TriMavin and parent corporation Stearns are facing a lawsuit from a former chief appraiser who says the companies violated federal regulations and terminated her employment in response to her complaints.
In her complaint against the two companies, Katherine Scheri—chief appraiser at TriMavin from October 2011 to January 2013—alleges that Stearns developed a program to recruit mortgage brokers and loan officers by telling prospective recruits they could provide their own personal list of appraisers to be included on the approved panel for the appraisal process at TriMavin, an appraisal management company (AMC).
Regulations under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) requires that employees, officers, and directors in the loan process not be directly involved in selecting, retaining, recommending, or otherwise influencing the choice of who will perform a valuation or who may be included from a panel of approved appraisers.
The complaint goes on to say that when she brought up her concerns to TriMavin president Eric Dellorusso, he responded that the accepted names were blended into the list of approved appraisers and that those names would be used on a rotating basis. Scheri alleges that Stearns’ appraisers were ranked in such a way that they were guaranteed to be used over other appraisers.
Scheri also says that, in a meeting with Dellorusso, she observed a stack of papers that Dellorusso admitted was a list of appraisers provided by incoming Stearns CEO Brian Hale to be used at TriMavin. Immediately thereafter, “Dellorusso told [Scheri] he should not have told her where this list of appraisers came from, and directed her not to disclose to anyone that she had seen the list or where it came from as it could cost him his job,” the complaint says.
Scheri additionally alleges that, when she refused to budge on the issue of Stearns’ production personnel manipulating appraisals, Dellorusso “told [Scheri] he had decided a man would be better equipped to handle [her] job as a man could deal with [Stearns’] production personnel better than a woman.”
Eventually, her disagreements with upper management over the alleged violations finally culminated in her firing, she says. Based on her experience and TriMavin’s alleged unlawful retaliation, Scheri has brought suit against the company, along with Stearns and 30 as yet unnamed defendants.
Representatives for Stearns did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
by Tori Barringer