April 25, 2015 · Fundings · (No comments)

IPO activity in the Bay Area looks like it is picking up again after dropping in the first quarter to about half of last years hot pace.

Two successful IPOs in two weeks isnt enough to declare that the market for new offerings has turned a corner. But if San Jose-based app platform developer Apigees IPO does well next week it will be the busiest period for Wall Street debuts from the region since late January.

This weeks offering from Berkeley-based Aduro Biotech was only the second to establish a unicorn market cap of more than $1 billion this year. The other was Los Altos-based Box when it went public at the end of January.

While Box is much better known and its long-delayed IPO drew far more attention, Aduro has the bigger market cap at the moment. The enterprise software company is valued at about $2.1 billion and the cancer treatment developers valued at more than $2.5 billion.

Throw in Etsys big success this week and LinkedIns $1.5 billion acquisition of Lynda.com last week and it looks like we may finally be seeing some unicorn exits to go with the rash of new unicorns being born.

But it will take a full quarter of such activity to make the first half of 2015 comparable to the first half of last year.

Here are some other stories from this week that you will want to read to keep up with the TechFlash conversation:

— Bubble, bubble, whos worried about a bubble? Marc Andreessen, Dave McClure, Arvind Sodhani and Greg Becker all said this week that there are probably some unicorns who wont fulfill the lofty valuations they enjoy today.

But none of them sounded particularly worried about anything like the dot-com bust that people usually worry about when they talk about whether we are in a tech bubble.

VC celebrity Andreessens comments came in an interview at a Fortune magazine event last week and 500 Startups founding director McClures came in a blog he posted on Medium.

The comments from Intel Capital chief Sodhani and Silicon Valley Bank CEO Becker came in a Churchill Club talk they gave in Santa Clara.

Andreessen said his firm is walking away from plenty of deals over rich valuations but he feels confident of the unicorns it has invested in.

McClure said the valuations of some unicorns is low when compared to the market caps of the private tech companies whose markets they are about to devour.

Sodhani and Becker put the likelihood that we are now in a tech bubble at between 6 and 8 on a 10-point scale where the 1990s is a 10.

We have an office up on Sand Hill Road, and something I saw there recently was like it was came out of 1999, Becker said. There was a tour bus in front of Kleiner Perkins.

— Why Reid Hoffman is a bitcoin believer: The LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock Partners VC said he wasnt interested in the virtual currency until he had a conversation with Wences Casares, the co-founder of Lemon and founder of bitcoin wallet startup Xapos.

“He articulated very strong positive theories about bitcoin and I began to feel empowered, the veteran of PayPal said.

Click here to find out the three arguments Cesares made to win over a skeptical Hoffman.

— Investing in frothy times: Vivek Mehra of August Capital in this weeks TechFlash QA talked about what he is looking for in the data security and infrastructure startups he invests in.

Among the boards that he sits on are San Jose-based RetailNext, the in-store analytics company that raised $125 million this week.

Like Andreessen, Mehra said he and August have walked away from some of the fundings that have been done at very high valuations lately.

Asked about how much longer we can keep floating such value estimates without validation on the public markets, he said, I wish I knew. It concerns me when the private markets are valued higher than the public markets. That’s not going to last for too long, you know. We’ve had this kind of concern before, and it didn’t end well. I just hope we have a little more discipline this time.

Click here to read the rest of the interview.

— The funding bar also rises: Back when we launched TechFlash at the start of 2013, we used to report on every single funding in the Bay Area. Before long, though, funding of less than $20 million stopped attracting much attention from readers and we raised the bar on most of the deals we wrote about.

Maybe this was just an unusual week, but with Jawbone raising $300 million, Slack raising $160 million, RetailNext raising $125 million, Illumio raising $100 million, Docker raising $95 million, LendingHome raising $70 million, Sprig raising $45 million and a lot of other big stories, there were a lot of funding stories we would normally have done that didnt make it into TechFlash — until now.

Here are the fundings that we just couldnt let go unreported, with links to their announcements:

— Appirio: The San Francisco-based cloud services company raised $35 million in Series E funding. Fidelity Investments led the round. Appirio previously raised more than $75 million from General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital and GGV Capital.

— Vlocity: The San Francisco cloud startup raised $42 million in a round led by Salesforce Ventures, with Accenture participating.

— Movidius: The San Mateo-based computational image-processor chip and software maker raised $40 million in a round led by Summit Bridge Capital, which is a joint venture of Atlantic Bridge Capital and WestSummit Capital. Other new investors in the round included Arch Venture Partners, Sunny Optical Technology Group. Returning in the round were AIB Seed Capital Fund, Capital-E, DFJ Esprit and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.

— Skyport Systems: The Mountain View data security company raised $30 million in Series B funding. Index Ventures led the round, joined by Intel Capital and return backer Sutter Hill Ventures.

— Adallom: The Palo Alto-based cloud access security broker raised $30 million. It is the first investment by Hewlett-Packard Ventures and also included Rembrandt Venture Partners as a new investor. Existing investors Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures also participated.

— Duo Security: The Menlo Park-based cloud-based cybersecurity provider raised $30 million in Series C funding. The round was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Benchmark, Google Ventures, Radar Partners and True Ventures all participating as existing investors.

Phew. Thats it for this week. Happy weekend reading!

Click here to subscribe to TechFlash Silicon Valley, the free daily email newsletter about founders and funders in the region.

Cromwell Schubarth is the Senior Technology Reporter at the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

April 25, 2015 · Manage Debt · (No comments)

PHOENIX, April 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Caterpillar Foundation is giving a major boost to plans to revitalize disadvantaged communities in Phoenix with a $1 million grant to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)the largest single contribution in LISCs 22 years of work in the Valley of the Sun.

This is the first time the Caterpillar Foundation has invested in community development efforts in the Phoenix area. LISC will use the money to help expand employment and financial security for low-income families, as well as to transform blighted land into vibrant community space that adds value to the surrounding area.

This money will help make sure important development projects can move forward and help hundreds of people build a better life, said Terry Benelli, executive director of LISC Phoenix.

The Caterpillar Foundation is focused on addressing the root causes of poverty, said Michele Sullivan, president of the Caterpillar Foundation. With LISCs expertise, we can work together to transform poverty-stricken neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable communities. This investment will help put people in the Phoenix area on the path to prosperity.

The Caterpillar Foundation and LISC first teamed up in Peoria in 2012, when the global heavy-equipment manufacturer helped the national nonprofit open a new program office to support housing and economic development efforts in the small, central Illinois city.

Caterpillar has proven itself to be a remarkable partner, one willing to be innovative and think long-term about the future of neighborhoods that many have given up as lost, said Michael Rubinger, president and CEO of LISC, which has invested some $14.7 billion in distressed neighborhoods since 1980. Caterpillar has a different visionone that says even troubled areas can be revived. Were so grateful to them for their commitment.

In Phoenix, the Caterpillar Foundation investment will provide general support for programs focused on reviving neighborhoods as well as fund several major projectsincluding the areas first LISC Financial Opportunity Center (FOC). The FOC will help low-income residents find good jobs, manage debt, build stronger credit and budget for the future. Its a model LISC has employed at 75 Centers nationwide, helping tens of thousands of people access services so they can change their economic outlook.

The Caterpillar Foundation commitment will also support a new Native American community center in the Glenrosa neighborhood of Phoenix. The Center will replace an abandoned property with vibrant, multipurpose spaceincluding a commercial kitchen that will help train entrepreneurs in catering and other food-related enterprises.

These are projects that would have difficulty moving forward but for the capital Caterpillar is contributing, noted LISCs Benelli. With this support, the Caterpillar Foundation will have a lasting impact on the quality of life across the Valley and help lift disadvantaged communities.

About LISC
LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods across the country. Since 1980, LISC has invested $14.7 billion to build or rehab 330,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 53 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit www.lisc.org.

About the Caterpillar Foundation
Caterpillar Inc. supports the philanthropic efforts of the Caterpillar Foundation. Founded in 1952, the Caterpillar Foundation has contributed more than $600 million to help make sustainable progress possible around the world by providing program support in the areas of environmental sustainability, access to education and basic human needs. To learn more about the global impact of the Caterpillar Foundation, please visit www.caterpillar.com/foundation.

For more information, contact:
Terry Benelli, LISC Phoenix executive director
602-252-6313 or tbenelli@lisc.org

SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation

RELATED LINKS
http://www.lisc.org

April 25, 2015 · Getting A Mortgage · (No comments)

It is bad for the country and bad for the students, he says. Its defended on the grounds that it doesnt discourage people from going to university. That may be true, but what Im hearing from family and friends is that the tuition fee debt is affecting peoples chances of getting a mortgage.

Sir Keiths university is one of the 24 in the Russell Group, whose members are amongst the most sought after in the country. He admits he may be a lone voice amongst vice-chancellors who are at odds with him over his stance.

Universities UK, the body which represents vice-chancellors, for instance, is sharply critical of Labours pledge to reduce fees from £9,000 to £6,000 a year, fearing an incoming government will not make up the decrease in revenue from fees to universities. Other university vice-chancellors in the Russell Group, including Oxford, have called for fees to rise. Its vice-chancellor, Andrew Hamilton, has pointed out it costs the university £16,000 per student.

Sir Keith shares the concerns over the impact of a cut in fees but argues that the cost of the present scheme to the taxpayer will be as great as the system it replaced, as unpaid debts could total between 40 and 50 per cent. He believes that the UK could soon be going down the same road as the US where student debt is approaching credit card debt.

He adds: Our students would like to have reduced fees but they are worried about course closures and the like down the line. Sir Keith says that the best way forward for the system would be to set up an independent review after the election. Ed Miliband is used to getting criticism because his plans are too radical and unworkable. Sir Keiths comments are a reminder that there is an alternative point of view.

April 25, 2015 · Fundings · (No comments)

TORONTO, April 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Atrium Mortgage Investment Corporation (TSX:AI) (TSX:AI.DB) (TSX:AI.DB.A) (TSX:AI.DB.B) today released its financial results for the three month period ended March 31, 2015.

Highlights

  • Revenues $9.5 million, up 24% from previous year, record earnings of $5.6 million for the quarter
  • Strong $0.23 basic and diluted earnings per share for the three months ended March 31, 2015, unchanged from the previous year.
  • Regular monthly dividend continues at $0.84 annual rate, $0.07 per month
  • High quality mortgage portfolio

    • 75% of portfolio in conventional first mortgages
    • 95% of loan portfolio is less than 75% loan to value
    • Continued focus on low risk real estate sectors

Interested parties are invited to participate in a conference call with management on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm EDT. Please refer to the call-in information at the end of this news release.

Results of operations

For the three months ended March 31, 2015, mortgage interest and fees revenue aggregated $9.5 million, compared to $7.6 million in the comparative period, an increase of 24%. The weighted average interest rate on the mortgage portfolio increased to 8.82% at March 31, 2015, slightly higher than the 8.81% at December 31, 2014. Earnings and total comprehensive income were up 16% from the comparative quarter. Mortgages receivable declined by 10% from December 31, 2014 to $390 million at March 31, 2015. There were $63 million of new fundings during the quarter, and repayments of $107 million. This was expected and represents a normal fluctuation in volumes from quarter to quarter. Of the repayments during the first quarter, $34 million had been expected in the previous quarter, but had been delayed. The high level of repayments is an indicator as to the overall soundness of the mortgage portfolio.

April 25, 2015 · Getting A Mortgage · Comments Off on 4 Non-Banks Where You Can Get a Mortgage

Getting a home loan doesnt require a trip to the bank. In fact, 37.5% of mortgages originated in 2014 came from non-bank lenders, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. That share has grown significantly in the last few years, but its not a new concept. Non-bank lending declined dramatically during the mortgage crisis, but the current market share is similar to what it was in the early 2000s, said Guy Cecala, CEO and publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance

Non-bank lenders arent all that different from depository institutions that originate mortgages, except non-banks tend to not have physical locations for consumers to visit, and theyre not as regulated as banks. Still, they must comply with rules set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state regulators.

There’s nothing negative associated with a non-bank vs. a bank making you a mortgage, Cecala said. Hes been covering the industry since 1984. They can both do as good a job or as bad a job, but it’s not necessarily associated with whether they’re a depository institution or not.

The increase in non-bank lending mostly affects consumers in that it gives them more options when shopping for a mortgage.

Before the financial crisis, there was a huge amount of consolidation, and the market was dominated by a small number of large banks, Cecala said. In that regard, it’s much better from a consumer standpoint than it was before. That means you have to do more shopping. It’s up to you to decide which has the best terms or offerings for you.

How Much House Can You Afford?Before you consider buying a home, check out how much you can afford. Plus, see how changes in your finances will affect the result.
Find Out Now

Among the common choices for non-bank mortgage lenders are credit unions. Here are a few other non-bank mortgage lenders in the US market.

1. Quicken Loans

Based in Detroit, Quicken Loans is the largest online mortgage lender in the US, according to its website, but it was founded as Rock Financial Corp. in 1985 as a branch-based lender. From 2013 to 2014, it closed $140 billion of mortgage volume in 50 states.

2. PennyMac

PennyMac was founded in 2008 and is based in Moorpark, Calif. PennyMacs website says it has more than 225,000 customers.

3. Nationstar

Dallas-based Nationstar mortgage started in 1994 and says it has more than 2 million customers.

4. PHH Mortgage

PHH Mortgage is a subsidiary of PHH Corp., which was founded in 1946. In 2014, PHH Mortgage closed about $36 billion in mortgage financing.

There are a lot of options. No matter where you end up getting a mortgage loan, its important to consider many different lenders and figure out which one has the best offer for you. Mortgage inquiries made on your credit report within 14 or 45 days of each other will count only as one hard inquiry, depending on the credit score model (many hard inquiries will hurt your credit score), allowing you to thoroughly explore your options. Even before you start shopping make an effort to improve your credit standing, because with large loans, a few points on a credit score could have a significant impact on how much you pay. You can see where your credit scores stand for free on Credit.com.

More on Mortgages amp; Homebuying:

  • Why You Should Check Your Credit Before Buying a Home
  • How to Find amp; Choose a Mortgage Lender
  • How to Get a Loan Fully Approved

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April 24, 2015 · Getting A Mortgage · Comments Off on Mortgage lending lull ends as March registers upturn as General Election …

“Sentiment and activity are showing early signs of improvement, and should be further supported by the effects of stamp duty reform. We expect to see lending strengthen over the next few months, albeit from a relatively sluggish start in 2015.”

Mortgage market analysts have been quick to point out that uncertainty over the General Election has failed to put a substantial dent in the lending, thanks in part to a mortgage price war between lenders.

“There has been chatter in the market about the upcoming election putting the brakes on housing activity, but there is still appetite in the market for lending, and consumer demand has also held strong. Mortgage rates continue,” said Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors said: “As we prepare to welcome in the next government, the mortgage market is in fine fettle. For borrowers who can only afford a small deposit, getting a mortgage has turned from fantasy to reality over the last eighteen months. Banks are more willing to lend at high loan-to-value ratios, and rates are the most competitive we have seen in decades.”

Survey figures released today by Halifax show that net 21 per cent of people believe its a good time to buy, down from 34 per cent last month and 35 per cent in March 2014. However, the figure is higher than the five per cent trough it reached last July.

April 24, 2015 · Getting A Mortgage · Comments Off on Fortune’s Matthews: Mortgages Are Hard to Come By

The price trends for rent and homeownership make it more economical to buy a home rather than rent in many markets, but just try getting a mortgage loan.

Even as housing prices have recovered, rents in many areas have been climbing even faster, tilting the math in these cities toward buying versus renting, writes Fortunes Chris Matthews.

But as the housing finance industry continues to absorb the effects of the housing bust and the subsequent regulatory response, lenders are still gun shy about getting involved in residential real estate.

The problem: the gap between what the average Americans can afford and the median sales price is much larger than it had been prior to the housing bubble, Matthews explains. This is largely because lenders are being extremely picky about whom they lend to.

Only people with stellar credit FICO scores above 720 are receiving the majority of new loans. In 2000, before the real estate bubble began, the distribution was much more even.

Home prices have risen steadily risen during the past three years, and thats a good thing for homeowners and those working or investing in the residential real estate industry.

But wage gains, havent kept pace, and thats making homes unaffordable for many of us. The median price for an existing home rose 7.5 percent in the 12 months through February to $202,600.

Meanwhile, average hourly wages climbed only 2.1 percent in the 12 months through March, matching the average pace since the economic recovery began in June 2009. That leaves average pay at just $24.86 an hour.

So when it comes to housing, while most markets are still affordable, were getting to a point where if that trend continues the markets may be in danger, Daren Blomquist, vice president of real estate research firm RealtyTrac, tells MSNBC.

In some markets, such as South Florida, home prices already are out of reach for many workers. Interestingly enough, this phenomenon has pushed rental prices higher, as those who cant afford to buy homes are renting.

Related Stories:

  • Wallet Squeeze: Apartment Rents Projected to Rise Again
  • WSJs Clements: Buy a Home to Live in, Not as an Investment
April 24, 2015 · Getting A Mortgage · Comments Off on Mortgage Industry Needs Catching Up with Technology

Over 90 percent of homebuyers, according to statistics, have been going online for search. And that’s what real estate industry people should be looking into, according to Valentin Saportas. Homebuyers search for everything else, including mortgages, online.

Even though there has been a number of an innovation focusing on consumers in online real estate business, there has been an insufficient technology for helping borrowers navigate the most important financial transaction to make, which is getting a mortgage.

According to sources, the online real estate, particularly mortgage, is dominated by lead aggregators that merely collect data and then send the borrowers into one of their lenders.  In the process, instead of being easy and efficient, the whole process of getting mortgage becomes tedious for seeming traditional (loads of papers, fax and phone calls).

Merely digitalizing the 1003 form isn’t enough–another issue that makes the real estate business online is ineffective and ‘not-so-helpful.’ There are many lender websites that simply digitalize the form, but this isn’t clearly enough for the modern consumers. End of the line, consumers might just end up completing the application without proper guidance.

According to experts, what the consumers need are well-designed and functional products to empower them and help them accomplish things on their own, much easier than undergoing the traditional means of getting a mortgage. Seriously, the mortgage industry has to catch up with technology, Saportas said.

April 24, 2015 · Bankruptcy Services · Comments Off on Bankruptcy Lawyer Pens Brilliant Open Letter Smackdown to Homophobic …
  1. Why are you promoting this story??….He#39;s just going to get more money now….

    Posted by: goodggler | Apr 18, 2015 11:03:29 AM

  2. Oh Snap! You know you#39;re in trouble when a lawyer specializing in bankrupt businesses hits you up to advertise his services Lmao!! Day just made.

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Apr 18, 2015 11:20:05 AM

  3. Well said and a clever way to generate publicity for his own bankruptcy services. Sadly the more publicity Mapes receives the faster his coffers will fill with Christian anti-gay money. We all know where this is going: Mapes will con someone within the Christian community to create a GoFundMe page for his failed unlicensed business and he#39;ll soon become a millionaire. After all, wasn#39;t that his goal in the first place?

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Apr 18, 2015 11:20:49 AM

  4. Actually Mike, this may be different considering he made the first move of Facebook. No journalist came to ask his opinion. He just gave it freely. Plus, he doesn#39;t strike me as a victim compared to the young lady of the Pizzeria. She struck me as being a victim of a journalist question. He doesn#39;t strike me as a victim. He strikes as someone grandstanding. A different perspective between the two.

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Apr 18, 2015 11:25:02 AM

  5. @Mike, are you confused about this story? Because your comment doesn#39;t make sense to me.

    Posted by: Jack M | Apr 18, 2015 11:25:02 AM

  6. I don#39;t think this letter was very clever; it came off as condescending.

    When debating or responding to an adversary you should always take the high road. The letter started out fine but soon digressed into calling the Dieseltec owner dumb (for lack of a better word). While the Dieseltec owner may be uneducated, homophobic, and dumb you should let the audience come to that conclusion on their own and not by writing [we] will also be more than willing to help you with some basic grammar that you seem to struggle with. Parts of this letter read very arrogantly.

    If anything, I think this lawyer came off looking a little immature. He should have wrote this letter from a place of kindness and not this elitist point of view.

    Posted by: Will (The Real One) | Apr 18, 2015 12:02:25 PM

  7. As I understand it this grease monkey already had a GoFundMe page and it was taken down almost immediately.

    Posted by: joel | Apr 18, 2015 12:22:55 PM

  8. @Will It was written on the firm#39;s website in response to DieselTec#39;s Facebook post which was condescending in itself. So… In essence… touchÃ, hombrÃ. It#39;s up to DieselTec to see if they want to go to site to read for themselves.

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Apr 18, 2015 12:25:41 PM

  9. @Will, I don#39;t think the attorney was genuinely soliciting for this idiot#39;s business.

    Posted by: Lu | Apr 18, 2015 12:38:28 PM

  10. Ah the irony. He ended the sentence about basic grammar struggles with a preposition.

    Posted by: Marco | Apr 18, 2015 12:51:16 PM

  11. I think Jeffrey Mapes wrote a genius response to this homophobe#39;s rants. Well done, Sir! Thank you.

    Posted by: Mick | Apr 18, 2015 12:55:23 PM

  12. @ Marco – that bothers me as well. However, writing it correctly seems to confuse people:

    They will also be more than willing to help you with some basic grammar with which you struggle.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Apr 18, 2015 1:37:26 PM

  13. Better call Saul !

    PS : Ending with a preposition is just a basic guide, it#39;s not meant to be the eleventh commandment !
    Get over it.

    And start a sentence with a conjunctive, if you wish.
    Live free you wild things.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Apr 18, 2015 1:54:12 PM

  14. You stated in your post that you would incorrectly assemble a vehicle in order to prove a point. Glad this was reiterated in a way that doesn#39;t acknowledge the auto-shop owner#39;s pathetic (pathetic is the correct word here) backtracking; if nuts and bolts were metaphors for penis and vagina, and he said he would …put your vehicle together with all bolts and no nuts and you can see how that works., then what is the #39;vehicle#39;, what is he, and what are the #39;bolts#39; in his metaphor?? He wants to participate in gays having sex? What?
    Insanely idiotic, incoherent rambling is right!

    Posted by: Dan | Apr 18, 2015 3:13:35 PM

  15. Actually, the protection of bankruptcy should not be extended to those who go broke due to the practice of bigotry. To allow bankruptcy under these circumstances is a totally unreasonable burden on the creditors.

    Posted by: Gay Guy | Apr 18, 2015 3:20:13 PM

  16. With either outcome, Mapes is still brilliant.

    Posted by: Jerry | Apr 18, 2015 3:35:44 PM

  17. He also say try and provide instead of the correct try to provide.

    Posted by: Paul | Apr 18, 2015 4:06:39 PM

  18. I was an English major in my distant past. I decided early on that some rules of grammar are frequently irrelevant so long as the intended meaning is not obscured or corrupted to the extent that meaning in unclear. Winnie The C is reported to have responded to criticism by saying something like there are some things up with which I will not put. Focus, folks.

    Posted by: gregorybrownn | Apr 18, 2015 4:36:07 PM

  19. This shop owner is no Christian. He apparently has a criminal record, for beating the crap out of his girlfriend. He even protested having to pay for a business license, so I doubt he will have a business soon. This was a scam to get money from suckers, you know, like how ministers and priests do!

    Posted by: Owens | Apr 18, 2015 4:52:43 PM

  20. alright guys, what I read into this is a cleverly written response to a moronic man….I give the lawyer a pass if he is promoting his business, but I see it as a swarmy response to an illogical, irrational, anti-gay response to gay people….

    Posted by: Bernie | Apr 18, 2015 6:28:11 PM

  21. We WANT everyone would discriminate to announce it, lose business and become dependent on their like-minded idiots to stay afloat. If ALL the people who would discriminate would come out and say so, think how many morons it would take to support all those businesses. Do I have a workable strategy here?

    Posted by: BrokebackBob | Apr 18, 2015 7:01:48 PM

  22. I#39;d rather the dumbasses give their money to these hate businesses that to some hate PAC that can do some real damage.

    Posted by: scudpipe | Apr 18, 2015 8:45:27 PM

  23. Exactly. Supporting a few of these morons to (supposedly) make a point won#39;t last long when there is little effect, and certainly the bigots aren#39;t going to be able to fund all of their idiocy. And in the meantime, the cash isn#39;t going to support worse things. It#39;s a win-win-win for the LGBT community, coming off looking like the heroes of the story (which they are).

    Posted by: Tarc | Apr 19, 2015 4:24:55 AM

  24. Nice but probably a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct for a lawyer to harass a stranger publicly.

    Posted by: Phil | Apr 19, 2015 9:05:54 AM

  25. It is a good thing for this lawyer to make these statements so that other lawyers who may be bigoted will see how much money they are losing. Just look at those state attorney generals who have lost taxpayers money by supporting state bans against marriage equality. I believe it cost Idaho taxpayers close to half a million dollars to pay the winning LGBT cases.

    Posted by: Mr Eric G. Osterberg | Apr 19, 2015 2:51:10 PM

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April 24, 2015 · Bankruptcy Services · Comments Off on Attorney sentenced, barred from practicing law

Paul A. Pysczynski pleaded no contest to counts of grand theft and practicing law while his license was suspended involving four criminal cases.

Circuit Judge Charles Roberts also sentenced Pysczynski to five years of probation and, as part of the plea agreement, barred him from practicing law again.

Pysczynski, 46, has already paid back $140,000 to his victims and will return $4,000 more, said his attorney, Derek Byrd.

Mr. Pysczynski always admitted that he made a mistake and has paid restitution to make things right, Byrd said after the sentencing.

But his sentence of 35.625 months, at the low end of the sentencing scale, angered Shirley Rowan, one of his victims.

He took my whole life. He only gets three years, said Rowan, a local accountant and real estate broker who had retained Pysczynski for credit repair.

The now-disbarred lawyer, wearing a purple golf shirt and casual slacks, was taken into custody after the sentencing hearing.

Pysczynski is one of a number of attorneys in Florida and nationwide who carved a post-recession living by offering foreclosure and bankruptcy services to struggling homeowners.

But some also operated bogus financial rescue scams, either keeping client funds and doing nothing or convincing anxious homeowners to transfer deeds to their properties into trusts and LLCs, and then file for bankruptcy.

Pysczynski was the subject, along with others, of the Herald-Tribunes October 2014 series Selling Hope, which found that foreclosure rescue fraud schemes have cost Americans more than $500 million and that Florida ranks second in the nation for such fraud.

Assistant State Attorney Daniel Yuter previously called Pysczynskis actions an illegal foreclosure rescue and bankruptcy scheme.

He robbed Peter to pay Paul

Byrd said Pysczynski took money from clients to support a sports gambling addiction.

He robbed Peter to pay Paul, Byrd said. He got in over his head.

Pysczynskis family in Missouri provided the money to pay back his victims, Byrd said.

Rowan said she hired Pysczynski to help her negotiate a settlement of credit card debts. She gave him $11,600 to pay her creditors, but he paid just $1,000 to one creditor and pocketed the rest.

She said she has gotten that money back, and is supposed to receive another $3,000 to help cover her related costs.

I filed bankruptcy because of him, she said. An attorney is supposed to be the most upstanding person there is.

The Florida Bar suspended Pysczynskis license to practice law in 2012 because of a legal education deficiency, but he continued to take on clients.

The Bar said he used a forged letter to convince Daniel J. Howard, a Sarasota podiatrist, to give him $25,000 to pay off Howards consolidated student loans. Instead, Pysczynski kept the money for his own use.

In another case, Mark and Jamie Lotz of Sarasota paid Pysczynski $48,500 for a loan modification to avoid foreclosure. But Pysczynski, a childhood friend of Mark Lotz, kept the money.

The Florida Bar, reviewing these and other cases, disbarred Pysczynski last November.

On Tuesday, Pysczynski pleaded no contest but was adjudicated guilty on two counts of grand theft and four counts of practicing law while suspended.

Byrd said prosecutors plan to file two additional similar cases against Pysczynski. He will plead to both and his state prison sentence will run concurrently.