Baltimore City has amended its lawsuit against Wells Fargo, citing property tax loss and a drain on city services like police and fire. The suit was originally dismissed in January by Judge J. Frederick Motz, who cited the City’s criminal culture and lack of accountability as part of the vacant housing problem.
Yesterday’s Maryland Daily Record article on the lawsuit contained some strong quotes from Wells Fargo’s attorney, Andrew L. Sandler.
“The city of Baltimore has been consistently better at issuing press releases than it has been at litigating this case,” said Sander, of BuckleySandler LLP in Washington, D.C. “We expect to defeat this action as we defeated the last one.”
According to the article, the City claims that out of 163 foreclosures by Wells Fargo in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, 80 homes remain vacant. Frankly, when you compare that number (and subsequent loss of property taxes and drain on city services) with the total number of vacant structures in Baltimore City (close to 40,000) and the number of vacant structures that are owned by the City (approximately 1/3 of all vacants in Baltimore) — the lawsuit seems less of a warning to Wells Fago, and more of a cheap ploy by the City.
We’re not seeing the logic in the lawsuit, especially when you consider the legal fees involved. Hopefully Judge Motz will once again rule on the side of common sense.