Sunday, January 6, 2008

UPDATE: Babajian and Grasso

A little Sunday reading for the kids.

Your Mama has received many requests for information about indicted celebrity real estate agents Joseph Babajian and Kyle Grasso. While whispers and rumors continue to sweep along Sunset Boulevard, little real information has been revealed about the fates of the former top producers...until last week. In case the children missed it, the Los Angeles Times printed a thorough update about the current and fascinating state of affairs.

Your Mama is glued to this story like white on rice. We've got hugely successful brokers who made millions from big name clients like David and Victoria Beckham, Ryan Seacrest and Oscar de la Hoya, and allegedly risked it all for a few hundred thousand more. We've got the venerable investment bank Lehman Brothers writing down millions in bad real estate loans because they were duped by just about everyone. We've got straw buyers, obscenely over-valued properties and forged paper work. We've got the F.B.I. investigating, bigamists on the run, and showboating attorney Thomas Mesereau representing Mister Babajian, whose Trousdale Estates house remains on the market for $6,985,000.

Look for this mess to be turned into a Sunday night movie on USA or Lifetime.

According to the LA Times, Mssrs. Babajian and Grasso are scheduled to be tried in July unless some sort of plea agreement is reached, which seems unlikely given that both men pleaded not guilty and their attorneys are quoted in the LA Times saying their clients are innocent, expect to be acquitted and will be vindicated. We'll see.

Our pal over at Real Sedated predicts the embattled Prudential agents will be fined, forever stripped of their real estate licenses and set free. Your Mama wonders, if they might also be made to spend a little time up in Lompoc where they can read, do macramé and network with other well to do white collar criminals. After all, a jury of their peers is unlikely to see them as sympathetic figures. Real estate agents are seldom well thought of by the general public and those accused of bank fraud and money laundering face an steep uphill battle in a room full of folks struggling to pay their mortgages.

Stay tuned.

18 comments:

HACKSTER said...

Mama: I loved the link to Lompoc, but I couldn't find the virtual tour. This whole thing is very sad, but as usual, we won't be able to take our eyes off of it.

Old Hag in a house said...

I've got photos!

Anonymous said...

ms. babajian has been stripped of her membership in the trousdale estates ladies who lunch club!

lil' gay boy said...

"When Gay Real Estate Agents Go Bad."

Sounds like the latest offering from Falcon Video.

Steven R. Smith, MSREA, MAI, SRA said...

None of this could have happened without the help of ignorant, untrained, and unskilled appraisers; who for a misely fee, were willing to inflate values.

Well, maybe one or two turned down the work, but there was another thousand behind them willing to do what needed to be done. Who were the appraisers?

aunt mary said...

Mama, Lifetime movies are one of my most secret guilty pleasures! I would admit to chewing tobacco before I'd own up to loving this schlock. Even better if Tori Spelling is in it! Do you think there would be a part for Tori in this story? No cameos. She'd have to be the star! This is just between us, ok? (If anyone asks, I only enjoy Shakespeare on stage for dramatic entertainment) ;)

Anonymous said...

Tori can play a staging lady with an unlimited budget and a new Lexus. After the indicment, she is blackballed by the other estate brokers and is reduced to driving a pink Toyota and taking any job she can.

Anonymous said...

You've been slacking off a lot lately, it's extremely disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Is Kyle Grasso gay too? Please keep us posted on the the inside scoop of this fascinating case.

Anonymous said...

If you look on the dre website is says babahoe is still licensed!

Jackie o said...

As a purchaser of one of the forclosed homes by Lehman, I have followed this story closely.To value a 700k home for 2.5 million was obscene yet the snake swallowed it whole.

The cast of characters runs deep. As there are many checks and balances in the banking system to prevent such fraud, the orchestrator of these fraudulant deals had to build a team.

The FBI wants to get a conviction and chooses cases they can win. I think the brokers will have a tough time convincing jury of their innocence.

Crime never pays in the long run

Hi There said...

Yes indeed, the guilty pit is deep on this one...there were ring leaders, appraisers, title folks and just average folks who lent their names and identities to this con game.

What's even more scary is how many people knew about this LONG before the FBI was investigating. It was not difficult for anyone in the business to spot these strange transactions...a house sold at $700k and then 2 months later again at $1.5M. So many people knew.

I think with the current climate they're going to send as many as they can up the river.

aunt mary said...

I see Tori as lead FBI investigator with a disabled child who is being cared for by a dying grandmother. Tori breaks the case while being stalked by her abusive ex-husband. Mini-series. Four hours minimum.

Jackie O said...

Yes what is concerning, alarming, and only too real is the lag time it took for the Feds to become involved.

And all the while Joe Babajian et al continued to sell homes,earned huge comissions.It was only in August of 07 that Prudential yanked their licenses off the wall.

It seems that Pru wanted just a little more gold in the pot before they had to pull the plug! Tom Dunlop was the Pru manager for the BH office, is he still around?

LA R.E. Guy said...

I'm a successful Realtor with Prudential CA Realty...If the two are guilty then they should definitely be punished. I do find it hard to believe that they wouldn't be aware of the fraudulent process, but anyway...
I heard that the FBI promised NOT to indict the two agents but then changed their minds. That's when Pru decided to suspend them. Prudential CA Realty is a great company and always pushes truth, honesty and fair dealings to all their agents. Tom Dunlap is also an excellent manager and now heads the entire LA Division.

Anonymous said...

Joe, age 56? When I went to school with him in 59, he was a bit older than I. I was 14, indicating a birth date about 1945 for Joe. I guess fudging numbers is a problem here too!

Anonymous said...

Kyle Grasso may be many things, gay is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

very late response I was looking into this to see what has been brewing about lately and see its all died down. Kyle Grasso is my uncle and my second father, he adopted me when all of these allegations were being made the fact is he never made a penny off anything and never would have agreed to anything of the sort. He was targeted for his abilities and willingness to help his friends in need and would have never done anything to mess up any ones life let alone his own. I was adopted a year before any of this was happening and was there through all of this. It was a simply a classic set up and in return many innocent people paid the price.