It was just a typo. Two digits of a property parcel number inverted. Yet it caused a man to lose his house and ultimately his life.
On the morning of Dec. 19, 2012, in a Torrance courtroom, Larry Delassus' heart stopped as he watched his attorney argue his negligence and discrimination case against banking behemoth Wells Fargo...It's a story we've come to expect.
Friends say he didn't die of heart disease that day in court, as the coroner found. He was, they believe, killed by a system so inhumane that it could not undo a devastating piece of red tape the system itself created.
Wells Fargo doubled his mortgage payment to recoup back taxes they thought he owed because of the parcel number inversion. He couldn't make those payments, and couldn't get an answer for months as to why the amount had increased. The error that caused the stepped up payment was only discovered a year later, and not by Wells Fargo but by Larry and his lawyer. The bank ultimately admitted its mistake BUT FORECLOSED ANYWAY and evicted him because Larry was now behind on payments that had never been his to make.
This disabled, ill Navy veteran lost his condo and all he equity he had in it.
In a videotaped court deposition later, Delassus breaks down crying. "I came back from the hospital, and that very day, they sold the son of a bitch," he says. "I'm homeless. I did not have a home. My condo - 16 years, gone. Gone."That's your banking system at work.
Then he died seeking justice.
The tale, as tragic as it is already, gets worse. Because despite what Wells Fargo did, despite them admitting their mistake, despite them refusing to do anything to help Larry stay in his house, despite what anyone might think is fair, the judge who heard Mr. Delassus' lawsuit against those fuckers was ready to rule in their favor...
The night before, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Laura Ellison had indicated that she intended to side with Wells Fargo in a summary judgment.It doesn't matter that Larry Delassus, sick and probably incapable of dealing with a bank's unfeeling bureaucracy, was totally fucked over by Wells Fargo. All that matters is, somehow, Wells Fargo was within its legal rights to foreclose and evict after Mr. Delassus couldn't come up with the $337,250.40 they ultimately demanded of him. Who cares that it was the end result of a chain reaction whose root cause was Wells Fargo's error?
That's your justice system at work.
And what about the MORE blood in the title? I guess you'll have to check this diary out. An error by - you guessed it - Wells Fargo, resulted back in May of 2012 not in a heart attack but in a suicide.
What's the solution? Wells Fargo has been described as "the worst of the worst." It's Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Jail, Too Powerful to Regulate, Too Rich to Care (making more than $5 billion in profit last quarter) and its CEO, John Stumpf, has a heart that is at least three sizes too small (his first job as a banker was as a repossession agent. Sigh.).
Our politicians (or rather their politicians) are in thrall to these corporate robber barons and most people just don't give a shit even as corporate profits skyrocket, foreclosures affecting millions of people and the entire economy continue, and wages stagnate.
His friends and neighbors believe his war with Wells Fargo killed Larry Delassus.
In a statement to the Weekly, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Vickee J. Adams expressed sympathy over his death.This is how our world works.