Great story from Bloomberg:
- "He charges $7,775 for the 4-day program, which covers 3,000 pages of materials, lodging, food and unlimited wine, beer and single-malt Scotch."
This paragraph was of interest:
While Charney considers Gardner a mentor, she said she disagrees with his assertion that servicers likely produced false affidavits and other documents because of the time and expense involved in pulling the originals from custodians. Charney, who also trains lawyers how to defend clients’ homes, said the mortgage firms simply don’t have the documents. Gardner advocates using mortgage firms’ faulty evidence as leverage to secure affordable loan modifications for clients and have creditors cover all attorney fees.
Consumer lawyers have been traveling to a remote 160-acre farm in the mountains of western North Carolina since 2006 to network, drink Scotch and prepare for legal combat in foreclosure and bankruptcy cases.
They arrive in groups of a dozen or so for a four-day boot camp where they learn how to protect their clients’ assets by exploiting the mistakes of creditors. Attendees these days are especially keen on strategies to fend off mortgage lenders and servicers seeking to seize their clients’ homes.
Their instructor is O. Max Gardner III, a 65-year-old bankruptcy litigator and grandson of a North Carolina governor, who was using flaws in mortgage servicing to stave off lenders years before cases involving shoddy paperwork spurred this month’s investigation of the industry by the attorneys general of all 50 states. He charges $7,775 for the program, which covers 3,000 pages of materials, lodging, food and unlimited wine, beer and single-malt Scotch.
“My time with Max changed the trajectory of my legal career,” Nick Wooten, a 40-year-old Alabama attorney who changed his focus from personal injury to bankruptcy and foreclosure after attending the boot camp in 2007, said in a telephone interview. “Knowledge is power, and one thing he is able to give in his boot camp is a tremendous amount of knowledge about how the other side operates.”
Participants, who are admitted only after a background check confirms that they don’t work for creditors, gain access to a private e-mail distribution list where they share legal strategies, documents and advice. Linda Tirelli, a consumer- bankruptcy attorney in New York and Connecticut and one of the 599 people who have gone through the program, said she feels like she’s now part of a big law firm.
While Gardner and some of his graduates have been winning settlements for years, it wasn’t until Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit said Sept. 20 it was halting some evictions that foreclosure documentation and the use of robo-signers became a national issue that threatened to stall sales of repossessed homes and gave investors ammunition in their fight to force banks to buy back billions of dollars of mortgage- linked securities.
“We had a steep hill to climb to convince the judges that the largest financial institutions in America were engaged in this kind of conduct,” Gardner said in an interview during a break in this month’s session.
Reuters also ran a good piece on Gardner today:
U.S. lawyer forms foreclosure resistance movement