The pro-Trump Florida man who allegedly sent numerous pipe bombs to prominent Democrats last week owned a home in 2009 that was foreclosed on by a bank at the time owned and chaired by President Donald Trump’s current treasury secretary, according to The Intercept.
Cesar Sayoc lost his home to foreclosure the same year Steve Mnuchin took ownership of the bank IndyMac, changing the name to OneWest Bank and taking on the reputation of a foreclosure machine.
The documents used to enact the foreclosure were signed by a prominent robo-signer and seemingly backdated. Nonetheless, the evidence was good enough for the famously inattentive Florida foreclosure courts to wave the case through. Years later, Sayoc became a supporter of Trump, who came into office and appointed a treasury secretary who ran the bank that snatched Sayoc’s house.
The Intercept obtained the records by searching Broward County foreclosure documents, which are all public.
It’s a bizarre twist to a story that has captured America’s attention this week. Thirteen pipe bombs were sent by mail to high-profile Trump critics: former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, Rep. Maxine Waters, former Attorney General Eric Holder, actor Robert DeNiro, financier and Democratic donor George Soros, among others. None of the bombs exploded.
Years earlier, Sayoc experienced some difficult times that led to losing his home.
By early 2009, foreclosures had soared across the country to record highs, particularly in Florida, one of the hardest-hit areas. Millions of subprime mortgages would go sour as the housing bubble collapsed. Sayoc was living in Fort Lauderdale, in a house purchased in 2006. He refinanced in April 2007, getting an adjustable-rate mortgage from IndyMac Bank for $385,500.
The bank then sold Sayoc’s mortgage to a shell company called MERS, which IndyMac Bank used to allow swift trading of loans between buyers — but less than two years after that sale, on January 7, 2009, Sayoc’s home was in foreclosure.
Through a series of sketchy moves — some of which appear fraudulent — the Sayoc lost his home on September 2, 2009 when a judge ruled in favor of IndyMac.
In March of the same year, Mnuchin had taken over the bank and renamed it OneWest.
IndyMac was a failed bank under federal receivership at the time it initiated the foreclosure on Sayoc. By March 2009, it would fall into the hands of a consortium led by Mnuchin. He renamed it OneWest Bank. As part of a standard deal during the financial crisis, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation backstopped losses on loan defaults, limiting the downside risk of foreclosures.
Mnuchin turned a big profit on OneWest, and along the way, numerous homeowners accused him of running a foreclosure machine. The bank did agree to a 2011 consent order stipulating that it wronged homeowners and made restitution to a number of them.
The Sayoc foreclosure certainly fits a pattern of dodgy documents, known robo-signers, and a successful rubber stamp from the judicial system regardless.