The lead headline from The Guardian is about cannibal rats eating their infants due to a lack of garbage normally available and gone because of COVID shutdowns. And they are becoming extremely aggressive. If that wasn’t enough to contend with, to date not a single National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) member has taken any steps to ensure that jobsites are safe for Field Service Technicians during the COVID pandemic. In a recent survey conducted by the International Association of Field Service Technicians (IAFST), not a single IAFST Member reported that NAMFS members had authorized additional funds for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) nor had they cleaned the assets, to protect against COVID, before they arrived. Moreover, though, multiple IAFST Members reported that requesting additional pay to compensate for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was met with threats to remove all work. And as if that were not enough, as Foreclosurepedia reported last week, Mortgage Contracting Services (MCS) is going back half a decade in an attempt to find reasons to steal money from Minority Females and Labor. MCS, a NAMFS member, is currently drowning in debt coming in at well over $440.1 Million as of December 2019 with mandatory yearly interest payments coming in at nearly $40 Million. In fact, MCS which is operated by ASP MCS Acquisition Corp. operated by American Securities LLC seems to be a black hole of debt. Here is how TREPP put it,
Both downgrades had significant implications on the price of the company’s underlying leveraged loan, ASP MCS Acquisition Corp. – Term Loan. Right before the first downgrade, the loan was pricing at a bid/offer price around $101.25 and $101.75, respectively. Once the downgrade was announced, the loan’s bid/offer price fell significantly to somewhere slightly below $85 (around early September). Between September 2018 and March 2019, the loan’s price gradually declined to an $80 handle. However, after the second downgrade was announced, the bid/offer price plummeted once again to a new low of $69.5 and 73.4, respectively. As of August 14th, 2019, the loan’s bid/offer has bottomed out at $35.7 and $40.7, respectively.
Here is how S&P Global Ratings put it,
U.S.-based residential mortgage field services provider ASP MCS Acquisition Corp.’s revenue (GAAP) declined by 35% during the six months ended June 30, 2019, relative to the same period in 2018, primarily due to client losses and the favorable U.S. economic environment, which has reduced vacancy rates and the volume of property preservation work orders. Absent a sharp improvement in the company’s operating environment, which we do not expect over the next six to 12 months, we believe its liquidity position and business prospects will continue to erode. We now view the company’s capital structure as unsustainable and believe there is a high risk that it will use a debt exchange to right size its onerous debt capitalization. We are lowering our issuer credit rating on ASP MCS and our issue-level rating on its senior secured credit facilities [… .]
It gets more interesting, though, with respect to other NAMFS members. Assero, operated by Lee Mertins, the former AMS shot caller, is back in the spotlight. With payment problems becoming an issue, the reality is that Foreclosurepedia’s articles in 2014 are now, more than ever, spot on. Assero continues to refuse to secure their website. In fact, Google has red listed them when you try to enter information as seen to the right. This, alone, is simply par for the course. What is extremely interesting is that a piece of software which should have been part of the sale of Asset Management Services (AMS) to MCS, known as Visneta, is now used by Assero. I base this upon the simple and salient fact that MCS bought AMS, in whole, which I presume would have included their Books of Work as well as their tangible assets. Visneta is extremely interesting in that when you click the link on Assero to work for them it routes you straight to Visneta. The only problem is that there is nowhere for Labor to apply to work for Assero. It is a convoluted mess, shakily brought together, attempting to peddle services to homeowners and rent or sell houses to the general public. I am not precisely sure where those asset addresses originate from, but I am sure it wouldn’t be that hard to find out. How it works, in a nutshell, is to funnel homeowners or asset managers through and eventually drill down like Angie’s List. Visneta is also known as RoundPoint under the Assero umbrella, but I digress.
Foreclosurepedia was curious about the process so we went ahead and entered information to potentially get a grass cut done in Beverly Hills, California. When queried for an email we used a bogus domain which, if Visneta had been programmed properly, would have rejected it. Visneta did not. What happened next was astonishing. A company name came up with the option to reach out directly. Now, whether or not we could have is up for debate; however, as California is the epicenter of employee misclassification under Assembly Bill 5 — Uber, Lyft and dozens of other firms are currently being sued there — we did the deep dive.
Mikes Preservation and Maintenance came up as a potential candidate to perform a grass cut on a property we randomly selected from Zillow. The address for his services appears to be roughly an hour away from what we entered. Mikes Preservation and Maintenance was not listed with the California Secretary of State — under that name anyway. We were able to track down a Facebook Page, but not a whole lot more. The problem with this is that an unsuspecting homeowner may very well buy and employee under the current California Assembly Bill 5 which currently has Uber and Lyft being sued by the California Attorney General. Foreclosurepedia has extensively covered the AB5 nightmare and as we will write about later this week, it is spreading throughout the Northeast as well.
Now, whether or not Mikes Preservation and Maintenance would have driven the hour plus to do a typical $25 grass cut is unknown. And the story isn’t really about Mike or his company other than the fact that California State law, the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), now requires a user’s permission to sell their information. In the aforementioned, the argument could be made that Assero is selling Mike’s information to Visneta. Additionally, though, right-to-know or right-to-delete requests are mandatory. Foreclosurepedia was unable to locate a form to have a California resident’s information sent to them or to have it deleted. Curious what kind of information is commonly scooped up in the NSA esque trough? Glad you asked. Here is how the LA Times put it,
[T]hings like your name, address, IP address, device ID number, Social Security number, email address, purchasing history, face or fingerprint image, browsing or search history, physical location, employment or education information, audio or video recordings, and even descriptions of your physical characteristics.
It is a brave new world, to say the least. And as a final note, we would like to spotlight the events currently gripping out Nation. In light of the murder of George Floyd, many of our cities are currently under siege. To that point, I will elaborate more, later this week upon the matter of which Mr Floyd’s murder is simply the spark that lit a long smoldering fire, we are hopeful that Field Service Technicians remain safe and that the non violent protesters are allowed to continue pursuing their First Amendment rights.