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Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank & Ally Financial: Agree to $25B Mortgage Deal after Deceptive Practices

The nation’s five largest mortgage lenders have agreed to overhaul their industry after deceptive foreclosure practices drove homeowners out of their homes, government officials said Monday.

A draft settlement between the banks and U.S. states has been sent to state officials for review. The Five Major Banks involved include: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Ally Financial, along with U.S. State Attorneys General could adopt the agreement within weeks, according to two officials briefed on the discussions. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the agreement publicly.

The settlement would be the biggest in a single industry since the 1998 multistate tobacco deal. And it would end a painful chapter that grew out of a 2008 financial crisis.

Those who lost there homes to foreclosure are unlikely to get their homes back or benefit much financially from the settlement, which could be as high as $25 billion. About 750,000 Americans; about half of the households who might be eligible for assistance under the deal, will likely receive checks for about $1800.

However, the agreement could reshape long-standing mortgage lending guidelines and make it easier for those at risk of foreclosure to restructure their loans. Roughly, one million homeowners could see the size of their mortgage reduced.

The settlement would only apply to privately held mortgages issued between 2008 and 2011, not those held by government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie and Freddie own about half of all U.S. mortgages, roughly about 31 million U.S. home loans. Nearly 8 million Americans have faced foreclosure since the housing bubble burst.

About 1 million homeowners could also get the principal amount of their mortgages written down by an average of $20,000. One in four homeowners with a mortgage – or roughly 11 million people – owe more than their home is worth. These so-called “underwater” borrowers have little chance of refinancing.

Under the deal:
• $17 billion would go toward reducing the principal that struggling homeowners owe on their mortgages.

• $5 billion would be placed in a reserve account for various state and federal programs; a portion of that money would cover the $1,800 checks sent to those homeowners affected by the deceptive practices.

• $3 billion would go to help homeowners refinance at 5.25 percent.

Comment: “And at the end of the day millions of homeowners and their families are displaced, never to be made whole again and not one person involved [in what could be termed “The Biggest Rape of the People in American History”] will go to jail. Only in America!”

January 25, 2012 Posted by | Business News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Valerie Jenkins gets probation for her role in husband’s suicide

Valerie Jenkins plead guilty on Monday to manslaughter with a deadly weapon for the May 2009 death of her husband, Robert Jenkins, closing a case that had piqued the interest of legal scholars across Florida. Jenkins attorney, James Best, said it was her decision to plead guilty, “It was what she wanted to do.”

Married for seven years, the Jenkins’ quarreled frequently and on the night of May 4, 2009; the couple argued again because Robert Jenkins had not taken his blood pressure medication and had been drinking beer heavily that fatal night, and through a drunken stupor said that “he wanted to die.”

Tired and exasperated and fed up with her husbands ramblings, Jenkins asked her drunken husband if he wanted his gun. Drunk with ill-rational thoughts, he said “Yes!” Valerie Jenkins proceeded to get her husbands .22-caliber pistol which was located in a dresser drawer and tossed a drunken man the zippered pouch that contained a loaded pistol.

Valerie Jenkins then walked towards the kitchen, when she heard a pop. As she turned around, frozen in a state of shock, she saw her husband slumped over the sofa with a gun shot wound.

Miami-Dade prosecutors Kathleen Hoague and Lody Jean said Valerie Jenkins acted with “reckless disregard for human life.” In preparing its manslaughter case, prosecutors relied on the successful case against Jeramy Ricky Rushing, who in February 1986 gave a loaded and cocked gun to a despondent woman outside a Dania Beach bar.

A Broward County judge dismissed a manslaughter charge against Rushing, but an appeals court later reinstated the case and a jury convicted him. Like Jenkins, Rushing did not receive any jail time but was sentenced to two years of house arrest plus 300 hours of community service.

On Monday, Best asked Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Leon Firtel to dismiss the case against his client, saying Robert Jenkins’ “independent intervening act” of suicide could not have been foreseen by his wife. Judge Firtel acknowledged the “mental gymnastics” that the legal case posed for him and legal observers, but declined to throw out the case, clearing the way for a jury trial.

Valerie Jenkins ultimately would have faced a maximum of 30 years in prison, decided against trial. It’s a difficult case for everybody and it should be resolved,” said Judge Firtel.

For handing her drunk /suicidal husband a loaded pistol, which he used to kill himself, Valerie Jenkins will serve five years of probation. “The important thing to the family of the victim is the admission of guilt and that she is convicted. The issue of jail time was not the main concern,” said Kathleen Hoague, Miami-Dade Chief Assistant State Attorney.

photo credit: jonathanturley.com

January 25, 2012 Posted by | Court News | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Miami-Dade County Commissioners tackles the Budget: No Easy Solutions

Miami-Dade County Commissioners realize by now that there are only two solutions to balancing the budget:

1. Have all the employees contribute an additional 5% toward their
healthcare or

2. Begin the layoff process:
a. Begin with the employees who are currently in the “Drop
Program” [they already have their 30 years of civil service
and would lose nothing]

3. Every department should have to participate in the layoff
process, regardless of their statue

4. Miami-Dade County Commissioners should show by example and give
½ of their expense account monies back to the county

5. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez department should not be
exempted and should also feel the pain of reorganization to get
the county out of the red

6. Every fringe benefit given to the executives should have an
obligatory monetary cost associated with it attached to the
employee or unit to offset the cost to the county

7. Eliminate the OPP employees; the county can’t afford them

8. Start cross-training everyone to get the maximum results out of
minimum employees

9. Put the director’s and their assistant to work, rather than
allow them to get a pass because they are the executives

10. Create a financial watch group within the county and hold
monthly meetings to alert the Mayor and the Commissioners when a
particular department or unit is consistently operating in the
red, and follow through with recommendations or began the
restructuring process from the top.

There are no easy answers and regardless of the method that both Miami-Dade County Commissioners and the Mayor decide to take, the end results will still be a painful but necessary one. Good-Luck to all of you and hopefully you will come up with a solution that will allow all of you to rest peacefully at night.

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Community News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords steps down from Congress to concentrate on her recovery

“Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in her own words!”

January 22, 2012 Posted by | Late Breaking News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Legendary Football Coach, Joe Paterno, 85, has died

Over the last few days Joe Paterno had experienced further health complications, recently suffering a broken pelvis in addition to battling lung cancer. Sunday, former Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, 85, has succumbed to his illness.

Throngs of Penn Sate students gathered in front of a statue of Joe Paterno early Sunday, braving freezing temperatures to pay tribute to the then ailing legendary ex-coach.

Some shoveled snow so others could walk up and touch Paterno’s outstretched hand on the statue. Paterno, 85, was in serious condition at Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College, Pennsylvania, after suffering from lung cancer and a broken pelvis.

His family will have no comment on the situation and asks that their privacy be respected during this difficult time said Dan McGinn, the family spokesman.

January 22, 2012 Posted by | Late Breaking News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Yorker Nadim Yaqubie misunderstanding of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law could cause him his freedom

Nadim Yaqubie, 23, New Your resident stabbed Roberto Camacho, a homeless man in May 2008 during a struggle in an alley near Mansion nightclub. He was charged with second-degree murder, but insisted he was acting in self-defense.

Let’s cut through the chase and state the facts:

1. Nadim Yaqubie, then 19, came to Miami Beach to party in May 2008 and brought the victim’s ID from another man for $50 to get into Mansion on Washington Ave.

2. Nadim Yaqubie had possession of a stolen driver’s license belonging to Roberto Camacho.

3. Camacho confronted Yaqubie while waiting in line to go inside of Club Mansion about returning his driver’s license, but rather give the stolen license back, Yaqubie ran into an alleyway between Washington and James Avenue.

4. Camacho ran after Yaqubie.

5. Yaqubie and Camacho started to scuffle.

6. Yaqubie brandished a seven-to-eight-inch knife and started to jab
at Camacho.

7. In self-defense, Camacho threw a book bag at Yaqubie.

8. Yaqubie responded with a fatal thrust to Camacho’s torso.

9. Yaqubie runs away, still in possession of the stolen driver’s
license belonging to Camacho.

10. Camacho succumbs to his injury.

The Florida law is a self-defense, self-protection law. It has four key components:

• It establishes that law-abiding residents and visitors may legally presume the threat of bodily harm or death from anyone who breaks into a residence or occupied vehicle and may use defensive force, including deadly force, against the intruder.

• In any other place where a person “has a right to be,” that person has “no duty to retreat” if attacked and may “meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

• In either case, a person using any force permitted by the law is immune from criminal prosecution or civil action and cannot be arrested unless a law enforcement agency determines there is probable cause that the force used was unlawful.

• If a civil action is brought and the court finds the defendant to be immune based on the parameters of the law, the defendant will be awarded all costs of defense.

Nadim Yaqubie returned to Mansion the next night, the same place were the confrontation with Camacho took place. After he started harassing women at the night club, security guards called police. When the police arrived at the club and began to search Yaqubie, they discovered the knife used to stab Camacho in addition to Camacho’s I.D.

After a series of court battles across the state – – Yaqubie’s case was also heard before the Third District Court of Appeal – – The Florida Supreme Court in December 2010 ruled that judges should be the ones to weigh the evidence under a looser standard than the “beyond the reasonable doubt” one used before juries.

Yaqubie’s defense attorney Richard Hersch presented his argument before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Daryl Trawick, who dismissed the notion, saying that Yaqubie was not protecting himself as much as he was protecting his $50 “investment.”

“A reasonable person under these circumstances would have believed that if he had given the license back, it may not have been necessary to stab Camacho,” Trawick wrote in his order last week.

“Taken in their totality, these actions do not reflect someone who had simply been trying to protect himself from death or serious bodily injury from another person. Instead, they reflect a consciousness of guilt and the avoidance of legal consequences.”

Judge Trawick tentatively set the trial date for February 13, 2012. However, Nadim Yaqubie’s lawyer, Richard Hersch, said he will appeal Judge Trawick’s ruling.

All legal eyes will be on this case as it makes it way through the justice system. Stay Tuned…..

January 19, 2012 Posted by | Eye on Justice | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – – I Have A Dream Speech – – August 28, 1963

I have a Dream Speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr;
August 28, 1963

Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.

One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning.

Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

January 16, 2012 Posted by | Community News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FIU FORUM: Two Harvard Professors and 70 Community Leaders Brainstorm on Miami’s Future

Praise the Lord! The “Angels of Grace & Mercy” has awakened to the cries of the people. The people in Miami-Dade County has been crying out for sometime for a hand-up and not just a hand-out.

The negative figures in almost every area of Miami-Dade are so high that as an accountant, you would be forced to flip the general ledger to the next page and shake his head in pure astonishment as to how could a city still be viable in light of its present circumstances.

Miami-Dade County finds itself at the crossroads; either to eternal abyss and ultimate bankruptcy or stare the beast in its face and deciding to turn things around, such as: Miami‘s present fiscal state, the high number of unemployed, high number of underemployed, high number of baby boomers with experience that are being overlooked, not because of skill but because of age and high numbers of foreclosures followed by the increase in crime as a result of all these situations.

The group should ask themselves “how did we get in this predicament and what will it take to get ourselves out of it?” And focus on coming up with some doable-action plans that they can start working on tomorrow, because somewhere along the line, there is a major disconnect.

Florida International University is an excellent venue to hold this community-saving-forum with Harvard Professors and the 70 community leaders that will be in attendance by invitation only.

For the 70 community leaders that will be attending the forum, look at this opportunity as a “We are the World” project, whereby Quincy Jones advised all of the stars to check their ego’s at the door and focus on “one common denominator,” because there was much work to be done.” This is certainly a “We are the World” moment for the city and the citizens of Miami-Dade County.

I have been fortunate enough to attend F.I.U. along with some of the top administrators within Miami-Dade County via The Administrative Office of the Courts and received invaluable business skills and life lessons in their: Academy for Strategic Management- Excellence & Ethics in Management” course.

What an excellent move not to have press or politicians at the forum, so the participants can be free to be open and honest about what they perceive to be good business sense and what’s just not working.

I like it! . . . . . . . . . I like it! . . . . . .. I like It!

The forum will be held at the Leadership Center at FIU’s Business school, which is the brainchild of retired FIU President Modesto “Mitch” Maidique, said Myra Beers, Director of Operations.

** Reporters are also welcome to interview participants as they have lunch afterward.**

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Business News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As the ill-fated cruise ship Costa Concordia continue to float on its side, two more bodies are recovered

At least five, including the bodies of two elderly people have succumbed to the cold waters off the Italian Coast as rescuers try to account for the passengers on the ill-fated cruise ship Costa Concordia.

The bodies were found near the ship’s restaurant, still wearing their life jackets, Captain Cosimo Nicastro, Coast Guard spokesman told reporters.

The grim discovery came hours after a rescue crew found an Italian purser suffering from hypothermia, whose name was not released – trapped in a restaurant, more than 24 hours after the ship hit rocks off the coast of Tuscany, injuring at least 20 others in addition to the dead.

It was total chaos, a giant every man for himself, just battling, mad scrambles!” said American student Brandon Warrick.

Warrick’s sister Amanda said that she feared that she was going to die as they waited for up to two hours for rescue. “Waiting was definitely the worst! Because we didn’t know who was going to coming and how much longer we would have to wait” she said

Speaking on Italian television, Francesco Schettino, the captain of the ill-fated cruise ship Costa Concordia insisted that the rocks were not marked on his map.”On the nautical chart it was marked just as water!” said Schettino, insisting that his ship should have been more than 100 meters from the rocks.

However, Nicastro, The Coast Guard spokesman, insist that the waters where the ship ran ground were well mapped. Nicastro went on to say that “Every danger in this area is on the nautical chart and this is a place where a lot of people come for diving and sailing . . . all the dangers are known.”

Subsequently, the captain was arrested and faces multiple charges of manslaughter, Italian police said. The Coast Guard investigation is ongoing to determine why the ship took the course it did.

For more details please click here:
Ill Fated Cruise Ship Costa Concordia story continues

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Late Breaking News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grand Jury Aide, Tamika Jasper-Barbary and 8 others including her husband, Andre Barbary charged with drug conspiracy and a host of other charges

Tamika Jasper-Barbary, 36, of Hollywood and legal assistant for the Federal Prosecutors in Miami, worked with grand juries impaneled by the U.S. Attorney’ Office in Miami, was arrested on alleged drug conspiracy charges and accused of tipping off her fellow, suspected narcotics traffickers about a witness who was going to testify to the secretive federal panel about their activities.

Jasper-Barbary was also charged with “ obstruction of justice ” for allegedly disclosing that the witness, identified by the initials L.B., “was likely to provide information to the grand jury” in late November, according to the indictment.

Jasper-Barbary involvement and subsequent arrest sent shock waves through the U.S. Attorney’s Office, whose employees had no choice but to recuse themselves from the prosecution.

The case assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Scola, will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pensacola by a former veteran prosecutor who headed the Narcotics and Counterterrorism sections of the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the allegations are extremely serious.

Also charged along with Jasper-Barbary are her husband, Andre Barbary, 36; Scott Barnes, 40; Kim Carswell, 34; Willie Hartfield, 54; Nathaniel Holt, 55; Robert Lespinasse, 34; and Monica Lewis, 31; all from Miami-Dade and Broward counties and Robert Jackson, 24; of Fort Meyers, was also charged.

The defendants were also charged with conspiring to use telephone facilities to carry out the trafficking plot.

The investigation was a joint venture by the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI and several local law enforcement agencies.

If convicted each faces up to life in prison. Stay tuned for the latest updates.

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Eye on Justice | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment