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Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL 33405 (561) 847-3443 July 21, 2010 Addresses for FOIA requests: Federal Trade Commission: Joan Fina FOIA/PA Officer 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20580 Housing and Urban Development: Cynthia A. O'Connor Executive Secretary Room 10139 451 7th Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20410 Securities and Exchange Commission Celia Winter FOIA/Privacy Act Branch Chief Mail Stop 5100 100 F Street, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20549 FOIA REQUEST Fee waiver requested Expedited processing requested Dear FOIA Officer: Pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, Legalprise, Inc. requests access to and copies of all communications and documents regarding the regulation of law firms that file and prosecute foreclosure lawsuits. This request is being sent to the FTC, FHA/HUD, and SEC. Legalprise, Inc.’s purpose in seeking this information stems from the following actions on behalf of each agency individually and collectively: Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has initiated and moved forward with regulation aimed, in part, at licensed attorneys working on behalf of foreclosure defendants. The FTC’s stated motivation for regulation is an allegation that the foreclosure defense bar 1
consistently engages in consumer fraud. While it is true that particular foreclosure defense attorneys acted in contravention of the ethical regulations of their state’s bar, those attorneys represent a nominal fraction of foreclosure defense attorneys, were promptly disciplined by their state’s bar, and have otherwise been managed by the legal community. Because the actions of a few attorneys hardly represents a systemic issue within the foreclosure defense bar, and because only approximately 3% of homeowners retain counsel, regulations that further restrict the availability of licensed legal representation only exacerbate the housing crisis. Further, conspicuously absent from the regulation’s purview are restrictions on foreclosure prosecution attorneys. The documents attached to this request as “Appendix A” and “Appendix B” demonstrate the need for such regulation because they regard unethical conduct by Florida’s largest “foreclosure mill,” The Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A. despite previous bar sanction. Federal Housing Association/Department of Housing & Urban Development. The FHA/HUD is closely involved with 100-percent government owned entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (FMFM). FHA/HUD/FMFM run a direct sourcing program in which mortgaging servicing companies refer foreclosure files to law firms. Firms in the program are allowed to submit less documentation than firms not in the program. The Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A., to the best of our knowledge and belief, is in the direct sourcing program. However, the firm’s lead attorney, David J. Stern, pled guilty to filing false affidavits while prosecuting foreclosures in 2002 and, further, was cited for engaging in the unlicensed practice of law and fraudulently inflating fees. [Appendix A]. Please explain the process used to screen, select, and monitor firms in this program and disclose all communications regarding the program and its handling of Mr. Stern’s law firm, specifically, and any other ethical issues relating to other “foreclosure mills.” Also, please disclose the direct and/or indirect involvement in the development of the direct referral program and the selection of it’s participating law firms by registered lobbyist David Alberto R. Cardenas, who served on the Board of Directors of Fannie Mae from 1985 to 19901 and who’s law firm, Tew Cardenas, LLP has represented David J. Stern since at least 2002, the date of the above-referenced matter. [Appendix A]. Securities & Exchange Commission. Mr. Stern recently took public the “back-office” processing component of his law firm, trading under ticker “DJSP.” The prospectus of DJSP indentifies that the company’s core product, foreclosure processing, may constitute the unlicensed practice of law but fails to disclose that its former iteration was disciplined by the Florida Bar for exactly that same infraction, nor that the discipline included a guilty plea for filing false affidavits2. Please explain why the SEC is allowing DJSP stock to continue trading given that the company failed to disclose it’s prior dealings with the Florida Bar and continues to operate in direct violation of the findings and mandates of the Florida Bar by processing 6,000 foreclosures per month under the names of only approximately 15 attorneys. Additionally, please also disclose any enhanced due diligence steps the SEC took to protect the public from Mr. Stern, the CEO of DJSP, who has a history of filing materially false and misleading documents in official proceedings. 1 http://www.tewlaw.com/attorneys/cardenas‐alberto/ 2 http://google.brand.edgar‐online.com/displayfilinginfo.aspx?FilingID=7333260‐50390‐
100834&type=sect&TabIndex=2&companyid=784122&ppu=%252fdefault.aspx%253fsym%253dDJSP, page 11
All Agencies. Please disclose the names of all decision makers responsible for monitoring ethical compliance and the specific policies and procedures of such monitoring, including all documents related to the ethical or financial ramifications involved with high-volume foreclosure filers. Where possible, Legalprise, Inc. would like to receive all information produced as a result of this request in electronic format. If Legalprise, Inc.’s request is denied in whole or part, it asks that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. It also expects you to release all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material. Legalprise, Inc. also reserves the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to deny a waiver of fees. Please waive any applicable fees. Release of the information requested is in the public’s interest because it will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of government operations and activities. The information sought is in the public's interest because the current housing crisis is, in part, a result of the reckless and fraudulent prosecution of foreclosure suits by “foreclosure mill” law firms. Legalprise, Inc. intends to immediately aggregate and publicly disseminate any information obtained as a result of this request in order to spotlight the inadequate attention given to “foreclosure mill” practices. It is Legalprise’s hope that raising awareness of the issue will lead to legislative or administrative action in the near future. Legalprise, Inc. requests expedited processing of this request because it concerns a matter of urgency. As a research company that works closely with journalists, homeowner advocates, and licensed attorneys, Legalprise, Inc. is primarily engaged in disseminating information for public benefit. The public has an urgent need for information about discussions related to potential regulations of foreclosure prosecution practices because informed members of the public might contribute through lobbying or other contacts with public officials, and, in these instances, delay would deny the public of its ability to make known its views in a timely manner. We, on behalf of Legalprise, Inc., certify that its statements concerning the need for expedited processing are true and correct to the best of our knowledge and belief. Legalprise, Inc., its owners, and the undersigned foreclosure advocates look forward to your reply within 20 business days, as the statute requires. Thank you for your assistance.
/s/ Michael Olenick Michael Olenick, Esq. Owner, CEO Legalprise, Inc. West Palm Beach, FL Cosigners: /s/ Chip Parker Chip Parker, Esq. Managing Partner Parker & DuFresne, P.A. Jacksonville, FL /s/ Matt D. Weidner Matt D. Weidner, Esq. Managing Partner Law Office of Matt Weidner, P.A St. Petersburg, FL /s/ Gary Baker Gary Baker, Esq. Managing Partner Porto & Baker, PLLC Tampa, FL /s/ J. Kevin Benjamin J. Kevin Benjamin, Esq. Managing Partner Benjamin Legal Services, P.L.C. Chicago, IL /s/ Curran Porto Curran Porto, Esq. Managing Partner Porto & Baker, PLLC Tampa, FL
/s/ Jay T. Hollenkamp Jay T. Hollenkamp, Esq. Owner, CFO Legalprise, Inc. West Palm Beach, FL
/s/ Richard Shuster Richard Shuster, Esq. Managing Partner Shuster & Saben, LLC Fort Lauderdale, FL /s/ Seldon J. Childers Seldon J. Childers President, Founder Childers Law, LLC Gainesville, FL /s/ Gregory Bryl Gregory Bryl, Esq. President, Founder Bryl Law Offices, LLC Washington, DC /s/ Emmett F. Robinson Emmett F. Robinson, Esq. President, Founder The Law Office of E. F. Robinson Washington, DC /s/ Andrew D. Tarr Andrew D. Tarr, Esq. President, Founder The Law Office of Andrew D. Tarr, P.A. Sunny Isles Beach, FL
/s/ Ashley G. Abano Ashley G. Abano, Esq. President, Founder Law Offices of Ashley G. Abano, APLC San Diego, CA /s/ Louise T. Hornsby Louise T. Hornsby, Esq. President, Founder Hornsby & Associates, LLC Atlanta, GA
/s/ Richard A. Hall Richard A. Hall, Esq. President, Founder BottomLine Lawyers Auburn, CA /s/ Prince A. Donnahoe IV Prince A. Donnahoe IV, Esq. President, Founder Prince A. Donnahoe IV, P.A. Cooper City, FL /s/ George Gingo George Gingo, Esq. Mims, FL
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