Halloween has a Buffalo-area law firm in hot water.
Steven J. Baum, according to The New York Times
, is a “foreclosure mill,” which means it represents banks and mortgage companies who are trying to foreclose on people’s homes and kick them out of those properties.
Every year, the firm has a big Halloween bash. The costumes people wore to these parties were unknown—until a former employee emailed photos to the Times
from last year’s Halloween party.
Long story short, the Halloween décor and employees’ costumes could suggest, let’s say, a lack of compassion for people who are losing their homes.
From Joe Nocera’s article:
“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.”
Nocera uses the article to point out some of the firm’s shortcomings, including a $2 million fine to resolve a Department of Justice investigation to find out whether the firm “filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage assignments in the state and federal courts in New York.”
The firm responded to the Times
with a statement that said:
“It has been suggested that some employees dress in ... attire that mocks or attempts to belittle the plight of those who have lost their homes. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
According to the Times
, the statement described Nocera’s column as “another attempt by The New York Times
to attack our firm and our work.”
to view the photos in question.