Law Firms

Law Firm that Apologized for Costumes Is Barred from Freddie and Fannie Foreclosure Work

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A law firm in the news because of a Halloween party has been barred from new foreclosure work in New York state by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Steven J. Baum law firm is no longer in the network of firms approved for foreclosure work by the two mortgage giants, the New York Law Journal reports. The firm is the largest foreclosure firm in New York state.

The Baum firm will be allowed to continue with its current cases, but servicers of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgages may not hire the firm for future foreclosures, the story says.

Steven Baum tells the New York Law Journal that the decision is “unfortunate” and “it seemed to be based more on politics than performance.”

The firm was recently in the news after a New York Times columnist obtained photos of a 2010 Halloween party in which firm employees wore costumes that appeared to mock homeowners targeted in the firm’s cases. Some dressed as homeless people, and one held a sign that read, “I lost my home and I was never served.” Steven Baum later apologized on behalf of the firm.

In early October, the firm agreed to pay $2 million to settle a federal probe into misleading foreclosure practices. At the time, Steven Baum acknowledged some “inadvertent errors” but no wrongdoing.

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