Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Teena Colebrook Election

By Jeff Simpson

We all know Donald Trump won the election, and we all know that many people have different reasons as to what happened and why.  

However, the whole election can be summed up in two words - Teena Colebrook.    

Ms. Colebrook, who contacted the AP with her story, sums up the 2016 election in a nutshell.  She was burned by the Bush great recession, the economy was not working for her under President Obama, was ignored by Hillary Clinton and wooed by Donald Trump.   

Donald Trump was elected and Ms. Colebrook was conned.  Big Time!  

 When Donald Trump named his Treasury secretary, Teena Colebrook felt her heart sink.
She had voted for the president-elect on the belief that he would knock the moneyed elites from their perch in Washington. And she knew Trump's pick for Treasury — Steven Mnuchin — all too well.
OneWest, a bank formerly owned by a group of investors headed by Mnuchin, had foreclosed on her Los Angeles-area home in the aftermath of the Great Recession, stripping her of the two units she rented as a primary source of income.
"I just wish that I had not voted," said Colebrook, 59. "I have no faith in our government anymore at all. They all promise you the world at the end of a stick and take it away once they get in."
While Ms. Colebrook was learning the lessons of the world for people who are not part of the bourgeois, Steven Munchkin was also learning the way the world works for those who are.

  The combination of OneWest's profitability, government guarantees and foreclosure activities drew the ire of activist groups like the California Reinvestment Coalition. It found the bank to be consistently one of the most difficult to work out loan modifications with even though OneWest never drew a major response from government regulators.By June of 2014, five years after taking over OneWest, Mnuchin sold the bank for $3.4 billion at a tremendous profit.
Mr. Mnuchin, who used his money to buy One West, took lots of taxpayer money, to pay his debt and then turned it for a huge profit.   What did Ms. Colebrook do that soured her taste of Government.

In 1998, she bought a triplex for $248,000 in Hawthorne, California, not too far from Los Angeles International Airport.
She rented out two of the units and lived in the third. Colebrook refinanced her mortgage in order to renovate the property and help buy additional homes to generate rental income.
By the time the financial crisis struck in 2008, she had an interest-only mortgage on the triplex known as a "pick-a-payment" loan. Her monthly payments ran as high as $2,000 and only covered the interest on the debt. Then she got ensnarled in the economic downturn.
"All my tenants lost their jobs in the crash," Colebrook said. "They couldn't pay. It was a knock-on effect."
Over five years, she tried unsuccessfully to adjust her loan with OneWest through the Treasury Department's Home Affordable Modification Program. But she said that One West Bank lost paperwork, provided conflicting statements about ownership of the loan and fees and submitted charges that were unverified and caused her loan balance to balloon. By the time she lost her home in foreclosure in April 2015, the payoff balance totaled $517,662.

For those scoring at home, Ms. Colebrook decided to live the American Dream by buying a triplex, living in one unit and renting out the rest to pay for it.  Happens all over the country in small towns and large cities.   She bought it for $248,000 and after making payments for 10 years, only owed $517,662.    

Meanwhile, while Ms. Colebrook is suffering, working hard and losing her home, Mr.  Mnuchin bought out the bank that owned her home, pushed most of the debt onto the federal government (Ie the taxpayers of the United States), and sold it for a hefty profit.

Now Ms. Colebrook, lives with her boyfriend because she lost her home and can not afford another one.  Steve Mnuchin, now will have to find a house sitter for his $27 million dollar home in Bel Air, CA while he works in Washington DC as Treasury Secretary,  

Unless of course Mr. Mnuchin, decides to live in his "cottage" in the Hamptons and commute!

The guy who lives here:

donald housedonald house

Was the one who talked Ms. Colebrook into voting for him.   He reached out to her and she responded.  Ms,. Colebrook, and millions like her, were desperately waiting to have someone acknowledge their pain.   The reality TV star, who knows how to play the American public, did just that.  

Many people will lay the blame on Ms. Colebrook, for being ignorant to her choice, but was she?   While Ms. Colebrook was packing her possessions to move into her boyfriends house before the bank repossessed her triplex, The Donalds competition was tellking everyone how great the economy was and she planned on continuing the success.    The success that no matter how hard she looked Ms. Colebrook just could not see it.

Imagine if we had a politician who understood what Ms,. Colebrook was living through?  Imagine even more, if we had a politician who not only reached out to the Teena Colbrooks of the world but actually followed through with their promises?  

Maybe the best place to start is to acknowledge that Teena Colbrook exists and then we can start helping her fix her problems!

Teena Colebrook

One Last Note on Mr. Mnuchin: Steve Mnucin had to resign his spot on the Board of Trustees of Sears Holdings to accept the Treasury Secretary position.   He has been on the Board of Directors for Sears Holdings for the last eleven years.    If you have not been paying attention, the last eleven years for Sears Holdings, have been disastrous and an American Institution is on the verge of disappearing.

Let's hope that he does not bring the same brand of success to the current "Board of Trustees" that he serves on.  



  1. So in a nutshell, Ms. Colebrook is an idiot. If you want to vote for a president that cares about people and the environment - rather than profit and more profit - you don't vote Republican, it's that easy. Well, Ms. Colebrook, how does it feel to be grabbed by the p*ssy?

    1. No she isnt an idiot, she is in trouble and she found out the calvary is not coming

  2. Ms. Colbrook was not too bright to vote for trump. what did she expect.

    he never hid he was a compulsive liar and still people voted for him.

    like I said a lot of people are not too bright.

    just look at the people running our state. one word sums it all up SAD !

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Ms. Colebrook - I have the same problem with OWB and Mnuchin, except that my loan involved fraud and forgery by the broker. Please contact me via Facebook. We may have information we can share for our respective lawsuits.Thanks - Gail Langer Reznik

  5. Jeff,

    what part of her did not understand trump is a total liar and loser?

    ignorant people like her are why idiots are running our country and state today.

    sorry she found out the hard way. others, it will take time.

  6. I disagree with you on two points:
    1) She bought “additional homes,” in addition to making improvements on her Triplex. So she wasn’t just a local landlord: she used cash from her home to buy more property for rental income. Unfortunately she did not buy in good areas, as all her tenants lost their jobs. When she did this, she was not eligible under HARP guidelines as one cannot have more than one investment property, so I am not sure why she spent 5 years fighting One West. I looked at some of her lawsuits but the only issue she was concerned about was not getting a loan modification.

    2) She “only” had $517,662 debt on a $248,000 purchase. Was this satirical? She like many others used her home as an ATM, in her case to buy more rental properties.

    It is difficult to know the real story , but I suspect she listen to someone like Robert Kiyosaki, borrowed on her home to buy more homes since having 3 rentals is 3 times better than one! And paid only interest so she get the maximum loan and the maximum return! That was what was happening in LA during the beginning of the century. It all works well until it does not.

    Ironically, if she would have kept up her payments of 2,000, which is less than what it costs to rent a 3 bedroom unit in a triplex in Hawthorne now, she could have sold it for the 651,000 the bank got on the foreclosure sale in 2015. It just sold again for 910,000!

    As for the rest of us, we had to get a loan modification the hard way: paying down principle month after month, and refinancing when rates went lower.

    I wish AP would do a more in depth article on her history but from what I can tell, she is not a victim.

    1. I get That there is more here than meets the eye and she might have gotten too greedy but how many millions of Americans were sold a bill of goods on how to make it in the mortgage/ house flipping markets and then when it all came crashing down only the banksters went laughing all the way home!

    2. Thanks DTS, as the great Paul Harvey would say now The Rest of the Story. But that doesn't fit the
      AP agenda.

  7. “The Donald's competition was telling everyone how great the economy was and she planned on continuing the success. The success that no matter how hard she looked Ms. Colebrook just could not see it.”

    Actually, Hillary Clinton was telling everyone that, “We need to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

    “Ms. Colebrook, and millions like her, were desperately waiting to have someone acknowledge their pain. The reality TV star, who knows how to play the American public, did just that.”

    I don't think Trump does empathy; he channels anger. In the report you quote, Colebrook doesn't say anything about Trump acknowledging her pain. Instead, we are told that, “She had voted for the president-elect on the belief that he would knock the moneyed elites from their perch in Washington.” If the reporter got the story right, she was voting for revenge.

    By the time of the general election, there had been a lot of reporting on Trump's character flaws. In particular, as a real estate investor herself, one might expect Colebrook to feel a bit of empathy for the people scammed by Trump University. But she didn't. Possibly she didn't follow the election news and just didn't know. But it seems more likely that she did know, but was willing to vote for someone who victimized other people in order to get back at people who she felt victimized her.

  8. thanks for the alternative view. I appreciate it

    A couple things, I pay attention to politics and never checked out either candidates policy babble on their websites. I dont really expect anyone else to either.

    I dont think Trump does empathy either....i think he is a salesman. He had no interest or even a plan on how to do things but he knew how to speak to people. He knew how to sell his product. Of course he sold the people a lemon.

    Yes there was a lot of reporting on Trumps character flaws, and there was alot of reporting on Hillarys character flaws also. I would guess that not many people knew much about Trump university.

    I think its clear that people voted for the person they felt was going to bring jobs back to America not caring who he grabbed or what he said.

  9. Note that Ms. Colebrook refinanced her triplex to "help buy additional homes..." She chose to become a real estate investor by leveraging the equity in her home to obtain a large risky loan and invest the proceeds in inflated SoCal real estate. When the bottom fell out, she disguised herself as an ordinary homeowner and tried to persuade her bank to modify a massive loan. And it didn't work.

    Then along came another get-rich-quick real estate investor singing a sweet song. She fell for him, but now sees the error of her ways.

    Ms. Colebrook has learned that there's no free lunch; not from a bank and not from a racist, mysoginist xenophobe. Welcome to America.