Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Readers of my recent posts know that my wife and I are locked in combat with our mortgage bank, which persists in creating false penalties to add to our mortgage bill. Last week, the day after the receipt from our certified letter to Jamie Dimon returned to us, we received a voice mail from Heather Yomboro of the Chase Home Finance Executive Office. Actually, she lavished two calls on us, which we couldn't return until the next day, by which time a Fedex from Heather had appeared under our door to the effect that if she did not hear back from us, Chase would assume the matter closed. After three months of studiously ignoring us, the Weasel demands action.

In 2008, the last time we wrote to Mr. Dimon, the fixer assigned to our case came from the Chase Executive Resolution Committee, which still sounds to me like a branch of the East German Secret Police, and indeed, our fixer would've been right at home in the Stasi, her humorless manner balanced between cool politesse and infuriating snottiness. Fortunately, I noticed that she bristled at being called Ma'am, so I called her Ma'am every chance I got.

Chase's Executive Office must be a pleasanter place that its Executive Resolution Committee; at least Heather Yomboro is a good deal pleasanter than Ms. Stasi was. She bore the good news that our September mortgage payment was finally accepted and our fraudulent late penalties removed. To our astonishment, she apologized on behalf of the bank for sticking us with the neighbor's water bill and acknowledged that the Tax Department "jumped the gun" on our July tax payment, paying it before it was due so we could be escrowed for being late. I pointed out that this is not the first time Chase has pulled this stunt, not even the second. She apologized for that too. Apologized! Be still my heart.

But even if Heather Yomboro is pleasant and courteous, she is still a Chase employee, so I was wary. And it turned out that the real reason for her call was that the bank is out of pocket for those improper tax payments. The NYC Tax Office, bless its stony heart, won't return their dough, simply crediting the funds toward our tax bill. So, Heather said, we must return those funds to Chase. Alternatively, she suggested, we could call the NYC Tax Office and persuade them to return Chase's money, then pay in our taxes ourselves.

Not a chance. Can you imagine the length of the phone tree I'd have to wait through in order to plead the bank's case? Well, Heather opined, "the real problem here is that the city won't return our money to us." I reminded her that the real problem here is her employer's relentless greed and procedural sloppiness. Heather reminded me that, heck, a bank is really nothing more than a group of individuals who occasionally make, you know, mistakes. If you say so, Heather, although I'm inclined to see your bank, at least, as a sinister cadre of weasels devoted to nicking every penny it can get by tooth, claw or sleaze.

I told Heather that before we would even consider paying Chase the money it can't get back from the city, we require a written statement of what we had discussed, included a listing of the various ways the bank attempted to defraud us: the water bill, the premature tax payment, the cooked up penalties. She agreed readily.

That was six days ago and no such letter has arrived. However, Chase did send us a check for eighteen bucks, compensation for the certified letters we sent to Jamie et al. I'd mentioned the cost of those letters to Heather and that our other attempt to get Chase's attention had failed. They sent us the check without even a receipt from us (good thing too because I still can't find it). It was a nice gesture, much more convincing than the Weasel's customary sign-off, which graces this letter too: "Chase's goal is to provide the highest level of quality service." Nice, but I doubt the sincerity.

As a public service, we offer some advice for all who have issues with Chase Home Weasel: Don't bother with the indifferent lugnuts of Customer Care or the unscrupulous bean-counters of the Tax Department. Write directly to Jamie Dimon himself, certified mail. In our experience, it's the only way there is to get the bank's attention, and he's probably got time on his hands now that he's sold his house. Here's his contact info:

Jamie Dimon
JP Morgan Chase & Co.
270 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-270-1111
Fax : 212-270-1121

Meanwhile, we await Chase's next missive while, of course, paying our mortgage on time.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Readers of my most recent post on Huffington know that the intransigent turpitude of Chase Home Finance, the bank which holds our mortgage, has driven me to consider legal options, but only in a blue-skying, dreamy sort of way. In practice, my main outlet for expressing my vengeful loathing for that gang thieving suits is referring to them as Chase Home Weasel whenever possible, a tactic about which my wife is understanding but tired.

Now it's coming up on four weeks since creamy-voiced JoAnne of either the Tax Department or Chase Customer Care--it wasn't clear which but she was much smoother than the usual Customer Care thug--led us to believe that our situation was about to be fixed.

Unfortunately, nothing has been fixed. Every day since our mortgage payment was acknowledged by email, we've received an email saying our payment has not been received.

So yesterday we sent certified letters, return receipt requested, the whole nine yards, to Chase Home Weasel Customer Care, the Tax department and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase and by extension, King of the Weasels. Here's what it said:

We have made repeated attempts to get Chase to correct the errors it has made and continues to make with respect to our taxes and water bills. Chase has thus far failed to respond. Our efforts have been time-consuming and expensive. We make this final effort in the hopes of resolving this matter. Once again, we point out the following errors:

  1. The property taxes you seek to escrow us for are not delinquent; they have been paid in full and in timely fashion.
  2. The water bill you seek to escrow us for is not ours. It is the water bill of our neighbor.
  3. Contrary to your assertion that our water bill was delinquent, it was and is not delinquent either.
  4. Contrary to your letter of June 28th, no correspondence has been sent to us by Chase Home Finance regarding “delinquent” payments for our property since December, 2009, the last time that Chase attempted to bill us for our neighbor’s water bill. (NB: All relevant documentation follows this note.)

These mistakes should not have been made by you in the first place. Chase’s failure to correct them promptly, Chase’s failure to respond to our repeated attempts to address this situation and Chase’s frequent reiterations of these same mistakes (Chase has attempted to collect our neighbor’s water bill from us every year since 2006), evidences something beyond negligence. Such behavior evidences bad faith. Please rectify this matter no later than c.o.b. October 15, 2010 or we will be forced to take the following actions:

  1. Bring an action in Small Claims Court to seek compensation for the damages you have caused us in both time and expense. We will subpoena the appropriate Chase employees and documents.
  2. Report this matter for investigation to the New York State Department of Banking, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General.
  3. Continue to report this situation on the Huffington Post, as Alfred Gingold has been doing since July 29th, also on FaceBook and elsewhere.

We continue to make our proper mortgage payments (principle and interest only) in timely fashion. We hope that you will now act in good faith to resolve this matter quickly without causing us any further distress. In order to contact us before October 15th, our telephone number is blah blah blah, sincerely, etc.

Wish us luck...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


“Now the Irish, being a brave people and semi-amphibious...” – Clara Morris, Life on the Stage.

My friend Sam gave me a copy of Ms. Morris’ autobiography, coyright 1901. Googled her right away of course and learned she was an American leading lady of the 1860s and 70s and a precursor to the naturalism of Duse and the Method. This article has more information than the Wiki entry and is just plain fascinating, imho.

I had two auditions this evening, both for fey, campy, fruity, minty -- what can I say? -- gay roles. The characters' names were the tip-offs: Cedric and Clifton. What makes these names gay?