Wells Fargo yesterday fired a senior vice president in charge of managing foreclosed commercial properties for holding parties in a foreclosed home in an exclusive Malibu community whose previous owners were financially devastated in Bernard Madoff’s massive fraud scheme.
The executive, Cheronda Guyton, allegedly moved into the home shotly after the previous owners turned over their home in May. Neighbors said Guyton, along with her husband and two children, often hosted guests at the home, including a large party the last weekend of August which had guests arriving on a yacht, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing neighbors.
The 3,800-square-foot home with direct access to the beach has been listed as a vacation rental since April at a rate of $60,000 a month. It is located in Malibu Colony, a densely built stretch of luxury homes that has been a favorite of celebrities over the years located about 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
“We deeply regret the activities that have taken place as they do not reflect the conduct we expect of our team members. We continue to place the highest value on honesty, trust and integrity to guide our team members in making business decisions each day,” the nation’s fourth largest bank said in a statement.
Kevin Stein, associate director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, an advocacy group for low-income tenants, told the Los Angeles Times that the executive’s alleged use of the Malibu house looked especially bad inasmuch as Wells Fargo and other banks often swiftly evicted renters from foreclosed houses to speed their resale.
“At the same time at least one bank executive was [reportedly] moving into a house in Malibu, I was imagining that scene a few miles away in the San Fernando Valley where people are getting kicked out because Wells Fargo says they have to put those houses back on the market immediately,” Stein said.
He said his group was working with Wells Fargo and other lenders to defer selling foreclosed homes that were occupied by tenants so renters could remain in them longer.
The most recent report on lender participation in the government’s program to help homeowners in trouble to stave off foreclosure by modifying their loans found Wells Fargo to be lower
According to the latest Treasury Department report on lender performance in the government’s program to help homeowners staff off foreclosure, 11 percent of its eligible loans are in trial modification, about average for large banks. Citimortgage has 23 percent of its loans in trial mod, Bank of America only seven percent Wells also was recipient of more than $25 billion in bailout money last year.