FTC & REVP vs LREAB Bombshell

Michael Ford

Michael Ford

General Certified Real Estate Appraiser at Michael F. Ford Appraisal
Over 28 years appraising all property types and interests, in Southern California real estate. VP/Chairman National Appraiser Peer Review Committee, American Guild of Appraisers, #44OPEIU/AFL-CIO. - Michael Ford on e-AppraisersDirectory
Michael Ford

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Valuation Partners & Schizophrenic AMCs vs. Appraisal ProfessionalismLike many other appraisers I received a copy of paperwork filed in conjunction with the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board / FTC and Real Estate Valuation Partners (REVP) aka Valuation Partners. (Thank you VaCAP!)

To me it’s a bombshell, but before I go into the story of who did what to whom, and for how much let’s start off by asking all readers to click this link to see who the players are. Even if you read the article elsewhere please read the following link.

Got it? Great.

Just so we are clear, one of the Chief players appears to be MAI/SRA William Fall. The remainder of his websites rogue’s gallery is a cross section of more MAI’s and assorted sales folks and sundry other personnel. This is not an anti MAI article nor an anti AI article. I sincerely hope that won’t become a distracting side issue. I’m merely pointing out the actions of one group of MAIs that is helping to undermine appraisal professionalism by turning it into just another industry or production line. I don’t think this is the image envisioned when the MAI designation was originally planned. Frankly I think the AI Ethics Board needs to look at the issue of sidestepping legally served subpoenas.

Note the compliance page promo on the website:

“CONFIDENT AND COMPLIANT

Valuation Partners brings confidence and peace of mind to a lender’s appraisal experience”

“PROTECTING LENDERS


Valuation Partners helps clients stay compliant with all industry regulations, including AIR (appraiser independence) requirements and CFPB rules that hold companies accountable for their appraisal partners.”

This is where my antennae perked up, twitched twice and then slapped me across the face to see if I was paying attention. Compliant with all regulations???

Do they really see the job of an AMC (or appraiser) as being protection of lenders?

Mr. Fall, I am not employed in an industry. It is a profession. I would expect an MAI to understand the distinction unless perhaps in your own mind you feel you have degraded professionalism to a point where it really is no more than an assembly line of cookie cutter ‘appraisals’ prepared for substandard fees.

Though I think your view of ‘our’ profession may be a factor in the William Fall Group or Valuation Partners (REVP) having the reputation that it does, this isn’t the most serious issue in my opinion.

As you know or at least as you are supposed to know, federal regulators see no daylight between lenders and their agents.

Your own website purports to help clients stay compliant with all ‘industry’ regulations, or as I prefer to call them Federal & State Laws governing the actions of professional real estate appraisers in federally regulated transactions.

Your site specifically cites AIR (independence) and unspecified CFPB rules that hold companies accountable for their appraisal partners (nicely parsed!)

Glaringly omitted is any reference to reasonable and customary fees as mandated under the Dodd Frank Act. I’m sure you folks have at least heard of it even if you cannot or will not demonstrate any attempt at compliance with it in Louisiana, or anywhere else you practice.

Frankly, your firms own actions along with those of many other schizophrenic appraisal/AMC firms and the inability or unwillingness of states to enforce C&R fees are what will ultimately become an increasing call to remove all FRT compliance regulations (including USPAP) from the state levels and move them over to the federal agencies. At least they have the clout and will to impose uniformity of enforcement.

If nothing else, it would prevent a rogue agency with legacy commissioner appointees from being used by special interests to subvert federal laws. Feds trump states, but Feds rarely trump other Feds.

But, lets get back to the LREAB, FTC and REVP.

Appraisers already know that the State of Louisiana was charged/sued by the FTC who essentially charged that trying to enforce Dodd Frank’s Reasonable & Customary Fee provisions was an antitrust violation, inherently evil, anti American, and amounted to restraint of trade by trying to force reasonable fees on the real monopolies and price fixing proponents. (OK, I may have paraphrased that last a bit, but y’all get the idea).

The question I ask is why the FTC rears up on it’s hind legs and barks about a monopoly only if a State or individual appraiser attempts to obtain what Dodd Frank already mandated; yet price fixing by banks and people like REVP is perceived as a divine right of some sort?

LREAB attorneys have made repeated requests via subpoena for critical documents. Specifically, the so-called studies and or surveys used as justification for violating Louisiana’s C&R fee laws.

Attorneys for REVP have promised the documents but never delivered them all. That’s a bit  like AMCs that tell appraisers the money is in the mail… but it never arrives.

NOTE: These empty promises are what REVP clients should give serious consideration to. This is how REVP/William Fall Groups ‘help clients stay compliant’?

Once LREAB wins their case, I hope that they and every appraiser that has been underpaid files formal complaints with CFPB, not against REVP but against the lenders that they were/are agents for.

To all the honorable MAI’s and SRA’s out there, I sincerely hope you will start holding AIs ethics panels feet to the fire.

It is your own MAI’s as often as not that are undermining the appraisal profession.

It’s not just the William Fall Groups. It’s also companies like PCV Murcor (residential side only) another MAI owned appraisal management company with an infamous record on the residential side.

Imagine, obtaining all that advanced appraisal training and then wasting it in residential appraisal.

Apparently there are two classes of MAIs that most of us did not know about: the traditional commercial & industrial, complex nonresidential appraisal professionals most of us used to respect and even occasionally be intimidated by; and then there are the laughingstocks that are too unsure of themselves to be able to earn a living doing what they were ostensibly trained for. Ones that think no one will challenge their non compliance with law because they are MAIs.

I still respect the Big Fish that swim in the deepest most challenging part of the appraisal oceans. As for Big Fish too afraid to venture out of the tide pools… not so much.

Hopefully all readers will start identifying the individual appraisal leadership of companies like REVP into the future.

AI – PLEASE start paying attention to your Members that seek to circumvent USPAP and / or Dodd Frank C&R fees. They are as much a law as licensing itself.

Image credit flickr - Steve Austin
Michael Ford

Michael Ford

Over 28 years appraising all property types and interests, in Southern California real estate. VP/Chairman National Appraiser Peer Review Committee, American Guild of Appraisers, #44OPEIU/AFL-CIO. - Michael Ford on e-AppraisersDirectory

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20 Responses

  1. Eric says:

    ^^^  HEAR HEAR!!! Nicely said Mr. Ford.

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  2. TJ Everette says:

    Mike Ford, Great article!  Not only should we file ethics complaints with AI, what about NAR?  Appraisers should bombard AI and NAR with ethics complaints over this. What about CRN? Does the Collateral Risk Network have any type of ethics requirements?  William Fall Group is a member of CRN.Joan Trice, you listening? What are you going to do about this?

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    • Thank you TJ. CRN ethics requirement? Not that I’ve ever heard of.

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    • Tim says:

      Joan Trice is just as bad feeding off of appraisers with that BS background check company. There was never any need for this until they make you think so… PIGS

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      • David P says:

        Hey, don’t blame Joan, she is a business woman. Just because she has a self made reputation of a sleazy car salesman (anything for a quick buck) let’s give her a chance to redeem herself.  

        Joan Trice, what are you going to do about William Fall Group and CRN? Will you step up to the plate and do the right thing or are you going to continue to throw appraisers under the bus?

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  3. Michael Dodds says:

    Most of us have made the mistake of referring to our profession as an “industry” at some point. I know that I have.  The AGA website refers to “appraisal industry” and “financial industry” on this page. 

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  4. A. Brown says:

    Amen Mike, right on the money!

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  5. Jack Of All Trades says:

    All AMC’s should be branded and exiled. 

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  6. Diana N. says:

    Mike, right on the money as usual. You are a blessing to our profession.  

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  7. Betty C. says:

    If a AI offers a class in my city I will fly across the country to take the same class from a different provider because I will no longer support this organization. They are corrupt, self-serving, and have played a large part in damaging this profession as well as the fine people that have dedicated their lives to it.

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    • A lot of us have a long term love-hate relationship with AI. I think they could, and should do more to solve some of our common problems. Without committing either of us to anything, I think its fair to say there is some initial interest. I hope we can build on it.

      AGA’s parent unions (OPEIU and AFL-CIO ) certainly have lobbyists, but they are more on the labor issues side. AI’s lobbyists tend to be more aligned to the banking and finance corridors. Eventually teamed with ASA, NAIFA (& and as many of the other peer organizations as feasible), plus all the state coalitions we could present a pretty powerful advocacy group. Hopefully NAR could also be persuaded. It all takes time.

      AI still offers some of the best courses (though expensive) available on specialty topics. Don’t cheat yourself. If they have the course you need – take it.

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  8. EJ says:

    Many directors appear to be members of Collateral Risk Network. That’s like being a member of the Nazi Party. Don’t turn your back on them.

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  9. How funny! I haven’t heard diddly from PCV Murcor in ages. I write a critical comment about them and immediately within a day I get a request for nearly ten acres; refi up near national forest in mountain resort city (2-2 1/2 hours away if it isn’t snowing). Where typical lot is maybe 25′ x 100’…they wanted to know if there is anything ‘complex’ about it. Told them “$3,500 to $5,000+- and tat 3-4+- weeks. Is that in ranges you anticipated?” See folks? Just tell the snake it is a snake and they cant wait to assign you an order. A more cynical appraiser might get suspicious about the coincidence.

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  10. EK says:

    1st of all you will regret accepting even at $5,000 – they have called me on a Sunday for status updates and then on Monday to try and berate me for hanging up on the Sunday caller…. and then they will file a complaint against you just so they can force you to spend $5K defending youself over this complex report. It’s a Sorry World we are living in. 

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    • EK LOL I just play with them. Years ago I was on their commercial side. They often used to ask for advice and whether Id do extremely complex $1,500 to $2,500 appraisals for $300. They’d say We understand its unusual but we only pay [peanuts]. I used to treat all their inquiries seriously. Not anymore.

      In over 10 years I have never done a residential assignment for  them…and I don’t think I’ve done a commercial one in 6 or 7 years. Both sides of their operation pay low and undercut normal market fees, but at least the commercial side used to try to be fair and produced decent work.

      They would never pay $5,000 on the residential side and I decline to point out all the complexities of the assignment they offered…all my fee quote and turn time did was put them on notice they are not dealing with a typical property…but I refuse to do their work for them. Let them figure out what makes a 10 acre vacant land parcel unusual in a residential resort area where typical lots are 2,500 sf. That they would email me a day after I make uncomplimentary comments about them is too timely to be coincidence.

      As for $5k to defend false complaints? You are WAY out of date. $172,000 and we aren’t done yet! We DID beat them (BREA-not PCV) every single day in court and humiliated them; with the ALJ proposing complete dismissal. State rejected the proposal and is now looking for a way out without losing face, and probably without me continuing to tell the nation how corrupt the California BREA is; and that Elizabeth Seaters former Chief of Enforcement falsifies complaints and lies; John Schmidt (Sr. Investigator Appraiser) committed perjury twice in sworn testimony, in addition to his dozens of deliberately deceptive and misleading answers. As for the Supervising Deputy Attorney General – Los Angeles we really should have been required to pay a separate fee or cover charge for that entertainment. She picked a fight with the judge every single day for five days! She’ll star in any future book on the matter.

      I’m not particularly afraid of, or worried by BREA. Aside from their own internal corruption & dishonesty they are dealing with State Auditors investigation; and a few other items that have been pointed out to State Authorities (& Feds, though the latter can’t get involved in this issue). They rejected the Admin Law Judges proposed order so we are just waiting for them to move on to the next step so we can take them to Superior court (& cant give away the ending at this stage!). Clearly they’d like to find a way to hang me while not looking even more foolish in the process.

      For nearly two and 3/4 years I had to sit quietly without fighting back. Now its my turn, and we are barely getting started. I offer them the same offer we made during the settlement conference. They can apologize in writing for the false allegations and trying to damage my reputation. Otherwise – game on! (Not as arrogant as it sounds. We really did thrash them in court).

      Anyway, I appreciate the well intended cautionary advice.

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  11. Joe C says:

    Because of this I will no longer support or pay for my staff of appraisers (23 residential /general) to take courses through AI. I bring on 2 apprenticeships per year. That is 2 future appraisers AI lost. My local chapter has been beneficial in my early career. At this point it serves me no benefit. They have not aged gracefully. Very sad run AI. This is how you wish to be viewed upon by an entire profession. Thanks for the memories!

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    • Joe C.  That is truly a sad state of affairs. Joe A lot of us non-AI folk ‘love to hate’ AI, but truth be told we are better off with them than without them (or at least with them as they used to be).

      Have you actually written to AI’s leadership though? I’m not AIs biggest fan nor their public apologist, but AI and ASA and other peer associations have always brought something to the table in terms of advancing our profession and its image. They’ve gotten off track and its up to their members to get them pointed in the right direction again.

      On the other hand, consider joining the AGA. We are not primarily an educational association. Such ‘education’ as we offer tends to be one on one (and we DO welcome any member inquiries with technical questions, at anytime).

      There are two main things that we do: (1) Advocate for appraisers issues in public; at TAF meetings, and before federal agencies as well as with State Coalitions and any professional associations willing to work with us & others, or reach out (ASA has been great about this). (2) The other thing we do, and that we have  been very good at (not perfect, but better than 95% success) is directly fighting for individual appraisers wrongfully accused by their state boards; or blacklisted, or accused by clients and non clients-but where the boards are still open minded and investigating. We work with members directly; and or with their attorneys. We do not charge additional fees for this. Its included as part of the membership. Our parent union (OPEIU) is currently putting together a new member benefits package for us. It may or may not turn out to be great (or merely ‘nice’). Its a cost issue.

      We’d love to have you as a member. Contact Jan Bellas or myself Janbellas@appraisersguild.org

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FTC & REVP vs LREAB Bombshell

by Michael Ford time to read: 5 min
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