DOER ALERT: OneWest Bank Needs to STOP a Foreclosure Sale Monday Because It’s WRONG
In just two days from now, on Monday, January 30, 2012, at 3:00 PM… a terrible, tragic and yet easily avoidable event is scheduled to occur… and MUST BE STOPPED.
OneWest Bank is scheduled to conduct a foreclosure auction of Lisa Ferrecchia’s home in Milford, Massachusetts, a home worth roughly $209,800 today, although the balance of Lisa’s loan is about twice that amount… $396,046, as of January 3rd of this year.
The day on which IndyMac Bank originated Lisa’s mortgage was arguably the worst date in history to get a mortgage, July 24, 2007, but she wouldn’t have had any way of knowing that at the time. The loan’s interest rate, fixed for 30 years, is 7.625 percent.
In the early part of 2010, Lisa’s income went down, just as happened to countless others, but it’s the reason Lisa’s income went down that’s not so common… it went down because someone said that her job was paying her too much money… she was earning $35,000 a year and that was apparently too much money.
Lisa’s income went down because she lost the disability income that I would imagine she had always received as an adult. You see, Lisa Ferrecchia is a victim of what is often called: “One of the biggest medical tragedies of modern times.”
Lisa Ferrecchia is one of the thalidomide babies.
German pharmaceutical company Grünenthal launched the drug in October of 1957, claiming that it was an effective tranquilizer and painkiller, and proclaiming it a “wonder drug” for insomnia, coughs, colds and headaches. It was also found to be an effective antiemetic with an inhibitory effect on morning sickness, so thousands of pregnant women took the drug to relieve their symptoms.
Scientists at that time did not believe that any drug taken by a pregnant woman would be able to pass across the placental barrier and harm the developing fetus. And as it turned out, they were so very wrong.
Here in the U.S. the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) never licensed thalidomide for general use, however, samples were distributed to a numerous physicians as part of a clinical trial, in which 20,000 patients in the U.S. received thalidomide. It’s impossible to know how many pregnant women actually took the drug to help alleviate morning sickness or as a sedative, between 1957, the year my wife was born… and 1961, the year I was born.
Thalidomide was withdrawn from the market in 1961 after the drug was shown to cause birth defects. Roughly 10,000 babies had been born with disabilities such as the characteristic stunted arms or legs, and some babies were born with no limbs at all.
Even today, it is not known exactly how many worldwide victims of the drug there have been, although estimates range from 10,000 to 20,000… and Lisa Ferrecchia is one of them… basically, she was born with her hands on her shoulders… they’re often called “flipper limbs.”
Some evidence published by the Thalidomide Trust in the U.K. suggests that the drug was first developed by Otto Ambrose, a Nazi scientist, as a possible antidote to nerve toxins, such as sarin gas. Furthermore, a relation between testing thalidomide and the Nazi death camps has also been suggested. And according to Grünenthal, Heinrich Mückter was among those responsible for inventing thalidomide. Mückter was a pharmacologist who is known to have carried out wartime experiments on Polish prisoners allegedly in an effort to find a cure for typhus, but causing the death of many hundreds in the process.
Frances Kathleen Oldham Kelsey, Ph.D., M.D., who under pressure from the Richardson-Merrell, the company with the rights to market thalidomide, correctly refused approval of thalidomide by the FDA, saying that further studies were needed. As a result, she eventually received the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service at a 1962 ceremony with President John F. Kennedy. That same year, the United States Congress enacted laws requiring tests for safety during pregnancy before a drug can receive approval for sale in this country.
In September 2010, some fifty years later, the FDA honored Kelsey with the first “Kelsey Award,” which is an award now given annually to an FDA staff member.
Lisa Ferrecchia may have been born a thalidomide baby, but she’s not “disabled,” as far as she’s concerned. She goes to work each day at a medical facility, where she works as a medical coordinator of care. She bends over in order to write and her handwriting is beautiful. I’m told that she has learned to apply her make up beautifully, as well.
So, in some sort of cruel joke, her income went down when her income went up, and now it was difficult to keep up with her $320,000 mortgage.
Stay with me, because here’s where her turning point occurs. Here’s that moment in time when had she not chosen the path she did, everything could be different today and she would not be worrying about where she will go once her home is sold on Monday…
SHE LISTENED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND CALLED ONEWEST BANK FOR HELP.
(If this were a movie, this is the part where the audience, seeing what she’s about to do screams, “No, Lisa… it’s a trap, don’t do it! Don’t listen to them… get a roommate… anything… don’t call ONE WEST BANK! Noooooo!)
Not realizing that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was both an uncaring, incompetent and dishonest shithead, and that banks like ONEWEST could not be trusted any further than they could be thrown, Lisa explained her situation to the OneWest representative… and can you guess what that person told her? I know you can…
The OneWest representative said: “I’m sorry, I can’t even talk to you about this unless you’re 90-days delinquent.”
Ding, ding, ding! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
Over a year later, still being tortured by today’s version of thalidomide, Lisa decided she needed help and turned to a law firm who thought to themselves… “We have got to be able to get this done. This is crazy.”
I spoke with someone from that firm and she says they have submitted Lisa’s paperwork on ten separate occasions, although she admits that number could be nine. Each time, apparently, the bank takes at least 45 days to review the documents and by then they need new ones once again.
They tell me that she’s been turned down for not enough income, too much income, and the latest excuse du jour… her investor doesn’t participate… whatever the heck that means.
Memo to OneWest Bank – If you force me to actually go find out who her investor is and then pull the PSA for that trust, and I end up finding out this is an IndyMac portfolio loan that you bought for 30¢ on the dollar, or if it’s a Fannie or Freddie deal… I swear by all that is holy, that you will regret having made me go through that exercise, and I don’t give a rat’s petute how many multi-zillionaires you stack up over there. As far as I’m concerned, the richer they are the more fun it is to ruin page one of their Google search. Run that by Dell and Soros and see what they want to do, because they may have the money, but I’ve got the time.
So, now… TWO YEARS LATER… now Lisa has almost a $400,000 mortgage… thank you for that, by the way, OneWest Bank. And when I first heard about her numbers, I thought, hmmm… she is short a few bucks on the income side here, but you know what… horse pucky! You’re charging her 7.625 percent interest… what kind of unnecessary if not predatory garbage is that? You can take that rate down quite a bit… and if you have any soul at all, you’ll wipe out at the $80k that’s your fault here, and then reduce the principal so that she can afford to keep her home… period.
I’m not usually like this, I’m a numbers person, but I’ve spent all day and night on this article and I’ve decided that you’re just not going to do this to Lisa Ferrecchia… not today. Not this time. Not happening. Your bank told her to stop making her payments because that was the only way she could get her loan modified and that was TWO YEARS AGO.
Fix this thing… Lisa has had to overcome more than any of us… more than you George Soros. And you, a Hungarian Jew that lived through being a part of the Nazi’s own Jewish Council that carried out acts against Jews during the war. You above all should know what it feels like to have others avert their eyes rather than to look at you, isn’t that right… Mr. Schwartz turned Soros?
And you, Michael Dell, yet another privileged Jew in a long line of over privileged Jews… don’t you want to do something about this? Then for God’s sake, Dude, make the call and stop Lisa from losing her home, damn it!
And don’t freak out everybody, I’m Jewish so I’m ALLOWED to say what I’ve said here. Where I come from, Jews don’t stand by and allow injustices like this happen to other people if we can help it… EVER.
Look, I’m not saying that Michael Dell or George Soros knows anything about this prior to my writing about it today, but they do now. So fix it and do it fast, because the sale is Monday at 3:00 PM. And just so you know, the house is not going to sell tomorrow no matter what, because we’ve already got foreclosure defense attorney Glenn Russell ready with a bankruptcy filing to stop it if that’s what we need to do. (You’ve heard of Glenn, right, he was one of the lead attorneys from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court “Ibanez” decision.)
BUT LISA SHOULD NOT HAVE TO FILE BANKRUPTCY, AND IF YOU MAKE HER DO THAT, I AM GOING TO BE SUCH A PROBLEM FOR YOU THAT YOU’LL HAVE TO HIRE AN ENTIRE DEPARTMENT TO CONTEND WITH MY ANTICS GOING FORWARD. ARE YOU FEELING ME HERE?
One West Bank is the reincarnation of failed IndyMac Bank, brought back from the dead by a list of multi-billionaires, with the support of the FDIC. The list of multi-billionaires involved includes: J. Christopher Flowers – who comes from Goldman Sachs… John Paulson – who runs a hedge fund that did quite well shorting the meltdown along with Goldman Sachs… George Soros – who should need no further introduction, and Michael Dell, of “Dude, I’m getting a Dell” Computer.
I only offer those names so that everyone recognizes with whom we are dealing here. These are a bunch of guys so rich they could fund their own space program, take their space shuttle out for a spin whenever company comes to town, and even after all that I’m confident that they’d still be multi-billionaires.
On November 25, 2009, Judge Spinner in Long Island, New York penalized OneWest for what he said were, “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive” actions related to their dealings with a homeowner at risk of foreclosure, by canceling the debt in favor of the borrower. The decision was ultimately overturned on appeal, but the words still ring out across the land: harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive.
For most of my lifetime, those were not the sorts of words one expected to hear being associated with a bank. Now, however, one reads them and thinks… Yeah! You go, Judge.
And George Soros, you’re referred to as a “philanthropist.” I read that “Time” magazine says you’ve given away $7 billion to causes you’ve deemed worthy. You provide funding for important causes all over the world. You have to be someone who cares. But how do I reconcile the way Judge Spinner described OneWest as being, “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive,” against that? How do you reconcile a contrast that stark? Surely, it’s not about the money, is it? Surely it cannot be that.
And you don’t get to average out your philanthropic deeds, you realize that right?
In 2008, Niko Von Glasow, also a “thalidomide baby,” produced and directed his first feature documentary, “NoBody’s Perfect.” Without any deference to political correctness the film follows eleven people who, like him, were born disabled due to the disastrous side effects of Thalidomide, and who are prepared to pose for a book of photos… and to pose naked.
The film provides those who regularly throw furtive glances at “thalidomiders,” and other physically disabled people, with a good, long look, and along the way introducing us to fascinating characters working in such diverse areas as “politics, the media, sport, astrophysics and acting.”
It’s a darkly humorous look at people who have learned to live with their disability to an impressive level of “normality,” completing the picture by showing Niko’s numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the chemical company Gruenenthal, to talk about Thalidomide and its effects
About making the film, Niko’s wife told him that it was “time to look the devil in the eye.” And has he explains, “It was the first real cinema film, historically, made by a disabled director about disability.” In 2009, the film won the German Film Award for Best Documentary.
Von Glasow asked himself, “What’s my biggest fear? And in his case, he says the answer was public nudity.
“People stare at me anyway, Niko explains.
“When I go to a beach with my swimming suit on people stare even more, so I don’t go to beaches. I had to find 11 other thalidomiders who strip naked for a calendar and I became Mr. December. It became a dark but very funny comedy. I did it and now I feel better! More secure: in my soul, in my being, inside. Once you go into it, honesty is very healing.”
So… Dear OneWest Bank…
Lisa Ferrechia should not be in the position she is in today, two years behind on her mortgage and facing the loss of her home tomorrow at 3:00 PM… and she wouldn’t be except for you, and a crisis created by Wall Street’s investment bankers. This is NOT her fault… she has done nothing wrong except to listen to your bank and her government.
If you hadn’t told her to stop making her mortgage payments in order to get her loan modified, I don’t know what would have happened, but I do know she would have done something else… and because Lisa is a person infinitely better than me at overcoming life’s obstacles, I fully believe she would have overcome this one… were it not for OneWest Bank.
Do you, OneWest Bank really want to be the thing that beat her?
It is inconceivable that any of the “Richest Americans” that are OneWest Bank’s owners, would want the bank’s management to do anything but STOP THIS SALE and do everything possible and then some, to keep Lisa in her home.
And I’m sorry if you or anyone else feels that I’ve been unfairly harsh here. I assure you that I take no pleasure in any of this. With every article I write, come prayers that it will be the last I ever need to write in this regard.
This article took me over 18 hours to write. I started early on Saturday morning, worked on it until 11:00 PM on Saturday night. Picked it up on Sunday morning at 7:00 AM and as I’m wrapping up now my clock reads 5:35 PM. And the whole time I knew that Lisa would be wondering whether I would be writing something about her situation, as the research involved made it take a long time to get done.
And sure enough, when I just now called the law firm who is representing Lisa to get her loan number, I was told that she has been watching my blog… waiting to see if there was anything left on which she could pin her hopes. The law firm said that I would be… but Lisa, obviously preparing for the worst, replied: “Miracles like that just don’t happen for people like me.”
I wish more than anything that I could turn back the clock for Lisa Ferrechia and all of the other thalidomide babies… all the way back to the years 1957 – 1961. I wish I could go back and stop what is referred to as, ”One of the biggest medical tragedies of modern times” from ever happening…. I know I can’t, of course… but I want more than anything to be the miracle she needs.
I wish that I could stop her home from being taken away from her… but I can’t DO that either. All I can DO is write about this tragic situation in an effort to stop it from worsening. I just don’t know what else I can possibly DO…
BUT LUCKILY MY DOERS DO… AM I RIGHT, DOERS?
You know exactly what to DO in an effort to stop Lisa’s home from being sold out from under her… I know you DO. And time is really of the essence here, so let’s DO this in a BIG way for Lisa… it’s Sunday, so everyone has time, right?
Let’s DO together what I couldn’t possibly DO alone… Let’s be her miracle.
I assume you have Lisa’s phone number in your records, and you should also have contact information for the law firm that represents her, but just in case contact…
Lombardi & Stephenson, Attorneys at Law
Ph. 781-396-4663 Ext. 2205
HERE’S ONEWEST CONTACT INFO:
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Suggestion from a DOER add:
Joseph M. Otting
Chief Executive Officer, President & Director
Corporate Offices Ph. 626-535-2500
Toll Free: 800-669-2300
Associate General Counsel
Default Escalation Specialist
ONE MORE THING…
Make no mistake, although Lisa doesn’t see it this way… this country OWES Lisa, big time.
In 1900, the Canadian government finally compensated thalidomiders with an award of $7.5 million, roughly just $100,000 each, as far as I can tell. And that’s just not enough considering that government failed to properly warn the public of the dangers involved in using the drug. Our government, it seems, has done nothing to compensate the victims of this unnecessary tragedy.
SIGN A PETITION seeking justice and dignity for thalidomiders worldwide.
The thalidomide tragedy was Europe’s worst man-made disaster outside of war or genocide since 1945. It came about because a greedy pharmaceutical company put profit ahead of humanity and because German politicians colluded with the profiteers to give the drug the best possible launch pad. Early warning signs were ignored and even discredited, evidence of birth defects was dismissed and thousands more babies were damaged needlessly. The German state allowed the survivors to have their rights trampled underfoot while Chemie Grunenthal continued to prosper.
This was a company that had its roots in the Nazi death camps and was staffed by unrepentant, former Nazis. This was their last, unpunished crime against humanity. It is time that the German Government recognized its own culpability and made a settlement with thalidomide survivors wherever they are and whoever they are. We believe that not doing so continues to heap shame on the German people.