MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (CN) – The Mortgage Asset Research Institute drove a real estate appraiser out of business by disseminating an old, inaccurate “confidential” complaint about him that he could not see until he was ruined, Ramon Gaber claims in Burlington County Court.
Gaber demands more than $1 million from the Virginia-based defendant MARI, which he says ruined his businesses, Citizens Financial Mortgage, Atlantic Appraisal and Title, and Atlantic Appraisal Associates.
“MARI disseminates reports to lenders concerning the backgrounds of mortgage brokers, appraisers, and other professionals involved in the mortgage industry, under the auspices of reporting circumstances or events that relate to the fitness of such individuals to engage in mortgage industry business,” the complaint states.
Gaber says he began losing business in 2001, and continued to lose it until he had to shutter his businesses in 2006. He says he never understood why his businesses tanked as the local and national real estate businesses were booming.
He says the inaccurate MARI report cost his Atlantic businesses “hundreds of thousands of dollars annually,” until he had to close them, and start a new business,
Citizens, which could not get business either.
In August 2006, Gaber says, a MARI customer violated his promise of confidentiality by showing him a MARI report on him.
He says the report falsely claimed that he had overappraised a property. But Gaber says another man had done the appraisal, but Gaber had had to sign off on it because he was senior appraiser. He adds that appraisals are merely “opinions, which inherently allows individuals to disagree with his conclusions about property values.”
The appraisal at issue was done in 1999, and MARI issued its allegedly false report in 2001, just before his businesses began going belly up, Gaber says. He adds that the report “falsely attributed, to Gaber, the shortcomings of an appraisal performed by someone else.”
“Had MARI performed even the most basic and minimal review of Mr. Gaber’s appraisal, it would not have published the false an inaccurate information unless it intended to harm Gaber,” the complaint states.He says MARI acted recklessly and negligently. He demands more than $1 million in damages. He is represented by Shaffin Datoo with Venable LLP of New York