Voilà qui va vous séduire : Un nouvel encart que je viens de repérer sur internet et que nous vous proposons ci-dessous. Le propos est « la justice ».
Le titre troublant (Justice Department suit against Colony Ridge alleges predatory lending, discrimination) est évocateur.
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La date de parution est 2023-12-20 13:15:00.
Voici ll’article mentionné :
The U.S. Justice Department in a federal lawsuit Wednesday is accusing the controversial and heavily Hispanic Texas development known as Colony Ridge of discrimination, predatory lending and using deceptive sales tactics that sometimes drive buyers to the point of « economic ruin. »
“Today’s complaint alleges that Colony Ridge targeted Hispanic consumers with predatory loans, misled borrowers about the water, sewer, and electrical infrastructure on its lots, and exploited language barriers by conducting most of its marketing in Spanish while offering important transaction documents only in English,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a news release announcing the court action filed in the Southern District of Texas.
One of the Colony Ridge founders said the company was « blindsided » by the Justice Department’s action, which he called without merit.
« The lawsuit is baseless and both outrageous and inflammatory, » said developer John Harris. » Our business thrives off customer referrals because landowners are happy and able to experience the American Dream of owning property. We loan to those who have no opportunity to get a loan from anyone else and we are proud of the relationship we have developed with customers. We look forward to telling the true story of Colony Ridge.”
A fast-growing community about 30 miles northeast of downtown Houston, Colony Ridge was thrust into the national debate over unlawful immigration earlier this year when Gov. Greg Abbott and other top Republican leaders expressed concern that the development on some 30,000 acres had become a magnet for undocumented immigrants and a haven for drug gangs.
Even Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is vying for the GOP presidential nomination, joined the debate saying in a social media post about the Colony Ridge controversy: “I will end this.”
During a legislative hearing in October, Harris told lawmakers such characterizations were false at best and racist at worst, and the Liberty County Sheriff disputed allegations of unusually high drug activity in the community of about 40,000 in an unincorporated section of the county.
The Justice Department’s civil lawsuit, filed by the agency’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, steers clear of drugs, crime and unlawful immigration issues. Instead, it accuses Colony Ridge Development LLC. and three affiliated companies of illegally targeting and exploiting « homebuyers because they are Hispanic or don’t speak English well. »
More: Texas Republican Party using Colony Ridge controversy as a tool for fundraising
The Justice Department also says in its complaint that the company relies heavily on Spanish-language advertising to attract customers but uses English-only transaction documents to complete the sales.
Further, the complaint alleges, that buyers whose lending transactions are handled by the company are « misled » about the availability of such amenities as water, sewer, and electrical infrastructure on the properties sold.
« Colony Ridge’s exploitative practice began with misleading advertising on platforms like TikTok and often ended with families facing economic ruin, no home, and shattered dreams, » Alamdar Hamdani , the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas said in the news release.
In his appearance before the House State Affairs Committee in the fall, Harris said he and his brother started the Colony Ridge company to provide first-time homebuyers with less-than-stellar credit histories an opportunity to put down roots for their families. He acknowledged that buyers pay higher interest rates than those who seek conventional mortgages because his customers are less likely to qualify for traditional financing.
« The most important thing we did for our customers was provide financing that they couldn’t get anywhere else, » Harris told the panel. « And that allowed them to become property owners, and that allowed us to grow. »
But the lawsuit alleges that Colony Ridge lenders essentially set customers up to fail. About 92% of all foreclosures in Liberty County from 2019 through 2022 were from Colony Ridge, the lawsuit states.
« Because Defendants fail to analyze consumers’ ability to pay, Colony Ridge’s seller-financed mortgages fail at an extraordinary rate, » the lawsuit states. « Foreclosures and property deeds recorded in Liberty County between September 2019 through September 2022 show that Colony Ridge initiated foreclosures in at least 30percent of all Colony Ridge seller-financed lots within three years of the consumer’s purchase date, with most occurring much sooner. »
Nationally, only about 2% of home loans become delinquent by 60 days or more within three years of origination, according to the suit.
John C. Moritz covers Texas government and politics for the USA Today Network in Austin. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on X, formerly called Twitter, @JohnnieMo.
This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Discrimination, predatory lending alleged in Justice Department suit
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