John Lynch, former chief executive officer of the Union-Tribune and previously a local radio executive, is in financial trouble again. He defaulted on his mortgage in December of 2016, and then woes cascaded in 2017 and this year. He has defaulted several other times in previous years, as the Reader has reported.
Last year, T.A. Marsh Roofing slapped a mechanics lien on his posh Rancho Santa Fe home. The lien is still in effect. “We have had trouble collecting from him. He would not respond [to queries] until we put a lien on his property. He has paid some, but not what he owes,” says an executive of the company. Redfin says the house, not on the market, is worth $3.5 million.
In December of 2017, Lynch failed to pay the first installment on his property taxes. He is short $28,745.35, according to the last report of the county treasurer and tax collector.
Then this year, Lynch sold his mortgage to a Goldman Sachs subsidiary named MTGLQ Investors, according to assessor/recorder/county clerk records. MTGLQ buys nonperforming and severely delinquent loans and then grants principal reduction loan modifications on them.
MTGLQ , which could be called a “vulture fund,” has an interesting history. The prologue: Goldman Sachs was one major cause of the real estate derivatives crash precipitating the 2007–2009 Great Recession. Those crafty Wall Street rascals packaged toxic mortgages into bundles and sold them to clients as AAA-rated paper. But the firm, knowing there was garbage in those bundles, shorted them — or bet against the very bundles it had sold to customers as gilt-edged paper (nice folks there on Wall Street).
The government rescued Goldman and other big banks with massive infusions of funds. But in a settlement, Goldman was told it must help struggling homeowners; ergo, Goldman set up MTGLQ Investors to buy troubled mortgages. But Goldman is allegedly making money on this so-called magnanimous enterprise. It buys the troubled loans (many from the ailing Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae) and then resells them when the borrowers resume monthly payments. If that can’t be done, Goldman forecloses and sells the homes, according to financial media.
The Reader previously reported that in 2010, American Express Centurion Bank sued Lynch for failing to pay $51,236 in outstanding credit card debt. In September, November, and December of 2012, the Reader reported that Lynch’s home on Clubhouse Drive in Rancho Santa Fe was in default. Each time, he had excuses: poor accounting by his advisers and the county treasurer, bad practices by a lender. “My net worth is quite substantial,” he told the Reader.
I put in a good-faith effort to hear his explanation for his recent financial woes. I called seven phone numbers believed to be his with no luck and sent two emails that came back. His phone number is not listed. I went to two persons who had communicated with him recently and they would not give out his phone number or email address.
“He always has a story — he is trying to get a deal done, or something like that,” says the T.A. Marsh executive.