Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It’s Empty At The Top

There’d be a place in a Dicken’s novel for this kind of villain, but he would be too boring to read about:
For Americans, the foreclosure crisis has wiped out fortunes, bringing destitution and homelessness. For Florida attorney David J. Stern, it has brought mansions, a Bugatti sports car and a luxury yacht.

Florida has the third-highest residential foreclosure rate in the U.S., and Stern, 50, has made a fortune off the bust. His foreclosure-processing business has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue preparing documents for the cases that his law firm brings on behalf of lenders seeking to reclaim homes from borrowers who can’t pay their mortgages.


Stern owns a $15 million mansion on an island in Fort Lauderdale, a $6 million beachfront condominium in the city, and a $6 million home in nearby Hillsboro Beach, according to property records. The mansion includes an adjoining property he bought in 2009 to make room for a tennis court and parking spaces, according to building records.

Cars registered under Stern’s name in Florida include three Ferraris, four Porsches, a Rolls-Royce, a Cadillac and the Bugatti, according to the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. He also owns a yacht, Tew said [Stern’s attorney].

His yacht is named “Misunderstood,” which prompts the question: Is the inclination to self-pity a necessary requirement for entry into America’s moneyed class?

His lawyer says Mr. Stern is a picture of the American dream. He worked his way through school and reached the pinnacle of his profession by dint of intelligence and hard work, “acumen” in the attorney’s words. Fair enough. I guess it’s irrelevant that he made his fortune through fraud and that his wealth is based on human suffering. If he is at all funny or eccentric or telegenic, there’s an appearance on Dancing With The Stars or a reality TV show awaiting him at the end of his jail term. He’ll be able to seamlessly merge with the carnival freak show of American pop culture and become, at least for a few months, a star, his wealth and future intact. He may even receive an honored place among the tea partiers, and we’ll get to see the spectacle of people whose houses he foreclosed on screeching that he is the victim of injustice, a martyr at the hands of Obama’s socialist America.

It’s difficult to imagine a more shallow or vacant form of life than what this man represents. After scratching and clawing his way into a multimillion dollar fortune, what does he do with it? He buys things, lots of things, mansions, sports cars, yachts. That’s it. It’s as if he can envision no higher purpose, no more elevated state of existence, than the empty, almost compulsive accumulation of material objects. He wasted his entire life in the single minded pursuit of money and now he has it. Congratulations, now what? Buy another Ferarri? Go brood on the deck of the “Misundertood” while your wife stays home and fucks the pool boy? Build a tennis court that nobody will ever use? Maybe run for office.

A field of cow manure is more enlightened. At least it fertilizes the soil and nourishes life. He just stinks. He’s literally worth less than shit. It’s pathetic.

It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for the wretch.

I said almost enough, but not quite.

No comments: