How Financial Institutions Are Destroying Baltimore

There has been a lot of conversation lately about Ferguson, Baltimore and Charleston with most of it surrounding law enforcement and their obvious assassinations of civilians. In full disclosure I am not one of the people whom believe that targeting law enforcement, as a whole, with violent and extremist actions is going to solve a fucking thing. I am a man whom has spent his life analyzing data and creating psychological warfare campaigns which have been successful in the collapse of multiple National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) Offender Members valuated in the tens of millions of dollars. This Campaign has been under the banner of #OpNAMFS.

When Freddie Grey died in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department it was the first time, in recent memory, that questions were asked other than the typical Sharpton – Jackson Poverty Pimp parade. Some of those questions began to make inquiries into precisely why Baltimore and other metropolitan communities were experiencing flash point convergences of civilian initiated violence.

The fact of the matter, in Baltimore at least, is that powerful hedge funds are profiting off of struggling families by purchasing debts as small as $250, slamming interest rates which border upon illegal under usury law, and then foreclosing upon those same homes. This isn’t a story of Mafia loansharking in the 80s; this is a modern story which has been the dirty, little secret of the same vulture capitalists whom brought you the Sub Prime Crisis, profited from it and left the bill wrapped around the neck of the US Taxpayers like the noose it truly is.

HedgeClippers recently released a report documenting how Wall Street hedge funds have swarmed in like locusts buying up hundreds of the liens which are generated by municipal agencies ranging from delinquent property taxes to unpaid water bills. It is a repeat of the Sub Prime Crisis, but with an ironic twist: Legally, these predators are putting out thousands of dollars to collect upon tens of millions of dollars!

Data collected from an April 2014 clinic run by nonprofit lawyers for 82 homeowners facing tax sale shed a harsh light on the crisis. While the homeowners had lived in their houses on average for 21 years, their inability to pay the liens led them to the brink of losing their homes. Most were African Americans who live below the poverty level. Nearly half were elderly, 10 percent were veterans, while 32 percent reported being disabled. The average lien each would have to pay to avoid tax sale was $2,482. More than three-quarters of the homeowners faced tax sale for unpaid water bills, while more than half had not paid property taxes. Though most of the homeowners were likely eligible for discounted property tax programs and a senior citizen water discount, a proportionally low number were receiving them.

This past May, Baltimore held its annual tax sale, where debts from some of the city’s poorest residents were auctioned off to the highest bidder. Baltimore residents who owed as little as $250 in back taxes, or $350 in unpaid water bills, had those debts auctioned off to a small pool of professional speculators.

Los Angeles-based Imperial Capital, and “DBW TL HoldCo 2015 LLC” — an anonymous limited liability company that appears to be linked to the New York-based Fortress Investment Group (FIG) are two of the vulture capitalists whom purchased properties in Baltimore. Waiting patiently, like vultures, they come down and pick the bones clean of any last vestiges of humanity which may remain once a Baltimore resident has begun their downward spiral. And whom precisely is FIG?

Peter Briger is the former Goldman Sachs Group proprietary trader, who co-founded that firm’s extremely profitable Special Situations Group in 1998, joined Fortress in 2002 and launched its Drawbridge Special Opportunities funds. Five years later, when he and his partners took Fortress public — marking the first listing by a significant alternative-investment firm in the U.S. — Briger became a Dualitybillionaire. His specialty: investing in distressed debt and beaten-down loans that no one else wants or that are being dumped by sellers under financial duress.

“We invest in areas where the main money flows don’t go,” Briger, 47, told  Institutional  Investor during a series of exclusive interviews over the past four months. “And there you have the world’s biggest supply-demand imbalance that’s ever existed in financial asset liquidations.” He estimates that there have been approximately $3 trillion in asset dispersions, or sales, since 2008. And with regulatory reforms and ongoing global credit issues, he projects that the number could grow to $5 trillion, or even $10 trillion, over the next five years.

Briger’s group should benefit from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and its prohibition of proprietary trading by banks, which almost certainly will limit Goldman’s ability to put capital to work through its special-situations group. “We are a net beneficiary of current regulation,” says Constantine (Dean) Dakolias, Briger’s co-CIO in credit.

Tower Capital Management, a “tax lien monetization” firm, commonly uses that post office box. A 2013 article in Fortune magazine describes Tower as an affiliate of Fortress, and business registrations for other limited liability companies beginning with “DBW TL Holdco” often list Fortress’s Manhattan office as their mailing address.

In the Baltimore 2015 tax lien sale, the Fortress affiliate purchased 225 liens, secured by Baltimore city property worth an estimated $39.42 million.

Imperial Capital LLC is an investment bank and registered investment advisor operating out of Los Angeles, CA. In 2014, a subsidiary of Imperial Capital called Woods Cove III, LLC purchased debts owned by 174 Baltimore debtors, snapping up the rights to liens for as little as $1,889.15

Freddie Gray died on 19 April leaving many unanswered questions. What is crystal clear is that when Gray was arrested in West Baltimore he was struggling to walk — there is no disagreement with this. When Grey arrived at the police station, roughly a half hour after being arrested, he was unable to breathe or talk, suffering from wounds that would ultimately kill him. An autopsy revealed that the 25 year old African American died as a proximal result of spinal injuries. And in essence, Baltimore became the second Ground Zero in a domestic war between civilians and an out of control and militarized law enforcement community.

In Freddie Grey’s neighborhood, Sandtown-Winchester, more than half of the people between the ages of 16 and 64 are unemployed and the rate is more than double that for the city at one in five. Median income is just $24,000, below the poverty line for a family of four, and nearly a third of families live in poverty. Meanwhile, somewhere between a quarter to a third of the buildings are vacant, compared to 5 percent in the city as a whole.

Meanwhile, a Baltimore woman’s house was sold at tax sale in 2011 for unpaid water bills that skyrocketed to $5,532 due to a water leak she didn’t detect during the four years she cared for her dying husband. He had suffered a heart attack and gone blind from diabetes, leaving the household in her hands, though she didn’t know how to read the tax and water bills. Then she learned she might lose her house if she didn’t come up with the money. “They wanted it all at once and I didn’t have it,” she said.

As with other cities that have experienced unrest, like Ferguson, economic decline was paired with white flight. The city’s black population nearly doubled between 1950 and 1970 but whites began moving away: Almost a third of the city’s population left the city between 1950 and 2000. The city’s population peaked at 949,708 in 1950 but began dropping quickly after 1970, falling 118,984, or 13 percent, between 1970 and 1980.

The picture I paint is both dire and troubling. It demonstrates that within the United States, while the precipitation of events we are witnessing are caused by law enforcement assassination of innocent civilians, the fact of the matter is that racism is not the underlying causation for the unrest. Many are going to be upset by this statement. They won’t be pissed off, so much, by the fact that I do not lay the blame at the feet of racism, but rather because when you remove the element of racism, the license for violence across the board is no longer legitimized.

Several hours ago Investors.com ran an article containing the below statement. And why, precisely, does anyone give a fuck what a financial journal has to say? Because they represent the oligarchs whom are the government today. Cause and effect, ladies and gentlemen. The ability to police one’s own communicates quietly that an entity has the ability to stand the hard fought for ground and that infiltration is not an option. Psychological warfare 101.

While ABC, NBC and CBS covered the deadly ambushing of a white Houston sheriff’s deputy by a black man, who sneaked up behind the uniformed officer at a gas station and fired 15 bullets at close range, they left out the related news that Black Lives Matter protesters shortly thereafter demonized cops as “pigs” and called for them to “fry.”

“I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours … let’s take 2 of theirs,” [Ismaaiyl] Brinsley wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of a silver handgun. “This may be my final post … I’m putting pigs in a blanket.” — And in the blink of an eye all that was so perfectly laid in place, brick by brick, stone by stone, came crashing down.

While everyone out there may believe that they are the baddest motherfucker on the block, the reality is that none of you have experienced organized, rapid response, tactical strikes. If given the opportunity, make no mistake whatsoever, that the police state is not something to fuck with. Long before everyone whom is out there now hyping up the rhetoric was born, there were two groups whom were pretty serious about the very same causes being preached today. One was the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the other was The Weather Underground.

I want you to take a read through a list of the Weather Underground’s actions which included bombing police stations; the US Capitol; and Bank of America’s Headquarters.

The bombing campaign [by the Weather Underground] mostly targeted government buildings, along with several banks. Most were preceded by evacuation warnings, along with communiqués identifying the particular matter that the attack was intended to protest. No people were killed in any of their acts of property destruction, although three members of the group were killed in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion.

The Weathermen were outspoken advocates of the critical concepts that later came to be known as “white privilege” (described as white-skin privilege) and identity politics. As the unrest in poor black neighborhoods intensified in the early 1970s, Bernardine Dohrn said, “White youth must choose sides now. They must either fight on the side of the oppressed, or be on the side of the oppressor.”

For protesters, under any banner, to believe that they occupy some kind of unique sphere within which they and only they comprehend, is the epitome of lunacy. I have taken the time to speak with many within the Movements and while most understand the fact that a non violent mechanism is the only way to effect true and long term change, they take a who cares attitude towards isolating the few, bad apples. The reality is that this purist belief; the belief that the Man and Whitey have it coming, will ensure an identical ending which all have met with in the past. Actually, it will end differently. Whereas, those in the past have simply pulled a couple of years in prison, those within these Movements whom conspire and plot assassinations; those whom conspire and communicate at any level their desire to do such, will be rounded up under the Patriot Act. Today, you see, the US Government has learned from its mistakes in the past and thus have the ability to send people swiftly to detention facilities and hold, without Writ of Habeas Corpus, those identified as terrorists.

You see, that is the danger of allowing extremists to associate themselves with a branding. While 99% of those under the #BlackLivesMatter brand may be good people, it only takes the 1% to ensure that it is branded in a negative point-of-view. It matters not what anyone whom reads this thinks; what matters is what the Drive By Media churns out between 5pm and 9pm. And sometimes the reality is that the 1% are actually instigators which is an age old counterintelligence (COIN) technique. The media is now painting the picture of Open Season — that is the direct quote of tonight’s headlines on Fox — on law enforcement and this will eventually halt any gains which have been made.

#OpFerguson is an excellent example of how a campaign ought to be run. Public facing it has all the hallmarks of how I would have set up a psychological warfare campaign. As a classic case-in-point, they recently had two issues which crept up and instead of burying their heads in the sand, they addressed them, head on, and moved forward. Transparency. That is the key and that is what truly frightens the System. Violence, the System understands, as it legitimizes more boots on the ground and an escalation of firepower to combat against urban terrorism.

More on point, though and I have combed through since its inception, #OpFerguson has maintained a level of professionalism which is paramount when one wishes to engage bureaucrats. No matter what people may or may not think of the System; no matter what is thought about Whitey — and I happen to be Whitey — the reality is that there will be no armed insurrection. Let us not beat around the bush about that because the Emperor Whom Wears No Clothes in DC would love nothing more than a reason for Martial Law. Anyone whom bought into that Hope and Change bullshit best take a look at his record to date as he is probably the most conservative president since Eisenhower with respect to both military and intelligence matters.

I single out #OpFerguson as I believe it should be used as the benchmark as Anonymous begins to roll through the metamorphosis of evolution AWK — away from the keyboard — which began with #OpChanology. The danger which not only Anonymous, as a generic identifier, and the Twittershpere as a whole, will ultimately hit head on ironically is technology.  In the same manner in which both #GhostSec and #BinarySec are engaging the Islamic State vis-a-vis social media profiling, so to will law enforcement begin to engage those domestically whom they wish to label as a clear and present danger. There will be no large groundswell of money to bail people out; there will be no releasing of nor checking upon prisoners like in Malcolm X. What there will be is more broken families; more grieving mothers; and far more totalitarian actions taking place at the local levels.

Racism will always exist. This will never change and anyone whom states otherwise is a liar. We are tribal and no matter how pure we pretend to be; no matter how accepting one is of another, we are all different. It does not mean that people cannot coexist; this simply means that the sooner people realize that our hidden insecurities are exploited by institutions far larger than our conception, the better off we will all be. It is in that knowledge that through a forged bond we are effective as One for there is no I in We! What is most profound about what we are witnessing under the #OpFerguson banner is the salient point that, by in large, it is inclusionary of all whom are sincere in their commitment to change. And change is good FOR EVERYONE!

While I do not advocate the assassination of law enforcement officials in the same manner as they have assassinated non combatant civilians domestically — and make no fucking mistake whatsoever that my language is very precise — I do advocate and I do encourage legal, lawful, protracted and asymmetrical engagement of municipal, county, state and federal government. That engagement must be swift, sustainable and benchmarks in place to measure that that which works and that which does not. It must be concerted and it must be calculated to maximize both timing and audience. This is a war ladies and gentlemen.

Woods Cove III LLC bid $2.78 million for the tax liens that, if converted, could give the company title to property valued at a total of $43,968,434.00. — And the Band Played On.

You see, the oligarchs love it when they are able to ensure everyone’s preoccupation with trivial bullshit. I am not saying that the assassinations are trivial; I am saying that running around screaming rhetoric without effective and consolidated action serves only to embolden the Regime even more. Does the #Bankster care that they riot in Ferguson, Baltimore or Charleston? Fuck no! You want to know why? Because those folks burn down their own neighborhoods and to rebuild them, they will all come back to the #Bankster. Racism is the outward appearance which gives the plebeians the artificial sense of reward that should they effect change, even small change, it will quell the thirst for revenge. The reality, though, is that racism is merely the that which the government wants people to identify with. Racism is that which is ponied up to ensure that the masses fight amongst themselves as opposed to identifying and deconstructing the oligarchy which keeps them suppressed.

The key to any counterintelligence operation is controlling the narrative. You keep the people focused on that which you are able to control — racism. Once the people begin to shift and outwardly investigate, the government’s effective control has been removed — the examination of raw data. Once, though, a populace realizes that which the sham is, the power imbalance is gone. That is the fear of the surveillance state. Anything which refuses to abide by the Party Line; the refusal to abide by the single and sole belief that racism and racism alone is to blame for everything, then the war is won by the oligarchs and lost by humanity. If, though, those whom read this believe that everything around them, everything which they have been taught and currently believe ought to be questioned, then and only then does the path of a lifetime begin with that first footstep.

In closing, it is a brave, new frontier we are entering. The interconnected relationships of data now allow humanity to realize, in crystal clarity, precisely whom is responsible for what. And what is most disconcerting to many is that the normal party line; all the usual suspects are not viable any longer. While the puppets of the corporate state like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton; while Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, are still attempting to present the same dog and pony shows, the reality is that fewer and fewer people are buying into the neatly packaged sound bites that all problems any community experiences are based only upon racism. I stand and perhaps I stand alone, but I stand nonetheless and I hold the mirror squarely into the face of the oligarchs. The time has come to stand as One; to be United, lest we do not for most assuredly we will hang separately.

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One Response to "How Financial Institutions Are Destroying Baltimore"

  1. foreclosurepedia  September 2, 2015 at 19:36

    #OpFerguson I tipped my hat to you folks midway as you are running a hell of a crew, against all odds, and succeeding!

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