As you’re trying to decide whether to wear that pimp costume this Halloween, be an “Indian brave,” a Bangkok prostitute or just push it balls-to-the-wall and be a pregnant streetwalking trailer park slut, let’s solemnly consider the cautionary tale offered by allegedly criminal Buffalo law firm of Steven J. Baum, which “serves the default industry.”
That is to say, Baum specializes in foreclosures.
Last fall, as the financial crises deepened and more and more families were ejected from their homes by the likes of Baum, the firm threw a Halloween bash in which employees dressed up as homeless people, complete with shopping carts and signs advertising their “excuses” as to why they shouldn’t be foreclosed on.
Hilarious, huh? I know, I laughed so hard I think I urinated all over myself, or maybe that was just the guy who lives in the alley near my apartment building, trying to take a whiz in public without getting targeted by police snipers! Well, never you worry, I (allegedly) suspect that the Baum firm had its share of white-trash debutantes, honkeys in blackface and geisha girls as well as their LOLZY renditions of pathetic families with small children forced to camp on the sidewalk because of Baum’s allegedly predatory foreclosure practices.
I just hope between slugging back non-biodegradable plastic cups of single-malt Scotch and munching on $40 plates of orange-and-black cookies, puff-pastry hors d’oeuvres and (allegedly) fridge-scented canapes, the firm’s employees had a chance to congratulate each other for not being homeless! I mean, they say that most families in America are just one paycheck away from homelesness, but you know what I think? I think any family that lets itself get foreclosed on by an (allegedly) fast-talking law firm that (allegedly) doesn’t give a shit about morals or ethics is sort of like a protester in Bahrain: fucked, sure, but thank God it’s not us!! I love my job, don’t you?!?!?
Well, since the we-own-houses, we-have-jobs, we’re-oh-so-special club is even smaller this year than last, nobody seems to have a sense of humor anymore.
It seems like America might be, you know, newly sensitive to the plight of the homeless, some of whom got that way through the tireless social activism of the Steven J. Baum Law Firm.
That’s why Baum sure is lucky that nobody took any incriminating pictures last year, aren’t they? I mean…those pics could really wipe a turd on those crab cakes they’re (allegedly) planning to serve at this year’s party, couldn’t they — if, say, they were distributed by a former employee and published in the New York Times, right? Am I right?
You’re right! Or rather, Joe Nocera is right:
Let me describe a few of the photos. In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.
A second picture shows a coffin with a picture of a woman whose eyes have been cut out. A sign on the coffin reads: “Rest in Peace. Crazy Susie.” The reference is to Susan Chana Lask, a lawyer who had filed a class-action suit against Steven J. Baum — and had posted a YouTube video denouncing the firm’s foreclosure practices. “She was a thorn in their side,” said my source.
A third photograph shows a corner of Baum’s office decorated to look like a row of foreclosed homes. Another shows a sign that reads, “Baum Estates” — needless to say, it’s also full of foreclosed houses. Most of the other pictures show either mock homeless camps or mock foreclosure signs — or both. My source told me that not every Baum department used the party to make fun of the troubled homeowners they made their living suing. But some clearly did. The adjective she’d used when she sent them to me — “appalling” — struck me as exactly right.
These pictures are hardly the first piece of evidence that the Baum firm treats homeowners shabbily — or that it uses dubious legal practices to do so. It is under investigation by the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. It recently agreed to pay $2 million to resolve an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the firm had “filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage assignments in the state and federal courts in New York.” (In the press release announcing the settlement, Baum acknowledged only that “it occasionally made inadvertent errors.”)
My fellow Americans, take a moment to shed a tear for the poor, poor hardworking souls of the Steven J. Baum firm in Buffalo, New York. They’ve had a rough year, those (allegedly) hardworking Americans who, between trips to the water cooler and lengthy tangles with McDonald’s-fueled bowel obstructions in the toilet stalls while reading Better Homes and Gardens, ruin other peoples’ lives and then laugh their asses off about it.
These are the hardworking Americans that the likes of Occupy Wall Street (allegedly) want to put out of work.
And the Big Man himself knows his babies did a bad bad thing, according to The Buffalo News:
The head of the firm, Steven J. Baum, said in a statement to The Buffalo News on Saturday that the photos “obviously were in poor taste.”
“On behalf of the firm, I sincerely apologize for what happened last year at our Halloween party,” he said.
Baum said the firm had its Halloween party last week at its various locations, “and we reiterated our company policy as it pertains to wearing appropriate costumes. No one is permitted to wear a costume that could be interpreted as being offensive.”
Baum said this year’s party raised money for the American Red Cross, and he mentioned other fundraising efforts his firm is involved in.
The ex-employee told Nocera that not all Baum departments used the 2010 party to mock homeowners facing foreclosure.
So have some pity on Mr. Baum’s employees…because times are tough! Money is tight! And everywhere, people are cutting back on expenses! That might even include a few law firm employees, right?
So is it too much to hope that some of Baum’s employees might have saved their costumes from last year, and recycled them for this year’s second-verse-same-as-the-first? I mean, they can’t all have been flush enough to afford whole new costumes as suicide bombers and gangsta rappers, right? Is it too much to hope that there was a hobo or two, and maybe a one-legged Iraq vet with flesh-eating bacteria, and a crying tear-gassed Oakland protester, and maybe a bankruptcy victim dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound (hilarious!) at Baum’s party this year?
And that even now, those photos might be winging their way to the likes of Mr. Nocera at the New York Times?
If so, I’d just hate to see those hardworking foreclosure commandos, you know, lose their jobs over it or anything.
Then they might have to recycle those costumes for use in the real world.
And my guess is…it wouldn’t seem very funny.