Make us your home page

Florida's foreclosure mediation could end

A Florida Supreme Court mediation program should end because it hasn't kept people in their homes or reduced a logjam of foreclosure cases, a judicial committee determined.

Successful mediations occurred in less than 4 percent of statewide cases. A report presented to the high court said three main factors led to the program's demise: borrowers not trusting the program; lenders not willing to settle cases in mediation; and officials not publicizing the program.

Florida has a backlog of about 350,000 foreclosures and many more to come, experts say.

The judicial committee recommended that the state's 20 judicial circuits send foreclosure cases to mediation on a case-by-case basis. The Supreme Court justices have to vote on the recommendations for them to be enacted.

Local officials want the program to remain in place.

Thomas McGrady, chief judge of the Pinellas-Pasco County Circuit, said officials could not track the outcome of cases after mediation ended, and bank representatives had no authority to negotiate. Fixing those issues could have raised success rates, he added.

"I would like some part of it to continue," McGrady said. "Every time there is a successful mediation, someone was able to stay in their homes."

Dick Rahter, president of Clearwater-based Mediation Managers, said: "I do think it's a good program and hope it continues. We think it helps people."

The Supreme Court ordered the 20 judicial circuits in late 2009 to sponsor mediation sessions between homeowners and lenders. Lenders paid a $750 fee for each case. A successful mediation could lead to a modification of the mortgage loan, such as a lower interest rate or a time extension for the borrower. Some people would still lose their homes.

The mediation was touted as a solution to the foreclosure ills, but attorney Matt Weidner of St. Petersburg isn't surprised it tanked.

"It just another example of banks controlling the government," he said. "They don't like the rules and don't follow them."

Florida's foreclosure mediation could end 10/24/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2011 9:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Expanded Belle Parc RV Resort lures travelers with plenty of amenities


    BROOKSVILLE — Imagine mid-mansion, upscale-enclave living. On wheels. The outcome is Belle Parc, an upwardly mobile, even luxury, RV retreat just north of Brooksville that opened Jan. 1 after two years undergoing expansion, uplift and amenity enrichment.

    A new welcome center is under construction, rear, at Belle Parc RV Resort, where lake sites are being completed, bringing the resort's capacity to 275 spacious park-and-stay slots.
 [Photo by Beth N. Gray]
  2. Memorial Day sales not enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay malls


    TAMPA — Memorial Day sales at Tampa Bay area malls were not enough to compete with the beach and backyard barbecues this holiday weekend.

    Memorial Day sales weren't enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay area malls over the long weekend. 
  3. Austin software company acquires second Tampa business


    Austin, Tex.-based Asure Software acquired Tampa's Compass HRM Inc. late last week for $6 million. Compass focuses on HR and payroll.

    [Company photo]
  4. Hackers hide cyberattacks in social media posts


    SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn't come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.

    Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, former NSA employees and co-founders of Synack, a cybersecurity company, in their office in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2013. While last year's hacking of senior Democratic Party officials raised awareness of the damage caused if just a handful of employees click on the wrong emails, few people realize that a message on Twitter or Facebook could give an attacker similar access to their system. 
[New York Times file photo]
  5. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times