Category Archives: Touristscape

Rampant Foreclosures Under Shady Companies

RoundPoint Mortgage services hundreds of DASP mortgages in Philadelphia through shell companies with names like Newlands Asset Holding Trust or Queens Park Oval Asset Trust, all based out of the same anonymous North Carolina office building. Newlands, a company with no listed phone number, no website and a single publicly disclosed employee has accumulated 46 properties in Philadelphia through foreclosure proceedings.

It has flipped about 10 of those properties. In one instance, Newlands foreclosed on 3687 Belgrade Street, a newly built townhouse in a middle-class neighborhood of Philadelphia, for just $65,000 in February 2014, two months after it had picked up the mortgage at a DASP sale. Another two months later, having made no major improvements to the property, Newlands resold the same house for $175,000.

These are in the minority of properties, however. In the majority of cases, private equity firms appear to mainly sit on the properties they accumulate, sometimes for years. If DASP buyers are renting out their new assets while they wait for home values to appreciate, many do not appear to be doing so legally: Out of dozens of properties owned by Newlands analyzed by City & State, none had received a rental license.

City & State reached out to both HUD and RoundPoint for comment on multiple occasions, but received no reply from
either entity.

Philadelphia councilmember Gym said she believed this process is increasing the number of vacant and rental properties in urban neighborhoods, in addition to other stressors.

“When you have homeowners who are evicted or who lose their homes, that has dramatic consequences for a city like ours that already struggles with poverty,” she said. “We have affordable housing waitlists that take years and homeless shelters that are overcrowded. We can’t fix it all.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. Gym is part of Local Progress, a network of local elected officials that has pushed for reforms to programs like DASP. In June, HUD announced that it would make an effort to steer more distressed mortgages to nonprofit buyers, who would ideally be more forgiving towards impoverished homeowners. Nonprofit mortgage buyers, known as community development financial institutions, or CDFIs, were previously outbid on 98 percent of DASP sales.

HUD now separates out some mortgages for sale specifically to nonprofits. But Gym would like to see the program go further.

“That’s one of our biggest questions. Does it all have to go to private equity or could some go to CDFIs? Or the land bank?” she said, in a recent interview.

Gym had been a champion of the land bank, an arm of City Hall that acquires blighted property. She said she believes the agency could also function as a receiver for distressed mortgages, cribbing off a model implemented in New York City, where the municipality began bidding on DASP sales.

“It’s driven by our need to not increase our homelessness and eviction rates, and not lead to blight. Because we were seeing so much,” she said. “The consequences both to individuals and communities are dramatic – the Fed not being attentive to problems like this exacerbates our local situations.”

Changing the trajectory of DASP for future homeowners can seem like a daunting and risky proposition for cities like Philadelphia, but it could stave off years of misery and legal battles for homeowners who find themselves in situations similar to Beverly Henry’s.

Henry admits even she is overwhelmed by the intricacies of her own mortgage crisis at times, but says she is driven by a simple and understandable urge.

“We just don’t want to lose our home.” 

Advertisements

The Pipeline

The Pipeline in Memphis was a leather bar that came on the scene in the eighties. Owned by Dennis and Stan, they pushed me to develop recipes using all natural ingredients for the infamous Sunday afternoon buffet and beer bust. There were also special events such as the pool tournaments where they demanded excellent foods sourced from local super markets and wholesale venues.
There was always an event planned at the Pipeline and that involved the kitchen. Mr. Leather Tennessee brought in people from around the world to our little place and we went to great lengths to prepare! There were also seasonal events including Mardi Gras, Cookouts, the Pipette Fourth of July benefit and other big feeds. We also coordinated with Memphis In May with a month of selections from the cuisine of the recognized nation that year. That was a challenge for me and yet I expanded my horizons as more was asked.
The challenge for me was to being excellent cuisine on a small budget. I accomplished that by taking standard fare and expanding with noodles into casseroles and such. The big events called for me personally developing as a chef and putting out a varied international cuisine. The Pipeline kitchen was a pass through from the office to the back bar and it amazed me how we could turn out some fabulous meals in short order. I learned a lot there and am grateful for the Widow McCain, the Manager, Jeff Hardy and for the wonderful people of Memphis!

Global Seafoods North America

This is one of the places I shop!  Global Seafoods North America has a great selection of seafoods and condiments to go along with them!   It’s important to source ingredients at a cost effective and with a high quality.

The Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon is fantastic, especially on a Sunday morning with a good bagel and eggs.  My coffee comes from New Orleans.

And then there is Caviar for the discriminate tastes!  Here, we have an excellent Caviar!  Try it, you will like it!

JKROQ COMES OF AGE!

American Fuzion! What a concept with the US of A being the Melting Pot of the world and a dynamic diversity of food, art and music combine into one. ROQ hopes to develop this concept in a multi-tiered approach to the inspiration of all these cultures combing into one people. Continue reading JKROQ COMES OF AGE!