The firm had already been denounced by consumers and consumer advocates for its work on behalf of lenders even before the "robo-signing" controversy thrust it into the middle of a nationwide crisis over the legitimacy of the legal process underpinning many foreclosures. Since then, the firm has been criticized for participating in "robo-signing" and allegedly improper foreclosures, with critics saying it helped speed up foreclosures to benefit its lender clients by allegedly authorizing the "assignment" or transfer of mortgages from one lender to another when critics say it lacked authority to do so.
And it's been vilified by advocates, other attorneys, politicians and even judges for submitting sloppy and allegedly fraudulent paperwork that is riddled with legal errors, including faulty affidavits and notarizations. The firm last month agreed to pay a $2 million fine and change its practices to settle a federal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, but it's also under investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has subpoenaed the firm and people associated with it. Most recently, Cong. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, launched an investigation into Baum, and wrote to the firm to request documents.
But what really seems to have accelerated the demise of the firm were photos that recently emerged into the national spotlight from the firm's Halloween party last year, at which Baum employees dressed up as foreclosure victims and attorneys, mocking and ridiculing them. In one case, a New York City attorney who had sued Baum in a class-action case and then fought off a defamation suit from Baum, was depicted in a rather macabre scene.
More at Buffalo News. (thanks, EC!)
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.