American Scene: Prosecutor calls bank a slumlord in lawsuit

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has renewed its call to blame mortgage lenders for urban blight sparked by the collapsed housing market, saying in a lawsuit that US Bank is a slumlord that illegally evicted homeowners and then neglected the abandoned properties.

The suit filed Monday marks the second time in just over a year that prosecutors have brought such a claim, mirroring a similar complaint against Deutsche Bank.

The city attorney’s office contends the lenders destroyed neighborhoods by wrongly evicting people from homes and leaving hundreds of properties to become trash-strewn crime magnets. City officials say banks that helped fuel a housing boom by dealing in securities backed by risky loans should be responsible for the blight caused by foreclosures that came when the market soured.

“The fraud committed on Wall Street, turns into blight on Main Street,” said City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich on Tuesday.

US Bank and Deutsche Bank officials have both said they are not responsible for the decline, arguing that loan servicers that collect payments and manage properties are to blame.

Prosecutors called Deutsche Bank the city’s largest slumlord in a suit in May 2011.

Both suits claim the banks violated federal, state and local laws.

Jury awards $60 million to programmer’s children

HAYWARD — A Northern California jury has ordered a noted computer programmer to pay his children $60 million because he killed their mother.

The Alameda County jury delivered its verdict Tuesday in the wrongful death lawsuit filed against Hans Reiser by his children, 12-year-old Rory and 11-year-old Niorline.

Reiser was earlier sentenced to 15 years to life for the 2006 murder of his wife and the children’s mother, Nina Reiser. He represented himself during the four-day wrongful death trial, arguing that he killed his wife because she was making up illnesses for the children. The children live with their grandmother in Russia.

It’s not clear whether they will be able to collect any money. Reiser claimed during the civil suit that he was representing himself because he couldn’t afford an attorney.

TEXAS

Carjacker will be state’s first one-drug execution

HUNTSVILLE — An inmate who once bragged about the headlines generated by the carjacking and murder that sent him to death row will be noted in Texas history for a different reason: Yokamon Hearn will be the first prisoner executed under the state’s new single-drug procedure.

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