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Monday, November 14, 2016

Feds' Lawsuit Against Quicken Loans Will Be Heard in Detroit, Not D.C.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 1:27 PM

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Update: A federal judge ruled this week that the Department of Justice lawsuit against Quicken Loans will be heard in a Michigan courtroom instead of in D.C., as the government had initially requested.

Via the Detroit News:

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton issued an order Monday approving the lender’s request to move the case, saying the Eastern District of Michigan is the appropriate forum because the alleged unlawful activity occurred in or near Detroit.

“Although the convenience and governing law factors are neutral, and the relative congestion factor weighs slightly against transfer,” Walton wrote in his opinion, “the parties’ choices of forum, where the claims arose, and the local interest in deciding local controversies in the jurisdiction where they arose weigh in favor of transferring this case.”

Details on the back and forth between the DOJ and Quicken can be found in the original posts below.


(Updated 1/4/16): The lawsuit that Quicken Loans pre-emptively filed against the feds before the feds filed lawsuit against Quicken has been tossed by a judge. Via the Free Press:

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a preemptive lawsuit filed by Quicken Loans in April that accused the federal government of trying to strong-arm the Detroit-based mortgage lender into a big settlement over its lending practices.

Quicken filed the lawsuit just days before the U.S. Justice Department sued the mortgage lender for allegedly underwriting improper Federal Housing Administration-insured loans.

Judge Mark Goldsmith in Detroit granted the Justice Department's motion to dismiss the initial lawsuit from Quicken, which also sought to have the Justice Department's primary case against the mortgage lender heard in a Detroit courtroom rather than in Washington.

The lawsuit against Quicken Loans is still pending in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and will now be heard there.

Things are going to get mighty interesting in 2016 for Dan Gilbert and company.


(Original story 4/24/15) The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Quicken Loans, alleging the mortgage lender violated underwriting rules, which materialized in "millions of dollars" of losses to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency. 

“Those who do business with the United States must act in good faith, including lenders that participate in the FHA mortgage insurance program,” said Benjamin C. Mizer, principal deputy assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, in a statement Thursday.

“To protect the housing market and the [Federal Housing Administration] fund, we will continue to hold responsible lenders that knowingly violate the rules.”

Since September 2007, HUD has already paid more than $500 million in claims on nearly 3,900 mortgage loans "endorsed by Quicken," according to the 69-page complaint filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It's unclear in the lawsuit how much the government has attributed that amount to alleged improper underwriting of loans.

In addition, the complaint stated, more claims are expected on FHA-backed loans endorsed by Quicken. As of Monday, about 8,330 additional mortgage loans underwritten by Quicken since September 2007 — totaling an unpaid balance of $1.1 billion — have become at least 60 days delinquent, according to the complaint, and could result in additional HUD claims.  

Lenders who participate in the Federal Housing Administration's insurance program must adhere to certain underwriting guidelines for loans. Quicken Loans began participating again as a "direct endorsement lender" — meaning HUD nor the FHA would review loans before insuring them — in September 2007, following a two-year respite from selling FHA-backed loans. If a FHA-backed loan later defaults, the holder can then submit an insurance claim to HUD, the parent agency to the FHA, for the amounted losses. 

Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken, didn't immediately respond to an email for comment. The company issued a statement in response to the suit Thursday afternoon:

"By its own objective public reporting, FHA ranks Quicken Loans the highest quality (lowest default rate) lender of any large FHA originator in the United States. The FHA mortgages Quicken Loans originated are projected to generate billions in profits (net of claims) for the government from the insurance premiums on the $40 billion in FHA volume the company has closed since 2007. Today’s DOJ filing is simply the continuation of the abusive actions and a make-good on the DOJ’s threats since their witch-hunt began three years ago, as detailed in the lawsuit Quicken Loans filed against the DOJ last week."

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Monday, June 29, 2015

I-90 Exit Ramp to West 25th Re-Opening Rescheduled For Later This Week: UPDATE

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 11:58 AM

ODOT is predicting brazenly that the exit ramp to West 25th Street will "reopen prior to the July 4th holiday." From what we can gather, crews are laying down asphalt this very moment.

See below for our sporadic and nonplussed updates.

May 28 update

The exit ramp to West 25th Street off I-90 eastbound is still closed, despite ODOT initially slating a mid-May reopening timeframe (see below).

Currently, ODOT lists an "early June" reopening date, which means colloquially "sometime after early June."

Stay tuned for more info.

Originally published April 10

Beginning on Sunday evening and effective through mid-May, the exit ramp to West 25th Street off I-90 East will be closed. 

The project is in line with ODOT's safety improvement goals as the agency completes the new George Voinovich Bridge (the Innerbelt). 

Continue reading »

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mom Who Dropped Toddler into Cleveland Zoo Cheetah Pit Sentenced

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 9:13 AM

Update II: Cheetah Mom was sentenced yesterday to one year of probation, counseling, and parenting classes.

Central Ohio's Michelle Schwab was charged with child endangering and pleaded no contest in a May hearing.

Posted on May 6, 2015 at 2:49 p.m.

Update: The mother who made headlines last month for holding her two-year-old son over the railing of a cheetah exhibit at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and then accidentally dropping him in, appeared in court earlier today.

Columbus' Michelle Schwab was slapped with child endangerment for the April 11 incident which left her toddler with a broken leg, and probably some emotional scarring after, you know, being dropped into a cheetah pit.

Schwab, who worked as a manager at a Columbus-area day care until she was suspended after her name blew up news feeds coast to coast, will return to court at the end of the month for a second hearing.  

Originally posted on April 13, 2015 at 8:50 a.m.

We have several contenders for the Parents of the Year award, the latest of whom will likely face charges after dangling her two-year-old son over the railing of the cheetah pit at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and losing her grip.

The toddler reportedly fell 10 feet down into the exhibit and injured his leg, before his parents rushed in to pull him out. The animals, luckily, did not attempt to interact with the child or his parents in any way.

"You just hear these screams," one witness told Fox8. "Then all you could see is the adult that jumped in, got the child and then somebody pulled him out."

The zoo's executive director, Christopher Kuhar, said that several other witness reports “point to the strong likelihood that the child was dangled” over the enclosure’s railing.

The zoo will likely press charges against the boy's mother for child endangerment. 

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Entertainment District Open-Container Bill Signed by Governor: UPDATE

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2015 at 1:31 PM

Gov. John Kasich signed the legislature's open-container bill this week, opening the door to more liberal booze policies in certain "entertainment districts" around the state. Cleveland, no doubt, will play host to a few.

The law is effective immediately.

Stay tuned for more as the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County begin studying how best to implement the new open-container zones here in town. 

Originally published April 13

There's been talk for some time now of an open-container law that would allow revelers in certain "entertainment districts" to carry their Orange Whips out onto the street. With recent passage in the Ohio House and an impending vote in the Senate, we're getting closer to that reality.

The law would be capped at two entertainment districts per city of 50,000 or more (this would include Cleveland, Lakewood and Parma, locally). Cities with at least 35,000 residents would be allowed one area. 

Were the bill to be signed into law, it would fall to the cities themselves to implement it or not.

The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau reports that "lawmakers representing Greater Cincinnati are trying to push the bill through the legislature in time for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game, which the city will host."

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

All Systems (Almost) Go for Bruell’s DYNOMITE in University Circle

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 5:16 PM

In addition to his seasonal burger restaurant at U.S. Bank Plaza in Playhouse Square, and the quick-serve version in the new Right Field District at Progressive Field, Zack Bruell is gearing up for the opening of his third DYNOMITE location, this one at Uptown in University Circle.

Unlike the other locations, this one will be open year round, feature sushi and booze, and offer seating for 80 guests.

Set in the home of the short-lived Beer Cellars, DYNOMITE occupies an enviable and prominent space on Euclid with wrap-around windows and patios. Like the original downtown, the “Shake Shack-style” eatery is casual, affordable and uncomplicated.

“This is not a full-on sit-down restaurant,” Bruell says. “It’s a burger joint with sushi and alcohol.”

Burgers named for each of Bruell’s other restaurants join cheese fries, chili dogs, fish sandwiches, chicken sandwiches and salads. The sushi will be akin to that served at Parallax, the chef-owner explains. An open kitchen, which replaces the beer coolers behind the bar at Beer Cellars, will include a full range with hood, which allows the kitchen to add nightly specials to the mix.

“The DYNOMITE Uptown location will allow us to expand our existing fast-casual concept and increase the menu options,” Bruell notes. “Everything will still be fresh and made-to-order, but with a larger kitchen and an indoor dining area, we’ll have the room we need to really give our customers a unique experience each time they visit DYNOMITE Uptown… whether they’re looking to grab a light lunch on-the-go, or sit down to a gourmet burger and a beer.”

In addition to the beer (eight on tap), wine and milkshakes available at the other shops, Uptown boasts a full liquor license.

The latest estimates peg May 11 as opening day for DYNOMITE Uptown.

Next up for Bruell is Alley Cat Oyster House, set to open in the Flats this coming July.

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An Open Letter to Dan Shaughnessy

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 2:02 PM

Some choice words that deserve to be published here, even if we're a few days out from the news cycle of Mr. Shaughnessy's column.

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy objects to the confetti that fell after the Cavs’ first win against the Celtics this playoffs. With all the championships Boston has to celebrate, Dan explains, they use their confetti more sparingly. Act like you’ve been there before, he instructs. Oh right, you haven’t been there since 1964 because your city is “dead,” he adds in a way that makes his profession of “love” for Cleveland sound a wee bit sarcastic, perhaps? Shaughnessy follows his critique of Cleveland’s gauche confetti management with a casual reference to Boston’s nine titles in the last 15 years and a humorless autopsy of Cleveland’s failings.

Predictably, the Cleveland boosters have trotted out an equally humorless list of our city’s latest accomplishments, which are beside the point.

The point is this, Shaughnessy. Cleveland may not know how to win, but at least we know how to lose—which is more than anyone can say about you or the Boston Celtics after this series. I’m not talking about the scoreboard. The Celtics proved they can get their butts kicked. I’m talking about how a team and a town handles the frustration of losing.

I appreciate Dan Shaughnessy’s confetti lessons and the extent of his confetti knowledge. He’s clearly had a lot of confetti stuck in his hair. And I’d like to return the favor, if I can. As a lifelong Cleveland fan, I don’t know much about confetti, but I do know a lot about how to take a loss, and Boston evidently needs remedial lessons in that.

The key to taking a loss like a man, Dan, is first to be able to acknowledge it. Which you haven’t, not really, preferring as you do to imply that Boston still “beats” Cleveland on account of our higher unemployment rate.

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Review: No Exit at Drinko Hall at Cleveland State University

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 2:00 PM

By Daniel Hathaway

No Exit’s third performance of its 2015 spring program on Monday, April 20 at Cleveland State University’s Drinko Recital Hall included a wide range of contemporary sounds and video, ranging from an almost elderly work (dating from 1994) to the first performances of newly-minted pieces. The emphasis was on electronic music, either all by itself or in combination with live performance, and there wasn’t a boring moment.

Andy Akiho’s 21 required cellist Nicholas Diodore and marimbist Luke Rinderknecht to multi-task. In addition to playing cello with his hands, Diodore was busy with an electronic loop pedal as well as a kick drum, while Rinderknecht’s foot operated a tambourine. Akiho’s program note said the piece is “rooted in traditional Trinidadian Soca rhythms” and its sequence of notes is based on the chords in the 21st bar of the fugue in J.S. Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 1 in g, BWV 1001.

On first hearing, those connections weren’t obvious, but the two musicians dispatched their parts with flair and confidence.

Eric M.C. Gonzalez’s A Concise Autobiography of Clarence Leone was the first premiere on Monday’s program. A pre-recorded audio work narrated by Ray Caspio, the autobiography is that of a fictional character who “is the CEO and co-founder of Caffsys Inc., one of the leading personal computer hardware/software manufacturers on the planet,” according to Gonzalez’s program note, which went on to cite Leone’s contributions to the industry in faux-corporate speak. It was amusing, but I didn’t quite get the point.

Pure music returned to the stage with Christopher Goddard’s 2013 duo for violin and viola entitled And Chase, an engaging work that did exactly what the program note said it would do: “It features two similar, but entirely different, instruments: the quick, agile violin and its pursuer, the slightly bulkier — yet stronger — viola. Throughout the piece’s three distinct sections, the chase gradually weaves its way up the instrumental register as the subjects steadily approach one another. In the end, it’s a dead heat…” 

Read the rest of the review at

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