Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.

Foreclosure Lawyers Mock the Foreclosed at Halloween Office Party

Print comment Post Comments
It’s Halloween today, and if you don't have your costume by now, take heed: Witches will be common, according to a National Retail Federation survey, which revealed that the five most popular Halloween get-ups for adults this year were witches, pirates, vampires, zombies, and Batman characters.
Those are the getups to avoid, then, if you’re still scrounging for a last-minute costume and want to stand out from the crowd. Just don't do what these foreclosure lawyers did. Employees at Steven J. Baum, a law firm that specializes in representing banks and mortgage servicers in foreclosing on homeowners -- clients include Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo -- certainly discovered a unique costume idea at their annual Halloween bash last year: the hapless folks whose homes their firm foreclosed on.
Joe Nocera of the New York Times was made aware of the homeless-themed party at Baum last year by a former employee, who emailed the columnist with pictures taken at last year’s office party. Nocera wrote of his conversation with the ex-employee, who remained anonymous for fear for retaliation:

When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set. "There is this really cavalier attitude," she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose.

When Nocera contacted the law firm’s spokesperson for a comment on these photos, he was given this statement: “It has been suggested that some employees dress in ... attire that mocks or attempts to belittle the plight of those who have lost their homes. Nothing could be further from the truth.” The firm also asserted that Nocera’s column was “another attempt by The New York Times to attack our firm and our work.”
Perhaps realizing how insensitive that response sounded, the head of the firm, Steven J. Baum, released an apology to The Buffalo News on Saturday, saying the photos “obviously were in poor taste.”
“On behalf of the firm, I sincerely apologize for what happened last year at our Halloween party,” he said.
It could be argued that this is simply a case of employees, who aren't necessarily wealthy, letting off steam by poking fun at something involving their work, as many are wont to do. But in the economic climate we’re in, with foreclosure rates up once again, this seems like a spectacular Let-Them-Eat-Cake moment.
Here are three of the photos from Baum’s rager last year for you to decide what to make of them.

Photos courtesy of The New York Times
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.