City of LA sues Deutsche Bank over foreclosed properties

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich stands by map of Deutsche Bank-controlled properties in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich stands by map of Deutsche Bank-controlled properties in Los Angeles. Brian Watt/KPCC

The city of Los Angeles is suing Deutsche Bank, claiming the German financial institution has allowed hundreds of foreclosed properties to fall into disrepair. It also alleges Deutsche Bank illegally evicted hundreds of low-income tenants.

City attorney Carmen Trutanich stood by a Los Angeles map stained with blue dots. Each dot indicates a property held by Deutsche Bank. Trutanich says during the housing boom and bust, Deutsche Bank’s subsidiaries acquired more than 2,000 properties in LA through foreclosure.

“It’s time to recognize that the fraud committed on Wall Street turns into blight on Main Street,” Trutanich says.

Trutanich and other city officials say Deutsche Bank is trying to empty out the foreclosed properties so it can sell them. Doug Guthrie, who runs the Los Angeles Housing Department, says his department has seen a lot of foreclosure cases end in the eviction of low-income tenants.

“And Deutsche Bank has not come to the table, has not been cooperative, has not agreed to work with us on this,” says Guthrie.

Deutsche Bank maintains the companies handling the loans are responsible for evictions and other actions against tenants. Councilwoman Janice Hahn pointed at photos that the City Attorney says show some of Deutsche Bank’s LA properties. They’re boarded up and covered with graffiti.

“They don’t pick up trash. They don’t mow the grass,” says Hahn. “And this bank gets away with millions while our neighborhoods are stuck holding the bag.”

Here again, Deutsche Bank maintains the upkeep on foreclosed properties falls to the companies handling the loans. The bank says it offered to help the LA City Attorney get in touch with those loan servicers but was turned down.

Interactive Deutsche Bank Map

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