, Denver, and Philadelphia) that need coverage, and it has an overall performance of satisfactory or higher for each of its contract areas.

There are several things to understand in order to properly formulate an opinion with respect to the HUD M&M FSM 3.12 Award cycle. First, the utilization of the System for Award Management (SAM) by HUD, for contracting on the M&M FSM, is antiquated and long overdue for a migration to a GSA Schedule. The revolving door of firms whom are removed for cause and then re-awarded contracts the next go around, simply because they can underbid everyone, is insane and antithetical to a fiscally responsible US government agency. No one wants to publicly admit it, but even HUD is aware of the financial black hole it has created by offering Solicitations on SAM specific to the M&M FSM. Second, the reality is that Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) is the epitome of insanity, as opposed to Best Value (higher price), when it comes to protecting assets. The reasoning is self-evident. These are assets which are covered under the FHA insurance policies. Ergo, sum, the highest return in value on them, at sale or auction, is in the best interests of the US taxpayer — there is no such thing as a Good Job Done Cheap! Finally, HUD’s desire to let things slide; HUD’s desire to not fiscally and transparently hold accountable poor workmanship, needs to be placed under a microscope lest the Good ‘Ol Boy network continues awarding contracts with the proverbial wink and a nod.

So, four years after the original HUD 3.12 contract process began on SAM in 2018, how did we get here? Glad you asked! We reached out for comment as to the status of the HUD M&M FSM 3.12 Award process and a Senior HUD Official, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated, in part,

HUD has completed what it said would do relative to the corrective action, and the reannouncement of the FSM 3.12 awards should happen any day now!  There will need to be at least some minimal extension for transition purposes, and it’s still likely that we’ll get hit with protests, but at least at this point, things should be able to run their course.

So, will this prove to be the actual case for Awards? Yeah, I am fairly confident that it will. The problem here, though, is that I am extremely skeptical that 24 Asset Management or say JGM Property Group. Now, as many will remember when we published the original awards, as seen below, we had extreme issues with the stacking of the deck with respect to 24 Asset Management operated by Lee Mertins and Eduardo San Roman. A simple search of our Newswire will relate that, in intimate detail. The threats of violence aside from San Roman, the reality is that 24 Asset Management is in no position to operate, a year later, based on under pricing to HUD and a nearly seventy percent Labor attrition rate due to lack of pricing increases in 30+ years. Here is how it last played out,

24 Asset Management came in with 5 Awards located in 3A, 4A, 5A, 8A, 1D, 4D, and 5D. Spectrum Solutions Acquisitions LLC was next up with 2 Awards located in 2D, 4S, and 6S. And finally, JGM Property Group landed 3 Awards located in 6A and 7A and 1P, 3P, and 4P. All of the aforementioned Awards are for a period of One Year with 4 One Year Options.

In closing, we will keep you updated on the Awards and the  colloquial press gang opportunities — err, pricing — as it rolls out. I think that the most important takeaway here is that had HUD done the fiscally responsible thing and moved the M&M FSM — and the Asset Manager (AM) contract if we get real here — to a GSA Schedule, Guardian would continue doing what they do best which is providing a value added performance to HUD as well as the US taxpayer. Building on that, as we release the latest Northsight Management pricing, offering $20 a cubic yard for debris removal, $12 Refrigerator and Freezer cleaning, MSI’s latest failure to pay, and our interview with the US Trustee appointed over the NFN Bankruptcy, it is a jam packed weekend of keeping Labor informed!


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