Saturday, December 01, 2007

Botox Anyone?

Yomister remarked in this comment thread that the UFT, which bills itself as a "Union of Professionals," is now running on its homepage an advertisement for botox treatments, breast enhancement and other kinds of plastic surgery by some doctor in Staten Island (I'm not putting up a link to the guy, but that's his logo over to the left.)

Yomister wonders when the ads for escort services and the like will show up on the UFT website.

If you click on the link for other advertisers on the UFT webpage, it's clear that the escort service ads are actually already there.

Listed on the advertisers page are:

1. Washington Mutual Mortgage Home Loans - a company that is being probed by NY State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for pressuring a big title insurer to inflate appraisals of homes so that they could hand out bigger mortgage loans and charge higher rates to people

2. Countrywide Financial - the nation's largest mortgage company that pioneered such innovative financial products as the NINJA loan (no income, no job no assets - no problem!!!) and handed out hundreds of thousands of adjustable rate mortgages to anybody with pulse no matter whether they had the ability to make payments once the mortgages reset to higher rates or not.

Like WaMu, Countrywide has also been accused of inflating home values so they could push higher mortgages (with higher fees) onto people. But the dishonesty and criminality didn't stop there. Gretchen Morgensen wrote the seminal article on the unethical Countrywide Financial for the NY Times back in August. Here's a taste:

Countrywide’s entire operation, from its computer system to its incentive pay structure and financing arrangements, is intended to wring maximum profits out of the mortgage lending boom no matter what it costs borrowers, according to interviews with former employees and brokers who worked in different units of the company and internal documents they provided. One document, for instance, shows that until last September the computer system in the company’s subprime unit excluded borrowers’ cash reserves, which had the effect of steering them away from lower-cost loans to those that were more expensive to homeowners and more profitable to Countrywide.


Countrywide’s product list showed that it would lend $500,000 to a borrower rated C-minus, the second-riskiest grade. As long as the loan represented no more than 70 percent of the underlying property’s value, Countrywide would lend to a borrower even if the person had a credit score as low as 500. (The top score is 850.)

The company would lend even if the borrower had been 90 days late on a current mortgage payment twice in the last 12 months, if the borrower had filed for personal bankruptcy protection, or if the borrower had faced foreclosure or default notices on his or her property.

Such loans were made, former employees say, because they were so lucrative — to Countrywide. The company harvested a steady stream of fees or payments on such loans and busily repackaged them as securities to sell to investors.

If you have heard about all the record foreclosures across the country, then you know just how much complicity Countrywide Financial has in the whole sub-prime mortgage mess.

The bottom line here is that if you have done any business with either WaMu Mortgage Home Loans or Countrywide Financial, you have more likely than not been cheated by them. The track record is there for all to see if you simply google these companies.

Yet our union, the dear old UFT, is helping these two unethical companies cheat UFT members by letting them advertise on the UFT website and taking a fee to do it.

I dunno about you, but that definitely sounds like the definition of "whoring" to me.

I wonder if that's what Randi means when she says the UFT is a "Union of Professionals"?
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