Legal Ethics

Onetime king of foreclosure firm grossing up to $260M annually is disbarred

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Once the Florida attorney in charge of a so-called foreclosure mill law firm operation that at one point handled as many as 100,000 foreclosure cases and grossed $260 million in 2009, David J. Stern has now been disbarred.

However, others continue to clean up the mess that his firm made of a number of matters. Several years ago, Stern’s firm abandoned the foreclosure cases it had filed for lenders and mortgage servicers after two major clients pulled their business and the legal operation collapsed, according to the Palm Beach Post and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (reg. req.).

“I just returned from court today on an old David J. Stern case,” foreclosure defense attorney Matt Weidner told the Post last week. “Courts all across this state are still filled with the garbage poured into them.”

Last week’s disbarment order by the state supreme court had been expected, after Stern agreed last year to be disciplined by consent.

His lawyer, Jeff Tew, told the newspapers his client did not wish to comment and Tew also declined to comment when contacted Monday by the ABA Journal.

A disbarment recommendation by a disciplinary referee noted dubious practices by Stern’s firm, and supervisory failings and a lack of remorse expressed on his part.

In 2010, near the top of his game, Stern sold his Plantation-based back office foreclosure-processing support company, DJSP Enterprises, for almost $60 million.

The next year, as his law firm collapsed, he put $20 million side-by-side Hillsboro Beach estate properties and an $18 million yacht on the market, according to the Sun-Sentinel (reg. req.). A vacation home in Vail, Colo., owned by his wife was offered for sale earlier at $6.9 million, still leaving Stern with a $15 million home in Fort Lauderdale and a $5.9 million condo in Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Mother Jones also has a story.

Earlier coverage: (Aug. 2010): “‘Like Hamsters in a Cage’: Foreclosure Firm Cut Corners to Make Money, Story Says” (March 2011): “Law Firm of Fla. ‘Foreclosure King’ to Close; It and Affiliated Company Once Had 1,200 Workers” (March 2011): “What to Do with 9,000 Abandoned Cases in One County? Chief Judge Isn’t Sure, Researches Options” (Jan. 2012): “Onetime Foreclosure King Facing Multiple Suits Now Turns to New Venture: Five Guys Burgers and Fries”

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