Magazine article American Banker


Magazine article American Banker


Article excerpt

Byline: Allison Bisbey Colter

Mansion Stripped Bare

Any repossessed home that sits vacant for long is at risk for vandalism or theft, but a San Diego mansion that Chevy Chase Bank foreclosed on in March was hit particularly hard stripped of nearly $1 million worth of fixtures, according to a report last week by ABC News.

The 16,000squarefoot home, dubbed Vivienda, was built by Suzy Brown, an electrical engineer, who planned to use it as a drug rehabilitation center. She had a partnership with the alternativemedicine physician Deepak Chopra and 60 other investors.

Neighbors dubbed it the "monster house" because of its size, ABC reported, and they sued Brown, trying to block construction. Brown fought back and won a building permit in 2004. But by the time the home was ready, Chopra had dropped out of the project. Brown moved out March 22, four days before Chevy Chase, a unit of Capital One Financial Corp., reported the theft to police.

The mansion, which has 15 bedrooms and 17 bathrooms, is now a shell. Neighbors noticed a suspicious vehicle in the driveway, then a real estate agent discovered that everything from toilet seats to the antique front door had been stolen.

Swap Meet

A new financial product, SwapRent, offers to help troubled homeowners stay in their homes in exchange for a stake in any future appreciation of the property.

Its creator, Ralph Liu, told BankThink, a blog published by American Banker, that SwapRent can not only stabilize the housing market but also stop the slide in the fair value of mortgagebacked securities. …

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