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Dirty Dozen Honorable Mention: Victor Tobin, Foreclosure Judge Turned Forecloser

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We put out the call for people we missed in our roundup of 2011's most devilish people and were informed of one overlooked former judge who certainly qualifies.


With all the foreclosures and mortgage-related tragedies that have occurred since the collapse of the collateralized-debt market, it's easy to find people who had a hand in kicking families out of their homes.

But Tobin, as Broward's chief judge, instituted rules that made it harder to fight foreclosures and implemented a "rocket docket"-style system that favors the big banks by expediting judgments in their favor.

Suspicions of his bias were confirmed, for many, when he announced in May that he was leaving the chief judge post in favor of a position with the foreclosure law firm Marshall C. Watson.

Now he would stand to benefit from the rules he helped create, working for one of the state's largest and most criticized "foreclosure mills."

He told New Times Editor Eric Barton that he took the post to help make sure the firm was trying its cases ethically, according to best practices. But critics point to numerous signs that he had always been biased toward the foreclosure lawyers, including letting them sit at the front of the courtroom and allegedly telling one homeowner, "Sorry, you're not paying your mortgage. What do you want from me?"

Making 2010's Dirty Dozen was David J. Stern, another foreclosure lawyer who hit legal trouble when his firm was accused of "robo-signing" thousands of documents to expedite foreclosures en masse. No way Tobin is that kind of evil. But whenever anyone spends years overseeing rules of the game -- then jumps into that game as a player and stands to profit -- it's worth asking questions. And maybe even leveling an accusation or two.


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