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By Robbie Whelan, The Baltimore Sun | April 21, 2010
The vacant, run-down rowhouse at 1615 N. Smallwood St. has for years been a stain on an otherwise lively, well-kept West Baltimore block. Its green awning collapsed from the winter snow and still hangs crumpled from the house's façade. In the summertime, transients gather on the front porch to play cards and smoke marijuana, neighbors say. Baltimore's top city lawyers want someone to answer for blighted properties like this one, and to pay for the specific damages they inflict on communities, including the cost of emergency services, cleaning and boarding up the houses, and lost property tax revenues.
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NEWS
By Robbie Whelan | April 8, 2010
Lawyers for the city of Baltimore have prepared a new complaint in their lawsuit against Wells Fargo, which contends that the bank steered black borrowers into subprime loans, then foreclosed on hundreds of city houses, leading to blight and higher public safety costs. The city suffered a setback in January when U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz dismissed the suit. Motz said the connection between the Wells Fargo foreclosures and urban problems was "implausible when considered against the background of other factors leading to the deterioration of the inner city," and called the suit overly broad.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop and Tricia Bishop,tricia.bishop@baltsun.com | January 7, 2010
A federal court judge on Wednesday dismissed Baltimore's landmark lawsuit against Wells Fargo & Co., saying it was "not plausible" that the mortgage giant triggered millions of dollars in damages, as the city claimed, by causing increased foreclosures through racist, predatory lending. "The alleged connection is even more implausible when considered against the background of other factors leading to the deterioration of the inner city," U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz explained in a six-page memorandum opinion accompanying the dismissal order.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop | tricia.bishop@baltsun.com | January 7, 2010
A federal court judge on Wednesday dismissed Baltimore's landmark lawsuit against Wells Fargo & Co., saying it was "not plausible" that the mortgage giant triggered millions of dollars in damages, as the city claimed, by causing increased foreclosures through racist, predatory lending. "The alleged connection is even more implausible when considered against the background of other factors leading to the deterioration of the inner city," U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz explained in a six-page memorandum opinion accompanying the dismissal order.
NEWS
December 16, 2009
B altimore City has uncovered some disturbing evidence in its lawsuit against Wells Fargo. The city alleges that the California-based lender steered African-American mortgage applicants into subprime loans, even when they qualified for cheaper mortgages, and it has depositions from former company employees describing what they say was a pervasive practice of discrimination. They claim their former company encouraged them to give loans to black borrowers at rates they knew they couldn't afford, leading to widespread default.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop and Tricia Bishop , tricia.bishop@baltsun.com | December 15, 2009
A federal judge raised doubts Monday about the city's ability to prove huge financial losses from houses left vacant by Wells Fargo foreclosures, the latest development in a landmark civil suit alleging a pattern of racially based, discriminatory lending by the mortgage broker. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz said he might pare the case, if not outright dismiss it. "Should we go down that road? ... It's going to cost a lot of people a lot of money, including the taxpayers," said Motz, who took over the case in August after the previous judge discovered a conflict of interest.
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