One of our colleagues is taking heat for his lavish lifestyle, built on the ruins of other people’s lives.
Over the top holocaust comparisons aside, there is something quite unseemly – a stronger word might be better (disgraceful? disgusting?) – about one of the attorneys for the banks foreclosing on hapless underwater or otherwise struggling homeowners and getting fabulously wealthy in the process. At the very least, the $1.85 million Bugatti exceeds the boundaries of good taste, in more ways than one.
I remember an in-law of mine, when we were first introduced and he was advised that I was an attorney, saying something like “So, you evict poor people for money?” I don’t think I had done any evictions at that point. I have since done a couple. Don’t care for them.
I did note, however, how incredibly easy it was to evict people. There is a whole procedural apparatus in place and ready to go, at your service, when you are a landlord and want to evict a tenant. It’s so easy and so routine most landlords learn how to do them without a lawyer. In fact, the court provides an instruction booklet for non-lawyer landlords seeking evictions, complete with addresses and phone numbers for the marshalls who will ultimately do the dirty work. The time from missed rental payment to eviction is measured in days, whereas almost every other type of litigation takes years. The “landlord-tenant” calendar is a rocket docket of long standing.
Shit rolls downhill, it is said. The consequences of economic folly will be visited first, and most severely, upon those on the bottom rung, the people who rent from someone else – often described as an “owner”, but most of the time really just a collection agent for the bank that holds the mortgage on his rental property – and maybe it’s just me but I object. The person who lives hand to mouth and pays rent and then loses his job will soon be homeless or on “public assistance”. We oppress such people in the legal system. We deprive them of a place to live summarily.
None of those people have done anything like the damage to the social fabric that the people at Goldman Sachs and J.P Morgan have. And the truth of the matter is that those banks are the real parties in interest, the real power behind the throne that drives the streamlined and summary eviction procedures. The system really doesn’t care whether landlords are getting their rent so much as it cares whether landlords’ mortgages are being paid. Recognizing that the key to that is to make sure tenants pay, tenants are therefore promptly booted at the first sign of trouble – meaning, that they aren’t paying – as a message to all bottom rungers everywhere that the man must be paid or you will be homeless.
The important servants of this malevolent and pitiless system are apparently rewarded with $1.85 million sports cars and other expensive toys. It saddens me that some of those servants are lawyers.
Contrasts of this nature, between the rich lawyer and his pathetic and soon to be homeless opponents may be merely anecdotal. But if they aren’t, if they represent a larger truth, that can mean trouble of a different kind. You never really know whether something like the current developments in Egypt will be confined to one country or surprisingly spread far and wide.