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Accesso Partners Obtain $88M Commercial Refi, Which Benefits from a Jumbo Appraisal Spike

According to report below and assuming 75 percent LTV, the buildings 2018 valuation is around $117M, a whopping $41M gain in 2 years from a $76k valuation in 2017.

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Is a loan default looming for this Loop office tower?

“Morningstar dropped its estimated value of the property to $76.3 million, barely more than its debt and well below its appraised value of $101 million in 2014.”

FEB 1, 2017 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: APR 15, 2022

HOW DID ACCESSO OBTAIN A $87.6M COMMERCIAL REFI ON A PROPERTY VALUED AT $76K 2 YEARS EARLIER?

“Accesso Partners just landed a huge refinance loan on their 29-story office tower at 230 West Monroe St – The Florida based office landlord secured $87.6 million….” – The Real Deal (fair use)

Hyatt Hotels’ decision to move its Chicago offices to a new riverside high-rise is leaving a Loop landlord in the lurch.

The hotel company is vacating about 75,000 square feet in the 23-story tower office building at 200 W. Monroe St., a big hole to fill for the property’s owner, Accesso Partners.

With the departure of Hyatt and another tenant expected to leave, Accesso could have trouble covering payments on the property’s $75 million mortgage, according to a report from Morningstar Credit Ratings, a unit of Chicago-based investment research firm Morningstar.

“Without significant new leasing, Morningstar is concerned that the debt service coverage ratio could fall below break-even and push the loan into default,”

Morningstar analysts wrote.

The situation illustrates the secondary impacts that ripple through the downtown office market when developers build new towers.

Though the Chicago office market is strong, it’s often a zero-sum game, especially when it comes to construction: Developers usually steal tenants from existing buildings to meet pre-leasing requirements so they can obtain construction financing for their projects.

In this case, the winner is Chicago developer John O’Donnell, who persuaded Hyatt in 2014 to move its headquarters to a new 53-story high-rise he’s wrapping up on the west bank of the Chicago River, at 150 N. Riverside Plaza. [Ben Gurion Way, 30 S. Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60606].

The losers

The owners of Hyatt’s current headquarters, at 71 S. Wacker Drive, where Hyatt leases about 200,000 square feet, and Accesso.

Accesso bought 200 W. Monroe in 2014, less than a year before Hyatt decided to leave the building.

The Hallandale Beach, Fla.-based investment firm owns about 536,000 square feet at 200 W. Monroe.

The 2014 sale did not include about 113,000 square feet owned by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Hyatt’s lease expires in December, so Accesso still has time to find one or more new tenants to replace Hyatt, its largest tenant. As of last September, Accesso’s share of the building was 70 percent occupied, according to Morningstar.

Complicating matters for Accesso

Another big tenant, National Education Servicing, also is expected to move out, according to the report.

The firm, which services student loans, occupies about 28,000 square feet in the building under a lease that expires in May.

Accesso is marketing the space for lease, according to CoStar Group, evidence that National Education could be moving out.

Together, Hyatt and National Education lease 19 percent of Accesso’s share of the building.

“We are aware of the two lease expirations at 200 West Monroe,”

Accesso said in a statement.

“We are talking with the tenants and marketing the space to other companies as well.”

After this story was published, Accesso released a second statement saying that it bought the building knowing that it could lose some tenants.

“We identified 200 West Monroe as a value-add acquisition,”

the statement said.

“As part of our business plan, we evaluated the rent roll, and nothing that has occurred was unanticipated. We have the capital committed to execute that plan.”

A representative of National Education and the firm’s real estate broker did not return calls.

Accesso paid $100 million for its space at 200 W. Monroe, financing the acquisition with a $75 million loan.

The mortgage was then split up into two pieces—one totaling $50 million and the other $25 million—which were packaged with other real estate loans and sold in two commercial mortgage-backed securities offerings sponsored by JPMorgan Chase.

The property currently generates enough cash flow to cover its $3.5 million in annual debt payments.

But it will slip into the red when Hyatt and National Education stop paying rent, unless Accesso can re-lease their space, according to Morningstar.

As a result, Morningstar dropped its estimated value of the property to $76.3 million, barely more than its debt and well below its appraised value of $101 million in 2014.

The Beach Bum Series from LIF: Natalie Goldstien Weinkle

Greater Miami Jewish Federation Elects New Board

MAY 31, 2020 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: APR 15, 2022

The Greater Miami Jewish Foundation, Florida

The Greater Miami Jewish Federation has elected long-time community leader Isaac K. “Ike” Fisher as Chair of the Board at its 82nd Annual Meeting, held on May 26 via Zoom.

A full slate of Officers and Board Members was also elected and will take office July 1, 2020.

Ariel Bentata, who was installed as a Federation Vice Chair, will serve as Federation General Campaign Chair – a position responsible for leading the Annual Greater Miami Jewish Federation/United Jewish Appeal fundraising efforts.

Fisher most recently served as a Federation Vice Chair and General Campaign Chair.

He previously served as Treasurer and an Executive Committee member. A leader in Federation’s Real Estate Division, he also serves on the National Board of Directors of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Fisher is a principal of Capital Realty Services, a diversified real estate company providing management, leasing, financing, sales and consulting services for commercial investments.

Capital Realty Services Inc. Website is Now [Kinda] Password Protected

– But this is How it Looked Recently

Bio of Ike Fisher

Isaac “Ike” K. Fisher grew up in Hollywood, Florida. He came to live and work in Miami after graduating from the University of Florida College of Law, previously receiving his undergraduate education at The George Washington University, Washington D.C.

Mr. Fisher is a real estate investor and a principal of Capital Realty Services, Inc., a diversified real estate company providing management, leasing, financing, sales and consulting services for commercial investments.

He has been a partner in commercial real estate with Robert G. Berrin through Capital Realty since 1988.

Prior to joining Capital Realty, he was vice president of Sonnenblick-Goldman Southeast Corp.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Fisher practiced law in a variety of capacities in Florida and in Tel Aviv, Israel.

He is a member of the Florida Bar, and an inactive member of the Israel Chamber of Advocates.

He is active in Jewish philanthropies and other national and community charitable organizations.

He currently serves on the national Board of Directors of AIPAC and is the Financial Management Chair and serves on the Executive Board of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

He resides in Coral Gables, Florida and Tel Aviv, Israel.

His daughter Rachel is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin and his son Cobi attends Indiana University.

Ariel Bentata

Bentata most recently served as Federation Major Gifts Chair.

He is a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee and the International Division.

He is also a recipient of the Stanley C. Myers Presidents’ Leadership Award.

He was a member of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) National Young Leadership Cabinet and served as Chairman of the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center, leading its capital campaign to build a new educational and cultural building along with completing major renovations to existing buildings.

Bentata is founding and managing partner of investments for Accesso, LLC, a full-service, vertically-integrated commercial real estate investment management company.

“These two roles are key to the success and wellbeing of our entire Jewish community,”

said Federation President and CEO Jacob Solomon.

“In this time of great uncertainty with the COVID-19 crisis, we need steady and bold leadership as a community to help us navigate the challenges ahead and to meet the extraordinary needs of the most vulnerable.”

Solomon added,

“It is also critical to address the financial security of our Jewish community institutions so the thousands of people who rely on them will continue to be able to do so in the future. Mobilizing human and financial resources is at the heart of Federation’s mission and both Ike and Ariel will serve as tremendous leaders for our community.”

To learn more about the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, visit www.JewishMiami.org or call 305.576.4000.

The Beach Bum Series from LIF: Jordan Weinkle

Florida office investor warms up to Chicago

Beacon Investment Properties LLC took a decade to buy its first office building in the Chicago area, but the Florida-based real estate fund manager is making up for lost time.

Managing member Ariel Bentata, who left behind a career as a lawyer to co-found the firm in 2003, remains on the hunt for new deals here even after a whirlwind of four acquisitions for nearly $233 million combined since Oct. 30.

That includes two Loop towers, one in west suburban Naperville and one in northwest suburban Buffalo Grove.

Mr. Bentata, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, whose firm invests on behalf of wealthy individuals and institutional investors from South America and Israel, believes Beacon’s foray into Chicago is well-timed, with high-yield deals available in the suburbs and downtown prices rising yet still a relative bargain compared with major cities on the coasts.

“We feel that Chicago has better opportunities than the gateway markets in the East and West,”

said Mr. Bentata, 44, who is based in Florida.

“Pricing feels very reasonable, trading well below replacement cost, with a rapidly expanding office-using employment base and a lot of educated workers. We see a great opportunity.”

After a law career that included a stint with MTV Networks Latin America Inc., Mr. Bentata decided to shift from investing on the side to helping create a real estate firm.

Hallandale Beach, Florida-based Beacon has built an 8 million-square-foot office portfolio with properties in its home area of South Florida, as well as Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Minneapolis, Denver, Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and, most recently, Chicago. It has $1.4 billion in assets under management.

Late last year, Beacon spent $24 million on a building at 215 Shuman Blvd. in Naperville

and

$63.8 million on the tower at 20 N. Clark St. downtown.

In May, it added Riverwalk II at 2100 E. Lake Cook Road in Buffalo Grove for $45 million

and

the tower at 200 W. Monroe St. in the Loop for $100 million.

Beacon looks to continue expanding its portfolio in 2014, including in Chicago, Mr. Bentata said.

He recently shared his perspectives on the Chicago-area office market. Here are edited excerpts of that interview:

Crain’s: What are the advantages of assembling a portfolio in the Chicago area, rather than just buying one building?

Mr. Bentata: There’s multiple aspects of that.

There’s personnel you have in a market, taking advantage of your time when you travel to a city, and knowledge of a market and the brokers and principals who may want to do off-market deals with you.

And there’s purchasing power with vendors.

After your initial flurry in Chicago, are you being presented with a lot more potential deals?

Yesterday, a broker told us,

“That was the smoothest transaction of my life.”

We close on time and we don’t retrade. We’re easy to deal with and we do things quickly. That’s a message that has gotten out, and that causes people to call you. There are no committees or bureaucracies of any kind. When there’s a handshake there’s a deal, and the deal is going to get done quickly.

Chicago has seen a wave of new office buyers, particularly foreign investors. Why is that?

The U.S. is one of the best markets to invest in for many foreign associations. Chicago is at the top of mind for many foreign people. After New York and maybe (Washington) D.C., it’s one of the cities they recognize.

The economics are much more compelling than New York or San Francisco or Boston or D.C., the other markets they are maybe considering. Cap rates are extremely low and yields are extremely low (in coastal cities).

Some of these markets have hit all-time highs. They are trading at many times above replacement cost. The economics in those markets are not as compelling.

Many investors in Chicago have focused either on downtown or the suburbs, but Beacon has done both. How do you view the dynamics of each market?

There’s obviously more risk in the suburbs with the vacancy.

We view those deals as providing better returns. In the CBD, you generally have buildings that have more (rent) roll, sometimes they’re older, sometimes they need more amenities.

In the suburbs we’re finding Class A assets that are in great shape, with less rollover.

You’re still getting a good yield. In the suburbs you need to buy Class A buildings with good floor plates, amenities and location.

The suburbs have more risk, less absorption and more vacancy, so you need to be more careful with the properties you choose.

Do you think the brisk pace will continue for office deals in Chicago?

I think you’ll see a great deal of volume. People are taking advantage of great interest rates, and sellers are taking advantage of a robust market and pricing they haven’t seen in a long time.

But pricing is still very sensible in Chicago, and there is a nice rental growth rate, especially in the CBD.

The Beach Bum Series from LIF: Jordan Weinkle & Brian Abergel

230 West Monroe Office Tower In Chicago’s West Loop Acquired by Accesso Partners (Fomerly Beacon) in Joint Venture With Harel Investments for $122 Million

JUL 21, 2014 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: APR 15, 2022
Brian Rosen, Accesso and The Real Deal

West Monroe, a 29-story, Class A office tower in downtown Chicago’s West Loop, has been acquired by a joint venture between Accesso Partners, LLC, of Hallandale Beach, FL, formerly known as Beacon Investment Properties, and Harel Insurance, Investments and Financial Services, Ltd., Tel Aviv, for $122 million.

The 66% occupied 623,564 square-foot building, which had an extensive lobby renovation and elevator modernization in the last year, is Accesso’s fifth office property buy in the Chicago area in the last eight months.

Two months ago, an Accesso and Harel acquired the office tower next door, 200 West Monroe, a 23-story, 535,911 square foot Class A-property for $100 million.

The partnership plans to rebrand the two buildings as Monroe Plaza, a 1,159,584 square-foot office complex.

Jeff Bramson, senior managing director of HFF’s Chicago office which represented the sellers, said 20 U.S. institutional investors made offers on 230 West Monroe.

“But the Accesso/Harel joint venture made the best offer and had the best terms. Having worked with them on their acquisition of 200 West Monroe and the IDS Center in Minneapolis, we knew their joint venture would perform smoothly and swiftly for our clients and they did,” he added. “Once again, it was seamless.”

Jaime Fink, senior managing director and Mark Katz, managing director were also on the HFF sales team.

Susan Hill, managing director in HFF’s Houston office, arranged acquisition financing.

“We could not pass up the opportunity to own two adjacent Class A office towers in the West Loop,”

explained Ariel Bentata, co-founder and managing partner-investments of Accesso Partners..

“We also see the 34% vacancy factor in 230 Monroe, created when Wells Fargo Bank moved out, as a major plus with solid upside revenue potential. There is strong demand for downtown office space in Chicago—a large increase in new office using jobs was created in the first half of 2013–and we’re confident we can lease up both buildings at current market rates.”

Brian Rosen, Accesso’s managing director of acquisitions, said owning both buildings gives the partnership “obvious synergies and efficiencies” in leasing, operations, marketing and cross promoting retail tenants and amenities. ”

“More importantly, it gives tenants options and flexibility,”

Rosen said,

“because we can now accommodate more requests for office space of any size, for more upper-floor views or from tenants wishing to expand in the West Loop.”

Typical floor plates at 200 and 230 West Monroe measure 28,000 square feet and 24,000 square feet respectively.

Ron Lakin, senior vice president of CBRE Chicago and leasing broker for 200 West Monroe has been named by Accesso to represent both buildings. Lakin said the single ownership of the two towers and the rebranding as Monroe Plaza, “makes it more of a destination for tenants who want choices.”

The West Loop is prized by commuters or workers who use public transportation and Monroe Plaza is in the heart of the submarket. 230 West Monroe is one block from the Washington and Wells El station and four blocks from the Ogilvie Transportation Center and Metra’s Union Station.

Paul Gaines, director of asset management-Chicago and East Coast, said Accesso is already seeing a response to the “serious flexibility” now provided by the with adjacent office towers and by the “adaptability” of tenants who want a West Loop address.

“Several prospective tenants have told us they would be comfortable with part of their offices in 230 West Monroe which caters to smaller space users and the other part in 200 West Monroe which is configured for larger, full floor offices,” said Gaines

Looking ahead, Bentata contends Accesso Partners, which also owns 20 North Clark, a 35-story office tower in the Central Loop, will continue to look for acquisitions of buildings in downtown and in the areas strong submarkets to build “critical mass” in Chicago.

“We’re looking for properties in Class A locations where we can enhance value with physical upgrades and improve revenues with creative lease- up strategies.”

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Switzerland’s Partners Group Recaps $750M US Office Portfolio

Accesso Partners is maintaining an ownership interest in the eight office buildings and the company plans to do more deals with the Switzerland-based Partners Group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL–Locally based Accesso Partners has secured a $750 million recap for an eight-office tower portfolio by Partners Group of Baar-Zug, Switzerland. The portfolio covers 3.4 million square feet in major US cities, which Accesso has declined to name.

Partners Group is now the majority owner of the portfolio with Accesso continuing to provide asset management and property management services.

The properties offer further lease-up and value add opportunities, according to Fabian Nuenschwander, managing director and Co-Head, Private Real Estate Americas at Partners Group. He said they are located in submarkets with good access to housing, education and multiple modes of transport. Also, “the portfolio is well positioned with employers that view the workplace an essential tool to attract and retain talent,” Nuenschwander adds.

Brian Rosen, Accesso’s chief investment officer, says the transaction enables several of its investors to still participate in the future growth of the portfolio’s eight properties.
“Many, Many” More Deals

Rosen tells GlobeSt.com that Accesso plans to do “many, many” more deals with the Partners Group. “We will look for deals in our target markets that meet our joint criteria—assets in need of repositioning—where we can make major improvements in the buildings or the operations,” he says.

Rosen also notes that Accesso and Partners “look for urban locations or dense suburban locations,” adding that Accesso recently moved into its own five-story headquarters that it designed and developed. We are “aggressively looking at [acquiring] office towers in Miami and South Florida for the first time in several years,” he says. . West Point Advisors of New York and Eaton Partners of Norwalk, Conn. advised Accesso Partners on the joint venture.

Bankers

When the World’s Bankers and Governments Are Behavin’ Like Thieves and Criminals, It Really Is Time to Object, Vociferously

The appalling greed and corruption is playing out live since 2008 and without any accountability to the people. One Percenters are completely immune and laughing At You.

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Ukrainian who made appearance in Trump impeachment saga accused by U.S. of stealing, laundering billions

AUG 6, 2020 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAY 17, 2022

The Justice Department on Thursday accused a Ukrainian oligarch who has been considered an ally of Ukraine’s president of stealing billions of dollars from a bank he once owned, then using a vast array of companies to launder that money in the United States and all over the world.

In a civil forfeiture complaint seeking to seize commercial properties in Kentucky and Texas, the Justice Department alleged that Ihor Kolomoisky and his business partner, Gennadiy Boholiubov, stole so much from PrivatBank that Ukraine’s national bank had to give the institution a $5.5 billion bailout “to stave off economic crisis for the whole country.”

Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s richest men, has ties to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and he played a role in the events that led to President Trump’s impeachment last year. He made a fortune in the rough-and-tumble capitalism that swept Ukraine after the Soviet Union’s collapse, amassing assets including airlines and financial institutions, and created a larger-than-life image for himself, going by the nickname “Benya,” and keeping a shark aquarium in his office.

Kolomoisky and Boholiubov were the two major owners of PrivatBank before it was nationalized in response to the fraud, the Justice Department said, and the men basically used it as a personal account to build a business empire in the United States. They requested money from PrivatBank — which they always received because they were owners — then moved the funds through a network of companies to “thoroughly disguise their nature, source, ownership, and control,” the Justice Department alleged.

Experts have expressed increasing concern that U.S. real estate — including factories and facilities important to American industry — has become a magnet for foreign money, including proceeds of criminal activities abroad. Among Kolomoisky’s and Boholiubov’s purchases were more than 5 million square feet of commercial real estate in Ohio; steel plants in Kentucky, West Virginia and Michigan; a cellphone manufacturing plant in Illinois; and commercial real estate in Texas, the Justice Department alleged. The forfeiture complaints sought to seize a roughly 19.5-acre office park in Dallas and the PNC Plaza building in Louisville.

Michael J. Sullivan, a lawyer for Kolomoisky, said in an email: “Mr. Kolomoisky emphatically denies the allegations in the complaints filed by the Department of Justice.” The allegations, which are not criminal charges, are similar to those in a lawsuit filed by the bank in a Delaware court. A lawyer for Boholiubov did not reply to an email seeking comment.

In a statement written in Russian, Kolomoisky said all the money used to purchase the U.S. properties was his own, received through a deal made with a mining company in 2007 and 2008 and from other businesses that banked with Privatbank.

Kolomoisky also has long been facing a criminal probe by the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland for possible money laundering. As a part of that case, the FBI raided the office of Optima Management Group in downtown Cleveland on Tuesday, as well as an Optima office in the Southeast Financial Center building in Miami.

In court documents, the Justice Department alleged Thursday that two Miami-based business associates of Kolomoisky and Boholiubov’s — Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber — helped acquire and manage the oligarchs’ holdings in the United States, which often bear some version of the name “Optima.” Optima Ventures at one point became the “largest holder of commercial real estate in Cleveland,” using stolen funds to buy major downtown office buildings and a hotel, the Justice Department alleged.

Last year, Marc Kasowitz, a New York lawyer who also represents Trump, signed on to represent Kolomoisky and Boholiubov in the Delaware case. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Under Ukraine’s last president, Petro Poroshenko, the government nationalized Privatbank, alleging that Kolomoisky and one of his business partners had defrauded the bank of billions of dollars. Kolomoisky denied those charges but decamped from Kyiv to Israel, where he also holds citizenship. He retained political power in Ukraine through his business holdings, which include a major Ukrainian television station.

Kolomoisky is seen as an ally to Zelensky, who was an actor before his election, starring in a comedy show that aired on Kolomoisky’s network. Zelensky’s election was widely seen as a boon for Kolomoisky, particularly after the new president made Kolomoisky’s personal lawyer the head of his administration. Some in the United States were suspicious of Zelensky’s ties to the mogul, thinking the connection ran counter to Zelensky’s promises to pursue an anti-corruption and reformist agenda.

Since then, however, Zelensky has not supported returning control of Privatbank to the oligarch, and he fired that top aide. Still, Kolomoisky has been comfortable enough with Ukraine’s current leadership that he returned from a self-imposed exile in Tel Aviv and is again based in Kyiv, where he maintains connections to members of the presidential administration.

In spring 2019, when Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani embarked on a mission to press Zelensky to assist Trump by opening politically charged investigations into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Giuliani’s associates met with Kolomoisky to request that Giuliani get a sit-down with the rising Ukrainian politician.

Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman met with Kolomoisky in April 2019 in Tel Aviv, and, by all accounts, the meeting did not go well.

Giuliani associates claimed to have sway with both foreign billionaires and Trump administration officials

After the meeting, the two ­Florida-based business executives accused Kolomoisky of physically threatening them and filed a lawsuit against him in Ukraine. Parnas and Fruman, who assisted Giuliani in his Ukraine project, were charged in the United States with campaign finance violations last year. They have denied any wrongdoing.

Giuliani has said he provided legal advice to Parnas and Fruman in their fight against Kolomoisky. He also tweeted repeatedly about his displeasure with Kolomoisky in May 2019 just as he was pressuring Zelensky to assist Trump with a Biden investigation. At one point, Giuliani complained that Zelensky was being advised by “Kolomoisky’s representatives and enemies of President Trump.”

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Kolomoisky has told The Post that during the Tel Aviv meeting, Parnas and Fruman claimed that they could get top U.S. officials, including Vice President Pence and then-Energy Secretary Rick Perry, to travel to Ukraine around the time of Zelensky’s May 2019 inauguration — if Kolomoisky paid them several hundred thousand dollars. Kolomoisky did not pay the money, instead throwing the two men out of his office, his lawyer has said.

The attorney, Bruce Marks, told The Post that Kolomoisky had predicted to friends at the time: “This is going to end up in a bad scandal.”

Ukraine arrests ex-PrivatBank official as U.S. prioritizes criminal probe of former owners

FEB 26, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAY 17, 2022

The National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has arrested the former deputy chairman of a Ukrainian bank at the heart of an FBI criminal investigation as he attempted to fly abroad in the latest sign Kyiv is taking steps to tackle corruption and lawlessness.

Volodymyr Yatsenko was detained at Boryspil Airport in Kyiv on February 22 after investigators forced the pilot of the private jet he was traveling on to land, the bureau announced in a tweet.

Mr. Yatsenko, who was on his way to Vienna after reportedly being tipped off about his arrest, was charged with the embezzlement of funds at PrivatBank, once the nation’s largest lender.

More arrests of management could follow, the Kyiv Post reported.

The FBI is investigating the two owners of PrivatBank – Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov – in connection with accusations that more than $5 billion was stolen from the lender through fraudulent loans and that the money was then laundered.

In a move that made international headlines, Ukraine was forced to nationalize PrivatBank in 2016 and pump more than $5 billion into the lender in order to stave off its bankruptcy.

The U.S. accuses Messrs. Kolomoisky and Boholiubov of using some of the laundered proceeds to buy assets in the U. S., ranging from metals companies to commercial properties, with the help of two American associates based in Miami.

The Justice Department last year filed three civil forfeiture lawsuits in a Florida court against a U.S. real estate holding controlled by the two tycoons and run by the associates.

However, a judge agreed last week with a Justice Department request to temporarily suspend the civil forfeiture proceedings amid concerns it could harm the criminal investigation against the Ukrainian businessmen and their two American partners.

“Allowing [the tycoons] to conduct discovery would expose the identities of witnesses who have provided and will provide information and testimony in both the civil forfeiture actions and the criminal investigation,” the Justice Department said in its February 19 filing.

“If that occurs, the confidential informants may cease providing information, and, to the extent they are not reachable through process in the United States, they may make themselves unavailable for future testimony. Potential sources of information who have not yet been interviewed by the government would likely be deterred from coming forward” the Justice Department said in its filing.

The tycoons deny the accusations and neither Ukraine nor the United States has filed criminal charges against them.

Mr. Kolomoisky is one of the most influential tycoons in Ukraine and the U.S. government’s investigation into his activities is being closely followed.

The billionaire owns key media, energy, and metals assets and is believed to have outsized influence over the administration of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Mr. Kolomoisky’s TV stations backed Mr. Zelenskyy’s successful presidential bid.

The U.S., one of Ukraine’s biggest backers financially and militarily, has repeatedly expressed concern about oligarchic influence over the nation’s government and economy.

Washington has also complained about the lack of investigations into corrupt tycoons and officials and has tied some aid to improvements in judicial reform.

The arrest of Mr. Yatsenko, who was flying on a private plane owned by Mr. Kolomoisky, is the latest in a series of moves by Kyiv to tackle cases that resonate with the U.S.

Mr. Zelenskyy last week approved sanctions on Viktor Medvedchuk, a tycoon and lawmaker with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Medvedchuk was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2014 for undermining democracy in Ukraine.

On February 2, Mr. Zelenskyy sanctioned three television stations believed to be owned by Mr. Medvedchuk. In late January he announced an investigation into Ukrainian individuals accused of interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential elections.

The moves come after President Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20. Mr. Biden knows Ukraine well, having served as the point man to Kyiv while serving as vice president from 2009 to 2017.

Political analysts say Mr. Zelenskyy is seeking to win over the Biden administration after a difficult relationship with the Trump administration caused by the 2019 impeachment investigation.

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Bankers

In 2008 Two Ukrainians Would Plan to Steal over $5.5B from their Private Bank and Launder Wads Via Miami

The DOJ Press Release combined with the 11th Cir. opinion and district court cases in Southern Fl. are well worth the read if you want to learn about power, politics, corruption to avoid jail.

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United States Files Civil Forfeiture Complaint for Proceeds of Alleged Fraud and Theft from PrivatBank in Ukraine

JAN 20, 2022 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAY 17, 2022

The United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that more than $6 million in proceeds from the sale of commercial real estate in Dallas, Texas, which property was maintained and improved using the proceeds of embezzlement and fraud from PrivatBank in Ukraine, are subject to forfeiture based on violations of federal money laundering statutes.

This civil forfeiture action is the fourth such action filed in connection with the same alleged criminal activity.

In August 2020, the United States filed two actions in the Southern District of Florida alleging that commercial real estate in Dallas and Louisville, Kentucky, was acquired using funds illegally obtained from PrivatBank in Ukraine as part of a multibillion-dollar fraudulent loan scheme.

It filed a third suit in the same district in December 2020 alleging a property in Cleveland, Ohio, was similarly involved.

The four complaints allege that Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, who owned PrivatBank, one of the largest banks in Ukraine, embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars.

The two allegedly obtained fraudulent loans and lines of credit from approximately 2008 through 2016, when the scheme was uncovered and the bank was nationalized by the National Bank of Ukraine.

The complaints allege that they laundered a portion of the criminal proceeds using an array of shell companies’ bank accounts, primarily at PrivatBank’s Cyprus branch, before they transferred the funds to the United States.

As alleged in the complaints, Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber, who were associates of Kolomoisky and Boholiubov operating out of offices in Miami, created a web of entities, usually under some variation of the name “Optima,” to further launder the misappropriated funds.

They purchased hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate and businesses across the country, including commercial towers located at 8787 North Stemmons Freeway in Dallas (Stemmons Towers), which are the subject of this action, as well as the office tower known as 55 Public Square in Cleveland, a Louisville office tower known as PNC Plaza, and a Dallas office park known as the former CompuCom Headquarters.

The newest action alleges that several of the Optima entities, including Optima Ventures LLC, Optima 7171 LLC and Optima Stemmons LLC, used profits from the CompuCom Campus, which had originally been purchased using embezzled funds from PrivatBank, to pay for the improvement and maintenance of Stemmons Towers.

Optima Stemmons then sold Stemmons Towers in 2019 using a seller financing agreement, under which more than $6 million in principal and interest is still owed to a specially-created entity owned by Optima Ventures named 87STE LLC.

The United States seeks to forfeit the promissory note and deed of trust related to that financing agreement, which includes the right to receive payments due pursuant to the deed and its associated sales contract.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office made the announcement.

FBI’s Cleveland Field Office is investigating the case with support from FBI’s International Corruption Unit and IRS Criminal Investigation.

Trial Attorneys Shai D. Bronshtein and Rachel Goldstein of the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section are handling these cases.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs has provided substantial assistance in the investigation.

The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies, and often with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, who work to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those recovered assets to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office.

In 2015, the FBI formed International Corruption Squads across the country to address national and international implications of foreign corruption. Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to kleptocracy@usdoj.gov or https://tips.fbi.gov/.

A civil complaint is merely an allegation, and the government has the burden of establishing that assets are subject to forfeiture by a preponderance of the evidence.

Attachment(s):
Download PrivatBank Stemmons Complaint.pdf

Topic(s):
Financial Fraud
Component(s):
Criminal Division
Criminal – Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section
Press Release Number:
22-47

United States v. The Promissory Note With a Principal Amount of $5.7 Million, Executed on December 19, 2019 by 8787 Ricchi, LLC, Payable to 87STE Lending LLC

(1:22-cv-20238)

District Court, S.D. Florida

 

Howard Milton Srebnick
Robert Tully Dunlap
Black Srebnick, P.A.
201 S Biscayne Blvd
Ste 1300
Miami, FL 33131

Shai Bronshtein
U.S. Department of Justice,
Criminal Division,
Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section
1400 New York Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20005

In the United States Court of Appeals
For the Eleventh Circuit

[DO NOT PUBLISH – SURE!]

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
versus
REAL PROPERTY LOCATED AT 55 PUBLIC SQUARE, CLEVELAND, OHIO, URIEL LABER, et al.,

MAY 17, 2022 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAY 17, 2022

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

D.C. Docket Nos. 1:20-cv-23278-MGC, 1:20-cv-25313-MGC

Before ROSENBAUM, JILL PRYOR, and GRANT, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM

This case arises out of an in rem civil-forfeiture action filed by the government against an office building in Cleveland, Ohio, allegedly bought as part of an international money-laundering scheme.

When the government filed its complaint, the building was under contract to be sold by the building’s owners (and alleged money-launderers) to an unaffiliated third party.

The government agreed to go forward with the sale while the forfeiture case proceeded, and it filed a motion requesting the court’s approval for an uncontested interlocutory sale under Rule G(7)(b) of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture.

The court authorized the sale, which closed in February 2021, and the sale proceeds were substituted for the building as the res in the forfeiture proceeding.

Appellant Law Offices of Cleveland (“Cleveland Law”), a tenant at the office building and a claimant in the forfeiture case, timely appealed the interlocutory sale order, seeking to set aside the sale as “void” for lack of compliance with, in its view, necessary procedural requirements.

After careful review, we conclude that Cleveland Law was not harmed by and so lacks standing to appeal the sale order.

We therefore dismiss the appeal.

I.

In December 2020, the United States filed an in rem civil- forfeiture action against the building located at 55 Public Square in Cleveland, Ohio.

In essence, the complaint alleged that 55 Public Square was purchased as part of a scheme to launder hundreds of millions of dollars misappropriated from PrivatBank, a Ukrainian bank, by two Ukrainian oligarchs, Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov.

The government filed two other forfeiture actions arising out of the same scheme.

Several individuals and businesses claimed an interest in 55 Public Square.

On January 19, 2021, four entities and persons allegedly involved in the money-laundering scheme filed claims:

Optima 55 Public Square LLC, the record owner of the building;

Optima Ventures LLC, which owned Optima 55 Public Square;

and

Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber, who partially owned Optima Ventures (collectively, the Optima entities).

On January 26, 2021, Cleveland Law, a tenant at 55 Public Square that subleases office space to small law firms and solo practitioners, filed a claim asserting a leasehold interest in the property.

A few days later, several other claimants who had been in litigation against the Optima entities filed a joint claim.

On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, the district court held a status hearing, at which counsel for Cleveland Law was present.

At the hearing, counsel for the Optima entities stated that there was “an anticipated closing on the sale of [55 Public Square] scheduled for … this week,” and that the funds from the sale would be held pending the outcome of the litigation.

The court asked the government if it objected, and counsel for the government responded that it did not object and would soon file a motion to approve the sale.

At no point during the hearing did counsel for Cleveland Law raise an objection to the sale.

Later that same day, the government filed an “Agreed Mo- tion to Authorize Interlocutory Sale” under 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1) and Supplemental Rule G(7), with supporting documentary evidence.

In certain circumstances, Supplemental Rule G(7) permits the district court to authorize the sale of real property before the forfeiture case is resolved.

Supp. Rule G(7)(b).

Ordinarily, such a sale “is governed by 28 U.S.C. §[] 2001,” among other provisions, which requires notice, a hearing, and appraisals before the court may approve a private sale.

Supp. Rule G(7)(b)(iii); 28 U.S.C. § 2001(b).

But the court may use other procedures for the sale if “all parties . . . agree to the sale, aspects of the sale, or different procedures.”

Supp. Rule G(7)(b)(iii).

Once the sale closes, the “[s]ale proceeds are a substitute res subject to forfeiture in place of the property that was sold.”

Supp. Rule G(7)(b)(iv).

The government’s motion sought the district court’s approval to proceed with the sale under the terms of the private purchase agreement, and without regard to § 2001, by agreement of the parties.

The government’s evidence showed that, before the forfeiture action, Optima 55 Public Square had entered into a contract with KD 55 Public Square LLC to sell the office building for approximately $17 million.

At that time, the building was in foreclosure and subject to outstanding taxes and penalties.

The government agreed to the sale because the buyer had no affiliation with the Optima entities and, in its view, a “prompt sale [was] the only way to protect the value of the equity in the building.”

According to a copy of the purchase agreement submitted by the government, the sale included the transfer of all leases at 55 Public Square, including “any and all amendments, modifications or supplements.”

The buyer further agreed to “assume[] and . . .be bound by and to perform and observe all of the obligations, covenants, terms and conditions to be performed or observed under the Assigned Property.”

It appears, in other words, that the buyer assumed and agreed to be bound by all existing leases without alteration.

On February 10, 2021, one day after the government filed its motion, Cleveland Law answered the forfeiture complaint.

That filing did not suggest any opposition to the sale.

Rather, Cleveland Law stated that, as an “innocent owner” of a leasehold interest under 18 U.S.C. § 983(d)(6), its permissible remedies included com- pensation “to the extent of Claimant’s ownership interest once a final order of forfeiture has been entered and the property has been reduced to liquid assets.”

The next day, February 11, 2021, the district court granted the “unopposed” motion to approve the interlocutory sale according to the terms of the purchase agreement.

In the weeks that followed, Cleveland Law did not submit any filing to prevent the sale from occurring.

Instead, after the sale closed, Cleveland Law filed a notice of appeal of the sale order on March 1, 2021.1

1 The parties agree, as do we, that an interlocutory order authorizing the immediate sale of real property in a forfeiture case is a collateral order subject to immediate appeal.

See, e.g., United States v. Real Prop. & Residence Located at 4816 Chaffey Lane, 699 3d 956, 959 (6th Cir. 2012)

(exercising jurisdiction over an interlocutory sale order in a forfeiture case under the collateral-order doctrine).

Cf. Citibank, N.A. v. Data Lease Fin. Corp., 645 F.2d 333, 336–38 (5th Cir. May 1981)

(holding that “an order in a foreclosure proceeding that directs the immediate sale of specified property is in all respects a final order for purposes of appeal.”)

II.

Cleveland Law maintains that the private sale of 55 Public Square was “governed by” § 2001 because “all parties” did not “agree to the sale or different procedures” under Supplemental Rule G(7). It notes that the government never sought or obtained its agreement to the sale, despite its status as a claimant in the forfeiture case.

And it contends that the failure to comply with § 2001’s notice, hearing, and appraisal requirements rendered the sale “void” under the former Fifth Circuit’s decision in Acadia Land Co. v. Horuff, 110 F.2d 354, 355 (5th Cir. 1940)

(holding that the failure to comply with statutory notice, hearing, and appraisal requirements rendered a private sale “void because the court was lacking in jurisdiction to confirm it”).2

The government responds that Cleveland Law tacitly agreed to the sale or waived the issue by failing to object below, and that the appeal is moot because the sale to a good-faith purchaser cannot be undone.

It further argues that Cleveland Law was not actually harmed by the sale order, and that the sale would have gone forward in the same way had the government simply waited to initiate a forfeiture case until the sale closed.

Cleveland Law replies that it lacked a meaningful opportunity to object and that this Court can still grant effective relief.

2This Court adopted as binding precedent all Fifth Circuit decisions prior to October 1, Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206, 1209 (11th Cir. 1981) (en banc).

III.

After this case was fully briefed, we asked the parties to submit supplemental briefs addressing Cleveland Law’s standing to appeal the interlocutory sale order.

Because standing implicates our jurisdiction, “we are obliged to consider standing sua sponte,” reviewing de novo.

AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Nat’l Ass’n for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., 494 F.3d 1356, 1359–60 (11th Cir. 2007).

“Litigants must establish their standing not only to bring claims, but also to appeal judgments.”

Wolff v. Cash 4 Titles, 351 F.3d 1348, 1353 (11th Cir. 2003).

“To have appellate standing, a litigant must establish that he has suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct, and is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.”

United States v. Pavlenko, 921 F.3d 1286, 1289 (11th Cir. 2019).

The injury requirement means that “the appealed order must affect the litigant’s interests in an adverse way.”

Id.; see Knight v. State, 14 F.3d 1534, 1556 (11th Cir. 1994).

In other words, “

[o]nly a litigant who is aggrieved by the judgment or order may appeal.”

Wolff, 351 F.3d at 1354 (cleaned up).

Cleveland Law says it has standing because the sale order “modified [its] ownership interest in the property,” “disrupted its business operations,” and violated its due-process rights in the forfeiture proceeding.

It asserts that, while the sale order “purportedly” transferred its lease agreement, the order “fail[ed] to ensure all lease provisions went undisturbed.”

After the sale closed, according to Cleveland Law, the buyer attempted to terminate the lease agreement and then began converting the building to residential housing, causing significant disruption and violating a lease provision that limited use of the building to commercial purposes only.

The government responds that Cleveland Law lacks standing because the sale order kept Cleveland Law’s rights and remedies under the lease fully intact.

In the government’s view, Cleveland Law’s problems with its new landlord stem from the independent actions of a third party, not the sale order itself, and are “outside the ambit of this case.”

It notes that the court abandoned jurisdiction over the building once the sale proceeds were substituted for the building as the res.

It also contends that Cleveland Law received due process and was not prejudiced by any procedural deprivation because even if due process as Cleveland Law envisions it was entitled to had been afforded, the same result would have occurred.

Cleveland Law replies that the Supreme Court has rejected similar reasoning.

We agree with the government that Cleveland Law lacks standing to appeal.

The sale order did not adversely affect Cleveland Law’s leasehold interest in the property.

That order permitted the sale to go forward under the terms of the purchase agreement, which transferred all existing leases to the buyer.

The record contradicts Cleveland Law’s claim that the sale order failed to incorporate addenda to its lease or to document a few other lease provisions.

Under the purchase agreement, the lease transfer included “any and all amendments, modifications or supplements” to leases, and the buyer “agree[d] to be bound by and to perform and observe all of the obligations, covenants, terms and conditions to be performed or observed.”

So while Cleveland Law’s landlord changed, its lease did not.

Indeed, Cleveland Law did not raise any objection to the sale until after it had closed, indicating that its problem was with the new landlord, not the sale itself.

Cleveland Law therefore has not shown that the sale order affected its property interests in an adverse way.

See Pavlenko, 921 F.3d at 1289.

Nor are Cleveland Law’s grievances with its new landlord sufficient to provide standing to appeal the sale order.

To be sure, Cleveland Law appears to have been injured by the new landlord’s attempt to terminate the lease and disruptive renovations for residential housing, alleged to be in violation of a lease provision limiting use of the building to commercial purposes only.

But those injuries were caused by “the independent action of some third party not before the court,” and are not fairly traceable to the sale order itself.

See United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744, 757 (2013)

(“[T]he injury has to be fairly traceable to the challenged action , and not the result of the independent action of
some third party not before the court.” (cleaned up)).

The sale order did not affect Cleveland Law’s property interest or authorize the buyer to take the actions of which Cleveland Law complains.

And Cleveland Law’s injuries to its use and enjoyment of the property are redressable through an action against that third party.

Cleveland Law fails to explain how undoing the sale and requiring additional procedures under § 2001, related to ensuring a fair sale price, would remedy these injuries.3

See Pavlenko, 921 F.3d at 1289.

3 In its initial briefing, Cleveland Law also cited the protection of 18 U.S.C.§ 985, which states that “the owners or occupants of the real property shall not be evicted from, or otherwise deprived of the use and enjoyment of, real property that is the subject of a pending forfeiture action.”

But as the government points out, that protection “does not apply to forfeitures of the proceeds of the sale of [real property or interests in real property].”

18 U.S.C. § 985(f)(2).

In other words, § 985 no longer applied once the sale of the property closed and the proceeds were substituted as the res.

Finally, Cleveland Law’s alleged due-process injury is not enough on its own to create standing to appeal.

Because Cleveland Law has not shown that the sale order adversely affected its property interest in 55 Public Square, it likewise has not shown that it was harmed by any procedural deficiencies in relation to that order.

For these reasons, we conclude that Cleveland Law lacks standing to appeal the district court’s order authorizing the interlocutory sale of 55 Public Square.

We therefore dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.4

DISMISSED.

4 The government’s motion for summary affirmance or to dismiss on grounds of mootness is DENIED AS MOOT.

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Bankers

Florida Shrugs it Shoulders as Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs Acquires An Entire Community

Citizens remain impotent about challenging the US Government and Wall St. Owning a home will not be a financial option and renting will be very costly.

Published

on

Goldman Sachs-backed firm buys entire Florida community for $45 million

MAY 10, 2022 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAY 11, 2022

Yun’s comments below are typical of  NAR – TOTAL BS – and sound like paid advertorials for real estate investment trusts and equity funds.

Wall Street investors are capitalizing on the current housing crisis by investing in rental properties in Florida.

As WESH reports, one of the latest deals involves Cypress Bay, a community of 87 single-family rental homes at the very southern edge of Brevard County in Palm Bay, Florida.

Two investment funds have purchased the community of homes for $45 million.

The funds are the Growth eREIT VII fund and the Fundrise Interval Fund, which were financially backed by New York-based investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Dr. Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist of the National Associate of Realtors, says the move is relatively new for Wall Street.

“The degree of large Wall Street money coming in fairly new. I think this is due to the unique circumstance of housing shortage,”

Yun said.

“Wall Street is able to generate money, private equity, hedge funds and others to say let’s go chase the rising rents and putting money into rental property development.”

“Investors come in and of course invest. Property just goes off the roof, which marginalizes a whole lot of people who just can’t afford it. Especially those in Brevard County who make less than $46,000 a year,”

Bishop Merton L. Clark of Truth Revealed International Ministries told WESH.

Goldman Sachs to pay $5bn for its role in the 2008 financial crisis

The settlement holds the bank accountable for its ‘serious misconduct’ in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages

APR 11, 2016 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAY 11, 2022

Goldman Sachs will pay $5.06bn for its role in the 2008 financial crisis, the US Department of Justice said on Monday.

The settlement, over the sale of mortgage-backed securities from 2005 to 2007, was first announced in January.

Goldman Sachs, like other banks, had a tough year in 2015 due to plummeting oil prices, China’s economic slowdown and worries over the US interest rate hike.

“This resolution holds Goldman Sachs accountable for its serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages, when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail,”

acting associate attorney general Stuart Delery said in a statement.

In January, Goldman said it expected the agreement to reduce its earnings for the fourth quarter by about $1.5bn after tax.

According to the Wall Street bank, the settlement will consist of a $2.385bn civil monetary penalty, $875m in cash payments, and $1.8bn in consumer relief.

Among other measures, the bank will offer a reduction in unpaid principal for affected homeowners and borrowers.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement in principle to resolve these matters,”

Lloyd C Blankfein, chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs, said in January.

This is only the latest multibillion-dollar civil settlement reached with a major bank over the economic meltdown in which millions of Americans lost their homes to foreclosure.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which earlier this year agreed to pay $3.2bn, are two of the last big banks to pay up.

Bank of America agreed to pay the largest of the settlements, $16.6bn, in 2014.

A year earlier, JPMorgan Chase paid about $13bn.

Such settlements have been worked out by the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group, which is co-chaired by New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman.

New Yorkers will receive about $670m of the Goldman Sachs settlement, including $190m in cash and $480m in consumer relief such as mortgage assistance and principal forgiveness.

“Since 2012, my No1 priority has been getting New Yorkers the resources they need to rebuild,”

Schneiderman said on Monday.

“This settlement, like those before it, ensures that these critical programs … will continue to get funded well into the future, and will be paid for by the institutions responsible for the financial crisis.”

The deal, however, includes no criminal sanctions or penalties and is likely to stir additional criticism about the Justice Department’s inability to hold bank executives personally responsible for the financial crisis.

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