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April 29, 2009

mai appraiser poll


Were you satisified with your last MAI appraisal?
  • No
  • Yes
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The Portland Cement Association (PCA),

A special alert to the subscribers of the "AT HOME with Concrete" e-newsletter ...

The Portland Cement Association (PCA), a founding member of the Concrete Home Building Council, will be holding an hour-long webinar on how concrete home building technologies can be used to meet National Green Building Standard requirements.

The webinar will begin at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, May 14.

The webinar, "Concrete Solutions for the National Green Building Standard," will feature a panel of PCA experts.

Participants will learn about the sustainable impact of concrete products in home building, including how to:

  • Use concrete retaining walls to create more buildable area on steeply sloped sites
  • Reduce storm water infrastructure expenses with pervious concrete pavement
  • Reduce on-site trades with prefinished systems for walls, floors and paving
  • Offer durable, rich looking, easy-to-maintain finishes
  • Reduce coordination issues, saving time and money during construction
  • Enhance a builder's reputation through the performance, value and quality of concrete homes

To Register

The webinar fee is $30.

For more information or to register, click here.

Click here to unsubscribe

1201 15th Street NW, Washington , DC, 20005-2800

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Multi-Housing Cap Rates Have Increased 150 Basis Points, According to CBRE

 Multi-Housing Cap Rates Have Increased 150 Basis Points, According to CBRE
Boston-- Cap rates increased by approximately 150 basis points, on average, from May 2008 to March 2009, according to the CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) 2009 Multi-Housing Annual Market Report, which surveys 35 U.S. markets.

Apartment Vacancy Rates Jump to Over 7% in 1Q 2009
Washington, D.C.--National vacancy rates for rental housing in the first quarter of 2009 were 10.1 (+ 0.4) percent, according to the latest figures released by the Census Bureau.  Meanwhile, apartment vacancy rates for the same time period stood at 7.2 percent, Grub and Ellis found.

Top Stories
INSIDE THE DEAL: A Construction Loan in this Market? Here’s How One Was Done

Joppatowne, Md.—How is it possible to obtain a construction loan from a bank in this market? Here is how it was done for Harborside Apartments.

Multi-Housing Starts Fall 42% Since February’s Slight Uptick
Washington, D.C.--The latest starts figures are out, and multifamily starts for March are down again after a slight uptick seen in February. Starts, which were 119,000 units in January, went up slightly to 202,000 in February and are now down to 116,000, according to the latest report released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Condo Sales Drop in March, But Number of First Time Homebuyers Is Up, Says NAR
Washington, D.C.--Existing-home sales (including single-family, condos and townhomes) eased in March but first-time buyers are responding to low mortgage interest rates and tax credits, according to the National Association of Realtors.
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The 38th Annual Crocker Symposium on Real Estate Law and Business

May 5, 2009
The 38th Annual Crocker Symposium on Real Estate Law and Business
The economy is facing unprecedented challenges, and the environmental and financial regulatory systems intended to support it are going through equally profound changes. The impact on the real estate industry has been particularly acute. And, with new leadership in Washington, D.C. and myriad state and local jurisdictions, proposed legislation affecting the real estate industry is surfacing daily and a new real estate paradigm is evolving rapidly.
It is through the collective efforts of leaders from the business, legal, and public service communities that this new real estate paradigm will be built. The Benjamin S. Crocker Symposium 2009 will bring together our community’s real estate industry leaders, including attorneys, accountants, developers, bankers, academics, government representatives, and property owners, for an extraordinary day of networking, thought leadership, discussion, and analysis of the latest developments in the field to facilitate the efforts of those leaders as they shape the future of real estate in Southern California and beyond.

May 9, 2009
41st Annual Family Law Symposium

The 41st Annual Family Law Symposium will offer a comprehensive update on a wide variety of topics relevant to the practice of family law. These topics will include proof and presentation issues, fiduciary duties relative to confidentiality in mediation, disclosures as they are impacted by current technology, issues that involve both family law and probate, and an update on important new case law and legislative trends.

May 14, 2009
Annual Presentation on State and Local Tax Current Developments and Other Key Issues
This program features presentations by top governmental officials and leading practitioners in the Franchise, City, Sales, and Property Tax Fields. Marcy Jo Mandel, distinguished practitioner and long-time Chief Tax Deputy to the State Controller, will be presented with the 2009 Award for Excellence by a Government Official. Controller John Chiang will give a keynote speech on the state budget and the future goals of the Controller’s Office. FTB Executive Officer Selvi Stanislaus and SBE Chief Counsel Kristine Cazadd will discuss recent developments in the franchise, sales and property tax arenas at the State Board of Equalization and Franchise Tax Board, with Los Angeles Assistant Assessor Robert Quon's additional input on property tax from the local perspective.

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April 27, 2009

Home ->> CTCAC ->> 2009 Application Information

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

2009 Application Information

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Home ->> CTCAC ->> 2009 Application Information

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

2009 Application Information

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From: HUD USER News

From: HUD USER News
HUD USER has posted a Comprehensive Housing Market
Analysis (CHMA) report for the San Antonio, Texas area.
This eight-county housing market area is located in south
central Texas and includes the city of San Antonio, which
attracts an average of 26 million tourists annually.
Compiled by field economists in HUD's Office of Policy
Development and Research, the report presents data that
are useful in foreseeing changes in the demand for new
housing. The analysis describes the economic,
demographic, and housing inventory characteristics of
the San Antonio housing market area from 1990 to 2000,
from 2000 through September 2008, and projects
anticipated market activity during the period of October
1, 2008 to October 1, 2011. This is valuable information
for builders, mortgage lenders, borrowers, local
planners, and others who need to keep up with area
housing conditions and trends.
Interested readers can access the San Antonio analysis,
along with previous CHMA reports examining housing market
areas across the nation
at www.huduser.org/publications/econdev/mkt_analysis.html.
All HUD USER CHMA reports are available as free downloads.
Please contact us at:
P.O. Box 23268
Washington, DC 20026-3268
1-800-927-7589 (TDD)
202-708-9981 (fax)
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April 26, 2009

On Line Real Estate and Appraisal Discussion

We are online every Monday, 5:00-6:00pm-pst to discuss your real estate and appraisal issues.


Curtis D. Harris, BS, CGREA, REB
Bachelor of Science in Real Estate, CSULA
State Certified General Appraiser
Real Estate Broker
ASTM E-2018 Commercial Real Estate Inspector
HUD 203k Consultant
HUD/FHA Real Estate Appraiser/Reviewer
FannieMae REO Consultant

The Harris Company, Forensic Appraisers and Consultants
*PIRS/Harris Company and the Science of Real Estate-Partners*
5780 West Centinela Avenue, Bldg 1, Suite 408
Los Angeles, CA. 90045
310-337-1973 Office
310.251.3959 Cell
Bo to our WebSite: Commercial Appraiser  and click on the "I'm online now" button

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April 24, 2009

Roundtable Survey Shows Hopeful Signs
Government funding through TALF and PPIP (Public-Private Investment Program) can strengthen the financial system and shed slight optimism within CRE. While there's still industry pain, 59% of Roundtable survey respondants expect better conditions within the year. Riding books of toxic assets and improving access to capital are what will eventually turn the tide. For more information¸ visit...

Tenant's FHA Lawsuit Proceeds
Minnesota federal court allows action alleging race and familial status discrimination against landlord to continue. Please note: The following link is to a member-only area of the site. Read more...
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Hug an Australian Day

Hug an Australian Day



When : Always April 26th


It's Hug an Australian Day. Go ahead and give a big bear hug to any and all Australians today. Show an Australian how much you (errr...we) love them.


This is a great opportunity for you to do your part in improving international relations. And hugs benefit the receiver as well as the giver.

Go ahead. Give an Australian a hug today. It will do you both good! 



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April 23, 2009

S&P: Hotel CMBS Delinquencies to Increase
The delinquency rate for securitized loans backed by hotel properties may nearly quadruple to 8 percent by year end and continue increasing until 2011, according to Standard & Poor's. With hotel operating metrics on the downward slide, high-priced hotels will be the most vulnerable in the months ahead as increased competition forces them to make the steepest price cuts. Read Full Story

$100M Mixed-Use Project for Knoxville, TN
A $100 million mixed-use project is being planned for downtown Knoxville, Tenn. Tentative plans for the Marble Alley complex call for about 500,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space and a four-acre parking lot. Read Full Story

Trade Decline Impacts L.A. Industrial Sector
Shipping container traffic at the Port of Los Angeles was down 6.2 percent in March from a year ago to about 278,000 containers. That's the slowest March in seven years. And at the Port of Long Beach, container traffic was down 18.3 percent to 186,450. The result is that demand for warehouse space in the two markets has fallen sharply. Read Full Story

General Growth Files for Bankruptcy
General Growth Properties Inc. and affiliates that own 158 shopping centers have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company said it would work with its debtholders and other "constituencies to emerge from bankruptcy as quickly as possible while executing a plan of reorganization that preserves the company's integrated, national business operations." Read Full Story

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April 22, 2009

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Last Opportunity to Register for the April RCA/Top Dogs Webinars

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 2:09 PM
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RCA Education Connection

If you are looking for affordable commercial education then register today for one of three upcoming RCA webinars. On April 23 and April 24 the RCA, in partnership with Top Dogs, is offering two webinars at a deeply discounted rate of $49 per session (each session is regularly priced at $89). The April 23 webinar, “Multi-Family Residential: How to Stand Out As an Expert” will explore the fundamentals of multi-family residential properties or apartments. This class is outstanding for anyone who wants to earn money from brokering apartments. The April 24 webinar, "A Marketing Plan that Makes the Telephone Ring” will help attendees upgrade their marketing efforts and design the perfect marketing plan for their commercial practice. The RCA/Top Dogs webinars give RCA members the opportunity to learn from two of the best instructors in the country - Peter Droubay and Bob McComb, the co-creators of the Top Dogs commercial real estate training programs. Learn more about the April 23 and April 24 webinars. When registering, apply one of the following codes to receive the $40 discount: fhosuddnkr or rihequpimu. For registration issues, contact Top Dogs at 888-894-5772.

On June 10, attend the FREE RCA webinar "Insider's Secrets for Writing and Publishing for Fun and Profit: How to Market for Next to No Cost, Using the Web & Other Tools" and learn how to write and get published, and have fun doing it! After 25 years as VP of a commercial real estate company, Dr. Margot Weinstein founded MW Leadership Consultants LLC so that she could deliver top programs and resources to commercial real estate professionals. Join Dr. Margot Weinstein on June 10 and learn how web based communications including web sites, newsletters, newspapers, blogs, on-demand printing, social networking sites and email, can grow your business and brand without spending a great deal of money. Learn more about the June 10 webinar. For additional information or questions, contact the RCA at 1-800-874-6500.

All webinars are first come, first served and limited to 200 attendees. Don't miss out on three great educational opportunities, register today! Visit the RCA Education page and learn about upcoming webinars, listen to archived webinars and explore commercial affiliate education.

Webinar Registration:

April 23 - “Multi-Family Residential: How to Stand Out As an Expert” (for beginning agents)


April 24 - “A Marketing Plan that Makes the Telephone Ring” (for experienced agents)
 June 10 - "Insider's Secrets for Writing and Publishing for Fun and Profit: How to Market for Next to No Cost, Using the Web & Other Tools" (open to all)
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Questions or comments? Please send an email to responsecenter@realtors.org.

National Association of REALTORS®
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Appraisers Call for Boycott of Appraisal Institute

Appraisers Call for Boycott of Appraisal Institute

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Appraisers Talk Back ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Cochise on June 05, 2007 at 12:49:41:


Call for Boycott
This is a story of the Appraisal Institute and large banks working towards
complete control of appraisers and their data. We think it is a first step
toward the end of the unbiased 3rd party system appraisers provide in
the real estate marketplace. When the end user (banks-the people who
make commissions off mortgage loans) control the data it can be easily
manipulated. How many homeowners will be hurt. How long before the next
Savings & Loan bailout? How long will the states and Congress stand idle?

What homeowner gave Appraisers who supply the Appraisal
Institute's database permission to include their private data in
this AIRD?

Appraisers--when you inspected, did you let the homeowner
opt-out in accordance with common decency & the GLB Act?

Are homeowners aware that having their private data on the
internet could cost many an appearance in court because of
zoning conformance issues with local officials.

Appraisers everywhere are asking; "why is the once highly respected
Appraisal Institute in collusion with banks, and creating an AVM?"

See why we hate
Automated Valuation Modules (AVM)
& the Appraisal Institute's AIRD here;

3 July 01 Inman News Article about the Boycott
Read related Message Thread

Boycott against following companies + appraisers:

Washington Mutual, Inc. (WAMU)
Stock Symbol: WM

nation's largest S&L --1980's? Hmmm!
WAMU biggest mortgage originator and servicer in the nation
- WAMU & Fleet named in Staten Island predatory lending

WAMU completed deals for PNC Financial's mortgage operations Jan. 31, for Bank United on Feb. 9 and for Fleet Mortgage on June 1, 2001.
It has a pending deal to buy Dime Bancorp. Assets of $229.3 billion
on 6/30/01.


(WAMU now using FNC, Inc. & Day One Software)
WAMU's Chief Appraiser on AIRD Board
ex-WAMU employee gives inside look at WAMU

Charter One Bank, FSB.
(its Chief Appraiser on AIRD Board)
- Washington Mutual, Inc.

- Charter One Bank, FSB

Appraisal Institute
Day One Software
ACI/Polaroid Software
WCA, Inc. (Real Easy Appraisal Office)
FNC, Inc.
Integrated Loan Services
E-ppraisal software
ValueNet (Northbrook, IL)

also against Appraisers:

Reg W. Cordry, MAI, Kansas City, Missouri (AIRD Board)

Danny K. Wiley, SRA, Nashville, TN (AIRD Board)

Appraisal.com & Day One, for their published involvement with the Appraisal Institute's plans to sell analyzed appraiser data to the public, including lenders. And also, Appraisal.com's plans to sell AVM data to the public. See Inman News release dated May 29, 2000 titled “Appraisals for the masses”. In this, it was stated; “ The site (appraisal.com) offers products such as property detail reports for $4.95, automated property appraisals for $49.95."

"As the first forms publisher to release Appraisal Institute Ready software, Day One is helping to provide a standard mechanism to store and communicate appraisal data nationwide," said Ann Spitzley, president of AIRD Inc.



ACI/Polaroid Software. Has built into their software the AIRD capability.
7/11/01 ACI/Polaroid News - "Polaroid mulling bankruptcy filing, report says"

Written at the AIRD web site at www.airdport.com is:

AIRD is a for-profit joint venture between the Appraisal Institute and FNC, Inc. The firm will offer the first Internet accessible, national database of residential physical property data created from professional real estate appraisal reports.


AIRD is accurate and reliable, as the core of the data within the
database is supplied by licensed/certified real estate appraisers.



AIRD 2.0 Out of the Gates: New Search Feature Hands Appraisers Speed and Accuracy on National Scale
Oxford, Miss. (April 10, 2001) - The Appraisal Institute Residential Database board of directors announced today that AIRD version 2.0 is operating with a new look and a new search interface for use by licensed or certified real estate appraisers seeking comparables. The new search feature is AIRD’s first commercially available product, following the launch of the database in June.

Billed as “America’s Real Data,” the AIRD now holds more than 13 million records and is populated with the most accurate residential property information available – factual, non-confidential residential property data, the core of which appraisers collected and documented.

“AIRD will revolutionize the way appraisers handle their day-to-day workload,” said Sherryl Andrus, SRA and owner of Quality Appraisal & Data Service in Plymouth, Wis. “Not only is AIRD access to quality comparables data, but it allows appraisers to auto-populate forms or to switch from form to form without re-keying. At the bottom line, AIRD saves appraisers time -- and time is money. AIRD gives appraisers an opportunity to equip their businesses with technology that’s powering today’s market.”

The long-term growth of AIRD depends on contributions from appraisers and institutions, as well as other sources.

AIRD is a non-proprietary database built on appraiser and other data that contains accurate, non-confidential physical real estate property data for the entire United States. The XML technology on which AIRD is structured creates efficiencies for appraisers and their clients by auto-populating the forms they use and contributes to more efficient communication. For more information about AIRD, visit www.airdport.com.

July 23, 2001

E-Appraisal provides data to AIRD network

AIRD Inc. announced today that E-ppraisal, a company specializing in automated real estate valuation software for appraisers, has enhanced its E-ppraisal Valuation Technology to provide appraisal data that conforms to the Appraisal Institute Ready Standard.

The standard, developed by the Appraisal Institute's Residential Data Storage Standards Committee, establishes a data communication protocol that allows appraisers to deliver completed reports securely to their clients via the Web without re-keying.

The standard was created to assure industry-wide access to the AIRD and is open to all appraisal software vendors.

AIRD is an Internet-accessible national database of residential physical property data submitted by appraisers. The effort is a joint venture between the Appraisal Institute and FNC Inc., a financial services software company.


Integrated Loan Services (ILS): Rocky Hill, CT; White Plains, NY; Quincy, MA; Melbourne, FL; Scarborough, ME; Pasadena, CA

ILS’s Automated Collateral Assessment (ACA) report with “ACA VALUEGUARDSM ” coverage provides home equity lenders with rapid delivery of low-cost, high quality AVM valuations for extended risk management guidelines at a fraction of the cost of traditional real estate appraisals. The ACA offers a concise one-page summary of a property’s current value, complete with five recent comparable sales, neighborhood value data, homeowner verification, property descr1ption and sales information. The report includes a confidence factor indicating the degree of confidence ILS places on the value estimate.





New software vendor signs up for Appraisal Institute Ready program
WCA, Inc.'s RealEasy Appraisal Office Suite is the newest appraisal forms software vendor participating in the Appraisal Institute Ready program. The program gives forms vendors the extensible markup language (XML) protocols that enable them to adhere to the Appraisal Institute Data Storage and Transmission Standard. The Standard allows the forms software to communicate with AIRD and other Appraisal Institute Ready software packages without re-keying.

WCA president Phil Wilson says of the program: "We're ready to move full steam ahead on developing our compatibility with AIRD and others taking this initiative. The seamless communication this standard makes possible is a real benefit to appraisers; it will make for more efficient workflow and faster turnaround times on appraisal reports."

Day One's NOVA 5.0 is now Appraisal Institute Ready, while Polaroid Digital Solutions, Software for Real Estate Professionals, United Systems, Bradford Technologies and WCA, Inc. are completing the programming that is required to make their software Appraisal Institute Ready.

June 20, 2001
Below is WCA, Inc.'s reply to being informed they have been added to the
AIRD Boycott List:
Seeing as how you didn't have the courtesy to make us aware of your concerns I think we can put this in the category of being "blind sided". Our Mark's comment to "stuff it" is appropriate. Phil (last name removed) Janice: Call Jennifer or Ann Spitzley this morning and tell them okay on the press release


Appraiser Central's 20 June 2001 reply to above WCA email:

Phil: I'm sorry if you felt blind sided. The Boycott of those companies selling us out by handing our analyzed appraisal data to bank computers (via the AIRD) has been going on for 2 months now. As many appraisers have linked their sites to the boycott -- and it has been talked about on all appraiser message boards for 2 months now--I just thought you were aware that a large majority of appraisers think this AIRD thing is a sellout. Sincerely, Steve (last name removed) Appraiser Central http://AppraiserCentral.com

For Immediate Release

Software For Real Estate Professionals Is Appraisal Institute Ready™

Oxford, MS (July 7, 2000) – Software for Real Estate Professionals (SFREP) has announced its adoption of the Open Appraisal Document Interface (OADI), developed by FNC Inc., to allow companies to easily conform to the Appraisal Institute’s Residential Data Storage and Transmission Standard. SFREP will be designated Appraisal Institute Ready™ at the Valuation 2000 conference next week.

SFREP is committed to providing complete real estate software solutions to appraisers and lending institutions, according to Chief Executive Officer Wayne Pugh. “ The platform FNC developed for the Appraisal Institute will give our customers a way of collecting and storing data that allows it to be accessible to AIRD without rekeying,” Pugh said. SFREP’s Appraisal Institute Ready product is expected to be on the market in August, 2000.

Based on the extensible markup language (XML), the new appraisal data standard provides a two-way open communication protocol that can be used by appraisal software companies to communicate real property data using XML data definitions. The XML standard was developed by the Appraisal Institute Data Storage Standards Committee, in accordance with its responsibilities to the Appraisal Institute’s Residential Database, Inc. (AIRD) ™.

Under a program announced by Appraisal Institute, software conforming to the new open standard will be designated as “Appraisal Institute Ready™” said Ann Spitzley, president of AIRD, Inc. AIRD is a for-profit joint venture between the Appraisal Institute and FNC Inc. and will be the first Internet accessible, national database of residential physical property data created from professional real estate appraisal reports.

“All forms packages that are Appraisal Institute Ready can write and read the AIRD data,” Spitzley said, “ allowing auto-population of forms and eliminating the need for rekeying.”

A privately held company, SFREP was founded in 1983. It later incorporated in Louisiana in 1986. SFREP is now held equally by Wayne Pugh, one of the founders, and John Kevlin. For more information, visit www.sfrep.com

FNC, based in Oxford, Miss., automates the delivery of collateral valuation services. By building internal networks integrated with the Web, FNC gives lenders instant and secure Web access to third-party vendors, analytical tools and data providers that cut days and dollars out of the loan origination process. FNC serves residential and commercial lenders and services.


Carol Dorsey FNC, Inc. Phone: (662) 236-2020 x235 e-mail: carol@fncinc.com



As an example of how quick taxpayers will soon face another S & L bailout
due to the slackening of bank regulations, see ValueNet below to see what

is happening right now due to Congress, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.sleeping

on the job --- and allowing home valuations (appraisals) sight unseen:

Click Here to see a new entry ValueNet of Northbrook, Illinois
This company is actively seeking appraisers to do their 2-3 appraisals

(reports) per hour - right out of the appraiser's own home.

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Wells Fargo, Rels Valuation Face Class Action over Appraisal Price Fixing

Lawyers and SettlementsLawsuit News
Home Page >> Law Suits Filed >> Wells Fargo, Rels Valuation

Wells Fargo, Rels Valuation Face Class Action over Appraisal Price Fixing

Two real-estate appraisers have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Wells Fargo and Rels Valuation, an appraisal management service, claiming the 2 organizations pressured and intimidated appraisers to deliver artificially inflated home appraisal values to help close loans and increase profits.

The suit claims that beginning in 2004 Wells Fargo and Rels colluded to punish appraisers who refused to inflate appraisals by denying them future appraisal work.

Rels is one of the largest appraisal management companies in the country, acting as an intermediary between banks and appraisers. Appraisers, by law, are intended to be independent and autonomous from the influences of others, but according to the complaint are compelled to do the bidding of Rels, and through them Wells Fargo.

Plaintiffs Don Pearsall and Timothy Savage both claim Wells Fargo tried to strong-arm each of them into inflating appraisal values, violating the laws and regulations of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). The USPAP rules clearly state an appraiser must not accept an assignment that includes the reporting of predetermined opinions and conclusions - something the lawsuit claims Rels does on a regular basis.

According to the compliant, Rels and Wells Fargo have given appraisers predetermined comparable properties to base appraisals, further compromising the appraisers' independence.

Pearsall, a long-time appraiser, completed an appraisal for Wells Fargo and Rels in 2007. After submitting his report, Rels asked that he alter the report to reflect the company's desired views on the property. After refusing, the suit claims Rels blacklisted Pearsall, stripping him of a large portion of his income.

Timothy Savage, an appraiser in Vail, Colorado, also submitted 2 appraisals to Rels in 2009, which the company rejected, asking him to increase the appraisal values. After refusing, Savage received a letter from Rels informing him that he is no longer included on the approved panel of appraisers, the suit claims.

The lawsuit seeks to represent all state-licensed or state-approved appraisers nationwide who've been removed as an approved appraiser by Wells Fargo or Rels Valuation. The suit asks for treble damages and is the first lawsuit filed on behalf of appraisers against Wells Fargo and Rels.

Wells Fargo, Rels Valuation Corrupt Business Practices Class Action Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered damages in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.

Posted on Apr-15-09

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cases and settlements
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The 2009 Economic Landscape:

  The current issue of the FDIC Quarterly released today includes two feature articles. The first article, The 2009 Economic Landscape: How the Recession Is Unfolding across Four U.S. Regions, examines the unique ways that the economic downturn is affecting the Industrial Midwest; the “Sand States” of Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada; the Northeast; and the nation’s midsection.    
The second article, Alternative Financial Services: A Primer, describes the array of financial services offered by companies that operate outside of federally insured banks and thrifts, and looks at the key products and services in this sector.

This issue of the FDIC Quarterly also includes fourth quarter industry results from the Quarterly Banking Profile, which was released on February 26, 2009, and subsequently revised on March 20, 2009.


Update your subscriptions, modify your password or e-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. You will need to use your e-mail address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please contact support@govdelivery.com. Questions regarding the content of this e-mail may be directed to webmaster@fdic.gov.

This service is provided to you at no charge by FDIC Subscriptions.


GovDelivery, Inc. sending on behalf of FDIC Subscriptions · 3501 Fairfax Drive · Arlington VA 22226 · 877-275-3342

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April 17, 2009


We have some very serious problems in the Appraisal Field which are, and have been, negatively impacting property appraisals in this country for several years.  Firstly, I was contacted by a VA Appraiser, with 30 years experience, who indicated that he has been pressured to low-ball va appraisals.  He was sanctioned by the VA and forced to take training from an unlicensed supervisor at the VA.  I attended the training session and was blown away.  The appraiser was instructed to violate USPAP, the Federal Guidelines for Appraisers, and other guidelines, because his only interest was to get Vets homes.  The appraiser himself is a vet, but is unwilling to compromise his ethics.  The trainer stated that he was not licensed because he himself would have to follow USPAP.  This practice has resulted in a million dollar plus loss or give away of Tax Payer Owned Properties.

Secondly,  coming May 1, 2009 the industry is scheduled to be taken over by AMC”s (Appraiser Management Companies) they are the same companies that ran Bank of America, Indymac Bank, Country Wide, and Washington Mutual to the ground.  I have received hundreds of request from license qualified appraisers, that someone do something about this travesty.  To date nothing has happened. 

A brief statement on how AMC’s operate.  They are unlicenced, appraisers have fought for licencing for years.  They charge their clients $400.00 and pay their appraiser $300.00.  The end result is that the client (and consumers) are being charged an improper value added charge.   They prey-on and exploit appraiser with limited or no qualifications, qualified appraisers, such as myself, will not work for these low fees.     There is much more, and I will make myself available to you, at your convenience, to discuss this serious issue in detail.


Curtis D. Harris, BS, CGREA, REB
Bachelor of Science in Real Estate, CSULA
State Certified General Appraiser
Real Estate Broker
ASTM E-2018 Commercial Real Estate Inspector
HUD 203k Consultant
HUD/FHA Real Estate Appraiser/Reviewer
FannieMae REO Consultant

The Harris Company, Forensic Appraisers and Consultants
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IT’S THE LAW-Designation Discrimination is Illegal [FIRREA, Sec. 564.6]:  Professional Association Membership http://www.orea.ca.gov/html/fed_regs.shtml#Statement7 Membership in an appraisal organization:  A State Certified General Appraiser may not be excluded from consideration for an assignment for a federally related transaction by virtue of membership or lack of membership in any particular appraisal organization, including the appraisal institute.

CONFIDENTIALITY/PRIVILEGE NOTICE: This transmission and any attachments are intended solely for the addressee. The information contained in this transmission is confidential in nature and protected from further use or disclosure under U.S. Pub. L. 106-102, 113 U.S. Stat. 1338 (1999), and may be subject to consultant/appraiser-client or other legal privilege. Your use or disclosure of this information for any purpose other than that intended by its transmittal is strictly prohibited and may subject you to fines and/or penalties under federal and state law. If you are not the intended recipient of this transmission, please destroy all copies received and confirm destruction to the sender via return transmittal


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April 14, 2009

Sale-Leasebacks Still Waiting for Star Status

Sale-Leasebacks Still Waiting for Star Status
April 14, 2009
By: Paul Rosta, Senior Associate Editor

Sale-leasebacks may yet emerge as a star of commercial real estate investment in 2009 as corporate owners unload assets in order to generate capital. But if first-quarter trends are any indication, the asset-leaseback strategy is still a star in the making.

Reckoned strictly by dollar value, sale-leaseback transactions for the first three months of the year appear to have picked up where they left off at the end of 2008. Total leaseback volume amounted to $663.8 million nationwide through March 31, less than $15 million short of the previous quarter’s tally, according to Real Capital Analytics Inc. Office properties topped the first-quarter list at $403 million, followed by $245 million in industrial sale-leasebacks. The retail sector lagged, managing only a single $16 million deal.
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April 13, 2009

SUBJECT: Real estate appraisers.

Hearing Date:April 13, 2009 |Bill No:SB |
| |237|

Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod, Chair

Bill No: SB 237Author:Calderon
As Amended: April 13, 2009 Fiscal: Yes

SUBJECT: Real estate appraisers.

SUMMARY: Creates a registration program for "appraisal
management companies" (AMCs), as defined, within the Office
of Real Estate Appraisers, and would require AMCs to meet
similar existing licensing program requirements for
independent appraisers. Would also specify and clarify
prohibited acts by AMCs as well as others who have an
interest in a real estate transaction involving an

Existing federal law:

1)Requires under the Federal Financial Institution Reform,
Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRRE Act) that all
appraisals prepared for "federally related transactions"
be conducted by "state licensed or certified appraiser"
in accordance with the "Uniform Standards of Professional
Appraisal Practice" (USPAP).

2)Designates the Appraisal Foundation as the entity with
the authority and responsibility to establish
qualification criteria for state licensing, certification
and recertification of appraisers, and the authority to
establish and enforce rules for developing an appraisal,
and reporting its results in conformance with the USPAP.

3)Establishes the Appraisal Subcommittee within the
Appraisal Foundation to monitor individual states in the
licensing and certification of real estate appraisers to
assure they are sufficiently trained and tested to assure

SB 237
Page 2

competency and independent judgment according to the

4)Specifies that Regulation Z, is issued by the Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System to implement the
federal Truth in Lending Act, which is contained in title
I of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. This regulation
also implements title XII, section 1204 of the
Competitive Equality Banking Act of 1987. Changes to
Regulation Z, which become effective October 1, 2009,
prohibit creditors and mortgage brokers from coercing,
influencing, or otherwise encouraging an appraiser to
misstate the value of a dwelling, and prohibit creditors
from extending credit when they know or have reason to
know, at or before loan consummation, that an appraiser
has misstated a dwelling's value.
Existing law, the California Real Estate Appraisers'
Licensing and Certification Law (REALC Law):

1)Provides for the licensure and regulation of real estate
appraisers by the Office of Real Estate Appraisers (REA
Office) and vests the duty of enforcing and administering
the REALC Law in the Director of the REA Office and
provides that the REA Office is under the supervision and
control of the Secretary of the Business, Transportation
and Housing Agency (BT&H).

2)Defines "appraisal" as a written statement independently
and impartially prepared by a qualified appraiser setting
forth an opinion in a federally related transaction as to
the market value of an adequately described property as
of a specific date, supported by the presentation and
analysis of relevant market information.

3)Specifies that no person may assume or use the title of a
"state licensed or certified real estate appraiser," or
perform, make, or approve and sign an appraisal unless
they hold a current valid license issued by the REA

4)Provides that the Director shall adopt regulations
governing the process and procedure of the licensing and
certification of real estate appraisers and that this
shall include, among other things, background checks
including fingerprinting with DOJ, necessary experience,
education, continuing education, equivalency, and minimum

SB 237
Page 3

requirements of the Appraisal Foundation and federal law.

5)Provides that the Director may issue citations and assess
fines, or take other administrative or disciplinary
actions as necessary to enforce the REALC Law.

6)Authorizes the Director, by regulation, to prescribe fees
lower than the maximum fees specified to offset the cost
incurred for administration.

7)Requires the REA Office to transmit annually to the
Appraiser Subcommittee a roster of persons licensed or
certified within California.

8)Specifies that a licensee shall report to the REA Office
within 30 days if they have been convicted of a crime, or
the revocation or suspension of a license or any other
authority to practice granted by another agency.

9)Specifies that the USPAP constitutes the minimum standard
of conduct and performance for a licensee in any work or
service performed that is addressed by those standards
and that if a licensee is also certified by the Board of
Equalization, that he or she shall follow the standards
established by the Board of Equalization when fulfilling
his or her responsibilities for assessment purposes.

Existing law, the Civil Code, provides that no person with
an interest in a real estate transaction involving an
appraisal shall improperly influence or attempt to
improperly influence, through coercion, extortion, or
bribery, the development, reporting, result, or review of a
real estate appraisal sought in connection with a mortgage
loan, and also specifies permissible acts which can be
requested of an appraiser by a person with an interest in a
real estate transaction.

This bill:

1)Requires that no person or entity shall act in the
capacity of an "appraisal management company" without
first obtaining a certificate for registration from the
REA Office.

SB 237
Page 4

2)Defines "appraisal management company" (AMC) as any
person or entity that administers networks of independent
contractor appraisers to perform appraisals for clients;
receives requests for appraisals from one or more clients
and, for a fee paid by a client, enters into an agreement
with one or more independent appraisers to complete the
appraisals contained in the request; otherwise serves as
a third-party broker of appraisals between clients and

3)Specifies under what circumstances or conditions a person
or entity would not be an AMC when they contract with an
independent appraiser. This would include a bank, credit
union, trust company, savings and loan association, etc.,
or a licensed finance lender or residential mortgage
lender, or a licensed real estate broker, or any person
licensed to practice law in this state who orders an
appraisal in connection with a bona fide client

4)Specifies that an AMC also does not include a person or
entity that does one or more of the following: (a)
exclusively delegates appraisal assignments to appraisers
or trainees as employees rather than independent
contractors, and is responsible for ensuring that
employees complete appraisal assignments in accordance
with the USPAP; (b) contracts with independent appraisers
as independent contractors for the completion of
appraisal assignments that the person or entity cannot
complete for any reason, including competency, workload,
scheduling, or geographic location; (c) contracts with
independent appraisers acting as independent contractors
for the completion of real estate appraisal assignments
and, upon the completion of those assignments, consigns
the appraisal reports with the independent contractor.

5)Defines a "controlling person" as one or more of the
following: (a) is an owner, officer, or director of an
AMC; (b) is an individual employed, appointed, or
authorized by an AMC that has the authority to enter into
a contractual relationship with clients for the
performance of appraisal services and that has the
authority to enter into agreements with independent
appraisers for the completion of appraisals; (c) is an
individual who possesses, directly or indirectly, the
power to direct or cause the direction of the management

SB 237
Page 5

or policies of an AMC.

6)Requires that all of the aforementioned licensure
procedures, requirements and standards that are
applicable to state licensed real estate appraisers shall
also be similarly applicable to AMCs.

7)Requires AMCs to identify their "controlling persons," as
defined, and prohibits certain persons from serving as
controlling persons (generally persons who have been
convicted of specified crimes or had their appraisal
licenses revoked).

8)Provides that the Director shall adopt regulations
governing the process and procedure of applying for
registration as an AMC and to provide information as

9)Specifies that an AMC applicant, prior to receiving
registration, must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the
Director that it has established systems to ensure the
independent contractor appraisers contracted by the
applicant possesses all required licenses and
certificates from the REA office; review the work of all
independent contractor appraisers contracted by the
applicant to ensure that appraisal services are performed
in accordance with the USPAP; maintain a detailed record
of each service request and the independent appraiser
selected for the assignment.

10)Requires that no person or entity acting in the capacity
of an AMC shall improperly influence or attempt to
improperly influence the development, reporting, result,
or review of any appraisal and specifies prohibited acts.

11)Provides that a person or entity may not structure an
appraisal assignment or a contract with an independent
appraiser for the purpose of evading this law relating to

12)Specifies that no AMC may alter, modify, or otherwise
change a completed appraisal report submitted by an
independent appraiser.

13)Provides that the Director shall, by regulation,
establish the fees to be imposed on AMCs and that they

SB 237
Page 6

shall be sufficient to cover the costs incurred by the
REA Office in administering this law.

14)Specifies within the Civil Code pertaining to the
unlawful influence of appraisers what would be considered
as prohibited acts.

FISCAL EFFECT: Unknown. This measure has been keyed
"fiscal" by Legislative Counsel.


1.Purpose. This measure is sponsored by the California
Government Relations Subcommittee of the Appraisal
Institute (AI). According to the Author, the key problem
this bill tries to address is the complete lack of
federal or state oversight over the activities of AMCs.
No one regulates them. The lenders and brokers who use
their services are regulated, and the appraisers whose
services are used by AMCs are regulated, but no one - not
at the federal level, nor at the state level, directly
regulates, or even tracks AMCs. The Author argues that
we don't know who they are, nor do we have any way of
knowing how they operate, except through anecdotal

The Author also points out that while AMCs may help to
ensure appraiser independence, nothing presently prevents
AMCs from engaging in the very same attempts to
improperly influence appraisers that are prohibited by
lenders. Further, as stated by the Author, nothing in
state law requires AMCs to identify themselves and their
controlling persons to the REA Office. The Author
indicates that in California, there is at least one case
of an appraiser whose license was revoked for misconduct
simply going back into business as an AMC. Independent
appraisers also report attempts by AMCs to demand
kickbacks in exchange for moving them up on "the list"
for appraisal assignments, and attempts to change the
value conclusion reached by independent appraisers
subcontracted by AMCs.

Finally, the Author also indicates that while Section
1090.05 of the Civil Code was added by SB 223 (Chapter
291, Statutes of 2007) to prohibit coercion, extortion or
bribery of appraisers by anyone with an interest in a

SB 237
Page 7

real estate transaction, it is not clear that AMCs have
an "interest" in transaction that would make them subject
to the statute, and therefore prohibited acts should be

2.Background. During the past two years, both California
law and federal regulation were changed to help prevent
the improper influence of appraisers, and reduce the
chances that appraisers would be pressured to "hit"
certain target property values or otherwise return
pre-determined property values when appraising real
property. SB 223, as indicated above, was enacted in
2007, and changes to Regulation Z are also to become
effective on October 1, 2009. These recent changes were
enacted in direct response to evidence that significant
appraiser fraud had occurred during the housing price
run-up of the early 2000s. In the pre-housing downturn
real estate market, virtually all market participants
expected property values to continue increasing
indefinitely. For that reason, appraisers were
frequently pressured to return property values that would
seal a property deal. Those fraudulent values, in turn,
helped cause the rapid and dramatic increase in housing
prices across California earlier this decade.

However, the relationship between real estate brokers,
lenders, and appraisers has evolved since enactment of SB
223, and issuance of changes to Regulation Z.
Specifically, lenders, real estate brokers, mortgage
brokers, and others seeking real property appraisals are
relying on AMCs to serve as middle-men in the appraisal
process. Under a practice that is becoming increasingly
common, lenders and others seeking real property
appraisals are contracting with AMCs. The AMCs assemble
panels of appraisers on whom they can call when they
receive an order for an appraisal. The AMCs, in turn,
assign the appraisals requested by lenders and brokers to
appraisers on their panels. When the appraisals are
completed, the AMCs deliver them to the lenders and
brokers who ordered them.

The growth of AMCs has been driven, at least in part, by an
agreement reached between Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and
the New York State Attorney General Anthony Cuomo. This
agreement, titled the Home Valuation Code of Conduct
(HVCC), must be followed by any lender who wishes to sell

SB 237
Page 8

a mortgage loan to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or after
May 1, 2009. One of the key requirements of the HVCC is
appraiser independence. Under the HVCC, lenders and
mortgage brokers may not be directly involved in the
selection of an appraiser on a loan in which they are
involved; they must use a third party to order their
appraisals, or use some other method intended to isolate
the process of selecting an appraiser from the persons
who are compensated based on whether a loan is approved.

When the use of third parties to order appraisals works
well, an AMC can remove pressure on an appraiser, by
insulating the appraiser from the person or entity who
orders the appraisal (typically the party with the most
to gain or lose from the appraised value). When the
process breaks down, as is happening in more and more
cases, the AMC imposes pressure on appraisers, and the
problems that SB 223 and Regulation Z were intended to
stop are perpetrated by an entity that was not envisioned
by either the law or the regulation.

3.Related or Similar Legislation this Session. AB 33
(Nava) would abolish the DOC, the DFI, the DRE and the
Office of Real Estate Appraisers and transfer all powers,
duties, purposes, jurisdiction, responsibilities and
functions of these agencies to a newly created Department
of Financial Services (DFS) and designate the chief
officer of the DFS as the Commissioner of Financial
Services. This measure has been referred to the

Assembly Banking & Finance Committee and the Assembly
Business and Professions Committee.

SB 633 (Wright) would require a person making an appraisal
in connection with a mortgage loan to make at least one
personal visit to the property that he or she is
appraising and that this duty may not be assigned or
delegated to any other person or employee of the
appraiser. This measure has been referred to this
Committee and is scheduled for hearing on April 20, 2009.

4.Related or Similar Prior Legislation. SB 223 (Machado,
Chapter 281, Statutes of 2007) provides that no person
with an interest in a real estate transaction involving
an appraisal shall improperly influence or attempt to
improperly influence, through coercion, extortion, or

SB 237
Page 9

bribery, the development, reporting, result, or review of
a real estate appraisal sought in connection with a
mortgage loan, and also specifies permissible acts which
can be requested of an appraiser by a person with an
interest in a real estate transaction.

AB 709 (Keene, 2007) and AB 1867 (Keene, 2008) would
require public agencies to accept bids for appraisal
projects from any appraiser who is a designated member of
any appraisal organization that is a member of the
Appraisal Foundation, and provides that an appraiser who
was not allowed to submit a bid to a public agency may
sue that agency for equitable relief. Both of these
measures were vetoed by the Governor.

SB 1866 (Figueroa, 2002) would have moved the Office of
Real Estate Appraisers under the Department of
Corporations. This measure was vetoed by the Governor.

5.Arguments in Support. According to the Sponsor, the
Appraisal Institute , this bill is designed to respond to
the growth of AMCs in real estate transactions. As
federal regulators have required greater separation of
real estate lenders and brokers from those who order
appraisals, more lenders have engaged the services of
third-party AMCs to manage the process of ordering and
receiving appraisals. The problem, as stated by AI, is
that while lenders, brokers and appraisers are all
regulated entities, no entity has any enforcement
authority whatever over the activities of AMCs. No
regulator has any authority to make sure that AMCs do not
engage in activities that would be prohibited by lenders
or brokers, including pressuring appraisers to inflate
the values of real estate; the exact activity that has
been identified as one component of the subprime lending

The Sponsor indicates that this measure is narrowly
tailored to fill this regulatory gap within the existing
structure of California's appraiser licensing and
certification law and simply requires AMCs to register
with REA Office, identify owners and controlling persons
within the companies, and refrain from specified acts
designed to pressure appraisers into achieving
pre-determined values. The Sponsor states that this
measure is actually narrower than bills enacted recently

SB 237
Page 10

in other states, creates no new licensing scheme and has
nothing to do with limiting competition or regulating

6.Oppose Unless Amended. The Title Appraisal Vendor
Management Association (TAVMA) is opposed to this measure
unless it is amended to provide some type of
registration-only process for AMCs with operations in
California. TAVMA believes that AMCs should not be
micromanaged by a state administrative agency. As
explained by TAVMA, AMC's administer networks of
certified and licensed appraisers to fulfill real estate
appraisal assignments on behalf of mortgage lending
institutions. Appraisal management involves recruiting,
qualifying, and verifying licensure of appraisers and
negotiating fee and service level expectations with
lenders and appraisers. AMCs perform additional
administrative duties like order entry and assignment,
order tracking and statusing, pre-delivery quality
control and preliminary and hard copy appraisal report
delivery. In addition, appraisal management involves
ongoing quality control, payment accounting, market value
dispute resolution, warranty administration, and record
retention. As argued by TAVMA, contrary to the views of
some who support this bill, AMCs are subject to
significant regulation at the federal and state level and
must comply with a variety of laws that apply to their
clients and with federal and state laws that specifically
regulate appraisals. An example given is the HVCC and
other state and federal lending laws, and recent laws
that specifically prohibit improper influence of
appraisers. TAVMA asserts that AMCs protect appraisers
and absorb some of their overhead. Lenders us AMCs as a
"buffer" between loan production staff and appraisers to
avoid improper pressure. Further, an independent
appraiser survey in 2007, confirmed that AMCs were the
least likely industry participants to pressure
appraisers. TAVMA also notes that AMCs do not control
appraiser fees and facilitates lower costs to

Fidelity National Financial (FNF) has an oppose unless
amended position and is concerned with several of the
provisions in this measure including: (1) the
requirement that AMCs adhere to the USPAP, (2) that they
adopt operational systems, including date review and

SB 237
Page 11

retention, (3) participate in continuing education
courses, (4) the failure to require large appraiser
operations to register with the state, and (5) the high
fees that may be charged to operate the registration
program since there are few AMCs. However, FNF continues
to work with the Author and Sponsor and believes that
many if not all of the above-referenced items may be able
to be resolved.

7.Definition of "Appraisal Management Company" May Need
Some Clarification. As defined, an AMC does not include
contracts with independent appraisers acting as
independent contractors for the completion of appraisal
assignments that the person or entity cannot complete for
any reason, including competency, workload, scheduling,
or geographic location. This exclusion is meant to cover
the circumstances in which there may be an occasional or
incidental use of an independent appraiser without a
continuing relationship such that an AMC is created.
This language may need to be clarified so that it is
clear that there is not an ongoing relationship
anticipated between the independent appraiser and another
person or entity for purposes of completing an appraisal
(or several appraisals).



California Government Relations Subcommittee of the
Appraisal Institute

Oppose Unless Amended:

Fidelity National Financial
Title Appraisal Vendor Management Association

Opposition : None Received as of April 8, 2009.

Consultant: Bill Gage

SB 237
Page 12
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From: HUD USER News

From: HUD USER News
Conducted by HUD's Office of Policy Development and
Research, Multifamily Property Managers' Satisfaction
with Service Coordination explores property managers'
satisfaction with supportive services provided to 348,000
low-income elderly and nonelderly persons with
disabilities. These services, arranged by HUD-funded
service coordinators and offered in 3,742 privately
owned, HUD-assisted multifamily housing developments,
include housekeeping, personal care, meal preparation,
and short-term counseling. The study explores the extent
to which service coordination affects quality of life,
independent living, and aging in place. Comparisons are
also made between independent living outcomes with and
without supportive service coordination. The report is
available as a free download
at www.huduser.org/publications/hsgspec/serv_coord.html
or in print, for a nominal fee, by calling HUD USER at
800-245-2691, option 1. 
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United States Announces Largest Settlement Under Environmental Protection Agency’s Audit Policy

Department of Justice SealDepartment of Justice
Monday, April 13, 2009
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

United States Announces Largest Settlement Under Environmental Protection Agency’s Audit Policy

WASHINGTON— Invista will pay a $1.7 million civil penalty and spend up to an estimated $500 million to correct self-reported environmental violations discovered at facilities in seven states, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The company disclosed more than 680 violations of water, air, hazardous waste, emergency planning and preparedness, and pesticide regulations to EPA after auditing 12 facilities it acquired from DuPont in 2004. 

“This settlement is a significant achievement, as it will reduce air pollution in numerous communities, and demonstrates the United States’ commitment to ensuring that all facility owners come into compliance with environmental requirements,” said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement reflects an effective use of EPA’s audit policy and the value of companies performing audits and working with the United States to correct violations found at their facilities.”

“By correcting these violations, Invista will reduce harmful air pollution by nearly 10,000 tons per year,” said Catherine R. McCabe, acting assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Invista is making a clean start in a settlement that achieves significant environmental benefits, and we encourage other new owners to do the same.”

The settlement resolves violations disclosed under Invista’s corporate audit agreement with EPA.  Invista conducted 45 separate audits of environmental practices and compliance at facilities located in Seaford, Del.; Athens, Calhoun, and Dalton, Ga.; Kinston, N.C.; Camden, S.C.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; LaPorte, Orange, and Victoria, Texas; and Martinsville and Waynesboro, Va. 

As part of its corrective action requirements agreed to in the settlement, Invista will install pollution control equipment to treat air pollutants at its Seaford, Del.; Camden, S.C.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Victoria, Texas facilities. The company has also applied for applicable air and water permits, has installed adequate secondary containment for oil storage areas, and has notified state and local emergency planning and response organizations of the presence of hazardous substances. 

To ensure continued compliance and minimization of the benzene wastes generated at the Victoria and Orange, Texas facilities, Invista is required under the settlement to either upgrade control equipment or make major changes to its processes used to handle these wastes. EPA estimates that these actions will reduce air emissions of benzene by more than nine tons annually      and eliminate 25 to 750 tons per year of benzene from wastewater.

The emission reductions resulting from correcting these violations will result in estimated annual human health benefits valued at over $325 million, including 30 fewer premature deaths per year, 2,000 fewer days/year when people would miss school or work, and over 9,000 fewer cases of upper and lower respiratory symptoms.

Invista is a multi-national manufacturer of a wide range of polymer-based fibers, including Lycra, Stainmaster, and Coolmax. 

This is the largest settlement under EPA’s audit policy, which was launched in 1995.  The policy provides incentives to companies that voluntarily discover, promptly disclose, and expeditiously correct environmental violations. The companies must also take steps to prevent future violations. EPA may reduce or waive penalties for certain violations if the facility meets the conditions of the policy. Consistent with the audit policy, EPA waived a large portion of the penalty in this case.

EPA’s experience with Invista guided the development of a national interim audit policy for new owners—announced in August 2008—designed to encourage other new owners to make a “clean start” at their recently acquired facilities. 

The states of Delaware, South Carolina and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Board in Tennessee have also joined in today’s consent decree and will share portions of the civil penalty with EPA.

The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.  A copy of the consent decree is available on the Justice Department Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.



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April 12, 2009


Prince v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., No. S149344
In an premises liability action involving an injury from a power line owned by defendant on plaintiff's property, Court of Appeal's decision is reversed where: 1) defendant's immunity from liability to injured party Jackson under Civil Code sec. 846 bars plaintiff from recovering on an implied contractual indemnity theory; and 2) plaintiff and defendant may defend against the injured party's suit by claiming the recreational use immunity provided in sec. 846. Read more in HTML...   Read more in PDF...
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April 05, 2009


New FOIA Guidelines Issued by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
(Washington, D.C., Mar. 19, 2009) - A memo was issued by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today directing all executive branch departments and agencies to apply a presumption of openness when responding to federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Holder tells the heads of Executive Branch departments and agencies that they "should not withhold information simply because it may do so legally." Holder rescinded former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's October 12, 2001 FOIA memo that said the Department of Justice would withhold records "unless they lack a sound legal basis or present an unwarranted risk of adverse impact on the ability of other agencies to protect other important records." Read more...
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Court Limits Public Agencies' Liability for Flooding

Nossaman E-Alerts

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Court Limits Public Agencies' Liability for Flooding

Authored By: Rick E. Rayl , Bradford B. Kuhn

For decades, courts and legal commentators alike have struggled with the proper liability standard in inverse condemnation cases arising from flood damage. Some have touted traditional strict inverse-condemnation liability, believing that strict liability is the only way to ensure that the costs of government conduct are spread among the public as a whole, avoiding one person's bearing a disproportionate burden. Others view strict liability as arcane and inappropriate in the flood control context, as it effectively renders the government as an absolute insurer against flood damage.


Earlier this week, in Hauselt v. County of Butte (2009 DJDAR 4359) __ Cal.App.4th __, the Court of Appeal confronted a claim by a property owner that the County's modifications to a drainage channel subjected the owner's property to increased flooding. The Court sided with the "reasonableness" camp, holding that the County was not liable unless it acted unreasonably. Because the owner failed to demonstrate that the County's conduct was unreasonable, the Court upheld the judgment -- finding no inverse condemnation liability.


Some Background:

Typically, we think of inverse condemnation as a classic strict liability cause of action. If the government takes or damages private property, it is liable, without regard for the government's intent -- or the wisdom of its conduct. The underpinning of this is the belief that no private citizen should be compelled to bear a disproportionate burden of the costs of government conduct meant to benefit the public at large. By imposing strict liability, the costs of government activity are spread among the public as a whole.


In the flood control context, however, a line of cases has evolved that changes traditional strict-liability rules. Those cases hold that the government is liable in inverse condemnation only if its conduct that results in flooding is unreasonable. (See, e.g., Belair v. Riverside County Flood Control Dist. (1988) 47 Cal.3d 550, Locklin v. City of Lafayette (1994) 7 Cal.4th 327.) The rationale is that public policy warrants encouraging the government to undertake flood control projects, and that strict liability whenever flooding nonetheless occurs renders the government effectively an insurer against floods whenever it constructs a flood control project. The potential chilling effect on flood control projects under such a rule warrants a different approach.


Cases in this area tend to turn on two inquiries:

(1) Was the damage caused by intentional government conduct (such as intentionally using one property as a retention basin in order to protect other property from flooding) or by accident (such as a flood occurring despite a flood control project, either because the project does not perform as intended or because the storm event exceeds the design capacity of the project); and

(2) Was the flooded property subject to historical flooding before the government built the flood control project at issue.


Two things became clear. Where the damage was caused by accident and the property was historically subject to flooding, the government is only liable if it acts unreasonably. (See, e.g., Locklin.) Conversely, where the government intentionally diverts floodwaters to a property that was not subject to historical flooding, traditional strict liability principles apply. (See, e.g., Akins v. State of California (1998) 61 Cal.App.4th 1.) Existing law left some answers less clear, including deciding what rule applies where intentional government conduct increases the flow of water onto property already subject to historical flooding.


The Hauselt Case:


In Hauselt v. County of Butte, a property owner purchased a 94-acre almond orchard that he intended to develop with a residential subdivision. Keefer Slough, a privately-owned natural watercourse, crossed the property and occasionally received floodwater overflow through a natural drainage. The owner's property had a history of periodic shallow flooding two to three times a decade. The owner contended, however, that the County's actions resulted in an increase in the water flow onto the property.

According to the owner, the County's activities included (1) implementing a drainage plan which made Keefer Slough part of the public drainage system; (2) approving adjacent residential subdivisions which drained into Keefer Slough; (3) removing a bridge which previously acted as a "plug" on the flow of water down Keefer Slough; and (4) sponsoring a project to restore the sediment bed of an upstream watercourse, which increased the flow into Keefer Slough. The owner claimed these activities increased the flooding on his property and resulted in a taking of his property for a public use.


The trial court found that the County's activities were not unreasonable, and would not, therefore, give rise to inverse condemnation liability. The trial court also concluded that Keefer Slough is a private watercourse and the County's activities did not transform the slough into a public work or increase the flow of water in the slough on the owner's land.


On appeal, the property owner alleged that the trial court should have applied the strict liability standard instead of a rule of "reasonableness" standard. The Court of Appeal explained the two standards:


(1) The "reasonableness" rule: "the public agency is liable if its conduct poses an unreasonable risk of harm to the plaintiff, the unreasonable conduct is a substantial cause of the damage to the plaintiff's property, and the plaintiff has taken reasonable measures to protect his property."


(2) The strict liability standard: a public agency is strictly liable where it appropriates private property in order to protect other property and thereby creates a risk that would not otherwise exist.


Looking at the two-pronged inquiry (intentional vs. accidental and whether the property was historically subject to flooding), the Hauselt Court concluded that the key inquiry was whether the property was historically subject to flooding. Because the facts in Hauselt revealed that the property had been subject to "shallow flooding" even before the County's conduct, the reasonableness rule from Locklin and its progeny applied. Though the decision is not a model of clarity on this point, it appears that the Court found this to be true without regard for whether the County's conduct arose (1) from an intentional decision to use Mr. Hauselt's property as a flood control basin to facilitate the surrounding property's development, or (2) through conduct that had the unintended consequence of increasing flooding to Mr. Hauselt's property.


The Impact:


While the case does not confront the issue head on, the potential impact of the Hauselt opinion is that the government can intentionally turn one private property into a retention basin used to divert flood waters from other private property without liability, as long as (1) the government's conduct is reasonable, and (2) the property chosen for the retention basin was subject to historical flooding. And, where the government can show that using a single property as a retention basin protects thousands of acres of other property, establishing reasonableness of the conduct may be a relatively simple task.


Whether a court will actually apply Hauselt in that manner when confronted with such facts remains to be seen (public policy would seem to warrant a different result). For now, however, the commentators who have predicted the increasing use of a reasonableness test in flood damage cases have at least one new sandbag for their levee.


Rick E. Rayl is a Partner in Nossaman's Eminent Domain and Valuation and Real Estate Practice Groups and is an experienced trial attorney dealing with eminent domain, inverse condemnation and other real estate and business disputes. He can be reached at rrayl@nossaman.com or 949.833.7800.


Brad Kuhn is a member of Nossaman's Eminent Domain and Valuation Practice Group and specializes in business and commercial litigation with an emphasis on eminent domain, inverse condemnation and other real estate disputes. He can be reached at bkuhn@nossaman.com.

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environmental action involving a residential and commercial development

California Appellate Districts, March 24, 2009
California Native Plant Soc'y v. City of Rancho Cordova , No. C057018
In an environmental action involving a residential and commercial development, trial court's judgment is reversed where: 1) the court did not err in determining defendant violated the Planning and Zoning Law when it approved the development project as defendant did not design mitigation for impacts of the project on special-status species as required; and 2) the trial court erred in finding defendant violated CEQA in its certification of the project environmental impact report and in the approval of the project as plaintiff failed to establish any such violation on which administrative remedies were exhausted. Read more...

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Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, No. 07-1372

Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, No. 07-1372
In an action to enjoin the sale of land owned by the State of Hawaii until final determination of native Hawaiians' claims, the grant of the injunction is reversed, where the Apology Resolution did not strip Hawaii of its sovereign authority to alienate the lands the United States held in absolute fee and granted to the State upon its admission to the Union. Read more...
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Dear commercial real estate professional,

Dear commercial real estate professional,

RealEra.net (www.realera.net) is a free information network for the commercial real estate industry that connects people, companies, and real estate.  By simply entering an address, you can get a complete profile on the area surrounding that address including local news, recent real estate deals, people & companies that have been active in that area, market statistics, and comps.

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April 03, 2009

AIR Cites Comps Data Improvements

AIR Cites Comps Data Improvements
Member Benefit

Responding to directives from its Board of Directors and listening to the positive feedback from its membership, the AIR management reports notable improvements in the quality of its Comp Data.

“Twelve months ago, AIR implemented an aggressive plan for gathering lease and sale Comp Data for all listings that pass through our systems.  We are currently receiving Comp information for approximately 65 percent of all properties that are leased or sold.  Although this performance is significantly improved over where we were a year ago, we are not where we need to be.  Our goal is to have 90 percent of all done-deal information in our data base.  In order to achieve that goal we need the ongoing cooperation of every broker and agent in every member firm,” Tim Hayes, executive director of AIR, said.  He cited the efforts of MULTIPLE Manager Margo Castaneda for the improvements.      

Hayes stated that as part of AIR’s effort to strengthen the Comp Database, each time a listing is removed from the system as sold or leased, the listing brokers receive an e-mail from the AIR asking for every basic comp information.

He explained that for a lease, that information includes: transaction completion date, starting lease rate, length of the initial term, rental adjustments, free rent, where the tenant came from, and the procuring broker’s name.

For a sale transaction that information includes:  date escrow closed, sale price, seller’s name, buyer’s name, and the procuring broker’s name.

“AIR members benefit significantly if the Association can deliver a comprehensive Comp Database.  The only way we are going to do that is if our members contribute a few key pieces of Comp information each time they complete a transaction.  So we need, and would be grateful, to receive the cooperation of all brokers in responding to our e-mails as quickly as possible.  If we can continue to improve the quality, the AIR will deliver an excellent Comp Product with the potential to put our member firms in a position to reduce overhead by not having to purchase Comp information from sources outside the AIR. 

“By sharing the information and creating a comprehensive Comp Data base that is owned and controlled by AIR members, every member enjoys better data at their fingertips, giving them the ability to better serve their clients.  It is this spirit of cooperation among AIR members that has made the AIR the greatest “broker only” organization in the country.  It is this same philosophy that has made our listing database so valuable,” Hayes said.

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April 01, 2009

Statement 7: Prohibition Against Discrimination


Statement 7: Prohibition Against Discrimination

commercial appraiser, appraisal

State agencies should be aware that Title XI and the Agencies' regulations prohibit federally regulated financial institutions from excluding appraisers from consideration for an assignment solely by virtue of their membership, or lack of membership, in any appraisal organization. Federally regulated financial institutions should review the qualifications of appraisers to ensure that they are qualified for the assignment for which they are being considered. It is unacceptable to assume that an appraiser is qualified solely due to membership in, or designation from, an appraisal organization, or the lack thereof. The Agencies have determined that financial institutions' appraisal policies should not favor appraisers from one or more organizations or exclude individuals based on their lack of such membership. If a State agency learns that a certified or licensed appraiser allegedly has been a victim of such discrimination, the State agency should inform the Agency which has regulatory authority over the involved financial institution.

The ASC has determined that such discrimination also is inappropriate in the establishment and administration of a State's certification and licensing system. The ASC urges States to adopt legislation, regulations or other procedures to prohibit such discriminatory practices.

In addition, State agencies should avoid discriminatory practices regarding appraiser educational course providers. Some State agencies inappropriately: (1) have charged a course review fee to private course providers while not charging such a fee to certain professional appraiser organizations; (2) have delayed approval of private school appraisal courses while rapidly approving those of professional appraiser organizations; and (3) have forced non-affiliated proprietary schools to maintain and use fixed school room locations, while certain professional appraisal organizations have been allowed to teach courses at non-fixed commercial sites, such as hotels, motels and office locations. State agencies should review their internal procedures and take steps to ensure that all educational providers are afforded equal treatment in all respects, including course review fees, timeliness of review and course location requirements.

commercial appraiser, appraisal

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Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Event Details

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

The UCLA Campus

Visit the UCLA Extension booth at this iconic L.A. event!

Start: 4/25/2009 10:00:00 AM

End: 4/26/2009 6:00:00 PM

The UCLA Campus

Learn more about the great and varied courses offered this summer at UCLA Extension. Visit our booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of books to pick up a catalog and speak to a representative of Extension. Become a part of the community of learners.


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California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

A message from the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA):

The National Council of State Housing Agencies, an organization representing all of the nation’s agencies that allocate the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, is holding its annual Housing Credit Conference & Marketplace in Los Angeles this year. With the industry's premier conference, and the foremost training, idea-sharing, and networking opportunity for Housing Credit practitioners practically in your back yard, how can you afford to miss it?

Drawing well over 1,000 attendees, the conference uniquely brings state Housing Credit allocators, developers, investors, syndicators, property managers, attorneys, accountants, consultants, and compliance experts under one roof for intensive training, panel discussions, and roundtables covering every facet of Housing Credit transactions. Deal-making and networking opportunities are endless!

Stand out even more by partnering with NCSHA as a conference sponsor or by having an exhibit in the Marketplace. Register for the conference or learn more about partnership opportunities. Contact Blaire Cirlin at bcirlin@ncsha.org or 202-624-7710 with any questions.

For more information, visit: http://www.ncsha.org/conference.cfm/2881

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