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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
Letter of the Day

Foreclosure crisis getting worse in Florida

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Despite the seemingly favorable stories about the economy and real estate, Florida homeowners are now worse off than ever before. Banks continue their culture of mortgage fraud, and foreclosure litigation has become the legal “wild west.”

For example, on a single day more than 90 foreclosure trials were set to occur before one trial judge. But general magistrates have now become empowered to take the homes of Floridians, despite the fact they were not summoned by any electorate.

In yet another judicial circuit, court staff unilaterally communicates with the bank’s counsel, prompting them on what to file in order to advance the case along.

In yet another circuit, homeowners are being denied routine depositions and discovery.

Banks that ignored the court’s rules for years are not being sanctioned. As if that was not bad enough, courts statewide have been bullied into clearing the backlog of foreclosure cases by the Legislature in order to receive funding. Forget your Pollyanna notions of separation of powers among the state’s branches of government.

The foreclosure crisis is not over; it’s not even close to being over. It’s getting worse. Issue saturation has led to apathy among leaders, the media and the populace. But the due process rights of homeowners continue to be further marginalized on a daily basis across our state.

Charles R. Gallagher III

St. Petersburg

The writer is an attorney.

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