You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

breaking news

UPDATE: Dwyer High School in Gardens will be open Tuesday

Florida Supreme Court disbars foreclosure king David J. Stern


The man who once ruled over Florida’s massive foreclosure mire was disbarred Tuesday by the Florida Supreme Court, officially ending a decades-long legal career tarnished by accusations of fraud and misconduct.

The ruling against David J. Stern, who built his Plantation-based law firm on repossessing homes, was expected as the 53-year-old did not appeal a referee’s October recommendation for disbarment.

Stern’s attorney, Jeff Tew, said he had no comment about the decision, which was made public Thursday.

The Supreme Court order gives Stern 30 days to close his practice. But his company, which once handled more than 200,000 foreclosure cases statewide, effectively shut down in 2011 after he lost most of his clients amid allegations of notary fraud, robo-signing and shoddy legal work.

Speaking during an October hearing where the Florida Bar pursued 17 complaints against him, Stern said he wasn’t to blame for the problems at his firm and characterized the findings as unintended mistakes.

His refusal to accept responsibility was noted by Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Nancy Perez, who acted as referee in the case and recommended disbarment.

“Mr. Stern has not expressed any remorse in these proceedings,” Perez wrote in her recommendation. “He has taken no responsibility.”

Perez also scolded Stern for blaming his attorneys and paralegals for the flaws in foreclosure filings.

“The incidents were not isolated, but rather a representation of the culture of the firm, as to the low level of competence and ethics,” Perez wrote in her 35-page report. “(Stern) is the lawyer. It was his firm. Mr. Stern is responsible.”

As Florida’s foreclosure crisis swelled, Stern, a former college soccer player, grew his firm by taking on mega-bank clients and federal mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. His office, once 800 square feet, ballooned to seven floors with 1,500 employees, including 150 attorneys.

In 2010, Stern sold the non-legal, back operations of his enterprise for $58 million.

Stern is also required to pay $49,125 to the Florida Bar for its investigation. Realtor.com shows Stern listed his six-bedroom, 17,000-square-foot waterfront home in Fort Laudersale for sale at $32 million in June.

Foreclosure defense attorneys reacted with indifference to the disbarment news.

Mike Wasylik, a foreclosure defense attorney who testified in the Bar’s case against Stern, said “he got off light.”

“Who really cares? What does it really matter,” said St. Petersburg area foreclosure defense attorney Matt Weidner. “I just returned from court today on an old David J. Stern case. Courts all across this state are still filled with the garbage poured into them.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Federal agents seize $20M hidden in a box spring in Massachusetts
Federal agents seize $20M hidden in a box spring in Massachusetts

Federal agents seized nearly $20 million in cash hidden in a box spring in a Westborough, Massachusetts, apartment.  The money was seized this month and a Brazilian man was arrested in connection with conspiring to launder proceeds of a massive TelexFree pyramid scheme.  The U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts said agents...
Fox News drops Stacey Dash, critics rejoice
Fox News drops Stacey Dash, critics rejoice

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report. Fox News contributor Stacey Dash hasn't been seen on the network since September, and she might not be returning any time soon. >> Read more trending stories   Best known for her role in the 1995 movie "Clueless," the 50-year-old actress-turned-political-pundit supported Mitt...
Photo appears to show Michigan man walking on water, literally
Photo appears to show Michigan man walking on water, literally

A photo of a Michigan man looks startlingly surreal, as if he’s walking on water, but in reality he’s standing on an ice-covered lake near Boyne City in the northern part of the state. It wasn’t a hoax, as some have suggested, according to Andre Poineau, who said he ventured out onto Lake Charlevoix in mid-January when the ice was...
Arthur Blank to send all Falcons employees to Super Bowl
Arthur Blank to send all Falcons employees to Super Bowl

Atlanta Falcons franchise owner Arthur Blank plans to take all of the team's employees to Houston for the Super Bowl. The team employs about 500 people. No further details of Blank's plans were available on Monday, the day after the Falcons beat the Packers for the NFC championship. The Falcons will play the AFC champion New England Patriots in the...
Johnny Manziel has advice for President Donald Trump
Johnny Manziel has advice for President Donald Trump

Johnny Manziel is back on the scene not just in time for the Super Bowl but also to help out our 45th president as he settles into the Oval Office. The former Cleveland Browns quarterback offered some important social media advice for President Donald J. Trump on Monday.  "Yo @POTUS even I know to stay away from the notifications section...
More Stories