In a rambling, 8 minute video message posted to his Facebook page Sunday night, Anthony Casa – chairman of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME) – warned members of his organization that recent comments he made via video and text “will probably be something that everybody’s going to see throughout this week.”
Without going into specifics during his video, Casa seemed to be referring to a civil suit filed against him last week that was first reported by HousingWire.
Neither the HousingWire story nor Casa’s Facebook video detailed the nature of Casa’s remarks which were sent to an employee at Quicken Loans Mortgage Services, Austin Niemiec, in reference to Niemiec’s wife, Teresa. Niemiec subsequently filed a legal complaint in Michigan on Friday, July 10.
One video that Casa filmed, then sent to some of his associates in the mortgage industry in addition to Niemiec, has Casa saying to Niemiec, “I’d love to meet your wife. It’s amazing that’s the girl that sucked Ishbia’s dick in college.”
The name “Ishbia” appears to be reference to Mat Ishbia, CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), and, according to Niemiec’s filing, “a personal friend of Casa.” Casa made these allegations despite, according to the filing, Ishiba and Niemiec having not gone to college together, nor even knowing each other.
“Mr. Casa’s baseless, vile attacks on an innocent woman have no place in civil society. For too long women have been subjugated and made to feel less than equal as men disparage and defame them. Then we’re expected to keep quiet about it as if it’s just our lot in life to be shamed and humiliated for sport. Every part of Mr. Casa’s behavior in this has been disgusting. There can be no separation on this from the #MeToo movement. If we are to move forward toward sexual equality, men and women must stand shoulder to shoulder and fight back against these types of attacks and not allow blanket, vapid apologies to cover or excuse the shameful actions of shallow men,” said Catrena Norris Carter, President of Women Together Now, a #MeToo advocacy group.
Interestingly, there is considerable evidence that Casa’s AIME and Ishbia’s UWM may have a relationship that is more interconnected than originally understood. The close relationship between Casa and Ishbia was also noted as part of the complaint. “…in April 2019, Casa was employed by Premier Processing LLC…[which was] affiliated with UWM and Ishbia and Ishbia’s father…”
Ishbia did not respond to multiple requests for comment on his relationship with Casa, his perspective about being named in the video, or the claim that Casa was employed by Ishbia’s father.
Unsurprisingly however, Ishbia’s UWM expressed support for AIME in a statement made public on HousingWire late last night. “UWM does not support the disturbing comments made by Anthony Casa or condone this type of activity…Casa is separate from AIME.”
In a second clip that was sent to Niemiec, Casa films himself saying “Guess what, I got one more surprise for you, one big one. It’s a really, really big one. And it’s not [Quicken Loans president and CEO] Bob Walters’ dick in your mouth. It’s me fucking you up in the fourth quarter. I’m coming mother f—er.”
A third clip appears to be a video of Kevin Peranio, the chief lending officer and a partner at Paramount Residential Mortgage Group (PRMG), responding to one of Casa’s videos. In the clip, Peranio films a “spit take” of himself reacting to Casa’s claims about Niemiec – without expressing any distaste for Casa’s allegation.
In a public statement that stretched credulity, PRMG claimed that “Peranio was in disbelief that Casa would make the public comment he did and made his own video comment as a response to display his shock.”
While not elaborating on the PRMG’s future with AIME, the company’s founder and CEO Paul Rozo said, “I was disturbed by the contents of the complaint filed against Casa. None of this is acceptable behavior.” Rozo continued, “It is sad to see that this type of behavior continues in our industry and society.”
During his Facebook monologue, Casa seems very close to victim blaming saying that Niemiec made comments “trying to egg [Casa] on.”
In his over 200-word statement printed in HousingWire, Casa meanders talking about his “combative approach” and again reverts to victim blaming before apologizing in the third paragraph.
“I do regret sending these messages and apologize to those hurt by my actions,” Casa said in a statement, according to HousingWire.
What’s odd about Casa’s Sunday night confessional is that, according to the filing, he was offered the opportunity to show contrition last Monday – just days after he sent the defamatory texts and videos – but he instead sent new series of mocking and vile texts to Niemiec. According to Niemiec’s filing, “Casa continued his taunting, harassing and vulgar behavior regarding Niemiec…by sending…text messages to Niemiec and others…”
In response to the videos, several of AIME’s sponsors distanced themselves from the organization and Casa, while noting the importance of mortgage brokers.
“Effective immediately, Home Point is suspending its participation in AIME. We will continue to monitor the situation and respond accordingly. This does not change our commitment to supporting the independent originator,” said Phil Shoemaker, Home Point’s President of Originations.
Bill Dallas, CEO of Finance of America said, “I was sent the video on Saturday and was disgusted. We are considering what is the best course of action with AIME and Anthony. We believe that brokers are a vital origination source that need our support.”
Susan Bergeson, corporate communications specialist for Flagstar Bank, said, “While we strongly support the broker community and the vision and purpose of AIME, we do not in any way support the recent public words and behavior of its chairman.
“As a company, Flagstar Bank is committed to treating its employees with respect and creating an environment that is free of the kind of harassment, abusive language, and personal attacks made by the chairman of AIME. We expect no less of our business partners. That is why we are taking the step of suspending all relationships with the organization at this time.
“Again, this action does not reflect on AIME as an organization.”
As of press time, no response had been received to emails and calls into other known sponsors of AIME including Caliber Home Loans, Franklin American, AFR Wholesale, and Plaza Home Mortgage.
However, some provided comments to HousingWire. A Caliber spokesperson said “We do not tolerate harassment of any kind in our company or the workplaces of those companies that engage in business with Caliber.” And in likely the weakest statement offered to date, AFR Wholesale President Laura Brandao called Casa’s comments “unfortunate.”