- Nye Lavalle
Nye Lavalle Born Detroit, Michigan Residence Boca Raton, Florida, Orlando, Florida, Savannah, Georgia & Atlanta, Georgia Nationality American Ethnicity Caucasian, Latin American Citizenship U.S. Occupation Social Scientist, Consumer & Investor Advocate Employer Sports Marketing Group & Pew Mortgage Institute Known for Social Research And Exposure of Mortgage And Foreclosure Fraud Home town Grosse Pointe, Michigan Political party Independent Parents Ramon Muniz Lavalle, Anthony & Matilde Pew Website http://www.sponsorintell.com/ http://www.msfraud.org/ http://4closurefraud.org/
Nye Lavalle is an American sports marketing executive, futurist, and social scientist turned consumer and investor advocate and activist. He is known for his studies on American sports, culture, charities, and media conducted during the 1980s and 1990s. In recent years, Lavalle has focused his time on advocacy and activism for consumer and investor issues, primarily on fraud in mortgage servicing and securitization. He is credited with discovering and documenting foreclosure fraud and robo-signing in the mid to late nineties and is a leading foreclosure fraud expert.
Sports marketing career
Lavalle began his career managing professional tennis players with Pro Tennis International and consulting sports agents, major corporate sponsors, advertisers, ad agencies, and media. He was the founder of the American Sports Marketing Association in 1989 and was a partner and managing director at World Sports Group, an international sports marketing firm.
In 1986, Lavalle established Sports Marketing Group (SMG), a sports and sponsorship research consultancy based in Boca Raton, Florida. From 1988 to 1994, SMG conducted what many media sources considered the largest surveys and research of spectator sports and sponsorship in America. In 1991, Adweek Magazine called the studies "the most comprehensive popularity study of its kind." In 1993, Adweek again stated "The head of one international ad agency called it the first social and cultural census of America." The AP called SMG's 1993 survey "the most detailed survey ever of America's sports tastes" researching "114 spectator sports they might attend, follow on television or radio or read about in newspapers or magazines."
Most notable in Lavalle's career was the January 16, 1994 edition of US News & World Report that quoted Lavalle as saying "more people will view the Winter Olympics than any event in the history of sports. It's the dream team of figure skating." While many sportswriters and columnists scoffed at Lavalle's prediction, Adweek reported "Dallas researcher and sports marketing specialist Nye Lavalle has said it ever since the results of his first sports popularity survey came out in 1989: figure skating rivals NFL football in popularity in this country and will one day become recognized by TV programmers and advertisers. That day has come with the controversy and drama surrounding figure skating at the '94 Winter Olympics."
- "It took the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding spectacle to open a few eyes, but Lavalle, who was looked upon skeptically last summer when he predicted high Nielsens for Olympic figure skating, now looks like a genius. His forecast of 35-37 ratings for the women's events and 28-33 ratings for the other figure skating events didn't turn out to be generous at all with the women's pulling in the high 30s and the other events around 30. Skating he asserted, would have pulled high numbers even without the controversy."
SMG's studies, often reported on by award winning Associated Press columnist Steve Wilstein, received widespread media attention around the world for not only disclosing the most popular sports in America, but also its most hated. Even the Russian newspaper Pravda would publish American likes and dislikes of sports. In 1991, Lavalle and Wilstein also collaborated on the first study of the economic size and impact of sports marketing and the business of sports in America. The joint SMG/AP study documented that the entire sports industry was one of the largest industries in America totaling $180 billion a year. The Sports Business Journal has built upon Lavalle and Wilstein's methodology and continues to conduct an annual study of the economic size of the sports industry in America.
Lavalle's last known published SMG study came in 2003 when results of the "most hated" sports in America were released via Wilstein and the Associated Press. Dogfighting was America's most hated sport with 81% of Americans over 18 years of age saying they hated or disliked a lot the sport of dogfighting. Rounding out the top 10 of most hated sports in America were No. 2 Pro Wrestling; No. 3 Bullfighting; No. 4 Pro Boxing; No. 5 PGA Tour Golf; No. 6 PGA Sr. Tour Golf; No. 7. LPGA Golf (29.2%); No. 8 NASCAR (27.9%); No. 9. MLS Soccer; and No. 10 ATP Men's Tennis.
Lavalle was one of the original board member's of Mark Tudi's Sports Careers with Robert Helmick (then-president of the USOC), Jerry Colangelo (sports owner), Gary Bender (sportscaster), and Charles Higgins (Ohio University Professor). Colangelo later purchased Sports Careers before selling the business to Franklin Covey.
Sports Marketing Group has advised and counseled major corporations, ad agencies, sports leagues, networks and organizations across four continents on issues ranging from Olympic and World Cup sponsorship to sports league television and expansion plans.
SMG's work has been sourced, quoted and featured in thousands of stories in newspapers, magazines, television and radio shows throughout the world and Lavalle has appeared on shows for the BBC and Tokyo Broadcasting as well as on Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss Tiger Wood's first win at the Masters and on CNBC's PowerLunch to discuss Wood's signing with NIKE. He has made numerous appearances on CNBC as well as a number of appearances on PBS’ Nightly Business Report. Lavalle is even quoted in a version of Meriam Webster's Dictionary of Allusions.
Lavalle obtained prominence in the media, advertising and sports marketing industries for his prediction in 1989  that figure skating and NASCAR would be the sports of the 1990s in the US. NASCAR indeed experienced major expansion during this era, building new tracks across the US outside of its traditional Southeastern base, and continues to be a major American sport today.
Soccer fans in America have particularly railed against Lavalle's assessment of soccer in America and many were unhappy over Lavalle's analysis on soccer in the US following the 1994 FIFA World Cup The New York and LA Times quoted Lavalle as saying "for World Cup soccer worldwide, the World Cup gets a grade A; for staging of the World Cup in America, it gets a grade A. But for the future of soccer in America, the grade is incomplete. If you want a prediction, it seems like the term paper will be turned in and it will get a failing grade. To say that it will ever be on par with hockey or golf or even wrestling is way off the mark."
Major League Soccer, the primary professional soccer league in the US, has operated continuously since 1993 while experiencing slow, but steady growth. It is gaining on the PGA Tour, and the NHL in attendance, fan, television, and sponsor support. It has long surpassed the WWE in terms of national prominence.
Nye Lavalle & Associates
In 1994, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, a non-profit industry publication, released the results of the first and largest study of charitable and non-profit organization popularity and credibility in America, conducted by Nye Lavalle & Associates, founded by Lavalle. The study measured the popularity, credibility and support of over 100 charitable organizations and non-profits in America. Results showed that the International Special Olympics ranked as the "most credible charity/non-profit in America of over 100 charities researched with 73% of Americans over the age of 12 choosing Extremely and Very Honest for Special Olympics. The study also reflected that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)  was viewed as the "most popular charity/non-profit in America with 51% of Americans over the age of 12 choosing Love and Like A lot for MADD.
Presidential popularity poll
As part of Lavalle's America's study in 1992, Lavalle applied the popularity polling metrics he created for sports, athletes, and celebrities to presidential candidates and presidents. So as not to influence elections and draw wider scale criticism from both left and right leaning political groups, Lavalle withheld the results. However, in 2004, Lavalle for the first time released results of his presidential poll finding for the Pew Research Foundation. The impetus behind the release was that current day presidential "approval" polls did not adequately measure the hatred and vitriol many Americans were exhibiting towards presidential candidates and presidents.
Lavalle was quoted as saying, "We keep seeing likeability and favorability polls released that don't say what we know Americans are really feeling. Most of these polls just give a quick black and white snapshot of American's opinions and don't go far enough in showing us how much people like and, most importantly, dislike each candidate. Our poll, instead of just giving an up or down number, asks Americans to choose one of seven balanced responses from love to hate. It shows the gray as well as the black and white picture." "The poll provides better insights. Someone who chooses hate/dislike a lot would be highly unlikely to support a candidate while someone who chooses love/like a lot would be more likely to support a candidate."
President Bush received a "total popularity" score of 49% (love 8%, like a lot 25% and like a little 15%, rounded numbers). John Kerry's "total popularity" score was 45% (love 3%, like a lot 23% and like a little 19%). Each candidate's "total unpopularity" numbers were: Bush 39% (11% hate, 18% dislike a lot, 10% dislike a little); Kerry 39% (hate 5%, dislike a lot 21%, dislike a little 13%).
The metrics proves the theory that America is equally divided with about 40% on one side of the political fence or another and 20% in the middle or non-committal.
Financial and mortgage fraud career
Since the Olympics in 1996, Lavalle has pursued the investigation, analysis and exposure of mortgage fraud, abuse and predatory lending, servicing and securitization schemes. He began his investigation in 1993 after identifying mortgage fraud on a family property in Dallas, Texas.
In 2000, Lavalle as a whistleblower and activist registered a number of Internet domain names involving the trademarks and service marks of Bear Stearns and EMC Mortgage and claimed on the websites that they were engaged in predatory servicing and lending abuses as well as cooking their books. Lavalle claimed that Bear Stearns and EMC's mortgage practices would ultimately bring down the U.S. economy and international financial markets via their frauds and abuses in the securitization of mortgages. Bear Stearns filed a lawsuit and obtained an injunction against Lavalle preventing his use of those names.
Lavalle was central to stopping foreclosure abuses in the state of Florida and the expansion of banks and lenders hiding behind the veil of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) as the mortgagee of record in foreclosure actions.
Financial market predictions
At the 2000 National Consumer Law Conference in Broomfield, Colorado, Lavalle released two white papers and reports he authored. The first report was titled Predatory Grizzly "Bear" Attacks Innocent, Elderly, Poor, Minorities, Disabled & Disadvantaged and detailed Bear Stearns and its EMC Mortgage unit's predatory practices in the marketplace.
The introduction of Predatory Grizzly "Bear" Attacks Innocent, Elderly, Poor, Minorities, Disabled & Disadvantaged states "This report documents what is now known to be one of the largest predatory lending, servicing and financial scandals in America. The report documents and provides conclusive proof of widespread corruption, accounting fraud and abuse existing at Bear Stearns & Co., a major Wall Street investment bank and related subsidiaries." EMC Mortgage was later found by the FTC to be in widespread violation of various consumer laws and abuses that Lavalle detailed in his report and was fined $28 million.
However, more pertinent predictive quotations in Lavalle's report on Bear Stearns included: "This report also details what could be one of America's largest financial scandals ever, resulting from the development, placement and sale of various mortgage backed securities and "derivative" products by Bear Stearns. "This report is the story of one of America's largest Wall Street investment bank's "direct" involvement in the development, making, and support of a nationwide system of predatory lending practices, frauds and abuses." "The effects of Bear's behavior has a wide range effect on many, not just the EMC customers being abused. This includes Bear Stearns’ own shareholders,investors, government and the public." Lavalle predicted the effects of Bear Stearns’ actions on financial markets would include: (a) devaluing of various mortgage derivative products; (b) failure of major banks and wall street firms; and (c) reluctance of corporations, mutual funds and other investors to invest in legitimate mortgage backed securities.
Lavalle's most dire prediction came from the second report he released at the 2000 National Consumer Law Conference in Broomfield. Lavalle's report, authored in 1999, foresaw the impending collapse of the mortgage and credit markets and the failure of major Wall Street firms and banks over their subprime mortgage investments. On pages 30 to 33 of Lavalle's 21st Century Loan Sharks Report, Lavalle wrote: "The effects of a predator's behavior has a wide range effect on many, not just the borrowers being abused. This includes the predator's own shareholders, investors, government and the public. "The effects of predatory lenders and the subprime mortgage market on these constituencies and the financial markets include: 1) devaluing of various mortgage derivative products; 2) failure of major banks and Wall Street firms; 3) reluctance of corporations, mutual funds and other investors to invest in legitimate mortgage backed securities; 4) increased government regulation and supervision; 5) illegal stripping of equity of customer's homes; 6) outcries from shareholders and constituents; 7) credit downgrading of mortgage backed securities; 8) reduced value and marketability of mortgage backed securities; 9) reduced stock and option prices; 10) elimination of jobs due to cuts and layoffs; 11) overpayment of false and fraudulent claims by federal government; and 12) increase in foreclosed and abandoned homes in communities across America." Virtually each of Lavalle's predictions came true in the collapse of the international mortgage and financial markets that was precipiated by the collapse of two Bear Stearns hedge funds specializing in MBS products in the summer of 2007.
The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. (former New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol BSC) based in New York City, was one of the largest global investment banks and securities trading and brokerage firms prior to its sudden collapse and distress sale to JPMorgan Chase in March 2008.
As Lavalle illustrated in his report, Bear Stearns was one of the leading pioneers of the mortgage securitization and asset-backed securities markets with Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs. As investor losses mounted in those markets in 2006 and 2007, the company actually increased its exposure, especially the mortgage-backed assets that were central to the subprime mortgage crisis. In March 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York provided an emergency loan to try to avert a sudden collapse of the company. The company could not be saved, however, and was sold to JPMorgan Chase for as low as ten dollars per share, a price far below the 52-week high of $133.20 per share, traded before the crisis, although not as low as the two dollars per share originally agreed upon by Bear Stearns and JP Morgan Chase.
The collapse of the company was a prelude to the meltdown of the Wall Street investment bank industry in September 2008, and the subsequent global financial crisis and recession that Lavalle had warned of in his reports in the late nineties.
In the fall of 2010, major U.S. lenders such as JP Morgan Chase, Ally Financial f/k/a GMAC, and Bank of America suspended judicial and non-judicial foreclosures across the United States over the potentially fraudulent practice of robo-signing, a practice first identified and reported by Lavalle in 1999. Robo-signing is a term used by consumer advocates to describe the robotic process of the mass production of false and forged execution of mortgage assignments, satisfactions, affidavits and other legal documents related to mortgage foreclosures and legal matters being created by persons without knowledge of the facts being attested to. It also includes accusations of notary fraud wherein the notaries pre and/or post notarize the affidavits and signatures of so-called robo-signers.
At the 2000 National Consumer Law Conference in Broomfield, Colorado, Lavalle released two white papers and reports he authored. The reports released were titled Predatory Grizzly "Bear" Attacks Innocent, Elderly, Poor, Minorities, Disabled & Disadvantaged and 21st Century Loan Sharks."
On page 2 of the 21st Century Loan Sharks report, Lavalle wrote "well-known banks and mortgage companies in Florida are lying and providing perjured testimony, false affidavits and frivolous pleadings in cases involving mortgage foreclosure to courts in Florida." On pages 27–28, Lavalle described several robo-signing practices including the:
- "filing of fraudulent and false affidavits by predatory lenders claiming that they own the note when in fact they are only the servicer;"
- "filing of fraudulent and false affidavits by predatory lenders claiming that they lost the note when in fact they never had control of the document;"
- "filing of fraudulent and false affidavits by predatory lenders claiming an indebtedness that is not owed;"
- "filing of fraudulent and false affidavits by predatory lenders claiming amounts owed that are nonrecoverable from the borrower;"
- "filing of fraudulent and false affidavits by predatory lenders claiming control and custody of documents that are not in their control and custody;"
- "filing of fraudulent and false affidavits that claim to support knowledge of facts not known by the affiant;"
- "supporting motions for summary judgement with fraudulent and false affidavits;"
- "using corporate dummies as corporate reps that are trained to avoid questioning and obstruct justice;" and
- "witness tampering."
In a follow-up report in 2008, titled "Sue First, Ask Questions Later," Lavalle detailed the wide-scale practice of robo-signing in the mortgage servicing industry. On page 1 of the report Lavalle states "one of the many predatory servicing practices developed was the use of known false, fraudulent, and forged affidavits, assignments, and satisfactions of mortgages."
On page 5 of the report, Lavalle stated that he reviewed over 10,000 assignments of mortgages, powers of attorneys, affidavits, and satisfaction of liens in public records across the nation that resulted in the following findings:
- That servicers, default servicing outsourcers and their lawyers are forging documents with “squiggle marks” that are not the marks or signatures of the actual officer that is notarized to be the signatory;
- Squiggle marks with “initials only” are designed so that anyone can sign an officer’s or vice president’s signature, instead of the signatory;
- Dozens of variations of a squiggle mark that are consistently different than several or a dozen other squiggle marks of the same signatory, notary, and/or witness to the document;
- Squiggle marks and full signatures that are diametrically opposed to the known signature of the signatory;
- The same “officer” or “vice president” of a bank or lender being an officer and/or vice president for dozens of other banks and lenders;
- The same “officer” or “vice president” of a bank or lender signing and being located in various cities across the United States;
- The named “officer” or “vice president” of a bank or lender being a notary public or witness on other identical assignments, affidavits, and satisfactions;
- Pre-stamped assignments and notary signatures on assignments, affidavits and proof of claims;
- Second page notarizations that are attached to documents that do not conform in type and style to the first page of the document;
- Automated signatures on computer of “both” the notary and the signatory; and
- Backdating of dates on assignments and signatures of officers dating years after a company has been out of business or gone bankrupt.
A Washington Post article about the robo-signing foreclosure crisis on October 7, 2010, concluded with Lavalle's warning to the industry when the post wrote "several years ago (2003), on a message board still active on the MERS Web site, one participant (Lavalle) accused the company of participating in fraud and concealing the transfer of loans from public scrutiny." "The company's president and chief executive, R.K. Arnold, responded by insisting that MERS actually increased the transparency of the mortgage system and reduced the cost of homeownership by making the industry more efficient." "We're not perfect," Arnold wrote, "but there's nothing sinister about who we are and what we do."
Personal and family history
Lavalle was born in Detroit, Michigan and later raised in Grosse Pointe during his formative years. His natural father, Ramon Lavalle a/k/a Ramon Muniz Lavalle was a former Argentinean Diplomat and Journalist who served as Argentinean consulate to Japan during World War II before renouncing his citizenship and coming to the United States to work in U.S. intelligence operations for the Office of War Information.
Ramon Lavalle was also witness to war crimes by Japanese soldiers and officers and provided testimony to World War II War Crime Trials. Ramon Lavalle's grandfathers and Nye Lavalle's great-grandfathers were Juan Lavalle, former Argentine President, General, Governor of Buenos Aires Province, and an Argentinean folk-hero and Francisco Muniz, a prominent doctor in Buenos Aires. Both men are honored in their country by being buried in the world famous national cemetery of La Recoleta Cemetery. Juan Lavalle is furthered honored with one of the most famous plazas in Buenos Aires, Plaza Lavalle and the largest pedestrian street, Calle Lavalle. The world-famous Teatro Colón Opera House, national post office, and Argentina's Supreme Court surround the Plaza. Muniz is honored with Buenos Aires' major hospital being named Hospital Muniz.
Ramon Lavalle attended the London School of Economics where he befriended Labour Party leader Nye Bevan, Nye Lavalle's namesake. Lavalle's mother, Matilde Lavalle was born in Havana, Cuba where Ramon Lavalle met her during one of his frequent visits to life-long friend, Ernest Hemingway, the author, at Hemingway's finca. Letters from Hemingway to Ramon Lavalle, stolen from Nye Lavalle, now reside in the Baker Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library. Both Hemingway and Ramon Lavalle, had a deep affection for and friendship with the late President and rumors circulate that each served their country in various intelligence roles in Cuba and around the world.
Matilde Lavalle years later remarried Anthony Pew and Mr. Pew later adopted Nye Lavalle, as his son. Nye Lavalle retained his natural father's last name.
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News clips, articles, and additional sources
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