Mortgage Vultures Over the Valley

A Chandler woman claims a California-based mortgage company swindled her out of her home by buying her mortgage note and unlawfully selling it to another company -- a familiar narrative of the recent housing crisis.

Jill Slikker accepted a loan from the Marshall & Ilsley Bank in March of 2008 to buy a house at 2453 East Elmwood Place in Chandler. She has not made payment on the loan since March of 2009 -- a failure to pay she blames on bad advice given to her by the bank.

In recent court filings, Slikker claims that M&I told her to stop making mortgage payments, refused to renegotiate the loan, and then sold it to another company, which sold it to yet another company, which is now in the process of foreclosing on her home.

"M&I owned her loan, securitized it, flipped it, sold it out the backdoor to Kondaur Capital, who buys garbage paper and then steals people's homes," her attorney, Douglas Rhoads, tells New Times.

Kondaur Capital Corporation is a California company that buys loans "with origination fraud," "regulatory violations," and loans that are hyper-defaulted, according to their website. In an interview with the Orange County Register, Kondaur CEO John Daurio was asked if his company was called "Kondaur," (pronounced like "condor"), because it's a "vulture company." He answered that it was not, that Kondaur is an amalgamation of his and his partner's name, but that they see their business as "soaring to better solutions."

Kondaur planned a Trustee's Sale of Slikker's property in December of 2009, according to court records, but Slicker was able to prevent that by filing for bankruptcy on November 23, of that year. Kondaur then sold Slikker's loan to Vertical Property Management, an Arizona company, that December, according to court documents.

The bankruptcy court allowed Vertical Property Management to conduct a trustee's sale, which was completed last September. VPM was granted a forcible entry detainer against her on December 3rd, and Slicker was ordered to leave the property by December 8th. Slikker filed to stay the ruling pending appeal, which was heard and denied on January 7th.

That Monday, Slicker drove her kids to school and came home to find that the locks were being changed, she tells New Times.

Her attorney filed a temporary restraining order the next day, alleging that Slikker's default was caused by the bank and that Kondaur has failed to follow federal disclosure laws. Rhoads also claims that the companies are unable to provide "original" notes to the court, writing in an affidavit that foreclosing law firms "are creating assignments and uploading them for third party processors to robo-sign and create the illusion of a valid title."

In their response to his motion, Vertical Property Management claims that Slikker's filing is one of many "frivolous" motions aimed at preventing them from taking the property. However, the judge ruled in favor of Slikker's restraining order, pending a hearing on January 13th.

At that hearing, VPM argued that the bankruptcy court no longer has jurisdiction and Rhoads argued there were "gross regularities in the sale." The court took it under advisement but ordered the parties to cooperate "for the sole purpose of allowing recovery of personal property belonging to Ms. Slikker."

Slikker, who is unmarried, tells New Times she has been fighting cancer, which is why she was unable to pay her mortgage.

The case highlights one of the ongoing problems contributing to the foreclosure crisis in the Valley: the emergence of a "scratch and dent" market where companies buy bad mortgage notes and then try to liquidate them for a profit, at any cost.

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