Wells Fargo VP adds insult to injury, snatching foreclosed Malibu party pad
Even so, the The Los Angeles Times reports that Cheronda Guyton, Wells Fargo bank's senior VP for foreclosed properties, has spent much of the last summer using a foreclosed house in the neighborhood as her personal party pad.
The strange story of how Guyton catapulted herself into one of the nation's wealthiest enclaves begins, oddly enough, with the fall of Bernie Madoff. The fraudster's victims included Lawrence and Linda Elins. Lawrence, the former head of toy manufacturer Applause, bought the home in 1996 and refinanced it with Wells Fargo (WSF) in 2007. When the Elinses turned it over to the bank in May, it was valued at $12 million.
Although real estate agents have had numerous offers for the house, the bank has declined requests to show it to prospective buyers. But neighbors have noticed a Volvo SUV parked in the driveway, and strangers wandering around the grounds. Turns out the SUV belongs to Guyton, who had obtained a residency parking pass from the front gate's security guards. She and her family had apparently been using the home as a weekend getaway. Their visits climaxed in late August with a large party featuring a waterborne arrival, as guests traveled to the property from a yacht anchored offshore.
Wells Fargo admits that it's not company policy to let employees use foreclosed properties for personal use, and it promises to "conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations." What remains unclear is, among the thousands of foreclosed homes across the U.S. today, any others are equally tempting to bank officials who handle the paperwork.