New York Attorney General and leading Justice Democrat Eric Schneiderman has had a pretty great week.
First, a federal judge allowed him and Delaware AG Beau Biden to intervene in the Bank of New York/Bank of America settlement. Bank of New York, a trustee for a huge number of residential mortgage backed securities, had agreed to a paltry settlement with Bank of America. When it was announced, numerous other investors objected to the settlement terms. Schneiderman and Biden objected on the grounds that it left out thousands of other investors whose interests weren’t being served by the small deal negotiated by BoNY. In the ruling, Judge William Pauley wrote:
“This action concerns far more than the financial interests of a few sophisticated investors,” the judge wrote. “And the intervention of the state AGs in this action will protect the interests of absent investors.”
This ruling will allow litigation to proceed with Schneiderman and Biden. Perhaps more importantly, though, it provides Schneiderman and Biden with tremendous leverage over Bank of America and Bank of New York – leverage which may be able to be applied to the robosigning investigations these Attorneys General are now conducting.
Also of note, the Steven J. Baum law firm is closing. The firm most recently made headlines when its staff dressed up as homeless foreclosure victims at a staff cocktail party. The outrageous costumes prompted protests by Occupy Buffalo and anger around the country. Beyond being jerks, the Baum law firm was one of New York’s largest foreclosure mills. They helped banks steal thousands of homes and sought reduced legal standards for foreclosures. Them going out of business is great news for homeowners and a good sign that people who steal homes illegally are finding life harder and harder, especially if they make fun of Americans while they’re stealing their homes.
Between the energy of Occupy Wall Street and the progress made by justice Democrats like Schneiderman, Biden, and Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto, it’s clear that the big banks aren’t having things as easy as they used to have it.