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Mortgage Chaos Ensnares White House Press Secretary Perino

Sorry, home foreclosure vultures. If you were hoping to acquire White House press secretary Dana Perino's home at a Washington, D.C. government auction tomorrow, it looks like you're out of luck.

President Bush's chief spokeswoman tells the Sleuth she has now paid her delinquent property tax bill in full and, therefore, she expects to avoid a scheduled sale this week of her Capitol Hill house.

Perino's home in Southeast Washington was slated to be "sold at public auction to the highest bidder" on Wednesday, according to the District of Columbia's Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR). Her name, along with hundreds of other alleged debtors (including Democratic political hotshot Hilary Rosen), appeared on an official OTR list published in The Washington Post on Aug. 21 citing D.C. residents who had failed to pay their property taxes and risked foreclosure. Perino owed the city $1,921.86, according to the public notice.

Talk about the mortgage crisis hitting the White House smack in the mouthpiece!

Perino blames the snafu on her mortgage company, which she declined to identify. She says her mortgage company handles payment of her property taxes and, well, "it was a mistake." One that was resolved on Aug. 25, when the mortgage company paid the outstanding tax bill in full, she said.

(But somebody had better tell that to the D.C. tax collectors! Because as of this week, the District's online property records still listed Perino as owing $2,858.89 in back taxes.)

If it hadn't been for an inquiry from a friendly reporter on the Post's Style section last month, Perino may never have learned about her tax debt in time to stop this week's scheduled auction. She says after the nice Style reporter brought the notice of non-payment to her attention, her husband called their mortgage company, which then took care of the matter. (And the ace White House spinmeister apparently talked Style out of writing about the matter.)

Incidentally, this isn't the Perino family's first scrape with the law here in the nation's capital.

Last year, Perino's husband, British businessman Peter McMahon, was thrown in jail for a day for failing to pay a ticket he was issued by the U.S. Park Police for walking their dog, Henry, a Vizsla, off leash. (Click here to read a particularly hilarious account of the saga, and photos of Henry and his scofflaw master. Our friends at the "other" paper, the D.C. Examiner, first had the scoop.)

At least Perino was in good bipartisan company on the dreaded delinquent property tax front.

Rosen, a Hillary Clinton insider, owed the D.C. government $10,152.45 in back taxes on their luxurious Palisades manse.

But Rosen isn't blaming the mortgage company. "I'd like to have the excuse that it was the bank's fault but apparently it was our fault - we missed the notices," Rosen said. (Hey, when you have to appear on CNN every night as a talking head, it's tough to keep track of the mail.)

She can't even use the John McCain too-many-houses-to-keep-track-of excuse. "I don't have seven houses to keep track of. Or even two! Just one," Rosen wrote in an email to the Sleuth, not wasting an opportunity for a partisan dig.

Like Perino, Rosen says she has taken care of the situation and paid her taxes since the scarlet D.C. revenue notice was published for all to see. "I hope Dana won't be homeless, either," she said.

Stay tuned to see whether their houses really do escape the auction block tomorrow.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  September 16, 2008; 9:30 AM ET
 
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Comments

This is worthy of an article???? How weak. Thanks for wasting 5 minutes of my time.

Posted by: LeftCoastRick | September 16, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Agree. I am the last person who would want to be a Perino apologist, but this is truly a nothing story. The same thing happened to me a few years ago -- I got a tax sale notice for unpaid property tax. After the initial panic, I called my mortgage company and threw a fit. They had screwed up and missed the bill, and apologized profusely and paid it immediately. (Even though I later refinanced with another company, I now check my taxes online to make sure they have been paid.)

This is a (not uncommon) mortage servicing problem that has nothing to do with the "mortgage chaos" and isn't fairly characterized as "a scrape with the law."

Posted by: jane | September 16, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

That should be:
Perino MIGHT never have learned

Posted by: James | September 16, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

It's not a story, except that it shows that everybody, including Perino herself, is vulnerable to policies that Perino herself is advocating everyday. Do you think Perino's mortgage company wouldn't have paid taxes if their mortgage portfolio were healthier?

Posted by: Chris | September 16, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"This is worthy of an article???? How weak. Thanks for wasting 5 minutes of my time.

Posted by: LeftCoastRick | September 16, 2008 11:17 AM"

Thanks for wasting 2 minutes of my time for reading your SPEW! As others stated, this is worthy news because it is something that MANY homeowners face. There needs to be laws allowing the HOMEOWNER, not the mortgage company, to settle the matter in a timely matter. Heck, how would you like it if this was done behind your back, ON YOUR HOME, and some japanese family purchased it and came and evicted you... ALL within the same month.

You wretched neo-con loving GOP righteous preeks need to pull the wool out of your eyes and see this country is failing and it is a FACT! The rich corporate fools want to keep us imprisoned with thier control. Wake up Americans! TAKE BACK this country before it is too late!

Posted by: Ed | September 17, 2008 6:44 AM | Report abuse

jane -- join the crowd. You have to watch these mortgage companies like hawks, because you the homeowner is legally responsible for the tax even if somebody else pays it.

I finally talked my mortgage company into letting me pay my property taxes, which solved the problem, but it took many, many phone calls and lots of determination and lots of "please let me talk to your supervisor."

Posted by: WashingtonDame | September 17, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Real Estate Taxes Are Crushing:

It isn't the Republican Administration's fault that people
like Dana Perino and Hilary Rosen are being savaged by
local real estate taxes, so much so that the aforementioned
and millions of other homeowners just get by, by the skin of
their teeth from the sheriff's auction gavel.

Over 85% of a local municipality's taxes is personnel salaries
and benefits; plus school taxes which is the biggest
levy. Immigration is greatly impacting school taxes because
few immigrants of recent era own taxable real estate:
therefore their impacted expense falls to the existing
tax base.

Thus if someone is carrying an inflated mortgage, his/her
carrying charges are heightened by local taxes. The Sleuth
and WP staff are quick to point a middle finger at a public
figure for purposes of titillation and ridicule; but bypass
the significant elements that may take a person to the
brink of foreclosure.

Posted by: 3rd-Party Advocate | September 17, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

There's a simple fix to this: get a mortgage that doesn't require you to escrow your property tax and insurance payments. You don't need some "law" to handle it. Of course, you have to have the discipline to put the money aside for the annual bills.

Posted by: Vickie | September 18, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

the shill dana is now qualified to be the empty skirt press sec. in the mccain admin.

another corrupt bush official. shocking.

Posted by: black & blue111 | September 18, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

There are others facing a move that no one is focusing on. PLEASE LET PALIN KNOW HER PEOPLE NEED HER BACK AT HOME IN ALASKA!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>MUST READ

I CAME ACROSS THIS ON A ALASKA BLOG, THESE PEOPLE ARE REALLY TRYING TO GET HELP, THEY ARE HAVING TO MOVE OUT OF THEIR HOMES WHILE GOV. SARAH IS OFF CAMPAIGNING, SO IF YOU CAN PLEASE HELP THESE PEOPLE BY PASSING THIS ALONG.

SORRY I COULD NOT LINK IT, BUT I FOUND IT IN A BLOG CALLED ALASKA REAL

PASS IT ON PLEASE! THERE'S MORE, BUT I COULD ONLY TAKE UP SO MUCH SPACE HERE! PALIN IS A MESS AND THAT'S FOR SURE!

Monday September 15, 2008

THIS IS HAPPENING IN SARAH PALIN'S BACKYARD
The town will have no power. Residents are being asked to leave. One man has already suffered medical problems because he could not get power to his respiratory equipment. Teachers are trying to have classes in their homes with small generators.

This is not some third world country. This is not even Texas or Louisiana, where thousands are facing the aftereffects of a hurricane.

This is a small village in Alaska.

Adak cannot pay its gas bill. They've been struggling with this problem for some time, but they were finally cut off. A combination of problems - as the Anchorage Daily News reports, were the cause, but the obvious - rising fuel prices - is one of the main culprits.

The other is the fishing industry. This tiny village of less than 150 people has been hit hard by the prices. It's a village that has been hit before with so much, historically - first the Russian invasion and "relocation", World War II invasion and forced relocation, and more recently the shut down of the military base.

A quote in the Anchorage Daily News, from an Adak medic:

"It is beyond my comprehension that such a situation like this can occur in an American city," Adams said.

Ironically, the ADN reported on a Senate hearing in August about Rural energy in the paper on the same say. Sen. Murkowski was urging Rural residents to stay in the villages, and a panel of Native leaders and energy experts talked over solutions to the energy crisis in the villages.

I applaud all those at this hearing for working towards solutions. I was not much of a fan of Murkowski, but in things like this, and others, she's on the right track. But mere weeks after she urges villagers to stay in the village for the sake of culture and the connection to the land, residents are asked to leave Adak.

But where is our governor?

I asked this last night, and today I see she's campaigning in Colorado.

Even the Republican delegates took a half day to look after the Hurricane crisis. Why can't she come take a look at this? I don't know that she would do anything - check my earlier post for her veto on another small Rural community that went over on their energy costs last year. They were looking for state funding to help in their costs. Palin line-item vetoed it. Is this what she meants by "reform?"

She only just left - this would have been a good issue to address while she was here in Alaska to take care of ... well, giving interviews about how little she knows about foreign policy I suppose. And rallies. Several rallies.

Palin recently pushed through giving every eligible Alaska resident a $1200 check as an energy rebate - which began distribution this weekend. You can imagine the popularity of that for the public (for any doubters, you need only have gone by Best Buy this weekend and counted the game systems going out the door.)

The ADN reported on lawmakers that were opposed to this plan (you can imagine the cahones it took to oppose giving out free money!) before it was passed, and just WHY they were opposed:
"They said the House plan to simply pay Alaskans a $1,200 rebate and to suspend the state's 8-cent tax on each gallon of gasoline isn't broad enough to cover needs statewide, especially in the costly Bush (Rural Alaska) where $1,200 just won't go as far."

Looks like it only took until the very weekend the checks were being distributed to be proven right.

I have been increasingly frustrated with the coverage - or lack of coverage - on this situation. I posted on this last night (Saturday.) A few hours ago the Anchorage Daily News finally reported on it. There was nothing in the local television news, much less national reports.

WHY IS THIS NOT NEWS?

An entire community of people is without power and being asked to leave their homes because they cannot afford the fuel! The State of Alaska has a MULTI BILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS!

THIS IS PREVENTABLE!

Posted by: Bernice | September 18, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Dana Perino and Cindy McCain have property tax delinquencies so they can better relate to the little people.

Posted by: Patriot3 | September 18, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

A look at the federal income tax returns of those who itemize their deductions reveals that on average, itemizers pay 3 times as much in mortgage interest as they do in property taxes.

The mortgage interest has to do with paying off the previous owner, who didn't create the land value. The property tax is paying for the services which make our communities good places to live.

Which one is smart, and which one is dumb?

We ought to reform the property tax, so that the current owner pays the community, instead of paying off the seller, who didn't create the property value. (Houses depreciate; land appreciates, and it does so in response to public investment; to population increases; to technological advances. Why should a home buyer or homeowner pay the seller for those things? He had nothing to do with them!!)

Posted by: LVTfan | September 18, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
to Both of them, cuz they are both rich.
ahahahahahah take that!

Posted by: Bushis aStinker | September 19, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the interesting article! Reading the comments it appears many shift the blame to others like the mortgage company and the tax collector rather than placing the blame on Perino and her husband McMahon for their failure to pay the property taxes in a timely way to avoid a public auction. Outrageously 3rd-Party Advocate blames immigrants who do not own property for high property taxes because "few immigrants of recent era own taxable real estate."

While property owners pay property taxes directly, renters of houses and apartments pay property taxes indirectly through their rents that are calculated to include the property owners' property taxes. Also everyone indirectly pays for business property taxes when we buy items since the retail costs include the business owner's property tax. Blaming immigrants or anyone who does not own real estate for higher property tax burdens is erroneous.

Perino's credibility as a presidential spokesperson is diminished by her inability to responsibly take care of her civic responsibility to timely pay her property taxes

Posted by: Joe | September 19, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"This is worthy of an article???? How weak. Thanks for wasting 5 minutes of my time.

Posted by: LeftCoastRick | September 16, 2008 11:17 AM"

Thanks for wasting 2 minutes of my time for reading your SPEW! As others stated, this is worthy news because it is something that MANY homeowners face. There needs to be laws allowing the HOMEOWNER, not the mortgage company, to settle the matter in a timely matter. Heck, how would you like it if this was done behind your back, ON YOUR HOME, and some japanese family purchased it and came and evicted you... ALL within the same month.

You wretched neo-con loving GOP righteous preeks need to pull the wool out of your eyes and see this country is failing and it is a FACT! The rich corporate fools want to keep us imprisoned with thier control. Wake up Americans! TAKE BACK this country before it is too late!

Posted by: Ed | September 17, 2008 6:44 AM


Ed-

Ok, fine, but if that is the case wouldn't you applaud an article written to properly address the problem "Many homeowners face" instead of applauding a smear article over something Dana Perino was not responsible for? Our country does have some problems but if you think your attitude and those of Miss Akers are part of the solution you pathetically wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing with all the stories on home foreclosures these two should have made national news. All the stories always focus on the poor, etc. this tells you that it is affecting EVERYONE but the MSN won't report on their friends.

Posted by: Rich | September 20, 2008 6:50 AM | Report abuse

"This is a (not uncommon) mortage servicing problem that has nothing to do with the "mortgage chaos" ..."Posted by: jane | September 16, 2008 12:35 PM

Nothing could be further from the truth, Jane. Mortgage Servicing Fraud is absolutely a key factor in the current "mortgage chaos". I'm one of more than 280,000 FTC-certified victims of Fairbanks Capital Corp. n/k/a Select Portfolio Servicing as certified in USA/Curry v. Fairbanks. I've been fighting what a NH Superior Court judge ruled an illegal foreclosure for the last seven years now. I now have a $13 million racketeering action filed in federal court against Fairbanks/SPS, Merrill Lynch, LaSalle Bank and their local legal counsel.

The FTC recently settled FTC v. EMC/Bear Stearns for $28 million for similar, and yet more extensive violations of servicing practices, to USA/Curry. A recent phone call from FTC counsel Lucy Morris' office informed me that, while the FTC has no idea how many victims will be included in they are "expecting tens of thousands".

Mortgage Servicing Fraud is part of the reason that we're all currently watching the CDOs, CDSs and ARSs, that virtually all of the major US financial institutions were heavily invested in, tank the US economy.

Ms. Perino and the current administration simply got just a small taste of what hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of borrowers across the country have been fighting for most likely the last 25 years. At least she was able to get her servicer to take action before it was too late. Many Mortgage Servicing Fraud victims aren't as lucky.

Mike Dillon
Manchester, NH
GetDShirtz.com

Posted by: Mike Dillon | September 20, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Before the FED starts printing new money to stop the financial holes, they better first sell the assets like houses and boats of those that are responsable for the financial holes.
Namely the banking people that sold the mortgages
(obtaining lots of provision money for selling these uncovered mortgages)
while they knew very well that the ones that took the mortgage
would not be able to pay back.

THAT SHOULD BE THE FIRST THING THE FED SHOULD DO,
SELL THE ASSETS (HOUSES, BOATS, JEWELRY, AUTOMOBILES AND PARTICIPATIONS ETC.} AND TAKE THE SAVINGS HERE AND ABROAD
OF THE CULPRITS THAT MADE THE FINANCIAL HOLES IN THE FIRST PLACE.

And you lazy and lousy Americans with your fat as_ses should see to it that this is gonna happen, so start moving your fat as_s, bring em on, go and get them !!

Posted by: cffddfg | September 22, 2008 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Heck only a few thousand bucks in back taxes owed..

Thats Rich...

Posted by: thejobsincountrymoveoverseasoverseasoverseas | September 22, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

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