Bank of America has missed the boat with its shallow claims to speed up short sales. It has already driven away many of the best real estate professionals, not to mention desperate sellers and anxious buyers who have been left floundering. As a real estate professional, I have found it mind-boggling to watch lenders pass up so many opportunities to save mega-dollars through short sales, seemingly in favor of much more costly and lengthy foreclosures, and then recover next to nothing.
The behavior of lenders such as Bank of America defies explanation. The only possibility I can imagine is the desire to spread losses over two, three or more years, which might look better on paper from quarter to quarter despite the actual total costs being much heavier in the end.
When dealing with Bank of America or their arm's-length partners, one might need a rocket ship to carry the load of paperwork demanded by Bank of America and maybe a rocket scientist too, just to comprehend the absurdity of it all. Further hindering the process is the demand for online communications only.
To add insult to injury, for all of the additional work spanning many months or years for each real estate professional who can keep a short sale together in spite of the lender having used every tactic known to man to discourage it, Bank of America then expects to reduce the earnings significantly for those real estate professionals who do manage to successfully navigate a short sale to closing.
I am accustomed to the practice of every party involved in any real estate transaction proceeding in good faith. But after years of watching the abuses, it will be years before I will ever believe Bank of America is making a good-faith effort to seriously deal with short sales. And I can assure you, I am not alone.
Alan Crawford, Valrico
Claim is total fiction
Does the Times copy and paste PR firms' releases? That's what this story looks like. Twenty days for approval? Absolute fiction.
When is someone in the media going to get their nails dirty and do a real story on this national scam? For years B of A and others have been stretching out these toxic-balance-sheet-hiding schemes. The article says "some" agents are skeptical? Any agent who can pass a lie-detector test will tell you it's horsepuckey.
Sure, they'll pull out some streamlined deal and tell you "it happens" — but that just isn't the case in the real world.
Mark Lunden, Palm Beach Gardens
Charge: murder | April 12
Follow the facts to justice
The prosecutor has charged George Zimmerman with second-degree murder. It must have been easy to reach this conclusion with the help of all the protests, ranting and raving, and other ignorance that surrounds this tragic case.
The pressures from the black community and all the people who jumped on the racial bandwagon must have been overbearing. I would hope that all the protesters, pundits and misinformed would all go home and let the judicial process work.
This is what that young man's parents say they wanted, but they must be prepared for reality. Since Zimmerman has been charged with a crime, the judicial system will now be tasked with finding the truth in this case. Zimmerman may be found innocent of the charges. Justice may be served, but it may not be what was ordered.
Are people prepared for that result? Will they honor the verdict of the judicial system? Especially if it is not what they want?
Mario Rodriquez, St. Petersburg
Remember the life lost
Attorney Mark O'Mara says he "cannot imagine living in George Zimmerman's shoes for the past number of weeks." I wonder if he thinks Zimmerman's situation is tougher than Trayvon Martin's.
Jim Ahearn, Clearwater
Don't inflame the issue
I am concerned by the huge picture of George Zimmerman plastered over the front page of Thursday's Times. Whether Zimmerman is guilty will be up to a jury, hearing information none of us have.
According to preliminary FBI statistics, there were 366 murders in Florida in 2011 in cities with populations of 100,000 or more. Cities under 100,000 have yet to be calculated. I do not recall such a huge picture of a defendant being placed on page one in any of the 366 murders calculated so far.
Being in law enforcement I have no opinion of the merits of the case and would not pretend to. Is the Times bowing to racial pressure and trying to prevent social problems rather than just reporting the news? Needless to say, the Times is the best newspaper in Florida. Keep to reporting the news and not inflaming racial issues.
Mark Vinette, St. Petersburg
Looks like a wanted poster
Why not add a bounty figure beneath George Zimmerman's picture? And while you're at it, rename your paper the Tombstone Times.
Peter Stonebanks, Largo
I want to express my respect for Trayvon Martin's mother and father. Their loss is tragic, yet they are gracious and humble. They have not taken part in the rhetoric which is being spewed by so many who want to use this as a platform for hatred. Trayvon's parents just want justice, and they should have it.
Donna Jeziorski, Tampa
Statistic cited in promotion of Buffett rule holds up | April 11, PolitiFact
Not a tough call
Of all the incendiary statements, exaggerations and flat-out lies President Barack Obama has made, you choose to verify something as benign and uncontroversial as his contention that 98 percent of us make less than $250,000? Really? Did anyone doubt that?
Your process seems to consist of identifying a politician to "fact check," determining the outcome you want, and selecting a quote that achieves your purpose. You have made a mockery of your own really good idea.
James E. Brakeman, Tierra Verde
NCAA Frozen Four
One of the best in history
On behalf of the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee, I would like to personally thank everyone involved with the 2012 NCAA Men's Frozen Four for all of their hard work and dedication. Rob Higgins and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, Bill Wickett and the Tampa Bay Times Forum staff and many members of the Tampa Bay community and throughout the state of Florida made this one of the best Frozen Fours in history.
From the fans who travel from across the nation to attend this event every year to the student-athletes and coaches from the four participating teams, everyone will be talking about this year's event for the rest of their lives. Thank you, and we hope to be back in your tremendous community again soon.
Sean T. Frazier, NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey chair, Madison, Wis.
Union members left out | April 12, letter
The right to choose
I have been a union member for over 45 years. We started a PAC many years ago in response to the corporate PACs. Every member of my union had the right to not contribute to the PAC with no repercussions from the union.
It was 2 cents an hour deducted from a paycheck when it started and the same when I retired. Union members do have a choice.
Steve Moran, Largo
Tough call on reservoir | April 12
Big payouts, big losses
Tampa Bay Water rejected a $30 million settlement because their legal advisers told them they could get more. So Tampa Bay Water went to Las Vegas (a.k.a. court), bet it all on black, and it came up red. What can taxpayers do? Maybe sue the legal advisers for the guaranteed $30 million? No way. Or maybe we don't pay the lawyers' legal bill of over $500,000? No.
The reality is since it's the government, we will pay the same lawyers who "advised" us on the case to appeal the case (which we will lose), and pay the $72 million plus more to Kiewit to rebuild the basin, and then give everyone who mismanaged this mess a bonus and raise their pay 10 percent.
I sure chose the wrong profession.
William Alexander, Tampa