Homewreckers: How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream
October 14, 2019
“This is a story that needs to be told, and Glantz tells it beautifully. Homewreckers reads like a novel, but it carries an important message: We must never let this happen again.” —Alan S. Blinder, Gordon S. Rentscher Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University, former member of the Council of Economic Advisers, Vice Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve System
On October 15, Custom House will publish Homewreckers: How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Million Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream by Aaron Glantz. Glantz—a senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting—is also a two-time Peabody Award-winner and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In Homewreckers, he delivers a shocking, heart-wrenching investigation into America’s housing crisis and the modern-day robber barons who are making a fortune off the backs of the disenfranchised working and middle class—among them, Donald Trump and his inner circle.
Two years before the housing market collapsed in 2008, Donald Trump looked forward to a crash: “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy,” he said. But our future president wasn’t alone. While millions of Americans suffered financial loss, tycoons pounced to heartlessly seize thousands of homes—their profiteering made even easier because, as Glantz reveals, they often used taxpayer money—and the Obama administration’s promise to cover their losses.
Glantz vividly tells how a group of Wall Street bankers and private equity titans that he calls the Homewreckers—including Trump Cabinet members Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross, as well as Trump confidants and funders Steve Schwarzman, Tom Barrack, and others—exploited a rigged system in which billions of dollars in wealth was transferred to them from millions of individual homeowners after the real estate bust of the Great Recession. Furthermore, Glantz reveals how many of these same people are now working to weaken the safeguards that were put in place to prevent a similar disaster, and how proven programs from our history can be used to create systemic change in favor of the public rather than the Homewreckers.
Glantz also brilliantly weaves together the stories of those most ravaged by the housing crisis. Homewreckers is propelled by the story of Sandy Jolley, a Southern California homeowner who is personally exploited by five members of Donald Trump’s inner circle over the course of a decade. But she never gives up—continuing to fight even after losing her home to foreclosure. In the end, she becomes a federal whistleblower and wins a $89 million settlement for the taxpayers.
Like Evicted, Bait and Switch, and The Big Short, Homewreckers makes understandable and compelling a financial phenomenon that may seem distant and abstract, but which has tremendous personal and social consequences for individuals, families, communities, and the nation. Even more important, in the midst of a fraught political environment, it shows us a clear path forward to greater equality and lasting, shared prosperity.
Award-winning journalist Aaron Glantz is the perfect person to tell this story. His reporting has been featured widely in media by The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, and the PBS NewsHour, for which he has twice been nominated for a national Emmy Award. His work has been cited by politicians as ideologically diverse as Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul. His 2018 exposé on modern-day redlining prompted investigations by six states attorney general, led national banks like JPMorgan Chase and TD Bank to open new branches in communities of color and sparked the City of Philadelphia to make $100 million available for down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers. And earlier this year, he was called to testify before Congress as an expert for a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Community Reinvestment Act.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aaron Glantz produces journalism with impact. A two-time Peabody Award-winner and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Glantz’s work has sparked more than a dozen Congressional hearings, the signing of new laws, and criminal probes by the DEA, FBI, Pentagon and Federal Trade Commission. Because of his reporting, 500,000 fewer U.S. military veterans face long waits for disability compensation, while 100,000 fewer veterans are prescribed highly addictive narcotics. His work for PBS Newshour has been honored with an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and nominated for two national Emmy Awards. A senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and a recent JSK Fellow at Stanford University, Glantz’s previous books include How America Lost Iraq, The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans, and Winter Solider Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations, which he coauthored with Iraq Veterans Against the War.
This book giveaway is brought to you by Custom House, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.