How One Woman's Foreclosure Became Another's 24-Car Garage!

Illustration for article titled How One Womans Foreclosure Became Anothers 24-Car Garage!

Single minority women are big victims of the subprime mortgage meltdown, reports the New York Times today. But not one single minority woman, notes the Journal! Remember Mei Sze Chan? She was single and lonely, but in the beginnings of the mortgage crisis she met a man in the Hamptons named Jeff Greene, they hit it off, and in November they finally wed at their 27-acre 24-car garage Beverly Hills estate in a wedding featuring Oliver Stone and Mike Tyson. (He told Vows "I just wish I had met Mei Sze 20 years ago" — when she was 12! LoL.) So just how did Jeff Greene get so rich? Well...one day in the Hamptons Greene met this hedge fund manager and v. smart contrarian named John Paulson. Were houses getting too expensive, Greene wondered? He didn't know; nothing was too expensive for him because he sold houses! But he wanted protection.

Advertisement

Paulson was convinced that the housing market had gotten out of hand and to keep prices rising, tin pot lenders were making people (like Kue McIntyre of Baltimore) believe they'd be able to afford mortgages they'd never be able to afford if interest rates went up. It didn't take a genius to see that! What did take brains was figuring out how to buy this form of insurance called a"credit-default swap" that big banks could buy to protect themselves in the case that a bunch of people wound up having to give up their houses. Usually only banks could do that! And they weren't buying too much of it, because everyone just assuuuumed stupidly that the housing market would keep going up! Anyhow, so Paulson figured out how to do this, and one day in the Hamptons he told Jeff Greene about his strategy in hopes that he would invest in his hedge fund, which was not doing so well at the time because the stupid housing market kept stupidly rising, but instead Jeff Greene just copied the strategy himself and made his own little killing. That he is now sharing — awwwww! — with Mei Sze.

To his credit, Paulson is giving money to homeowners facing foreclosure and also, rich white dudes like him are not only kinds of dudes those of you who will ever be able to afford mortgages should keep in mind before taking one out, but the dudes who make finance interesting to study. Dudes like Jeff Greene, on the other hand, are what make finance nauseating to study. Knamean?

Advertisement

Baltimore Finds Subprime Crisis Snags Women [NYT]
Trader Made Billions On Subprime [WSJ]
The Meltdown Mogul Of Beverly Hills [WSJ]
Mei-Sze Chan and Jeff Greene [NYT]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

i think it would be fair to say that mortgage lenders tried to operate like credit card companies...that is, give out the credit cards willy nilly even if people can't pay them off because it makes the credit card companies more money. oh, but wait - in this new scenario with mortgage, not so much.

the media is acting like this sort of thing is some new phenomena, but it's really not. people have lost homes because of adjustable mortage rates for YEARS because their credit wasn't stellar. banks have gone through this cycle too...just not at the level we're seeing it now.

rule of thumb: don't buy more than you can afford to pay (sounds basic, and yet...), recycle, and pay your bills in full on time all the time.