Wells Fargo Steps Up, Animals Are Safe

Wells Fargo promised to secure care for the animals left without food and water when a Rhode Island sanctuary for abandoned beasts was foreclosed on.

Although former sanctuary owner Dan MacKenzie named Wells Fargo in his lawsuit to save the animals, a spokesman for the bank came forward to say Wells Fargo was just a trustee on the mortgage. It was American Home Mortgage Servicing that initiated the foreclosure.

The spokesman wrote us in an email:

Thanks to all who have stated their support of the animals. We deeply appreciate the feedback and praise the community for the way it has rallied help for these animals. And while Wells Fargo is not the owner, mortgage servicer, or mortgage originator of the Bonniedale Farms property (rather a trustee for a trust that includes the property’s mortgage), and as such was not involved in initiating this foreclosure, we echo many of your thoughts about ensuring the safety of these animals. As was covered by many media outlets last night and this morning, Wells Fargo is currently working to make sure the animals at the farm are properly cared for.

It looks as though the animals will be well taken care of now, with the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals assuming care, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Wells Fargo promises care for animals on RI farm [AP via Silcon Valley Mercury News]
A happy ending is in the works for rescued farm animals at foreclosed Rhode Island sanctuary [L.A. Times]

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  1. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Wait, so how did Wells Fargo , whom this gentleman and his lawyer claim promised to care for the animals when they started this action against him, make said promise when they in all reality had almost nothing to do with this? How also did they make said promise when:

    Wells Fargo had been unaware that the former company planned to evict MacKenzie until it took that action Monday.

    This almost explains why when Wells Fargo was contacted about offers of help, they turned them down, because it literally wasn’t THEIR responsibility, but instead another mortgage company/bank. I wonder if they told the people who called them that, but those people neglected to mention that fact when relaying their convo with reporters/the media….

    • mmmsoap says:

      I think there’s more confusion than that. There’s a difference between “No thank you, we’ve got it covered,” and “WTF are you talking about? What animals?”

      Both technically could be considered “refusals” of assistance, but it’s pretty darn hard to confuse the two of them. The evictee was definitely making it sound like he had been given the first response, while now we hear it’s closer to the second?

    • iFightBanks says:

      Just because Wells Fargo was “only” the trustee on this mortgage doesn’t mean they had nothing to do with this situation. The way loans became securitized in the asset-backed securities heyday typically involved transferring ownership of the pooled mortgages into the name of a trust, necessitating someone to act as trustee. This means that Wells Fargo, even if it wasn’t servicing the mortgages contained in this pool, was very likely the owner of record of all the mortgages in the pool at least until foreclosure, when ownership may have been transferred to allow a different entity to proceed with the sale under power.

      In turn, that means that it was probably a local law firm contracted by Wells Fargo whose name appeared on the letterhead informing Mr. MacKenzie of the foreclosure, or notice of acceleration, or whatever pre-foreclosure paperwork was being sent to Mr. MacKenzie in the weeks leading up to the foreclosure sale.

      I’m not saying that the Wells Fargo spokesperson’s line that you quoted was an outright lie, but it’s almost certainly a bit of a stretch. Wells Fargo may not have known that there was an animal shelter being foreclosed upon, but unless they were completely abdicating their responsibility as trustee for this pool of mortgages, they would have reviewed a report of how many mortgages in the pool were at what varying stage of delinquency and which were going to be foreclosed upon in the next month, etc.

      Thanks to the convoluted structure of the mortgage-backed securities into which so many mortgages were bundled, many people facing foreclosure have absolutely no idea who owns their mortgage, and many “owners” of mortgages have no idea whose homes or properties they own.

      As proven by the fact that Wells Fargo DID make something happen once they realized they were facing a public relations disaster, Wells Fargo’s role as trustee is not a completely hands-off one. There’s a reason Mr. MacKenzie thought Wells Fargo was the owner of his mortgage, and there’s a reason Wells Fargo chose to act to help the animals involved. Let’s not let “we were just the trustee” become a blanket excuse for bad behavior on the part of banks.

    • ecwis says:

      Right. Why would the evictee even contact Wells Fargo? He should have been contacting the lawyers who were hired for the foreclosure process not some low-level CSR at Wells Fargo. Seems like it was a pretty smart response by Wells Fargo though to ensure nothing happened, even though they don’t own the loan.

      Also, any lawyer would insist on getting an agreement on writing. If a company refuses to provide something in writing, it’s safe to assume that they won’t actually fulfill the agreement.

  2. headhot says:

    I predict this will not go well.

    • clickable says:

      In practice, the animals are now in the care of the local SPCA, so let’s hope that maybe it will go well. If it’s an activist SPCA, once they actually have charge of the situation, they won’t let go until they’re sure there’s an appropriate plan in place going forward.

  3. Fred E. says:

    For some reason, this reminds me of the IRS running seized strip joints and hooker ranches.

  4. Skankingmike says:

    solution

    http://www.thrushprocessing.com/index.htm honestly any mobile butcher will do

    mmmm tasty tasty farm animals.

  5. Naame says:

    Score one for the good guys. I hope it all works out well.