by Al Lewis
You can't expect a bank that is dumb enough to sue itself to know why it is suing itself.
Yet I could not resist asking Wells Fargo Bank NA why it filed a civil complaint against itself in a mortgage foreclosure case in Hillsborough County, Fla.
"Due to state foreclosure laws, lenders are obligated to name and notify subordinate lien holders," said Wells Fargo spokesman Kevin Waetke.
Being a taxpayer-subsidized, too-big-to-fail institution, it's possible that one of the few ways for Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) to know what it is doing is to notify itself with a court filing.
In this particular case, Wells Fargo holds the first and second mortgages on a condominium, according to Sarasota, Fla., attorney Dan McKillop, who represents the condo owner.
As holder of the first, Wells Fargo is suing all other lien holders, including the holder of the second, which is itself.
"The primary reason is to clear title and ownership interest in a property to prepare it for sale," Waetke said in an email exchange. "So it really is not Wells Fargo vs. Wells Fargo."
Yet court documents clearly label "Wells Fargo Bank NA" as the plaintiff and "Wells Fargo Bank NA" as a defendant.
Wells Fargo hired Florida Default Law Group., P.L., of Tampa, Fla., to file the lawsuit against itself.
And then Wells Fargo hired another Tampa law firm -- Kass, Shuler, Solomon, Spector, Foyle & Singer P.A. -- to defend itself against its own lawsuit, according to court documents.
Wells Fargo's defense lawyers even filed an answer to their client's own complaint.