This is one of the most egregious cases of corporate ineptitude and callousness I’ve heard of to date. And after wrongfully costing a man his property, it then may have cost him his life.
Larry Delassus was a disabled retiree, living on $1,600 a month in the Hermosa Beach condo he had owned for 16 years.
One of Delassus’ neighbors neighbors fell behind in his property tax payments. The neighbor, like Delassus, had his mortgage with Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo, in order to preserve its interest in the property, paid the property taxes. But instead of pursuing the neighbor for the shortfall, these idiots went after Delassus because they mistyped the parcel number on documents to show the person in default was Delassus.
Larry Delassus had actually paid his property taxes six months in advance.
In a scenario familiar to thousands of homeowners who have tried to communicate with this lender, Wells Fargo heaped on penalties, interest, fines and attorney fees in its relentless pursuit of Larry Delassus, forcing him into default by doubling his mortgage. He and his attorney tried and tried to call the bank, but got the runaround typical of Wells Fargo and other mega-lenders: put the borrower on hold forever, disconnect the call, transfer the call to the wrong department, transfer the call to employees unauthorized to make decisions, lose paperwork, etc.
According to an article in the LA Weekly, even after it admitted its error, Wells Fargo foreclosed on him anyway.
The next two paragraphs are quoted directly from the LA Weekly:
Robert Baily of Anglin Flewelling Rasmussen Campbell & Trytten LLP admitted the bank’s mistake: “Wells Fargo paid the amount it determined was owed to the County Assessor: approximately $10,500. This was a mistake. The $10,500 was the tax amount owed on a neighboring property, not Plaintiff’s.” (Bailey did not address the discrepancy between $13,361 and $10,500.)
Bailey added: “In September, 2010 Wells Fargo acknowledged its error in paying the taxes on Plaintiff’s neighbor’s property and corrected it.” By then, however, Delassus was so far behind on his mortgage payments wrongly doubled by Wells Fargo that the bank refused to let him resume his $1,237.69 installments, Trujillo says. He faced a sizable “reinstatement” cost — which is often the past due amount plus fees.
Delassus’ neighbor and friend, attorney Anthony Trujillo, sued Wells Fargo on his behalf for negligence and discrimination (based on his disability).
Wells Fargo litigation support manager Michael Dolan, in a videotaped deposition, was asked the following: “So Plaintiff was never provided with the reinstatement amount after the bank discovered its error, correct?” Dolan replies, “That is correct.”
Larry Delassus was in Torrance Superior Court last December listening to Trujillo argue his case when he slumped over and died.
Watch this YouTube video that discusses this story further. Read another article in Slate about Larry Delassus versus Wells Fargo.