OpEd: The Preservation Industry And The Bearded Lady

(To set the Mood you need a bottle of Scotch and Phil Collins’ Home By The Sea playing!)  The Property Preservation Industry, much like the Obama Administration, has been a Three Ring Circus.  The Industry, though, has apparently been locked in a closet with the Bearded Lady lately.  What a sad state of affairs when looking in from the outside.  With theThe Last Circus Beltway, scandals are anticipated.  Even the Obama Administration has enough common sense to put a full court press into effect.  The Property Preservation Industry?  Their own mouthpiece, the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) has been asleep at the helm for years now.

With respect to the Bearded Lady and the Property Preservation Industry it is truly sad to see many of the owners of these once proud and productive companies spiraling out of control.  When we look at products such as the Vendor Fraud Policy (VFP) brought forward by A2Z Field Services (A2ZFS) I am reminded of how the Bearded Lady must have felt when she was on display:  Alone, suspicious, rejected and bitter.  The VFP  belonged more appropriately in front of Congress in light of the recent National Security Agency (NSA) PRISM revelations, than being thrust upon Contractors in the field.  Tragic, really.  A dissonance festering from loss of employee talent engendering rebellion by and through the VFP.

The Bumper Cars.  Safeguard Properties (SGP) has been slamming Contractors around for nearly a decade.  With their absorption of Bank of America‘s (BAC) Field Service Unit the gross financials have almost doubled.   The problem is that the profits have not!  Additionally, the capture of such a market share was never contemplated within the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure.  Seems like their systems are down each week when we call in for information on a property.  SGP’s unsavory reputation for not only screwing Contractors and homeowner’s alike is much like the Roller Coaster ride; up and down — VERY slow ever getting up and hauling ass going downward.

The Shell Game.  Virtually all of the National and Prime Vendors along with their Regional buddies are indicative of the Shell Game.  Whether it be Berghorst Enterprises (BE) and their two step shuffle with respect to hitting the Taxpayer’s up for loans or Innotion Enterprises Incorporated (IEI) and their justifications on how the US Department of Housing and Urban Development‘s (HUD) 13 April 2012 Letter IN RE:  C-OPC-23665 from the Government Technical Representative (GTR) John Burks (2A HUD GTR) to Al Espinoza, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) stating,

Inspections Not Provided: 2357 and Total of Overpayments: $240,414.00

are due to,

“…[a] few disconnects from the process that IEI uses to start the FSM Inspection work orders that will not align with the calculation HUD is using… ,”

As written by Espinoza on 10 May 2012 in response back to Burks.

It’s a Circus folks.  The biggest problem in this Circus is that there is NO Ringmaster.  It is almost comical how far the disconnect has become between the Nationals and Regionals from the actual Contractors performing the services.  In the aforementioned Espinoza Letter, Espinoza tacitly intimates that it is the contractors and subcontractors fault as he states, “IEI will continue to work with contractors and subcontractors to train and coach [them]… .”  Al, buddy what ever happened to Corporate Responsibility?!  All 2357 Inspections not being performed were due to contractors and subcontractors?  I mean you stated, “…they will be terminated… .”  Almost sounds like employees!

What complicates matters even more is that all the Nationals and Regionals are well aware that the wages being paid could NEVER sustain the requirements in the Service Contract Act (SCA).  This is the part of the Circus wherein we all know the Tigers are going to break loose and they will have to be put down.  Conservative estimates are running around TEN BILLION DOLLARS for which the Prime Vendors are on the hook on.  See, the plot thickens though.  The Nationals, whom are NOT Prime Vendors, are on the hook as well.  SGP was providing labor to IEI on the HUD Contract.  So, if SGP had Contractors whom were not Compliant with SCA, SGP is now on the hook.  We actually have a HUGE story coming out about the HUD Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Report and what really was taking place behind the scenes.  No, the popcorn has become stale and now Congress is going to want answers.

Why would Congress want answers you ask?  Well, the $2,000 +/- per property price they were paying by and through HUD is now going to climb to around $4,500 +/-.  Make no mistake if it does not officials at HUD are going to be in the cross hairs of Public Opinion.  We now have witnesses to the fact that MANY of the Regionals were not paying their employees in accordance with SCA; remember, it’s not simply prevailing wage, it’s health care and fringe benefits.  In this unique situation shit rolls up hill — the Prime Vendors/Nationals and Regionals are on the hook.  The Secretary of HUD (SECHUD) would do himself well to have the HUD OIG do a legitimate investigation and not let the Property Preservation Industry Executives fill in the blanks of the boilerplate templates.  With Obamacare being an unfunded federal mandate; with criminal probes looming on the horizon, no one wants to be without a seat when the music stops playing in a Lame Duck Administration.

So, this has been my Opinion Editorial.  While it is opinion based, the quotes used come from Confidential Documents that I possess.  The trickle of leaks have become a tsunami as more and more people become disillusioned with the at best unethical and more probable illegal activities (whether civil or criminal is for a jury to decide) which have become part and parcel the Property Preservation Industry.  I used to think that outfits like the NAMFS would come to its senses and reach out and attempt to bring some order to the chaos; that perhaps the National Property Preservation Guild (NPPG) might begin organizing Contractors and take a pro active stance with respect to issues such as SCA, but I have seen nothing from anyone to date.  It strikes me as a macabre scene; executives huddled in small groups with cigarette smoke swirling around tapping fingers on receding hair lines.  What used to be a somewhat honorable and viable profession; Property Preservation, has now become a den of miscreants.  No regulations; Mogadishu Part II.  It is going to get far worse.  I doubt HUD will do anything and will ultimately have to be sued.  The Qui Tams will ultimately outnumber the Contractors in the end.

In closing, we just bought out three new Virtual Private Network Server Plans.  The document threshold has now been exponentially increased.  If you have information you feel is worthy of being reported upon; NOTHING is too trivial, feel free to forward it on to us!  On a lighter note, we are also pushing forward attempting to identify some of the VERY few Companies worthy of being in the Order Mill side.  Our next Company hails from Nebraska!

 

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