There is good taste, bad taste and then the kind of taste demonstrated by those in the largest foreclosure law firm in the state of New York. Staff in the law firm of Steven J. Baum PC dressed as foreclosure victims and the homeless at the firm's Halloween party last year, according to an op-ed by Joe Nocera in The New York Times.
The firm near Buffalo is a so-called "foreclosure mill" that has been under investigation for unsavory business practices, which include filing false evidence in an effort to hasten foreclosures. It recently agreed to pay a $2 million settlement to make a Department of Justice claim about its practices go away.
But legal matters aside, the article and accompanying photos appear to show a callous firm eager to mock the people whom they've helped to boot from their homes. In one of the photos supplied to the Times by an anonymous former employee, staffers are dressed as homeless people; one is holding a liquor bottle and the other a sign that reads "3rd-party squatter. I lost my home and I was NEVER served." The latter makes reference to what the firm considers a "typical excuse" of homeowners trying to evade foreclosure, says the Times.
After an initial denial, the head of the firm on Saturday issued a statement acknowledging that the photos "obviously were in poor taste." "On behalf of the firm, he I sincerely apologize for what happened last year at our Halloween party," Steven J. Baum told the Buffalo News. The company held this year's Halloween party last week. No photos have surfaced, but, Baum said in his statement, "no one is permitted to wear a costume that could be interpreted as being offensive."
For a gallery of photos, see the Times article here and view the video below:
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